How to Improve Your Backlink Profile Doing Blogger Outreach

Most blogger outreach campaigns fail because people go about it the wrong way. In this article, you’ll learn why your strategies don’t work and how to fix them.

OK, I got it. Your blogger outreach strategy is not working, and your backlink profile has been stagnant for a while now. Yet, you did everything the gurus recommended—you made a list of bloggers and reached out to them, but no response.

The problem is not that the bloggers are not responding to you. The problem is that you are approaching blogger outreach in the wrong way.

In this article, you’ll learn why most blogger outreach campaigns fail, discover unique strategies and best practices for earning more with blogger outreach.

Contents

What is Blogger Outreach?

Blogger outreach refers to the process of reaching out to high-authority people or websites in your industry to achieve such goals as contributing to their blogs, promoting new content, getting new backlinks, etc., and building a strong and lasting relationship with them.

Blogger outreach, done right, is a win-win play for both parties, especially for the less-known or less authoritative party. You get to build valuable partnerships or relationships with influential folks in your field, which you can use to drive business growth in several ways. For example, you can increase your brand awareness and gain greater visibility through guest posting and link building.

Top 3 Reasons Most Blogger Outreach Campaigns Fail

Before we get to any strategy, let’s discuss why most blogger outreach campaigns fail.

Lack of personalization

There are two main approaches to blogger outreach. The first approach is the sniper approach, and the second is the shotgun approach.

The sniper approach requires the outreach specialist to build a list of hand-picked prospects and reach out to them with super-personalized emails that make each prospect feel like the blogger outreach specialist knows them.

Proponents of this approach believe the key to blogger outreach success lies in the value you provide to your prospects and the first impressions they get of you. So they take the time to conduct thorough research on their prospects to offer some kind of value off the bat.

The shotgun approach, au contraire, is less demanding and sacrifices quality for scalability. Here, the blogger outreach specialist sends tons of non-targeted, non-personalized, and templatized emails to a long list of prospects and expects positive results. Proponents of this approach believe the success of blogger outreach is in scalability.

Now, think about it, if you were to send 100 emails to convert one prospect or send 10 emails to still convert one, which would you do?

The truth is, when it comes to blogger outreach, personalization is the key to success. It makes your emails relevant, tells the target that you’ve taken the time to learn about them, and, most importantly, that you care about their business and that’s why they succeed. It also means you’re more likely to bag high-end placements which really move the needle for your SEO.

Not personalizing a blogger outreach campaign email is like missing out on common courtesy. Even if the targets read your emails, you will come across a spammer, and that’s why they’ll either send your communication to the spam folder or simply ignore you—as most do.

Here is an example of a blogger outreach with little to zero personalization effort.

Example email showing a bad outreach attempt

Targeting the wrong person/audience

The people you target determine whether your blogger outreach will succeed or not. In this regard, here are three truths outreach specialists learn the hard way.

  • If the target company has no interest in doing business with you, your campaign will flop.

  • If your content topic, format, or messaging is not aligned with that of the target website, your campaign will flop.

  • If your content or offer is not relevant to their audience, your campaign will flop.

So, the first question you should ask yourself is what you and your targets have in common. In other words, you need to look for companies aligned with yours. For example, if you are a sock company, you can approach a shoe company or vice versa.

Being pushy or sounding desperate

The final reason why most blogger outreach campaigns fail has to do with your approach. You need to think of blogger outreach as a professional partnership between you and your targets. No one wants to work with someone who appears pushy.

Here’s a pushy, threatening email to help you get an idea.

A threatening email trying to solicit links

Source: @dan_shure

A more extreme example, this time threatening to create “toxic blog comment spam”:

Another threatening email trying to solicit links

The truth is, your blogger outreach strategy, no matter how powerful, will not work if people feel rushed or rattled after reading your emails. You need to come across as casual and friendly. People will be more likely to engage with you if they relate to you.

Four Blogger Outreach Best Practices

Here are four blogger outreach best practices you can use to get the best results possible.

1. Choose bloggers carefully

Ensure you only reach out to relevant bloggers in your industry. Link building for startups is very different to link building for law firms, for example. And make sure your company is well-aligned with that of the targets and that your blogger outreach can somewhat result in some wins for them too.

Also, while you may extract hundreds or thousands of prospects from your searches, you will need to only focus on those that can only push your website or business forward. There is no point in getting links from low domain authority or domain rating websites. Instead, you should only focus on companies with higher metrics than yours to truly impact your efforts.

2. Keep it simple with a clear message

Your outreach email message does not have to be too long to be effective. Chances are, you’re not the only person reaching out to your targets. So, you should keep your message short and only focus on what’s important.

Part of keeping your messages clear is also to include any links with full URLs. Not only will this make it easier to copy if targets were to act on your offer, but it will also help mitigate security concerns, as people are increasingly reluctant to click on unknown links.

