Blogs are now accepted publishers in their own right, with a business mention on a popular blog as sought after as editorial coverage in a traditional print magazine or newspaper. Fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni, or The Blonde Salad as she is better known, is a case in point – hers was the first blog ever to become a Harvard Business School case study, illustrating just how much clout bloggers now have.
You may not have the reported $50,000 price tag it costs to have The Blonde Salad host your event but, blogger outreach can be a highly effective, cost efficient method of link building. Reaching out to related bloggers in your own field can be a superb way to tap into the reach and influence of the net’s ruling class and can help to create the coveted, relevant content to content links that the Google Penguin algorithm is thought to favor.
First things first, do bloggers and influencers really carry any weight?
Back in the summer, PR Week reported that “UK PR and marketing professionals are now more likely to use social media influencers than other types of 'traditional' celebrity.” 28% of those surveyed said their preferred channel was blogging.
Content and link building can’t exist in isolation and, as link building becomes ever more difficult, it’s not enough to simply get a link. You need to know that the link is worth something – that might be measured in terms of page authority or domain rating but, it could also be measured in terms of how much relevant traffic that link will send your way (or, how much influence and how big an influence your chosen blogger really has). In short, you need more than a simple text link on a random blog for the exercise to be worthwhile.
How do you get started?
Before you get started adding blogger outreach to your link building bag of tricks, familiarize yourself with these best practice tips for blogger outreach. Much of the advice remains relevant because, even though you’re reaching out with the ultimate aim of securing a link, you still need to build a relationship with your preferred blogger and that starts with opening the lines of communication.
1. The initial legwork
Once you have your best practice approach formulated , the real work towards building links can begin. This means first creating a shortlist of blogs you’d like a link from, brainstorming potential collaboration ideas in order to get your desired bloggers on board and then if needed, creating compelling new content.
You’ll also have to create an outreach letter which introduces your brand and once you have a shortlist of relevant blogs completed, you’ll need to fine tune your selections.
2. Fine tuning
Fine tuning can be a laborious process but, it’s an essential exercise if your eventual links are to be worth the time and effort. Often, this stage will depend on what you have to offer and how each blogger prefers to work.
In link building, we often target a specific domain authority (DA) for example, while in blogger outreach, the number of blog followers, comments and social shares is more important. For your blogger link building purposes, an amalgamation of the two approaches might be most useful. If that’s the case, start with DA and whittle out the ones which don’t meet your criteria. Then hone in on the other metrics, such as social media presence or traffic figures, which align with your other pre-requisites.
You’ll then need to conduct a final manual check of each blog to ensure that they are suitable potential partners – that means reading recent content, studying their blogger demographic and keeping tabs on their social media activity.
It can be useful to keep a spreadsheet or Google Docs report of your work, recording useful links, observations and those you have shortlisted / discarded.
3. Legal considerations
Think laterally here as the traditional rules of link building don’t always apply. That means being realistic – bloggers are publishers and business owners too and they won’t just offer up a link for nothing. Often, brands will turn to collaboration to get their chosen bloggers on board and will gift free products to be featured in posts or used as competition prizes. You have some legal advice to bear in mind though when you offer something in return for a link.
If you’ve decided to give a product to a blogger for review (subsequently including a link in their post) for example, the blogger should include this as a disclaimer in their eventual blog. Google issued updated advice on this earlier in the year so make sure your chosen blogger(s) is aware of this in order to avoid any penalties, which would deem your links useless, further down the line.
Finally, don’t underestimate the task of blogger outreach for link building. While it is a newer addition to the traditional methodology, bloggers are much in demand and wooed by businesses looking to cash in on their influence and reach every day. Don’t be disheartened if your first round of link building yields few results. With an ongoing, relationship-building mindset results can be achieved
Do you have any tried and tested tips for blogger outreach as a means of link building? Share your advice in the comments.