It's hard to do things alone. Especially complicated things like growing an ecommerce business. When it comes to selling online, the more friends you have the better. Having connections who can talk up your product is essential to driving traffic to your site and increasing sales.
This is where blogger outreach comes in. Even if you don't have a lot of contacts online you can still reach out to people for help. You just have to do it the right way—and I'm here to teach you how!
Types of blogger outreach
Blogger outreach is about more than just making friends online. It's a process to help you achieve measurable success in your business. Here's how you can use blogger outreach to drive traffic and sales for your store:
Guest post on other blogs
Free traffic—as opposed to paid traffic that comes from things like purchased—ads is often hard to come by for new websites. You can start blogging to drive traffic, but it takes time before you start to see results. While you grow your own audience, guest posting gives you a way to get in front of someone else’s. Not only does this drive traffic back to your website, but the links back to your website will help with search engine optimization.
Use blogger outreach to find and connect with bloggers who have the type of audience you want to reach. Offer to write a guest post that their audience will love. Make sure the topic you write about is also related to your business or it won't drive any traffic.
Do an expert roundup
While blogging is a great way to drive traffic back to your store, it can be a lot of work. This is especially true if you don’t feel very knowledgeable on a topic you need to write about, or you're not generally comfortable writing. One way around this is to solicit contributions from other bloggers or experts.
Seek out experts on a topic and ask them to contribute an idea, such as a tip, recipe, or story to your blog post. Then, publish a list of all the responses you got back. You’ll be providing your audience with great content from relevant experts, plus the contributors will want to share the article with their own readers, increasing your own reach.
Solicit product reviews
Getting your product reviewed can be a great way to spread awareness and drive sales. Instead of waiting around for someone to review your product, use a blogger outreach campaign to get the ball rolling.
Contact bloggers with relevant, engaged audiences and offer to send them your product for free in exchange for an honest review. If you have a great product, they’ll love it and tell everyone.
Find affiliates to promote your business
If you want to take product reviews a step further and solicit even more people to promote your product, consider starting an affiliate program. Affiliate programs work by incentivizing other people to drive traffic to your business by offering a commission on every sale.
Finding your first affiliates can be tough if you don’t have wide brand recognition. Use a blogger outreach campaign to find and recruit your first few affiliates and get the ball rolling. Look for bloggers who have an engaged audience and are already writing about your industry.
Get included in gift guides
Gift guides are a list of recommended products or gift ideas, typically centered around a holiday (like Christmas) or a person (like your dad). If you’re ever Googled for gift ideas you’ve likely come across several gift guides.
Getting your product in the right gift guides can increase sales and traffic to your website. However, inclusion in these guides does not happen randomly and requires some effort. In many cases, business owners lobby to get their products included. Use blogger outreach to contact gift guide publishers and ask to have your product included.
Ask Instagram influencers to promote your product
Sometimes you don’t need to write a guest post or ask other people to review your product. When you find the right match for your brand, a simple mention on Instagram can go a long way. This is especially true for apparel products, where the right mention or stylish photo can drive tons of sales.
Use an outreach campaign to connect with Instagram influencers—whether they have a blog or not—and arrange sponsored posts. Look for Instagrammers with audiences that would like your product and ask them to feature your product in a photo. Make sure you have your own Instagram account set up so they can tag you.
Hack the press
Instead of hiring a PR company, take control of your own publicity. If you have a great story or an interesting product that people will want to write about, put it out there! Get in touch with bloggers and journalists who cover businesses like yours and tell them what you’re up to.
While it’s true that most writers are inundated with requests, they are still always on the lookout for a good story. Make sure you target the right publications (ie. don't ask a tech writer to cover about your clothing line), and offer them a compelling story to improve your success rate.
These are just a few types of blogger outreach. Don't be afraid to give other ideas a shot!
Tips for a successful blogger outreach campaign
Blogger outreach can be a lot of work if you don’t know you’re doing. The key is to get organized and create a good process you can follow.
There are many tools that help with blogger outreach. Although these tools can make it easier and save time, they are by no means required. All you really need are a spreadsheet and a search engine like Google.