3. Make sure you have magnetic bait

You’ve probably prepared a great offer. You’ve ensured your content is the best it can be. Good. But this doesn’t totally guarantee success.

So, you should also seek ways to make an offer they can’t refuse. That is, you should find ways to handle their objections right away. For example, if a top blogger or website has already linked to your content, you can point to this in your email to make your content more appealing to your target recipients.

4. Build long-lasting relationships

Here’s the truth about blogger outreach: when you write your emails, if you come across as just looking for a one-time opportunity to serve you, you’re doomed to fail. While everyone wants good content on their site, your targets aren’t working for you.

So you need to aim for win-win relationships. This will also serve in the long term as it may give birth to more link-building opportunities as guest blogging and more.

Two Surefire Blogger Outreach Strategies You Can Use to Boost Brand Visibility

1. The Skyscraper strategy

The skyscraper strategy is a link-building strategy created by Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko. This technique involves spotting high-performing content, creating something better, and then asking people who linked to the original content to link to you instead.

According to Dean, it had an 11% success rate for his link-building strategy and even doubled his organic traffic in two weeks.

Here is what he has to say about the technique.

Have you ever walked by a really tall building and said to yourself: “Wow, that’s amazing! I wonder how big the 8th tallest building in the world is.” Of course not. It’s human nature to be attracted to the best. And what you’re doing here is finding the tallest “skyscraper” in your space…and slapping 20 stories to the top of it. —Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko.

Here is what this means:

  • You spot the top-performing article in your industry (for a particular topic)

  • Create a piece that outperforms it in terms of quality and data.

  • Find the people and websites linking to the original article and,

  • Ask them to link to your fresher and better content.

Here is how to do this.

The first step here is to find a piece of content that ranks on the first page and has a significant number of backlinks. A simple Google search cannot bring you this result. So, you will need to use an SEO tool like Ahrefs to pull this off.

Now, let’s assume the keyword you want to rank for is “gardening tips.” All you have to do is key in the keyword in Ahrefs and scroll down to the SERP overview.

This will show you articles ranking for that keyword, their specific data such as backlinks, the number of visits, the referring domains, etc.

List of search results for example keyword "gardening tips"

So, here the article to beat is “10 Top Gardening Tips for Beginners.”

Create a new and better article

You’ve put your nails on the content you need to beat. Now, it’s time to implement outperformance tactics to create your article and make it—hands down—a better choice compared to the original article.

Here are four things you need to consider to create a better article, as suggested by Brian Dean.

Length and Depth

Take a complete scan of the article that you are trying to beat, the length, and the quality of the content. If the article gives tips, like the example above, you need to provide more tips. And while you’re at it, you need to make sure your tips are golden nuggets. A good strategy is to give unique tips with very good examples. Make sure your tips include as much detail as possible so that they are actionable.

Freshness and Design

Make sure you give your article a better look and feel through design. You will need more than words to create a better article. So, when writing your article, make sure to use more up-to-date images, screenshots, data, information, etc. And when citing sources, try to be as creative as possible.

Here’s what Dom Kent from Mio has to say.

[…] That said, with some round-up posts like this, it does become a chore to read.

Dave said. Michaela opined. Reese quoted. Roksana thinks.

Rather than a lesson in synonyms for “said,” I’d love to see someone be more creative when presenting round-up posts.”

This will position your article as fresher, more current, and more relevant than the original article.

Find contact points with websites

You’ve already done most of the work by finding the article you want to beat and creating better content.

Your goal now is to find websites that have given a backlink to the original article and contact details of the people who run these blogs.

As such, you need to analyze the backlink data of the original article by using a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Here is what the dashboard looks like.

Screenshot of Ahrefs backlink analysis tool

Now you will need to filter the links and focus only on the links that matter. To do this, you need to make sure that the links are:

  • “Dofollow” (Follow in some tools): Dofollow links allow search engines to point back to your website or blog, reinforcing your authority by showing search engines what other sites are linking to you.

  • From blog posts: You need to eliminate links from magazines or Amazon product pages.

  • In your target language: This is important because getting links from a different language than that of your article will only bring in people who don’t understand your language, and your bounce rate will skyrocket.

  • Active: Active links indicate the article is still up.

Then you will start seeing actual blog posts linking to that article.

Screenshot of Ahrefs showing how to filter for blog post backlinks

This filtering narrows the list down to 71 domains. In other words, 71 “highly qualified” prospects to target with your new content.

You can export this list into an Excel file to keep track of prospects and information you need for your outreach campaign.

Here is what the file may look like as you clean it up.

Example spreadsheet of outreach prospects

The next step is to find email contacts for your outreach campaign. You will need to check each company’s website or social media page to find the right person (Head of Content, Content Manager, Content Marketing Officer, etc., let’s keep it at the content guy) to reach out to.

You need an email verification tool like Hunter Domain Search to help you find the email addresses. Here is how this works:

You enter the company’s domain in the tool.

Screenshot of hunter.io domain search

If it does not display the name you’re looking for, you can type it directly and find the address.

