How to Create Content and Stay Sane Part 5: Marketing Your Work (Outreach)

Creating content that makes readers salivate is hard work, and you're probably patting yourself on the back for following the previous steps in the series, and using your social channels to promote the crap out of your work. While you deserve a celebratory happy hour, we're not done, son.

There's still more to do to get the word out about the amazing content you just created.

blogger outreach tips

Don't freak and mess up your fresh blow-out. I mean, don't you WANT your work to be seen? To be a wildfire that people can't turn away from? You spent months, weeks, and days planning it!

As long as this content is as awesome as I think it is, you need to tell people where to find it. So let's talk blogger outreach after the break.

Marketing your content to bloggers is a delicate balance between self-promotion and ass-kissing, but it's somewhat easy to do if your content contains these elements:
  • Relevancy — This should be a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many times people pitch content to sites that have little or nothing to do with the subject matter. Make sure you're pitching blogs that cover your industry!
  • Quality — Your content needs to be kick-ass! Top-notch! First-rate! But above all, helpful and informative. You cannot pitch an article about a day in the life of you to a serious industry blog or website. Unless of course you're someone like Marissa Mayer, Kate Middleton, or Misty May-Treanor; Then people actually WANT to know what you ate for breakfast.
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  • Originality — There are BILLIONS of articles written about the iPhone, but if you've got something unique to say about it, people want to hear it. Don't just give me another story about [insert your topic here], make it juicy. Make it original. Tell me something I may not have known about it before. Give me facts I wouldn't have known. Make your content a free sample at Costco — even if they ain't hungry, folks will stand in line to eat it up.

So your content — whether it be a blog post, video, photo gallery, infographic, et cetera — fits in these buckets. Now you're like, "But wait a minute, I don't get a lot of website traffic. These bloggers aren't going to link to me."

While this may be true for some (most popular bloggers don't want to take a risk on a site that isn't established), you will absolutely need to work your way up to the big guys. Here's what you do:
  1. Create a dream list of the sites you want to be on. This can include the biggest destinations, the blogs or websites that get the most traffic, whatever.
  2. Add some smaller industry and niche blogs to that list.
  3. Do some research and find out how they compare to each other. This can be done using websites like Alexa, Google AdPlanner, Compete and TrafficEstimate. Like all good businesswomen, you should start pitching from the bottom up. Put in your time, girl, it will pay off.
  4. Visit these sites. Get to know them. Maybe you already do, which is even better. Now drill down and find the author that fits your company and your voice best. Maybe this person shares a similar sense of humor, or covers a beat that uniquely fits your product or services. Maybe they've written a recent story that is similar to yours, but you offer a fresh perspective or offer new information. Take a few minutes to read their work then bookmark a couple of standout articles they've written. You'll need them in a bit.
  5. Check out what they're sharing and saying on social networks. If there's an opportunity for you to engage with your target bloggers there, do it. I don't see this happening enough and it's a big, fat, wasted opportunity. Retweet their content. Offer your opinions. Ask their opinion on your article by mentioning them in your Tweet. Don't be sales-y, but conversational. You could (and should!) spend a few weeks doing this first in order to get on their radar before your first big pitch.
  6. Draft the email to your chosen blogger. Don't waste time babbling, but you'll need to show that you actually have read their work and give them a reason to keep reading. Start by telling them who you are, and why you're writing. Reference their article and say how your recent blog post would give their readers a new perspective or information on the subject. If you're already a big fan of the site, say so. Ask for a link in their current article, or give permission to repost yours on their site with proper accreditation. If they don't want to post it on the main page, maybe there's an opportunity for their readers to discuss it on Facebook or Twitter. (You'd be surprised at what a simple RT or Facebook share can do.) Give them every opportunity to say yes. Be friendly. Be a fan. Be accommodating. Most importantly, be genuine. You want to build relationships with these people. Then get the heck out of there. Make your email no more than one or two paragraphs, and don't forget to include your website link, Twitter handle, Facebook address, and any other online destination you may want them to check out.
  7. Do this again for a few other smaller websites from your list.
  8. Have a cocktail.

Eventually you will be able to pitch the big guys with confidence once you've gotten some solid links and coverage from the smaller sites, though you should never discount the little guys — they could turn out to be your traffic BFFs if you establish a great rapport.

Have some questions or opinions about blogger outreach? Let's chat it out in the comments.

Source: Flickr userBiblioArchives / LibraryArchives