How to Define Your Blog’s Brand


In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I want to talk to you about blog branding, and how it shapes the relationship between you and your reader.

It’s something I think everybody should take seriously, and put thought into, rather than just muddle along and see what happens – it really makes such a difference not only to how you are perceived, but also in growing your presence.

Today’s episode is super-practical, and includes lifestyle blogger Claire Hillier from Checks and Spots giving her top tips for building a brand. She spoke at the recent ProBlogger event about blogging for beginners and mentioned these incredibly important points about personal branding, your blog mission, and how these things tie together. These ultimately have a flow-on effect for other parts of your blog and presence online.

Grab a notepad and jot down the notes as they come – also feel free to stop the podcast and answer the questions she raises – and really engage with the content and concept of building your own blog brand, whether it’s commercial or as a hobby.

Claire discusses:

  • What is a brand?
  • What is the essence of a blog?
  • What is the audience?
  • Where is my blog useful?
  • Brand values

You can find episode 49 of the ProBlogger podcast How to Define Your Blog’s Brand here, as well as the show notes.

Further Reading:

Five Apps to Help You Manage Your Blog

Five Apps to Help You Manage Your Blog on

This is a guest contribution from Cassie Phillips.

If you’re here at ProBlogger, I’m betting you already know writing a blog can be a useful endeavor for a number of different reasons. A blog can help you journal your life or collect ideas from other people’s blogs that will be useful in your life. It can be a powerful tool in helping you keep in touch with friends and family, or you can use it to meet and interact with strangers. It can be something personal to you or something used for your business. Whatever your reasons are, though, you might find it’s a bit tricky trying to keep on top of things and churn out relevant and interesting content to keep your readers satisfied. Never fear, though: there are plenty of apps out there to help you keep organized and on track with your personal goals on the go. Here are five apps you’ll want to remember to have:

1. The Platform App

Of course, the first app you’re going to want to have is the app for your platform, be it WordPress, TypePad, Tumblr, or whatever else. Even if you don’t plan to do most of your blogging from your phone or tablet, seeing your app there on your device can be a useful reminder to either get to work on the next blog or get it posted. On top of that, most better-known blog platforms have pretty great apps these days, making it easy to post from wherever you are, whenever you have a few minutes to kill.

2. The Taskmaster App

I don’t know about you, but for me, remembering when I should be blogging gets difficult sometimes. We have so many obligations in our day-to-day lives that remembering to write things up and post them can sometimes be a challenge. Even if you feel like you’re on top of everything and there will be no problem, it never hurts to have an app to set reminders for when you need to have things finished by. Wunderlist will allow you to make task lists for yourself, set reminders for when things need to be done, and generally just keep on top of everything you have to do, all in a clean, user-friendly design.

3. The Social Media App

If you’re trying to direct people to your blog—even if you’re just trying to get your mom’s attention and let her know, hey, there’s a new post!—you’ll likely want to turn to social media. The thing about blogging is, people aren’t always going to remember to check back to each of the dozens of blogs that they follow. But people often check in on what’s going on on social media sites. It can be a pain to update your status and tweet and go on Google+, etc. each time you post an update. But Buffer will allow you to post the same thing to multiple accounts at once. You can even schedule posts to go out at a later time and track interest in that post. This means it frees up some of your social media time and allows you to do more of the fun stuff of blogging.

4. The Web-Traffic App

Even if you’re not running your site for the purpose of creating revenue through clicks, it can be nice to know how many people are looking at your site. If nothing else, it’s a bit of an ego-boost, right—people actually want to see your site! But if you’re creating a revenue-producing website, it’s important to see how many people click on your site and where they’re coming from. Dashboard for Google Analytics does this in an especially sleek way, and it’s pretty cheap as well.

5. The VPN App

If you’re blogging on the go, you’re likely connecting to public Wi-Fi, whether at a coffee shop, on the bus, in downtown, or somewhere else—oh, the joys of modern technology! Grab the Wi-Fi Finder app to help you out with locating the nearest hotspots. But don’t forget to grab a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your information and make sure you’re safe from potential hackers. Actually, there are a lot of things you should be thinking about when you’re connecting to public Wi-Fi. A good VPN will give you a more secure connection that better ensures that what you do stays private.