Screenshot of hunter.io domain search in detail

Here is the result.

Screenshot of hunter.io domain search showing results

Then you can use their verification tool to make sure your emails will not bounce.

Screenshot of hunter.io menu showing 'Email Verifier' tool

You just need to type in the email address and hit the enter button.

Screenshot showing results of hunter.io email verification

Here is what your list will look like as you’re done with this.

Examples outreach spreadsheet with contact details filled in

Launch your outreach campaign

Now that you have it all figured out, it’s time you reach out to your targets and shoot your request. Note that before this, you will need to conduct solid research on your targets to nail the personalization side of your outreach.

Here are the core elements your outreach email should include.

  • Why you’re reaching out;

  • The link to the original article they’d linked to;

  • What makes your content better;

  • Why should the prospect care;

  • The link to your content;

  • A clear and plain CTA.

Here’s a great outreach email template to get you started with the skyscraper strategy.

Source

The broken link strategy is a technique that consists of spotting dead links, recreating the content, and then inviting websites linking to that content to link to your fresh content.

This is a good strategy because it is a win-win for you and your target. You get a new backlink, and their blog is not penalized by Google. Dead links truly hurt a site’s performance and hinder user experience.

So, the strategy here is to analyze websites that cover the same topics as you, spot dead links with lots of backlinks, and then ask people linking to the dead link to substitute it with yours.

Here are two techniques to help you pick up broken links for your strategy.

Technique 1: Analyze heavy competitors for link-worthy “404 not found” blog post pages

Let’s assume you’re a SaaS company with a CRM tool—so one of your top competitors would be HubSpot.

Here is how you can pick up on their dead links and invite linking sites to replace them with yours.

First, you will need an SEO tool to help you audit their blog (because you’re looking for content with dead links). Here again, we suggest using Ahrefs’ site explorer. In our case, it’ll help us explore Hubspot’s blog’s links and sort them only to see pages with the “404 not found” issue.

Here is what it looks like.

Screenshot of Ahrefs "best pages by incoming links" view

All those links in the screenshot are dead, yet they attract hundreds of backlinks. Here, the page with the most considerable potential is #.

Here is the live version of the page.

An example 404 page indicating a broken link

Although this “404 page” is nicely written, visitors who click on this link will feel frustrated that they can’t read what they were looking for—and that’s your chance.

Your next step is to find the sites linking to this broken page.

You just need to click on the backlink count, and it will show you the pages linking to that Hubspot page. Here again, you want to make sure you get only relevant results. So, you will need to filter the results: one link per domain, dofollow, blogs, and your target language.

Screenshot showing Ahrefs backlink search

After this, you will see the number of targets (aka link-building opportunities) you need to reach out to as part of your blogger outreach—164 in this instance.

We have successfully bagged DA90+ links using this technique on university domains to find broken scholarship backlinks.

This technique involves searching for websites in your niche that have been deleted or expired over time and reaching out to websites linking to those for backlink swaps.

How?

First, you should use a tool like ExpiredDomains.net to find deleted or expired websites. All you need is to type in your keyword, and it will display the results.

The most important metrics are the site’s link and the number of backlinks. Also, the research brings millions of results, so you’ll have to filter and focus only on the dot com sites.

Let’s try the keyword “retail.”

Screenshot of an example search for expired domains

So the site bestretailandfoodpractices.com apparently has the most backlinks. Here is the live version of the site.

An example of an expired domain with a GoDaddy notice

Next, you will need to assess the backlinks data of the site. Here again, you will need to focus on your target language, blog post article, and dofollow links, which calls for an SEO tool. Let’s see it in Ahrefs’ site explorer.

Screenshot of Ahrefs showing backlinks to an expired domain

For a successful blogger outreach campaign, you need to put all the odds on your side by spending time researching your prospects. You will uncover some information you can use as icebreakers and tailor your emails to each of them.

Here are a few elements your email should contain:

  • The article with the broken link;

  • The section with the broken link;

  • Your new replicated link;

  • Why they should care;

  • Etc.

Here is a template to give you an idea.

Get Help With Your Blogger Outreach

Let’s face it. Blogger outreach is no easy task. It takes time and a fully dedicated team and budget to achieve substantial results. Think of the constant research, writing articles, link-building strategies, and following up on opportunities. That’s why you need experts to handle it—while you focus on the most critical aspects of your business.

At PrestigeLinks we take care of your blogger outreach from strategy to execution—giving your brand reputation and domain authority a boost. We help our clients get massive ROI on their blogger outreach by placing their links on major publications such as Forbes, Inc. magazine, and many others.

Is that something you’re interested in? Get in touch.

Ernest Bogore
Ernest Bogore

Ernest is an independent SaaS content marketing specialist. He works with brands such as AppSumo, Hunter.io, fabric.inc, ButterCMS, Vidico, and many others to increase their leads and revenue by leveraging the power of content.