Would you ever do a big favor for someone you didn’t know—a favor that could potentially compromise your standing with customers and colleagues, if that person didn’t deliver on his or her promises?
Probably not, right?
That’s why influential bloggers can be so reluctant to allow just anyone to guest post on their sites, and why blogger outreach is all about building a relationship of trust.
So how can you develop a relationship with industry influencers so they’ll let you contribute to their blog, which can in turn bolster your small business’s reputation? These five tips can help you go from total stranger to trusted partner.
1. Start Small
Spend some time reading the influencer’s blog posts and leaving comments. And not just any comments—“This is great!” or “Thanks for the interesting read!” won’t cut it here. You should post well thought out, insightful comments addressing the content of each post, to show the blogger that you not only read the post, you cared about the subject enough to continue the conversation.
2. Share the Influencer’s Content
Tweet links to their blog posts, and mention them by name so they can see what you’ve shared. Add a comment to your posts as well, giving your audience a real reason to check out this blogger’s content. A bump in traffic from your tweet can help get you into the blogger’s good graces. And even if the traffic you send their way is negligible, they’ll still appreciate the fact that you found their content valuable enough to share.
3. Introduce Yourself
Once you’re already a somewhat familiar figure from their blog comments section and social media, send a friendly email introducing yourself and letting them know how much you like their work. By making the connection more formal with an email introduction, you’ll be solidifying your connection and opening the channels of communication.
4. Do Your Research
Make sure you fully understand which kinds of topics the blogger focuses on, and what their audience expects from their site. If you approach an influencer asking to write a guest post that just wouldn’t make sense for their site, you’ll be instantly damaging your credibility—and your relationship.
5. Pitch Your Post
Finally, email the influencer to suggest a relevant topic you might write about and explain how your particular brand of expertise would benefit their audience. Yes, your aim in guest blogging is to raise awareness of your business within the influencer’s audience, but the influencer doesn’t care about that. All they want is a post that will be of real value to their audience and that can bolster their own reputation. Be the person who gives them an easy way to do just that.
If you’ve done your relationship-building homework well, your chosen blogger just might agree to let you write a guest post for their site. You’ll be able to reach an entirely new audience with your message, showcase your expertise to a slew of potential new customers and draw them to your own site with a link in your bio or in the post itself. But more importantly, you’ll have created a mutually beneficial relationship—one that could bear fruit for years to come.