Although managing your blog may sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, given the right apps, you’ll find that you have no problem balancing your blog and the rest of your life. Whatever you’re using your blog for, you’ll find that these apps will integrate neatly into your workflow, allowing you to keep doing what you’re doing, in a more productive way.

Cassie is a technology and internet security enthusiast.

How to Make $30,000 a year Blogging

How to Make $30,000 a year Blogging - ProBlogger Darren Rowse gives his best tips.

If you’re anything like the overwhelmed blogger I spoke to a few years ago, who thought making a full time living from her blog was basically impossible, then this episode of the ProBlogger podcast is for you.

The truth is, making a full-time living from blogging means different things to different people – what is a full time income to you might not be enough for the next person, and vice versa. The first thing to do is figure out how much you need to live on (or indeed if you are only looking for a part time income, etc), and work toward earning that amount. The firmer the figure you have, the better chance you have of making it happen. Pie-in-the-sky ideas and vague language like “full-time income” aren’t as helpful.

This particular blogger I spoke to said $30,000 USD would be enough to allow them to quit their current job, but also had never made a dollar from her blog and had almost convinced herself it was impossible.

It’s not impossible, but nor is it a cakewalk. In today’s episode I give three pieces of advice for those of you wanting to change career directions and make a living blogging instead of traditional work. I also provide some of the ways I decided how much I wanted to make, and how I went about achieving those sums. I’ll give the income stream options I had, the ones I tried, and ultimately the ones I ended up using consistently.

I also break down the income models of three different types of blogs: fashion, photography, and food.

When I first reached my target of $50,000 AUD per year, I broke down my income into what percentage came from which income stream (which may very well be different to yours, and is actually different to my income streams as they are currently). I hope you find it useful.

You can listen to Episode 48 of the ProBlogger Podcast How to Make $30,000 a year Blogging here.

Further Reading:

5 Pop-up Creation Mistakes You Have to Avoid for Better User Experience

This is a guest contribution from Abrar Mohi Shafee of Blogging Spell.

Do you build email lists in your website? If your answer is yes, the chances are high that you are using a pop-up to collect emails.

Why is that and not anything else? Because pop-up is proved to be one of the high converting methods for building list and seems pretty everywhere.

You don’t have to look further; our own Darren Rowse made a huge jump up in email opt-in rate by using a pop-up that raised from 40 new subscribers a day to straight 350 subscribers a day.

But over the years, pop-up has started to have a profound impact on user experience and turned into a very controversial topic itself.

If we ask the visitors, 95 out of 100 of them will say pop-ups are annoying. But if we ask the same to a marketer, he will confess that but must be thinking how he could miss the great conversion by pop-ups.

the most hated advertising techniques

Source: NNGroup

It looks like we are trapped between two choices. But there is a third choice that we usually miss out, and that can get us a good relief. That is simple:

Pop-up should be polite but converting enough.

So here my task is to guide you what are the mistakes that annoy people and how you can solve them to achieve that prestige for your pop-ups.

Mistake #1: Solely depending on pop-up

Is using pop-up itself a big mistake? Well, it can be literally.

To tell the truth, a pop-up can silently kill your blog if that is not well-optimized.

Matthew Woodward ran an experiment how pop-ups affect blog’s bottom line. He set up the pop-up to show up after 7 seconds. He noticed significant drops in the following three factors:

  1. Pages per visit decreased by 9.29%
  2. Average visit duration decreased by 10.20%
  3. Bounce rate increased by 9.02% (lower is better)

pop-up effect on blog

Subscribers generated via pop-up forms are not stable and have very low engagement rate that are no good for your website except just increasing the number of subscribers.

So if you decide to autopilot your list building solely on pop-ups and do not use any other method, you will not be collecting all genuine subscribers who could benefit your website.

