The art of outreach has always been broken down into two core values: quality content and building/maintaining blogger relationships. However, when you’re dealing with freelance writers, demanding clients and hard deadlines, it’s crucial to have a game plan before you send out your first pitch.
Any seasoned connector will tell you that understanding and targeting blogger categories are essential parts to the content creation process. This is especially important for campaigns that require placements on ultra-niche sites. You must mold and shape your content to fit the types of blogs you know you’ll be reaching out to. Here are some preliminary steps you should take before you set off on a new campaign.
Step 1: Strategy
Before you do anything, you must assess the situation. Take a look at the anchor text the client is promoting and figure out how you want to play it. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is my niche?
- What do I know about my target audience?
- What do I know about the category?
- Do I have a database of acquired sites for this category that I know will accept guest posts?
- How big of a web presence does this niche have?
- Is there room to stretch the vertical?
Answering these questions and will help you to get a better feel for how you want to structure your article titles. It will also allow you to offer the client new insights into exactly who they’re targeting.
For instance, if a client tells you they want to target “travel blogs” on behalf of a cruise line, it might be worth proposing a more fleshed out demographic. Veteran connectors know that “travel” is broad to say the least. A proactive strategy of presenting examples of good consumer travel sites and slightly out-of-category yet relevant sites (ex: mommy blog with a travel section) might help the client see where you’re coming from and make the campaign run smoother for both parties. Smoothing out target issues early on will make your outreach better and more efficient.
Step 2: Ideation
Ideation is another huge part of the outreach process. At CopyPress, our team of freelance bloggers and in-house editors is usually assigned the task of ideation and content creation. Over the past two months, we have been implementing a system where the outreach team has a hand in overseeing and managing how our titles are made. After all, if the writers are not on the same page as the ones placing the content, everything falls apart. Similar to how a connector should be in communication with the client when building a strategy, a writer should be brought into the loop for how the article titles should be made. This means understanding the niches and knowing exactly what the connector has in mind. If done correctly, a great title will yield both great content and fit the category like a glove.
Step 3: Using Insights to Guide You
This is something you pick up through experience. As you run through your campaign, be assertive as to what you learn about the bloggers you reach out to. Take note of any key trends or data you accumulate and use them to craft your next outreach strategy.
For example, I noticed that many travel blogs are managed by nomadic “backpacker” types who run guest posts as a means of making some extra cash to fund their adventures. This made organic outreach difficult when trying to place content with any type of affiliate anchor text embedded in the article body. On the contrary, consumer tech blogs are much more open to guest posts with anchor text, as they are often less personal and more advertorial in nature. It’s picking up on these little things about the niches that helped to make me a better connector. I learn something new every day!
Outreach is much more than “cold calling” sites with generic sharebait content pitches. You must properly plan, research and strategize in order to make the most out of your time and keep your clients happy.