The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience

The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience

Written by Neil Patel & Aaron Agius

Chapter Seven

Outreach

You’ve made it through over half the content in this guide. Hopefully the ideas are churning in your mind with how you can market your blog posts and really increase your traffic.

We discussed outreach in early chapters. Particularly in the first chapter we discussed how you could build communities that will allow you to market to them with your blog content. That chapter contained some important information about outreach.

We also discussed outreach in the second chapter when we talked about the type of blog posts that are naturally easy to market. These posts included things like interviews, top lists, co-authored posts and more. Each of these posts is specifically designed to make your outreach efforts easier.

Outreach is what you do when you reach out to people via email, social media or even in person to ask them to share, promote or simply look at your blog posts.

In this chapter, we’re going to cover five new ways you can use outreach to market your blog. These strategies go beyond what you’ve learned in the earlier chapters of this guide.

Let’s begin.

The Skyscraper Technique

Brian Dean coined the Skyscraper Technique. It’s a technique we’ve mentioned to a point in previous chapters in this guide, but we’ll go into more detail here about how you can use the technique to create the type of content that will make your outreach work easier.

Brian Dean used the technique to build links. Those links are great for building traffic to your blog content and will help your blog’s overall organic search rankings, which is why this along with having these influencers sharing your content is a great strategy.

But beyond that, The Skyscraper Technique can also be used to increase social shares and direct referrals to your blog.

Step 1 Create A List Of Popular Blog Posts

Open up the spreadsheet we’ve been referring to throughout the guide.

In the second chapter we discussed how to build your community using blogs and forums. In this section you examined the popular blog and forum posts based on the blogs and forums you found.

Take that list and create a new tab on your spreadsheet and name it Popular Content.

Now, refer to the list of Influencers on the Influencers tab. Visit the websites and blogs of those influencers and look for the content that has a high number of social shares and comments. These metrics won’t tell you everything, but it’s a good gauge for telling you how popular the posts are.

On your spreadsheet, create the following columns starting in B1:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Blog
  • Comments
  • Tweets
  • Facebook
  • Google+

In your research on the influencer blogs in your industry start entering the top posts into the spreadsheet. Fill out all the information for the columns whenever it’s available.

Once you’ve collected about 50 or even 100 posts you’ll be able to sort the posts by the variables on the right. You can see the posts that have the most comments, tweets, likes and +1s.

This will be your guide for creating the type of content that will make your outreach easier.

Step 2 Create A List Of Influencer Shared Content

Next, create another new tab and call it “Influencer Shared”.

Go back to your Influencer tab and look at the social profiles of the influencers on the list. Visit these profiles and look at the content those influencers share that isn’t their own.

You’re looking for the type of blog posts that the biggest influencers in your niche share. These posts will often align with the popular posts from the previous step, but not always.

Sometimes the popular content isn’t what the biggest influencers want to share. If you want to attract traffic to your blog you can do it by creating either the type of content that a lot of people want to share or by creating the type of content that top influencers want to share.

Create the following columns starting in B1:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Blog
  • Influencer
  • Share URL

Fill out the list with the content you find on the profiles of the top influencers. You can sort this by influencer if you want when you’re done.

Now you know the type of content that the biggest influencers in your industry like to share.

To add more interest to this tab you can add the social sharing information and sort it by that information as well.

Step 3 Create Content On The Same Topic, But Exponentially Better

You can’t simply create something that is better than popular content or that is better than the content that influencers share. The people that shared the content originally were impressed with that content. Going just a little bit beyond the original won’t be impressive to those that you’ll reach out to.

No, you have to create something that will once again impress.

Making the content longer is one way to accomplish this. If the first piece of content was a news article or opinion piece on a news item in your industry it was probably 500 to 1,000 words. Your move could be to provide analysis on different aspects of the news item. You could go into depth on key areas overlooked in the original article. Make your article 2,000 to 3,000 words long complete with photos and custom illustrations.

If the original post was a list with about 10 to 20 items on it then you’ll have to create a list that has about 100 to 200 items on it. Bigger lists are often more likely to be shared anyway. They’re impressive. Not everyone creates those types of huge lists so they’re impressed.

Another way to create something better is to create an advanced version of the original post. This was the strategy used on Quick Sprout for creating The Advanced Guide Series of posts.

There were a lot of popular beginners guides, but I was hearing from people that they wanted more than just the beginner information. So I went ahead and created the advanced guides. They’re over 30,000 words on average and are huge and impressive.

You can make things more up-to-date. You can add better design. You can change the type of content by making it an infographic or even a video series that you publish on your blog.

Whatever you do make sure you’re making the content quite a bit better than the original. You need to impress the people that you want to share the content and to do that you have to go well beyond what impressed them about the original.

Step 4 Reach Out To The Influencers

We shared a template for reaching out to influencers in previous chapters. You’ll use the template once again once you’ve created your Skyscraper content.