Solution: You should not wholeheartedly depend on pop-ups and use some other methods to collect engaging and stable subscribers, and eventually reduce the annoyance.

A lot of working list building methods are available of which you can choose yours. According to Social Triggers, here are some of the high-converting placements for your opt-in form (excluding pop-up):

  1. Top featured box
  2. Top of sidebar
  3. Bottom of post
  4. Site footer
  5. About page
  6. Top sticky bar

In fact, you can grow your email list amazingly fast using the following formulas of list building:

  1. Content Upgrade
  2. Lead Magnet
  3. Call to Action

Mistake #2: Triggering pop-ups too fast or too slow

Timing is another big factor for your pop-up. If it comes too fast, it will greatly annoy the visitors, and if it comes too slow, it will lose a number of subscribers.

So what is the perfect timing? Some will say 5 seconds converts the highest and some 10 seconds, if not some other will say 30 seconds is perfect.

best time to show pop-up

Source: AppSumo

But my opinion is different. To turn a visitor into a loyal subscriber, you need to give him enough time to understand your website. Five seconds, 10 seconds and sometimes even 30 seconds is not sufficient to comprehend a site correctly.

What would happen if you pop-up between this times? You will experience relatively high bounce rate and low user engagement.

Solution: Unbounce suggests that a perfect user-optimized pop-up should come at 60 seconds after a visitor enters your site.

If it comes before that, you will significantly lose conversion. If it comes after that period, you will miss a large number of audiences to show your pop-ups.

So the best time for pop-up is 60 seconds which will allow a visitor has fully understood a website and make him commit genuine interest to become a subscriber, after all, reducing the risk of annoying by more.

Mistake #3: Not using any improved pop-up technology

Although timed pop-ups could be optimized for not to make annoyance, it still retain some percent of chances to annoy visitors.

Because it appears suddenly and could behave like a barrier to reading up a content. No one would appreciate seeing a barrier in their way, especially when reading something online.

What would happen if a pop-up distracts visitors from reading a content? The chances are high that they will leave the site, if not it will hurt their attitude towards the site.

Solution: Thinking about this matter, some user-improved pop-up triggering technologies has come out. The main prospective of these technologies is adjusting with user’s behavior and triggering the pop-up in the safest time.

Here are a few pop-up technologies that can be found in the latest marketing tools, and what you can replace with your timed pop-up to potentially take the annoyance level close to zero:

  1. Pop-up when a user intends to exit (aka exit-intent)
  2. Pop-up when a user reaches the content end
  3. Pop-up when a user reaches a particular element
  4. Pop-up when a user scrolls a specific percent of a page
  5. Pop-up when a user scrolls down and goes back up

Mistake #3: Not controlling pop-up showing frequency

How many times do you show up your pop-up in a browsing session? Well, you are of the belief that the more we show up pop-ups, the more we get signups, right?

But this time it won’t go along your perspective because the more often you show your pop-ups (for example, show up on every page), the more you annoy your visitors.

If you trigger your pop-up in every page in a browsing session, it will feel real over promotion, and you will get significantly low subscribing rate.

So what’s the best frequency?

Solution: You don’t have to push hard to get the better conversion rate. You just need to understand your audiences and trigger pop-up at the right time.

Asking a visitor to subscribe multiple times in a browsing session might not work well and feel irritating. So first you should limit your pop-up to maximum once each browsing session.

And how often to repeat the pop-up after someone closes that? Concerning the user experience, you should not show pop-up more than once a week to the same visitor, and more preferably once in every 15 or 30 days. (Prove)

Mistake #5: Tricking visitors to get stuck on the pop-ups

You know what, you can attempt to get unbelievable email opt-in rate just doing a few tweaks. How? Here is what you need to do exactly:

  • Trigger pop-up just when someone enters your site
  • Remove the close button from the pop-up
  • Don’t leave any option to skip the pop-up without subscribing

But the thing I forgot to tell you is that after doing these tweaks, don’t expect your visitors ever to return and the bounce rate will be apparently around 90%-100%.

