When it comes to outreach, freelance writers must be flexible and learn to roll with the punches. Gone are the days where writers could haphazardly throw together content that fails to connect with readers on any sort of deep level. As we’ve said time and time again here at CopyPress, success comes to those who are in the business of building blogger relationships upon the foundation of quality content. There is a reason why, “content is king” is such a heavily overused slice of rhetoric in digital marketing – because it’s absolutely true!
Therein lies the problem with blogger outreach. When the priority is to build affiliate connections on behalf of a client, the quality of the content can often take second fiddle. Don’t make this mistake. You do not have to be a seasoned industry expert to write an interesting and informative guest article. With the right tools, and a bit of creativity, any writer worth his or her salt should be able to adapt to just about any category.
There are a few necessary steps every writer should take in order to get a leg up on an industry:
- Setup Google Alerts – This one is a no-brainer. Before working on any outreach campaign, it’s always a good idea to cover your bases and discover what’s happening in your niche. For instance, if you know you’ll be writing on behalf of a cellphone carrier, you might want to see which keywords are hot right now in that industry. Even general terms or phrases like “smartphone” or “app store” can give you fresh insights and inspire new blog topic ideas.
- Discover Sub-Categories – Being assigned a new blog category can seem like a daunting task. With thousands of demographic variables and target audiences, knowing how to find your voice out of your comfort zone is a huge challenge. Instead of looking at the industry in a broad sense, I’ve found it beneficial to break it down into sub-categories. For instance, I might take a category like travel and map out its niche audiences such as: vacation travel, adventure travel, family travel, cruise travel, destination-specific travel, etc. Doing this can give you a better idea of how to structure your ideas and open you up to new writing perspectives.
- Join in on the Conversation – When finding your voice, it’s important to be aware of whom you’re targeting. Brushing up on “insider baseball” and industry lingo can help you to get in the heads of your target audience. Read through blog post comments, search twitter – find out exactly what the reader base is thinking. Readers will gravitate toward content that speaks on their level and doesn’t trivialize them.
Once you’ve properly gotten your category in perspective, it’s time to really dig deep and research your category. This can often be time consuming and frustrating if you don’t know where to look. I’ve compiled a few of my go-to resources that will help you to master your category.
- Technorati – This is a comprehensive database that crawls virtually every relevant blog on the net. It breaks them down by category, so it’s easy to browse and find exactly what you’re looking for.
- Google Blog Search – This is one of the best ways to search for blogs on the Internet. You can even filter by country.
- Engadget – This is one of the best up-to-the-minute tech and gadget news resources you’ll find anywhere.
- Mashable/Techcrunch – These are excellent blogs for both tech and social media.
- BusinessCloudNews – This is a great source for white paper and cloud computing coverage.
- Gizmodo – This blog editorializes digital culture and reviews the latest gadgets and mobile applications.
- As We Travel – This is a great example of the many personalized travelogues you’ll encounter if you’re mining for travel. Most of the content deals with destination features and the globetrotter lifestyle.
- Gadling – This is what I like to call “The Wal-Mart of travel blogs”. It deals with everything from vacations, cruises, food, culture, tips and guides.
- WildJunket – This is a cultural travel blog with emphasis on photography and having a unique, personal voice. Reading the articles here can give you a good sense of how to appeal to the emotional aspects of travel writing.
- MomItForward – This is one of my favorite resources for parenting and lifestyle articles because it offers a little bit of everything.
- The Thoughtful American – As a part of Scientific American, this blog dives deep into psychological and social phenomena.
- Gawker – This is one of the best blogs for internet culture. If you’re looking to stand out and stay relevant in your articles, it might help to be up on the content covered here.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, but they should give you a good jumping point to get inside your category. It’s also helpful to check research hubs like Pew Research if you need to “fact check” or find a study to back up your points. In the end, being an “expert” blogger isn’t as hard as it may seem. If you take the time to study your category and learn your audience’s tastes, you can create engaging articles that will benefit the readers and satisfy your outreach goals.