Are You Reaching Out to Rude Bloggers? How to Choose Partners Wisely
Blogger outreach is often frustrating because many bloggers are ignorant, rude or greedy. You need to pick the good ones. How?
When reading about blogger outreach you rarely see the dark side of that approach.
It’s not that outreach is basically one to one communications and thus not scalable in the obvious sense of the word. You can “scale” relationships once you really relate. Then people link to you and share your links more than once.
The most evident problem is that you will often be confronted with the unpleasant side of bloggers themselves.
Just consider the comment I got last time when I published the outreach template here. A self-righteous “popular blogger” replied to me:
What did I do wrong? Apparently it was too much for that “popular blogger” that I didn’t capitalize the “When”. No, just kidding.
I may be just a blogger, not a particularly popular one.
I’m also just a blogger not a “self-made entrepreneur” like erica (Ouch, I didn’t capitalize again!) so I welcome people who want to offer me something. I get a lot of PR emails lately, especially for my German cycling blog. I also get emails from SEOs who apparently do not notice that I’m into SEO myself in most cases. Long story short: I know the ins and outs of outreach from both sides. You have to brace yourself for
Despite all the both positive and negative examples of emails I get as a blogger the ones that I got as replies to my outreach messages were surprising to say the least.
Many bloggers for example demand money to post something from the very first reply. It’s the equivalent of asking a woman out for dinner and then getting asked to pay for sex in return.
I rarely send out guest blogging requests and instead offer something of value.
So it’s strange to get a reply where the blogger wants me to pay 300 Euros to publish an infographic on their site. So I not only have to create some exceptional content, tell the blogger about that but also pay them to publish it? Wow. The same thing happened to me with a give away. They not only want to take the products, they also want me to pay for them giving them out?
Paying large sums just for fake endorsements is grotesque
but in the modern attention economy where you don’t get enough eyeballs unless you have already an established audience you have to deal with it.
Of course I decline the payments and sometimes I write a rude reply on my own but it’s a fruitless waste of time. Do not cooperate with rude greedy bloggers, you’ll find other ones who are glad to help you. Also Google penalizes sites that publish undisclosed reviews or advertorials.
How do you spot the greedy bloggers before you even send the email?
It’s frustrating to deal with such condescending people so ideally you sort them out before I even send that message. Before sending out personal outreach emails I always make a list of like 10 – 12 bloggers I’d like to reach out personally. Despite having a template I write each email anew where it matters. I never send out half-automated press releases. That’s not outreach.
Outreach is about reaching out personally.
So I will at least peruse each blog before dealing with the blogger. I know some blogs from reading them but of course not all of them. So I check whether they already featured products where they disclose that they have been approached from outside.
Some blogs feature posts that are apparently paid reviews with rich anchor texts and the likes. I bet nobody would write like that without money involved so I sort them out.
Many bloggers will mention what exactly the other businesses or brands offered them and are very thankful. These people are the right ones to approach. They will write things like “x sent me this wonderful y to test and I already tried it, it works great” without sounding artificial. These are the ones to reach out to.
Other things to look out for when seeking out bloggers who really care are:
- Does the blogger use their own name when publishing or do they anonymously as “admin” or the “blog name”.
- Are there comments on the blog and does the blogger reply to them?
- Does the blogger engage in debates with disagreeing commenters while staying polite?
- Does the blogger link to social media accounts and engage there or does s/he just self-promote?
- Real name bloggers are usually more authoritative. No name can mean that the articles are stolen from elsewhere too.
- The absence of comments is a very bad sign for a blog. It can mean that the blog is dead and has no audience at all. It can also mean that the blog is just part of a linkfarm set up by low quality SEOs.
- Debating is a sign of high quality because it means the blogger really cares for the audience. In case commenters debate with each other it’s even better, that means there is a real community on that blog.
- Many blogs have neat social media icons but when you click them you only arrive at purely self-promotional accounts with barely any followers. Such ego-driven blogs are rarely successful.
Outreach is often the beginning of a business relationship. Like in real life you are saying “hello” first and then aim to stay connected with the people who are friendly and supportive. On the other hand you don’t ask women at the first sight “how much?”, neither do they. So blogger outreach is not rocket science. You wouldn’t say “hello” to an aggressive person on the street or at a party either. So choose your partners wisely. Don’t reach out to rude and condescending bloggers.
Your are giving the present of your value proposition, be it exclusive news, an invitation or high class content. When someone asks for money to receive a present that person is simply antisocial.
Take note though: I’m not talking about advertorials and the likes. In case you have nothing of value to offer no wonder nobody replies. Also in case you offer money on first contact you get slapped from time to time too. I have been “rude” to spammy SEO outreachers myself when they simply didn’t accept that I don’t sell links or reviews to manipulate Google.
* Creative Commons image by Kate Hiscock.
** Creative Commons image by John Curley.