Intentionally trying to stick people to a pop-up form is the worst practice and result into losing those visitors for forever.

Solution: If you are serious about building up your email list, be clear and transparent. Display the close button and make sure that can be easily seen.

You do not have to be tricky to increase email opt-in rate, but you have to optimize the following three elements of your pop-up:

  1. Convince people at first sight using the pop-up title. Use power words like Free, Secret, Discover, to create good impression.
  2. Be visually attractive because visual elements can convince someone to subscribe faster than anything else.
  3. Optimize your pop-up’s call to action and tease the visitors to subscribe using text and buttons.

Here is a sample of pop-up how to play with pop-up contents to hack readers mind for subscribing to your email list without doing anything tricky:

Source: Social Triggers

social triggers pop-up copy

Do you know the hardest truth about pop-up? It converts the highest, and it irritates the highest as well.

The best approach with the pop-up is attempt to convert high but staying safe. Before doing anything with it, just ask yourself will you personally love it as a reader? If yes, just go with it and if no, configure it to be likable.

So what’s your opinion about pop-ups and how you safely use them without hurting the user experience? I am pretty much interested to know it.

Abrar Mohi Shafee is from Bangladesh, an inbound marketer, blogger and founder of BloggingSpell. His areas of interests are content marketing, social media marketing, and seo. Need his help to be more productive in blogging? Grab his personal blogging toolkit.


Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

The sun is shining, the birds are singing – I think spring has finally hit Melbourne!

With that, I will leave you with this week’s links to ponder…

Instagram Images: How to Stand out on Instagram // Social Media Examiner

This podcast was interesting – I’ve definitely seen the trend for very similar images being used on IG, particularly for specific niches. I’ve experimented with a lot, and I found the opposite of what I often expected. For example, an image set out similarly to one I admired ended up getting the least amount of likes. So how do you stand out when it seems everyone is homogenous? And how do you stay true to your own aesthetic in the process?

Facebook Turns Notes into a Blogging Platform with a Revamped Interface // TNW News

Everyone’s talking about the revamped Notes section on Facebook – it looks and functions much more like a user-friendly blogging platform. Perhaps a way to get around the Facebook page (dismal) algorithm to get your content seen?

How to Hack the Amplification Process (Whiteboard Friday) // Moz

Have you been looking in the wrong places for your audience?

The 5 Biggest Social Media Trends of 2015 (Infographic) // Social Media Today

Number 3 I already knew, but Line? What on Earth is Line?!

What it takes to Make Fashion Blogging Look Effortless // The Atlantic

It’s not all front row seats and fancy lipstick.

3 Resources to Help you Become a Professional Content Marketer // Copyblogger

I see a lot of bloggers turn pro by instead becoming professional content marketers. If that’s something you’re interested in, Stefanie Flaxman gives a great overview of getting started.

How This Blogger Made $1 Million in 3 Years and Is Visiting Every Country on Earth // Forbes

I’m always fascinated about how bloggers make a living from travelling, but this guy earns $1000 a day: something I was EXTRA fascinated with! What a lot to learn.

3 Things all Great Digital Marketers Know // Business2Community

Ah yes… we all forget number 2!

Facebook Audience Insights: 5 Groups You Should Analyze // Jon Loomer

Have I convinced you to come around to Facebook Ads yet? Jon really makes it easy to figure out the best method for maximum results.

How to Use Snapchat for Business // Social Media Examiner

A few weeks ago I linked to an article stating we were missing out on reaching the youth of today if we weren’t implementing Snapchat. Afterwards, I reinstated my account but I guess I’m still missing the point of it. I like the idea in this article of creating a tutorial – I’m seeing a lot of people doing that on Periscope lately.

So what have you read lately? Are you earning $1000 a day?!

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Writing Challenge: Write a ‘How I Do It’ Blog Post

Bookshelf filled with colorful books

Today’s podcast episode is a little bit different – a throwback of sorts to one of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Podcast challenges.