Go back to your influencer list and find the influencers that will care about the piece of content you’ve created.

Personalize and send the following email to them:

Hi [Name],

My name is [Your Name].

I follow you on [Social Media Site] and noticed that you shared one of my favorite articles [Article Title].

That is such a great post. And it’s a great blog.

I was hearing from my readers that they wanted something more in-depth about the topic so I went ahead and created this post: [URL]

If you have time I’d love for you to check it out.

Thanks!
[Your Name]

Send that email out to the influencers or see if you can contact them using their social profiles or their website contact information.

If you’ve done your job, your post will impress them again and they’ll share it with their followers.

Linking To Sources & Contacting Them

The next method for outreach is to include source links your posts and reaching out to those sources to let them know.

Linking to sources is something you should do anyway as part of blogging best practices. Readers appreciate when you link to sources and it adds credibility to your blog. Readers are smart enough to know that not everything you write about came from your imagination.

Link to your sources to earn trust of readers, but also do it because it can help you with your outreach.

Here is how to do it.

Step 1 Link To Sources As Normal

The type of blog posts that need source links are more in line with commentary pieces of current news or posts you write about specific topics. They might also be posts that show readers how to do a particular task.

Include source links in these posts as you normally would. But as you include these links try to focus on linking to influencers in your industry especially those that have blogs. Also look for bloggers in complementary industries that share your target audience.

Step 2 Email Sources To Let Them Know About The Link

After you create these articles, reach out to those that you link to via email, social media or through website contact forms.

Use the follow message template:

Hi [Name],

My name is [Your Name].

I just wanted to let you know that I created a new post ([URL]) and linked to your post ([URL]) as a source for the information.

Thanks for providing such a great resource. I’ve tried to build on the topic.

If you have time I’d love for you to check it out.

Thanks!
[Your Name]

Step 3 Analyze The Responses
& Shares You Get & Focus On Those That Engage

As you do this you’ll start getting responses to your emails as well as shares from the people that you email. They’ll want to promote your post because it has a link to their post. It’s mutually beneficial and in the future they might even link to and share other posts on your blog.

Analyze those that are most engaged and add them to the list of bloggers that share blog posts, which we talk about in the next section.

Building A List Of Bloggers
That Share Blog Posts

Knowing the bloggers that share content besides their own is incredibly useful as you look to market your blog posts.

We just mentioned that you could start this list as you analyze the response you get from the outreach you do by linking to bloggers and influencers in your industry.

Now it’s time to supercharge this effort and we’ll start with the spreadsheet again.

Step 1 Create A New Tab On The Spreadsheet

Call the “Sharers”.

Step 2 Add Titles To The Columns

Use the following columns starting in column B1:

  • Name
  • Website
  • Blog
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Step 3 Continue To Add To The List

When a person links to or shares one of your blog posts add them to this list.

As you build this list you can come back to it when you want to reach out with new content.

Identifying Influencers
& Content That Gets Shared With Topsy

Once you create a blog post you can use Topsy to perform outreach research.

Topsy is a database of the top content and influencers on the Web. You can use this service to find content similar to the post you’ve just created and you can see who has shared it giving you access to people that will likely want to share your post too.

Step 1 Search For Your Post Topic Using The “Everything” Filter

Topsy has a few filters. You can use the “Everything” filter to find content, tweets and similar updates with content similar to your post and you’ll see the influencers that have shared the similar content.

Step 2 Identify The Links To Blogs That Have Published Similar Content

Reach out to these blogs with an email or message saying:

Hey, I noticed that you wrote a blog post on this topic. I thought you might be interested in a post I’ve written on the same topic.

Step 3 Find People That Have Tweeted Information Similar To Yours

You’ll see influencers that tweet information like your post. Reach out with a similar message letting them know that you’ve published a relevant and useful blog post.

Step 4 Email The Influencers On The Topic

Finally, use the “Influencers” filter to see who the most important people are for your topic. Email them or reach out to them on social media or through their website contact form letting them know that you’ve published a new blog post that they might find useful.

Submit Your Blog Posts

To Blog Communities & Services
For Exposure, Backlinks & Social Media Sharing

There are a number of established blog communities where you can submit your blog post. The following are communities where you can gain exposure, backlinks and social media shares.

Step 1 Blog Engage

Blog Engage is a place where bloggers can submit their new blog posts. Each new submission is included on a feed where members of the Blog Engage community can read and vote. The posts that are found to be the most useful and appealing to the community are published on the Blog Engage homepage for more members of the community to see.

The exposure you can gain on Blog Engage extends beyond the site. Once you have a post doing well on Blog Engage you’re likely to have community members sharing your posts on social media, linking to your post from their blogs and doing even more with your post.

This type of outreach gives you access to a powerful community of other bloggers looking for content like your new blog post.

Step 2 BizSugar

BizSugar is a blog community for the small business owners, managers and others will find useful and interesting. Users can submit relevant content to BizSugar and the community votes on the content they find the most useful.

