Start a new blog and it doesn’t matter how great your content is, sometimes it feels like you’re just talking to yourself. It’s the top reason that most bloggers quit within six months. They spend all their time on content and it’s all wasted because no one reads what they have to say. I’ve been there.
The answer is influencer outreach! Influencer outreach is the key to getting noticed in this game and the only way anyone makes it in blogging. Influencers hold the key to boosting blog traffic through SEO juice as well as just sending massive amounts of eyeballs to your pages.
Influencers are the people within your niche or topic that have built up a following. They’re the trusted experts and the gatekeepers to all the readers. In order to contact and build relationships with influencers, you have various blogger outreach tools at your disposal. To get started with your outreach campaign, check out these 5 best blogger outreach tools.
Find them and you’ve found all the audience you need.
Build your Influencer Outreach List
Building an influencer outreach list to promote your blog and grow blog traffic is one of the most important parts of your job as a blogger, so spend a little time on the process and put together an exemplary list. These are the bloggers and journalists with which you are going to be developing a relationship with for years to come and who may ultimately determine the success of your blog.
The process of finding influencers on Twitter is relatively easy using Topsy, a Twitter search app. Searching for a niche or idea will find tweets over the past 30 days or will show you the influencers in the genre.
If you have a specific URL to a strong post showing up on Google search for which you want to find people that have mentioned, you can paste the URL into the search and Topsy will show you tweets to that page. This is extremely helpful for keyword targeting and link-building. You know these people are receptive to linking or mentioning a type of article, so you only need to create a link-worthy post and bring it to their attention.
The other method I use to build my influencer outreach list is through a process using Google search and MOZ Open Site Explorer. Brainstorm 10 keywords for which you want to rank and use each in a Google search. For each keyword, copy the top ten blog results onto an Excel spreadsheet. You will have to scroll a little to reach ten blog posts rather than the first ten results which will include news sites, Wikipedia and other sites. You should have a list of 100 addresses, 10 blog posts for each of 10 keywords.
From there, use MOZ Open Site Explorer or any other site that will show you backlinks to a URL. MOZ OSE is a subscription SEO tool but they offer a 30-day free trial that will be enough time to carry out your traffic-boosting influencer research.
Paste each of the 100 URLs into the search box separately to find inbound links to each post. This shows you each website that mentioned and linked back to that post to help make it a top search result on Google. Pretty powerful stuff! You will want to sort the results by domain authority (DA), which is a measure of SEO strength.
Not all URLs will have many inbound links. I would copy down ten to 15 for each on to your Excel spreadsheet if they are available. This gives you a list of up to 1,500 websites that actively mention and link back to blog posts discussing a certain topic or keyword.
From there, it is a matter of finding the contact information for each website. It can be an extremely long process so you might consider hiring a virtual assistant to help. You can usually find qualified help for between $4 and $8 an hour which may be well worth it to take some of the burden off your shoulders.
Prioritize your Influencer List
After building your influencer outreach list, you are going to want to prioritize it and make a plan for connecting with these people. Using the methods above will result in an influencer list of hundreds of people, too many for you to effectively contact all at once.
Prioritizing your list will help break it into manageable chunks and get an immediate blog traffic boost from some of the easy targets. I use MOZ Open Site Explorer or the Domain Authority Checker to check a website’s domain authority. Domain authority is a scale from zero to 100 and depends on a list of factors including back links, social shares and domain age to a URL.
You will also want to check an influencer’s social reach by noting how many Twitter or Facebook followers they have and how active their community is at sharing. I’ve seen a lot of wanna-be influencers buy Twitter fans and then have almost no shares or favorites because their fans weren’t built organically.
Separate your list with the highest domain authority scores on top and the lowest on the bottom, then divide the entire list into three or four groups.
For the influencers in the highest priority level, those with the strongest social reach and highest domain authority, you’ll want to develop a relationship before asking for any favors. These bloggers and journalists receive tens and even hundreds of requests every day so you need to show up on their radar before they’ll be willing to help you promote your blog. We will talk about how to make that initial connection and build a relationship with influencers in the next post but it’s a lot like making new friends.
- You listen to what they have to say on social media, liking and sharing occasionally.
- You complement them on their success and mention how their advice has helped you in a specific circumstance.
- Connect and trade ideas on social networks
- Ask for direct advice
- Leverage the relationship into guest posts, interviews and blog mentions
- Have an email strategy in place for bloggers so you can reach out to influencers whenever you have something exciting to collaborate on
For those influencers in the lowest priority level, you can probably just send out an email introducing yourself and proposing a guest post, interview or some kind of a blog mention or link.
How many priority levels you have in your list and how you approach each level will be up to you. The difference will be how much time you spend building a relationship before asking for some kind of favor to help you boost blog traffic. I like the priority method because it will result in immediate help from the lower priority influencers while building the connections for high-priority help down the road.
Just because your blog is new does not mean that it has to start out with no friends and no power. Join the established community of bloggers and influencers in your niche by building an influencer outreach list. A good list and a strong outreach plan can help boost blog traffic quickly and save you a ton of time building a following as a new blogger. Don’t forget to check in for my next post when we’ll look at the second part of this process, contacting and building a relationship with your influencers.