Outreach: How to Handle the Tough Questions

When outreaching to blogs for guest post inquiries, certain questions from bloggers can arise. Although the most common questions relate to the content you’re interested in providing the blogger, there are a few “tough” questions that also may be asked. With these types of questions, it’s important to know what to say and —more importantly—what not to say in order to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Here are just a few examples of these tough questions and how best to handle them.

What Do You Get In Return?

1.16.11One type of question I get during guest post outreach is the blogger asking “what do you get in return for providing quality content?” This question can be difficult to answer because nobody wants to feel used, and an ulterior motive creates that feeling. For example, in the situation below the blog owner is open to letting me contribute content, but he is hesitant of my motives and what I’ll ask for in return.

1.16What not to say:

Don’t say you’re using the blogger for free advertisement in the form of links or link juice to help your client’s website. You will scare the blogger off in fear that you’re a link spammer who is not interested in providing quality content.

What to say:

Instead, focus on the content that the blogger wants and answer that you’re interested in building your online writing portfolio and expanding your online audience. You outreached to the blogger as a way to connect with someone who shares similar interests, and you’re interested in providing relevant content for his/her site.

Although at CopyPress guest posting is part of our inbound marketing strategy, our goal first and foremost when contacting sites is to build mutually beneficial relationships. We do that through providing quality content that will create natural traffic and social buzz for bloggers.

Will You Include Links Within Your Post?

Another question that bloggers have asked me is if my content will contain links. Or, I have come across the situation where bloggers openly say they ban links within posts. In the example below, I asked the blogger if I could include resource links within my writing, despite his guidelines that requested payment for any in-text link. His response was to define what links he charges and what links he doesn’t charge.

1.16.2What not to say:

Don’t say that your sole purpose in writing is to market an affiliate link. The response will clearly be one of requesting payment for your post. Also, the relationship with the blogger will suffer if your one focus is to serve yourself, instead of genuinely benefitting his site as well.

What to say:

Instead, alleviate the blogger’s fear of bad content and explain that your post is not primarily promotional in nature. While your post may have a client link within it, the link (for quality inbound marketing) is meant to be a relevant resource that pertains wholly to the article’s subject.

Is This A Sponsored Post?

Bloggers sometimes ask about sponsored posts, as seen with this example, usually to see if it’s written or provided by a company rather than an individual. In this example, the blogger is interested in letting me guest post, but he’s uncertain of the type and quality of the post.

1.16.3What not to say:

Don’t say that it indeed is a sponsored post. Even in inbound marketing campaigns, natural link building is optimal without the mention of a particular client.

What to say:

Instead, answer that your content is not provided by a client but rather yourself. Then focus on the blogger’s needs by explaining that you contacted the site as a way to reach out to the blogger’s particular audience, one in which you can share similar interests.

Who Do You Work For?

1.16.4Image courtesy of socialmediaweek.org

This question is difficult because in some cases an inbound marketing campaign doesn’t allow the disclosure of clients when outreaching. However, the blogger is asking directly your professional background, so answering can be tricky.

What not to say:

If your client doesn’t want to be revealed, then don’t tell the blogger who you’re specifically working on behalf of. However, you don’t want to mislead or lie to the blogger, because that will surely burn the relationship.

What to say:

Instead, answer honestly that you’re working on behalf of a client; however, the client is relevant to the blog and to the material that you have provided. Then alleviate the blogger’s fear —which most likely sparked this question— and say that the content you’re providing is not promotional in nature and is genuinely meant to connect with his or her specific audience.

Outreaching to various sites in an effort to build mutually beneficial relationships can be tricky when asked these tough questions. But when you focus on the blogger’s needs rather than strictly on your own, you can avoid common pitfall answers that will ultimately burn any potential for a strong relationship with the blogger.