For those that don’t know me, I am a woman of many hats. In fact I’m a positive hat fanatic – a hanatic if you will: I’m a wife, a mum, an employee, a friend, a daughter…the list just goes on and on and I wont bore you by going through my entire hat inventory. The point is that for every hat I wear I adopt a slightly different approach, persona and voice. Of course the change is miniscule and I’m still me, just a slightly different (sometimes better) version of me according to my hat-de-jour.
When writing blog posts, I find my hanatic abilities come into their own, and as a result I find great success when approaching bloggers from all genres and writing articles that they love and want to see more of, thus creating a successful blogger contact list, any one of which I could almost guarantee to post an article for me.
Stop taking about hats and just tell us how…
As all good outreach and content marketers will tell you, the secret lays in your initial approach. Before you have even considered how best to construct your latest gripping guest post, you will have had to take several key elements into consideration, becoming a psychoanalyst to boot:
- What’s the bloggers name – check ‘about us’ section, previous posts and comments for clues if this isn’t immediately obvious. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. So many bloggers respond to my emails to say ‘I don’t normally answer emails like this, but as you used my name I have made an exception’
- How old is the blogger – a guesstimate is fine
- What are their interests
- Do they mention any funny/weird/interesting events that have happened to them lately
- What is their attitude to guest posting
- What is the tone of the blog; humorous, alternative, clever, corporate, etc.
- Have they published guest posts before
- Have they got children
Remember the blogger will also be wearing their ‘blogging’ hat so reading between the lines is vital to uncovering their true naked-head self, at which point you will find the greatest success.
How does knowing the bloggers inside leg measurement help us?
Most other content marketing guides will give you a standard approach to contacting bloggers which goes something along these lines:
I have been an avid reader of your blog, improving your dog kennel, for some time and particularly enjoyed your last post about doggy friendly creosote for the outer panels. You may also have noticed I’ve been commenting on several of your posts over the past few weeks, and have contacted you via Twitter on a number of occasions.
I also have a dog and write this blog www.ilovemyhairydog.co.uk. I would really like you to host some of my doggy antics on your blog. By the way, there might also be one tiny little link to another company within the articles I send you, but you should like this because it will help to increase your rankings.
Thank you very much
This type of approach is good and will work for some. But, it is lacking in some areas.
- You probably don’t have a relevant blog to share
- You might be writing as a persona
- You’re possibly handling guest posting campaigns for several clients at once
- The blogger will probably guess that you aren’t an avid reader of his blog as soon as you mention you want to host a guest post which contains a link out to another company
- You will be working within short time-frames that won’t allow you the luxury of commenting on other posts or networking with them extensively before you need them to publish your article.
Tailoring your emails to each individual blog/site owner will ensure you have a much better return on your email time investment, and whilst you can stick to a template of-sorts, limiting yourself to a strict structure will in turn limit your success rate and potential relationship with the blogger.
Give us examples then smarty-pants
I have used the following approaches with great success.
For the blogger who ran a light-hearted craft blog and mentioned they receive a lot of spam mails, I opened my email like this:
‘I AM NOT SPAM (however, other processed tinned meats are available)’
For the mummy blogger who discussed having a bad week with her children in her latest post I wrote this:
‘I hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly, and after your last blog post hope this email finds you in good humour. I’m also in the midst of potty training a two year old, so can really sympathise with you…’
For the website dedicated to oil and gas professionals I used this approach:
‘Good afternoon David. I am a freelance writer, currently working with an engineering Document Control and Asset Management Company, who operate across several industries including oil and gas.’
And finally, my personal favourite: For the whacky, off the wall guerrilla knitting website which was written with several army references scattered throughout, I used this approach:
‘Now listen up and listen good as I’ll only be saying this once. Say yes sir’
By using my own life and work experience coupled with my limited knowledge of the blogger, I am able to judge the best approach, which is inevitably the one most likely to get them to email me back and ask to see a sample of my work. Your contact email will demonstrate to them at the outset that your work will be original and completely relevant to them, and therefore their audience.
The use of this approach should mean that the fact your article contains one link out to an external company is unlikely to be a deal breaker, and I will leave it for you to decide whether your potential contact would appreciate this information up front or not.
You still haven’t told us what to write?
The rest is now relatively easy. When writing the article just keep in your mind the ‘voice’ you used for the email and stick with it. Your blog owner may have already provided you with some article ideas, or you may have pitched some to them already. Keep on track here and remember:
- If you’re British and writing for an American audience, check your spelling, use words like mom instead of mum, diaper instead of nappy and steer clear from British’isms such as:
- Rate of knots
- Pain in the arse
- Bob’s your uncle
- It’s a doddle
- Any cockney rhyming slang
Your American audience will smell your British-ness like a Yorkshire pudding smothered with Bisto gravy.
- If writing an article for a technical site, read several other industry articles to pick up key phrases or buzz words commonly used in this field
- The main aim of your article is to create natural links and awareness of the client you are promoting. Don’t go too far off track or the article and link will become irrelevant. The trick is to subtly promote the client or product without sounding like a press release.
- Check any guest author guidelines your blog owner has provided to ensure your article is suitable in terms of word count, file submission type (i.e. txt file or straight onto an email) and image guidelines.
- Just write…there is nothing more terrifying than a blank screen that refuses to fill, so even if you are really unsure you’ve found your perfect ‘voice’, start writing. Anything. Then re-read what you have written to see whether it fits. It’s much easier to change words, than sit agonising over whether to write them.
So there you have it. Have fun, try on some hats and get writing!