Done well, blogger outreach can be one of the best ways to build links. Done badly, it can really p*** people off.
I’m always happy to talk to people offering to guest post on our site. I am, however, really single-minded about putting up quality content, posts that people would actually want to read and share.
I was contacted recently by an individual who claimed to be a copywriter, offering me content. They made a complete dog’s breakfast of the whole thing.
I’m not going to name and shame them, but hopefully reading this post will give them and anyone else doing blogger outreach some valuable pointers on how to stay on the right side of prospects.
The introductory email
The first email is crucial in blogger outreach. Any blogger worth their salt will be receiving tons of these emails every day, so it’s vital that you grab their attention. What I personally like to see is a genuine interest in the blog and the company, and something tangible that they can offer to me in terms of a piece that our audience will be interested in.
The introductory email I received from this blogger, whilst being a bit bland and generic, wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t convinced that they had actually read any of our content, or that they would be able to produce something to meet my requirements. They were, however, courteous enough to let me request a subject for the content, so I thought what the hell, let’s see what they’ve got.
Agreeing on a subject, or so I thought…
I gave the blogger the opportunity to pitch me some ideas around some themes I’d provided. I made it clear at this point that any sort of copywriting-related links were off the table.
After 25 days (she’d been travelling apparently) she came back to me and asked me to come up with some ideas. I’d already given her some themes and about a month to come up with some ideas of her own, but OK I thought, I’ll be nice and go back with a specific subject: Copywriting and the SEO community’s attitude towards it.
The finished content
The copy she came back with was so bad that I didn’t bother to read it all. It was generic, filler, ‘state the obvious’ content that probably wouldn’t have been accepted by an article directory in 2008.
Just glancing at this garbage revealed that it had been written by someone who believed in the keyword density fairy. Ironically, although the writer was condemning the process of keyword stuffing, the article itself was among the spammiest I have ever encountered.
I’m not going to reproduce the whole thing, but for your amusement I’ll drag out some gems:
…This led to the emergence of SEO copywriters who is able to use both SEO and copywriting techniques to enhance brand visibility, improve search engine ranking and develop customer engagement.
SEO copywriting ensures that the web copy has relevant keywords that could improve web rankings but this doesn’t mean that the web copy is stuffed with keywords.
Of course, the field of copywriting for SEO purposes is not always rosy. Most often, people overdo optimization and end up entering the keyword stuffing territory.
amateurish SEO copywriting has allowed many web pages to look spammy as the content is stuffed with exact keywords and phrases that is hard to read and off-putting.
It was only vaguely relevant to the title I had given to her, but what really got my goat was the fact that she had tried to sneak in a link to her site. If she’d bothered to do her research she would have known that, as a company that primarily supplies SEO agencies with copy, we would have issues linking to her site with the anchor text: SEO Copywriters.
I was mad, really mad. I’m not known for my email diplomacy at the best of times but she got it with both barrels:
To her credit she did offer to edit the copy, but by this point she’d lost me, that illusive link had passed her by.
How to do blogger outreach well
- Have a strong opening email that is personal and offers something tangible.
- Offer a really strong, well-written piece of content. There is more than enough crap on the internet already.
- Do your research on the company and the individual you are targeting.
- Read the blog you want to post on, make sure the copy you offer is in line with the style and tone. Consider linking to other posts on the blog.
- Don’t try and sneak in a link, particularly if there is a conflict of interests.