I think it’s important to offer challenges like this, as it’s very easy to read or listen to what to do, but actually doing it is a totally different thing all together. In fact, absorbing knowledge without putting it into practise is one of the 21 mistakes I see new bloggers make fairly consistently.

So today the challenge to you is to write a “How I do it” blog post. Something about how you do whatever it is you’re good at, to share with your audience. It might be a very simple topic idea, but it is in fact a very valuable way to drive traffic to your blog, and in turn, grow your readership.

In the podcast I discuss the differences between the style of posts you could create, and examples for each – from styling a bed to making $72,000 in eBook sales – and also tips for brainstorming and writing.

You can listen to episode 47 of the ProBlogger podcast: Writing Challenge: Write a ‘How I Do It’ Blog Post here, and access the examples above in the show notes.

You are also welcome to link to the post you’ve written in the comments below.

Further Reading:

Study Shows: Blog Posts Published on Weekends Get More Social Shares

This is a guest post from Lior Levin.

You work hard to create relevant, engaging content for your blog and you want to be sure that it has as many eyeballs on it as possible. Sometimes, getting the job done can be discouraging and leave you feeling like you are completely reliant on your audience to do the job by engaging with your post on social media.

But the successful brands who keep blowing up Facebook with huge numbers of shares aren’t doing so by chance. There are strategies and tips that can guide you on when to post to your blog, how to best engage social media and how to create a killer title that will have your post making the rounds on every social media channel.

Weekend is The King

If you run a blog featuring professional content, it seems like a no-brainer to publish your content during business hours, on weekdays. Yet a study done by TrackMaven last year of over 4,500 blogs showed that blogs that chose to publish content on the weekend received the most shares on various social media channels. In fact, even though only 13% of blogs were published on the weekend, they saw 18% of the total social shares gathered in the study.


Aim For Leisure Hours

As it turns out, there is negative correlation between when a blog is posted and when readers have time to properly digest it. Readers may see your new post pop up in their inbox or newsfeed at 10am, and as engaging as your title is, they may not be able to get to it in the middle of their busy workday. This means that regardless of your content (whether it’s professional, educational, financial etc) you need to time your posts to go live during your reader’s leisure hours if you want to maximize engagement and shares.

weekend 2

A Bold, Brilliant Title With a Question Mark

Speaking of maximizing engagement, an interest-catching title is a must to increase your clicks and shares. There are a few strategies that can guide you as you craft titles that are sure to turn views into clicks and clicks into shares. First off, make sure your title is highly informative and speaks to the specifics of what readers are going to find in your post. Secondly, use strong, vivid words and phrases that grab a reader’s attention such as brilliant, love, hate and “you won’t believe.”

Don’t be afraid to try alluring alliterations as well, readers rarely ignore such lively language. Third, consider using question marks in your post-title or perhaps consider phrasing your title in the form of a question altogether. Studies show that posts which contain one or more question marks receive social shares 46% of the time.

weekend 3

Highlight Value

It’s a loud internet, so you need to have posts that speak to the real value that your blog and brand have to offer. You don’t want to get a reputation for deceiving readers and followers with hype and promises that your blog post won’t deliver. Consider illustrating the value found in your post by using brackets at the end of your title such as: Major Marketing Mistakes [Free Printable] or What Do Your Readers Need From You [An e-book that will change your brand-strategy].

Knowledge is, of course, power and the more you use your metrics and data, the more you understand how and when to reach your reader.

Lior Levin is a consultant to an rss feed api service and also works for a company called ily who invented a new phone for kids.

Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes?


While the pathway to blogging is different for everybody, and you could argue there’s no “wrong” way, in today’s ProBlogger podcast I discuss some of the mistakes I made when first starting out, and the most typical mistakes I see newer bloggers making. I wonder if any of you recognize yourselves in these behaviours that could very well hold you back?

I talk about everything from before people even start their blogs, to they way they market them, how they drive traffic, how they monetise, site design, and even the chosen niche. But all is not lost if you do find yourself taking these wrong turns – I also give options about how to avoid the pitfalls I see so many falling into.

