Writing an article for your blog isn’t easy. Mapping out the content and making the perfect word choices takes a lot of work. But it’s worth it in the end, right? After all, there’s nothing sweeter than hitting the PUBLISH button on new content.
Unfortunately for many writers, well-crafted content is met with deafening silence. They might get a couple of shares on social media. But if your blog isn’t recognized as an authority in its space, you’ll get little or no search traffic.
Ahrefs estimates that as many as 91% of websites get no search traffic in a given month. That’s a lot of unappreciated content!
But don’t worry. You can still get your best content in front of your target audience using outreach.
What Is Outreach?
Outreach refers to the process of contacting industry professionals with whom you have no prior relationship. They might be decision-makers at companies you want to work with. Or social media influencers in your space. Or anyone else for that matter.
Maybe the idea of contacting strangers isn’t appealing. And you might be thinking, “why would I want to do that!?”
Outreach is best known as a b2b lead generation tactic. But it’s also a wonderful way to achieve your content goals, build relationships and grow your business online. When it’s done well, outreach emails are welcome and have response rates over 30%. The trick to doing it right is to ask yourself whether your message is focused on offering something, or requesting something. If you’re focused on providing value then people will be happy to hear from you.
Let’s look at some ways you can build your business and help others at the same time with outreach.
Outreach Generates Interest
In a perfect world, your articles would immediately attract the attention of top industry professionals. And they’d all be so impressed they felt compelled to promote your work every way possible. Sadly, that seldom happens. Since the majority of blog articles get limited traffic, most don’t get much in the way of comments, shares or interaction.
So why not contact industry influencers directly and ask if they’d be interested to see the content you’ve worked hard to create?
Maybe that sounds a bit crazy, but it’s not. Think of it this way:
You know your article is great. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t have created it, right?
Your article was created with a specific audience in mind. But these days Google decides who gets to see what content. Your audience may decide they don’t want to read it. But they should have the opportunity to decide for themselves.
You created your article with business outcomes in mind. You won’t achieve those outcomes by hoping Google’s algorithm likes your work.
You OWE it to your potential readers. If your content represents genuine thought leadership in your field then you are short-changing your audience by not sharing it with them.
The reality is there are millions of pieces of content created every month. If you want yours to stand out, you’ve got to work as hard to promote your work as you did to make it. And a little self-promotion never killed anyone, right?
Outreach Generates Backlinks
If your work contains original research then you’ll probably have insights that are unique in your field.
When other people write on the same topic, take a moment to contact them and share your research. They may find your work supports their own and will be happy to link to your content.
As you’ve probably heard, backlinks are one of the ways Google knows your content is valuable. If people in your niche are linking to you, then Google recognizes they should rank your website higher for that topic.
The importance of backlink acquisition can’t be understated. Remember, Google’s job is to show searchers the best results for their query. If you aren’t generating engagement signals like reviews or backlinks then Google has NO way of knowing that your content stands out above others in your field. In short, without links from trusted websites in your niche, Google won’t award you any meaningful level of organic search traffic.
So by reaching out, you’ll be helping others by giving them access to your work. And you, in turn, will benefit by receiving backlinks from sites relevant to your niche. This further strengthens your organic reach in your field. And helps you further your content goals.
Keep Your Outreach Emails Simple
Outreach doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, the shorter you make your messages, the more likely you are to get a response. Decision-makers are busy, so get straight to the point. And do your best to make your ask as small as possible.
Consider these two requests:
“I made an infographic I think your community will love. Would you like me to send you a link?”
“I’m working on an article where you have some expertise. Could I send you my outline and get your thoughts on this topic?
The first request is a simple “Yes / No” question and the recipient can reply in less than 15 seconds.
The second requires the recipient to spend a lot of time on an email for someone with whom they have no pre-existing relationship. Obviously the first request will have a MUCH higher response rate.
A simple pattern is to give your target influencers a 2 – 3 sentence summary of your content and ask if they’d like you to send them the link. It’s a fantastic way to build new industry relationships and gain traction as a leader in your field. If they like what they see they’ll share a link on their blog or link to you on social media. And that can do wonders for your career.
Consider this email:
I just finished your article on lead generation. I loved your idea to use Quora for topic ideas.
On a related note, I just published a 6-month study modelling the effect 4 variables have on search traffic. One of the variables we studied is WAY more important than we previously suspected.
Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you a link.
Thanks again for all your hard work!
If you work in marketing then that article sounds interesting! And there’s a very high likelihood you’d respond. It works because it’s personalized and the sender isn’t asking for anything. They’re simply providing the opportunity to be better at your job.
Outreach is the easiest way to create social engagement from the biggest, most powerful voices in your industry. Just be sure to make your approach value-oriented. The more your focus on giving the more responses you’ll get.
Great Content Is A Great Start
Great content deserves to be appreciated. And for that to happen it needs to be followed up with strong promotion.
So use outreach to offer value to people who are in a position to help you. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Share valuable thought leadership
- Share proprietary statistics or research
- Add value to their audience by syndicating your article
- Contribute your ideas in their blog
- And so on…
When you approach outreach as an opportunity to add value, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish for your own business. And still, feel great about the process.