Here's the process I use:
Step 1: Research bloggers
The first step is to research and create your outreach list. Think about who you’re targeting and go out and find them.
I like to use search parameters to help me find the right people. For example, if I was putting together a campaign to get included in gift guides, I would search for the gift guides themselves and take note of who is publishing them.
- guitar player gift guide
- guitar buying guide
- guitar player gift ideas
- guitar player christmas gift ideas
- guitar fathers day gift ideas
- guitar fathers day gift guide
- gift ideas for guitar lovers
In other cases, you may just be looking for people who blog about fashion, or journalists who write about tech. When you’re looking for a more broad category of bloggers, you may be able to find options by using the words “best” or “top” in searches. These will return a collection of lists, which you can use for ideas.
- best mens fashion bloggers
- top mens fashion bloggers
- best fashion blogs
- top mens fashion blogs
- top mens fashion Instagram accounts
- mens fashion influencers
As you find relevant bloggers, add them to a spreadsheet. Once you have a list of names or websites, take the time to find out all the relevant information you need including the person's name, website, contact information, and social media accounts. Fill all this in on the spreadsheet.
Step 2: Contact bloggers
Once you have your outreach list ready, it’s time to make contact. However, before we go any further, it’s important to remember to personalize emails. If the person you’re emailing doesn’t feel like there is a real person on the other side of the exchange, they’re probably not going to reply.
Although that seems like a lot of effort to send emails one at a time, there are still steps we can take to streamline the work. The first is to make a customizable script.
Here are the basics of creating an effective email script:
Introduce Yourself: Don't expect them to know who you are you. Although they will probably try to Google you, they shouldn't have to. Make it clear who you are and link to anything relevant that will help such as your website.
Hey NAME, I run an ecommerce business called COMPANY. We specialize in PRODUCT.
Why Them: Now that they know who you are, they'll be wondering is why you're contacting them. If you're a regular reader or a fan of their website, now is the time to let them know.
I read BLOG NAME regularly and I especially how funny your reviews are!
The Ask: Now, what do you want? These days everyone is busy. Get to the point quickly and make your case.
I'd love to have you give an honest review of PRODUCT.
The Benefit: Explain why they should be interested in your request and what they or their audience have to gain. This could be a compelling piece of a content, a financial incentive, an exclusive discount, or something else. Now is also the time to share any credibility factors such as major media coverage, and other successful guest posts.
If you decide you like it, I'd be happy to offer your audience a special discount.
The Question: Always try and end with a simple yes or no question to make it easy for them to reply. It should be obvious what you want them to do, with no barriers to doing it.
Would it be ok if I sent you PRODUCT for free?
Sign Off:Try not to write anything after the question other than your sign-off. You don't want to distract them from the simple action they need to take by responding yes or no.
Once you've gotten your first reply, the person you're contacting will be more likely to respond to future emails.
Remember, these are just suggestions. Use the ideas above as a starting point and customize your script to your personality, your industry, and your desired outcome.
Once you have your script ready to go, it’s time to start emailing. Send emails one at a time and personalize your script for each person you’re emailing. You can do this in Gmail or another email client, or use a dedicated outreach tool like Outreach Ninja or Buzzstream.
Step 3: Don't forget to follow up
Once you send off the first email, it may feel like you’re finished, but you’re not. People are busy and we all get too many messages in our inbox. That means emails often get missed, forgotten, or ignored. It doesn’t necessarily mean your target blogger isn't interested.
You owe it to yourself (and them) to send one polite follow-up. I typically wait a week before following up. Keep it casual and low pressure. If they are interested they will likely let you know the second time. If they don't get back to you a second time, move on.
Typically, one sentence that addresses your yes/no question works best. Make sure to reply to your original email so they can refer to it.
Hey NAME, I'd still love to send you a free sample of PRODUCT if you're interested. Just reply yes to this email to let me know.
Don't sit around waiting for publicity to come to you! Use a blogger outreach campaign to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, and, of course, drive sales! Have you ever done blogger outreach for your store before? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.