You can find episode 46 of the ProBlogger podcast: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes? here, along with the show notes.

I’d love to hear of the mistakes you made or the ones you see others making – which ones were the hardest to overcome?

Further Reading:

If Blogging Were a Sport, Here are Three Things I Learned While Playing the Game

If Blogging Were a Sport, Here are Three Things I Learned While Playing the GameThis is a guest post from Laura Forde from Life of the Differently Abled.

When I think of blogging, I think of a sports stadium with a game being played on the field.

It truly doesn’t matter the sport in question for this analogy to work, what matters is this:

What matters is that the sport has many moving pieces and each one has an important role to play in the completion of the match. We are all required to play within the restriction of those rules, but for some of us those rules don’t cover our reality.

All my life I have played all sports with an adapted rule book. My set of rules were added to by my physical limitations that others simply didn’t have. Those extra ‘rules’ could have set me back, but instead they caused me to work harder, give more to the game and this in turn gave me a competitive edge.

An example of such an adaptation in sport is sledge hockey. For those of you unfamiliar with sledge hockey, it is adaptive hockey that follows the rules of international ice hockey, but the adaptation comes in, in terms of the equipment used. Because sledge hockey is played mainly by people with some form of mobility limitation they use a device called a sledge. It is a contraption that one sits in, and then propels themselves using pics attached to the non-shooting end of two mini hockey sticks (players have two sticks one for each hand)

Adaptive sport isn’t often about changing how the game is actually played, but more about making it accessible to everyone regardless of physical ability.

But back to blogging.

I started blogging knowing absolutely nothing about blogging. Would I sink or swim? To know I had to jump in! I took action and found I didn’t sink. Everything I have learned to date I have extracted from watching and learning from those who know how to blog.

The immediate thing that drew me into blogging was that I could play it as an adaptive sport. if I could type with my fingers even slowly or via a voice dictation software I had a way to play.

And in learning to blog, I learned something about myself and what makes me able to ‘play a sport and win the prize I seek’ despite the tougher rule book which is my lot.

The three things I have learned from blogging

  1. Believe in yourself and what you have to say
  2. Don’t let any fears stop you, especially fear of what others will think. Be yourself and serve from there
  3. And before you give up on anything in life that you truly want remember:
  • Believe in yourself because when you start believing in yourself, whatever your apparent limitations, others will take notice and start believing in you too
  • Go beyond your greatest fear
  • Be your best self

So tell me which of these three lessons have you found the most valuable to apply in your own life and where did you first learn it? Comment below.

Laura Forde is one of few bloggers who writes about life with cerebral palsy from a first hand account you can find her blogging at Life of the Differently Abled.

7 Crucial Parts of a Successful Outreach Strategy

7 Crucial Parts of a Successful Outreach Strategy on ProBlogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Jonathan John.

If you’ve been reading how-to blog and content marketing blogs for very long, then you’ve no doubt come across this buzzword: outreach.

Nowadays, all the big guns are talking about outreach and how it’s gonna revolutionize content marketing and take your latest blog posts from 0-100 real quick.

But what exactly is outreach?

Well, in short, outreach is the art of getting others to share or link to your posts. You’re basically leveraging other people’s blogs or social media followings to increase the popularity of your own.

And get this: the people who say that outreach is an effective content promotion strategy are 100% right. Outreach is a very powerful way to quickly get traction to your latest blog posts, an ideal traffic strategy for new bloggers.

That is, when you do it right.

In this post, I’ll discuss seven of the most crucial parts of a successful outreach strategy, and how you can leverage outreach to boost traffic to your blog posts.

1. Begin with the End in Mind

Before you begin your outreach process, you need to plan. You need to begin with the end in mind.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What are my goals?

Outreach is a great strategy to accomplish several things: increased traffic, more connections with influential people, better backlinks from quality sites, etc..

You need to know your goals (always try to write them down as well) before you start the actual process of outreach.