Like Blog Engage and other blog communities, the top content not only receivers traffic, but often receives shares, links and other exposure.

Step 3 Triberr

Triberr is a community where all bloggers and influencers can submit and share content including blog posts. Users can see the currently hot content, new content and content that is rising according to the voting system.

Users can also find content by category. The system is similar to other blog communities as well as communities like Reddit, Hacker News and Inbound.org.

With Triberr, you’re looking to find groups relevant to your niche. Identify at least 5 groups and submit your blog post to these groups.

Submit Your Post To Review Sites

There are a number of sites that allow you to submit your blog for review. Getting reviews on these sites can send traffic to your new blog post.

Here are some of the best sites for blog reviews.

Step 1 ReviewMe

With ReviewMe, you hire bloggers to review your blog or blog post. In your case, you’re looking to have targeted bloggers review your latest blog post. You have the ability to pick specific bloggers that have blogs relevant to yours. When they put up the review it sends traffic to your post and goodwill to your overall blog.

Step 2 PayPerPost

PayPerPost has been around for a few years. Over that times the service has evolved, but for advertisers the opportunity to drive traffic to a blog post remains. Submit your request for a blogger to write about your new blog post. They’ll publish their post reviewing yours and it will send traffic to yours.

Step 3 TribePro

Instead of working alone to share and syndicate your blog post around the web, TribePro gives you the support of many people that will share, write about and syndicate your post as well. Join TribePro for free and be able to submit your content.

Pay for the Pro level and you get to auto-submit your future posts and you’ll get more access to the power of the tribe.

Here are three additional resources for blog review sites:

Find Blogging Roundups

Bloggers often host blogging roundups on their blogs. It’s a good way to publish new content without having to create entirely original content. Most bloggers do this every Friday or on a specific day of the week.

Step 1 Search For “Blog Roundup” Plus Your Niche

Find roundups that have been published in the past.

Step 2 Reach Out To The Bloggers

When you find bloggers that publish roundups in your niche, reach out to them via their blog or on their social media accounts. Share your new post with them and ask them to include it if they find it useful.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is still a great way to build traffic to your site. You can promote your entire blog and personal brand by guest blogging, but you can also promote your individual posts by guest blogging.

Here’s how…

Step 1 Search For Sites That Accept Guest Posts

Use these queries:

  • "Keyword" + “guest post”
  • "Keyword"+ “write for us”
  • "Keyword" + “This post was written by”
  • intitle: guest post guidelines
  • intitle: guest blog guidelines

Step 2 Analyze The Potential For Traffic

There are two things to use to gauge the potentially effectiveness of a guest blog post.

The first is blog comments on the blog. If the blog gets a lot of comments there is a good chance that the readers are highly engaged and that they’ll visit other sites and posts when reading. This means that they’ll see that you’re a guest author and will likely visit the post you’re promoting.

The second is to use the site SimilarWeb.com. This site gives you information to the blogs you find and identify in Step 1. Look at the blog’s direct traffic. This is an indication that they get many of the same people coming back to read blogs, which is a sign of engagement. If the direct traffic ratio is high then you can bet that readers are engaged and likely to visit the post you’re promoting.

Step 3 Connect With The Blog Owner And Leave Comments

Before you reach out to the blogger it’s good to pay it forward with some actions they’ll appreciate.

Here is what you to…

Share the recent posts from the blog on all your social media profiles. Mention the blog owner when you share so they can see that you’ve shared the posts.

Next, leave comments on the recent posts. We’re talking about really good comments that really add to the discussion and get others involved in the discussion.

Add the blog owner to your social media circles and connect with them if possible on LinkedIn and on Facebook.

These are all things bloggers appreciate it and it will get you on the radar before you reach out with your guest post request.

Step 4 Reach Out With Three Blog Titles

Use the contact form on the blog where they allow for guest blog post submissions. Mention that you’ve been reading their recent posts and have found them very useful. This will likely spur the memory that you’ve been sharing their posts.

Give three blog titles for potential posts. Really go all out with the post titles to make it seem like you’re going to create amazing blog content that goes beyond what they’re creating now.

Follow their guidelines for reaching out and writing the guest post.

To go beyond the usual requirements, link to 3 to 5 of their posts. Bloggers really appreciate when you promote their past content with your guest post.

But also include a call to action at the end of your guest post promoting the blog post on your blog. Most blog owners allow you one link in a byline. This is twhere you can put the link back to the post you’re promoting.

For additional information on getting your guest blog posts published see these resources:

Putting It All Together

Outreach is incredibly important to your blog marketing efforts. Building a list of influencers and people that share content is essential to outreach.

Once you know the type of content that people share, you can create the same type of content, but content that is exponentially better. This will impress those people and they’ll likely share it.

Use the strategies in this chapter to help with your outreach. They’re the best ones that we’ve used to build our own blogs.

Now it’s times to discuss content syndication networks.