How much time do I have to dedicate to outreach?

Here’s the one pitfall of outreach. The impact from one successful outreach email (e.g. getting one blogger to share or link to your blog post) isn’t particularly high, especially in the short run. So in order to see significant results, you typically have to send out a lot of emails.

Case in point: Brian Dean from Backlinko emailed 160 websites to promote his post on Google ranking factors. Because of the backlinks and visibility he’s gotten as a result, Brian now ranks #1 in the SERPs for “google ranking factors”, which is by no means a low-competition keyword.


Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that you need to email 100+ people for every post you write. Due to time restrictions, that’s an unrealistic goal for many of us, particularly me.

But my point is that a successful email outreach strategy will take up a significant amount of time. So when creating a plan for your outreach strategy, you need to budget time appropriately.

2. Pick the Right Bloggers for Outreach

Here’s what doesn’t work in email outreach: randomly sending out emails to 100+ blogs that “seem” to fit your niche.

Picking the blogs you plan to do outreach to is a very delicate (and time-consuming) process. To be successful at outreach, you will need to spend time creating a list of blogs you’ll reach out to before each post is published (ideally before the post is even written).

Here are a couple ways to find the right blogs to reach out to.

Find Blogs that Have Linked to Similar Content

This method calls for Ahrefs Site Explorer, one of my favorite blogging tools. Site Explorer basically crawls the web to discover all the inbound links for a particular website or webpage.

So let’s say that you run a food blog, and your next post topic is on the dangers of excess soft drink consumption. A quick Google search will reveal several popular blogs that have written on a similar topic.


Pick one high-ranking post (I chose this one from Wellness Mama) and run it through Site Explorer to find the sites that have linked to the post.


You know that these sites have linked to a post on the dangers of soft drinks already in the past. Consequently, they are much more likely to link to your post on the same topic, provided that you ask nicely (more on how to do that later).

Find Influencers Who Have Shared Similar Content

This method works best with Buzzsumo, an incredibly popular content research tool. Buzzsumo allows you to see the exact people who have shared specific posts on your topic.

Let’s say that this time around, you’re on a digital marketing blog, currently writing a post on generating content ideas. You can use Buzzsumo to identify popular posts on this topic.


Buzzsumo then allows you to drill down and see exactly who has shared this post on Twitter.


Apply the same concept from the previous method here: since these people have already shared blog posts on content ideation before, they could be quite willing to do it again.

3. Do a Favor for the Influencer Beforehand

Email outreach is all about asking favors. When you send an email to an influencer asking for a tweet, a link, or a Google plus, you’re basically asking them for a favor.

Now, I want you to think back to the last time you did a significant favor for a stranger who’d come to you out of the blue.

No, seriously. Think about it.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

If you’re like me, then you probably can’t remember the last time you did so.

And guess what: the influencers you’re reaching out to probably can’t remember the last time they did such a favor, either. So when you ask them for a favor as a total stranger, how likely do you think you are to get the share/link?

Not very.

The key here is to make sure that by the time you send your email, you’ve already performed a favor or two for the blogger beforehand.

For instance, you could comment on 1-2 of the blogger’s latest posts. All bloggers love getting relevant comments on their posts, because comments prove two things to them:

  1. People are reading their content.
  2. People find their content engaging enough for them to take time out of their day to leave their thoughts.

However, DON’T just leave a generic “Great post, thanks for sharing” comment like a hundred others before you have already.

It’s easy for bloggers to see through this sort of comment; they know that it hasn’t taken any sort of real effort on your part.

Instead, leave a thoughtful, detailed remark about what you thought of their post — one that will set you apart from the other commentators to the post author.


Questions in particular make great comments because they coax a response from the post author. Besides that, all bloggers (you and I included) get an ego boost when people ask their advice.

A couple other things you could do is to share their post on social media or even link to it from the post that you are writing.

4. Write the Email

Here comes the difficult part: actually writing the email. You can find several email templates on the web for this step, but I recommend testing a few ones of your own to see which works best for you personally. What’s more, the email you send will also typically depend on what you’re asking for in your email: a link, a share, etc..

For instance, asking for a link from a well-known blog requires a very different email than a share request from an influencer with a mid-sized following.

But regardless of the type email you’re sending over, there are a few rules to keep in mind.

Keep it Short

Nobody wants to wade through a 50-sentence email when a five-sentence email would have done just as well. Least of all the busy bloggers who have a hundred-and-one other tasks demanding their attention.

I personally try to keep all my emails no more than five sentences long, although I’m often guilty of forgetting to cut down and instead sending in 6-7+ sentences. I’ve found that shorter = better 99% of the time.

Talk about What You’ve Done for Them

In my email, I typically reserve at one sentence close to the beginning to talk about what I’ve done for them (i.e. I linked to their post, shared it on social media, commented on it, etc.).

Always talk about what you’ve done for them before you discuss what you want them to do for you. Once the blogger realizes that you’ve taken the time to do something for him/her, they’ll be much more receptive to the request that’s about to come.

Be Informal, but Professional

You always want to be professional — especially if you’ve never emailed this person before.

There’s no need to be overly formal (ten dollar words won’t score you any points), but at the same time don’t let your inner-goofiness get too much out of reign.

Also, be sure to use their first name in your opening line (that way they know right off that your email is addressed specifically to them).

5. Contact via Multiple Channels

The biggest mistake I made in my early days of outreach was limiting my contact to one channel only: email.

While email is still the best way to get a response from share/link requests, it’s most effective when used in combination with other contact channels like social media.

Nowadays, whenever I send out an outreach email, I also tweet the blogger beforehand to let him/her know that I’m sending in an email.

This helps to create awareness of your coming email. Most influencers will be getting hundreds of emails per day, so it’s very possible that your email could slip through the cracks. When you reach out to them via social media before sending the email, though, they’ll be keeping an eye out for your email.

So instead of ignoring or overlooking your email when it comes in, they’ll instead think:

Oh yeah, this is the guy/gal who tweeted me about their coming email. I think he/she also commented on XYZ post I published a couple days ago. Hmm. I wonder what he/she is emailing about.

This contact strategy just plain works — I highly recommend that you try your best to get in touch via multiple channels (Google Plus, LinkedIn, or even Facebook can be good options depending on your industry). It’s helped me to nearly double my response rates, and I’m sure it will do the same for yours.

6. Time Your Contact Appropriately

I live in India — but since most of the bloggers I contact live in the US, UK, or Australia, I have to be sure that I’m keeping track of time zones. Otherwise, my email is likely to get lost in the pile of email that accumulates overnight.

I try to get my email in around 8-9 AM in the morning their time. That way, by the time they start their work day, my email is close to the top of their inbox.

I personally use Boomerang to schedule all my emails because I love its simplicity, but SideKickRightInbox, and Streak are popular alternatives.

For tweet-scheduling, I’m a huge fan of Buffer, but HootSuite is another excellent option.

7. Follow Up

The last step in the outreach process is to follow up. If your email doesn’t get a response within a week, I recommend sending either one email or one tweet as a reminder (not both).

I don’t recommend sending any more than one follow up, though; if a blogger hasn’t responded by then, it typically means that he/she isn’t interested in sharing or linking.

And if that happens (which it most certianly will), don’t worry about it. Just shake it off, and move on to the next blogger.

Wrapping Up

Outreach is a powerful content promotion strategy. It has the potential to take your latest blog post from 0-100 in no time.

However, outreach certainly isn’t an easy strategy to implement, and if you don’t do it correctly then you’ll end up spending a lot of time for little result. So the next time you’re promoting a post, remember these 7 crucial steps, and I guarantee your success rate will the better for it.

Do you have any questions about outreach strategy — or any tips of your own you’d like to share? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Jonathan John (@JRJohnWrites) is a freelance writer for hire and a digital marketing enthusiast. He helps business leverage the power of content marketing and blogging to increase traffic and boost brand authority.