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Reach out to influencers to grow your blog. Pic by uncoolbob

Outreach Blogging

If you're blogging regularly, using SEO, sharing content socially, sending out newsletters, marketing, and doing everything right without success, then I've got a magic tip that will turn things around.

The largest, and most successful blogs in the world all do one thing very well. They,

Talk about other people and what they are doing.

Talking about other people works. It really does.

Stop talking about yourself

Have you looked at your twitter feed recently? How much of the content that you share is intended to benefit you or your business directly? Conversely, aren't you sick and tired of people tweeting about their own products and services? I know I am.

The trick is to take a step back and look at who's doing what. Then find ways you can help them by talking about them, linking to their content, reviewing their books, products and services.

I'm not saying we should all be altruistic and support each other because it's really nice. It's more simple than that:

Being helpful makes cold hard business sense.

Talk about other people

There are a number of benefits to talking about other people. Almost all of them are related to reaching out to influencers and building a strong network of marketers and networkers for your blog/company:

  • Come across as genuine because you don't have a direct vested interest in the subject matter
  • Increase your chances of having content shared and going viral
  • Put yourself on other people's radar
  • Build trust
  • Accumulate good will
  • Give other people a chance to interact with your content because it is directly relevant to them
  • Become a desirable person to do business with because other people want you to talk about them
  • Learn more about what's going on in your industry with genuine connections

There are plenty more benefits to talking about other people, but you get the idea. Remember to,

Identify and target people you think will be most valuable to your business goals in the long run.

Having a few strong influencers in your corner can make a huge competitive difference across all spheres of business.

Making your content relevant and valuable to other people gives you aligned goals and means they're far more likely to take notice of you. This gives you a network of "good will", which in turn helps you build a powerful marketing oriented network and social following very quickly.

Proof that helping others leads to success

I thought I would go out and find a bunch of people who have had some success in the blogging, marketing and social spheres. I sampled their most recent posts to find out how often they talked about something other than their own products and services.

Here are the results:

As you can see, the amount of tweets that our successful bloggers and marketers use for directly promoting their own products and services is really low. Even when they are sending traffic back to their own blogs, the posts themselves tend to talk about other business, people and news.

However, there's a twist to the tale because they are being smart. Many of the tweets linked back to their own blog or web properties. In other words, it's ok to drive traffic to your blog or business website, provided that the content is not all about you.

Make your blog a platform for delivering content about your industry and the people in it.

That's what the top people have done, and it's what you need to do too.

Techniques for promoting other bloggers and businesses

How you go about modifying the structure of your content to become more socially engaging, depends on you. It costs very little to link to another blog, but how often do you do that in your posts? It should be at least once or twice, probably more.

That link back can be turned into a direct tweet to the beneficiary "Hey X, check out my blog post that shows off how cool you are.". You're far more likely to get retweeted and back-linked like this.

Here are my suggestions, please add your own in the comments below:

  • Retweets - People appreciate their tweets being retweeted. If you read something that was interesting, funny or useful get into the habit of retweeting it.
  • Backlinks - Whenever you mention other bloggers, businesses or services, include a backlink in the post. Then tweet or email the beneficiary to let them know about it.
  • Discuss, review and promote books - This is a powerful way to get the attention of serious bloggers and marketers. They genuinely appreciate it when people talk about their books.
  • Quotes - If someone said something interesting, copy and paste it into your own posts as a quote. Make sure you provide attribution and a link. Then drop the beneficiary a tweet or email to let them know.
  • News - Share news that is important to other people. For example, if another blogger got an award, mention it in a post with a link. Drop them a tweet or email to let them know about it.
  • Interviews & reviews - Take the time to learn a bit about other people and share that information with your readers. It's likely that the beneficiary will mention the post and help to drive more traffic.

In fact, I would recommend that you always dedicate a few paragraphs to a business or blogger who has relevance to your post topic. Preferably several people so that you increase the chances of gaining additional exposure from their mentions.

The more you reference others in your content, the more others will see you as a desirable platform for sharing their own news and information. In return they will promote your blog, et voila; you are starting to succeed!

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Genuine bloggers and businesses use high quality articles to build high page rankings in Google and generate plenty of valuable organic search traffic.

The problem is that the better the content, the more likely it is that others will duplicate, copy, or spin those articles and publish them on their own sites (without permission or attribution).

Most of the time this is not an issue because low quality, article spinning sites generally tend not to rank well in Google search results.

Convincing bloggers to promote your company

Blogger outreach and PR is difficult - I've read a lot of How to articles and guides that say stuff like "Get bloggers to review your site or product", or, "Get as many backlinks from other bloggers as possible".

So everyone knows what to do, but no-one's talking about how to do it. In fact, gathering backlinks is often time consuming, ineffective and infuriating.

Hands up anyone who has spent several hours emailing other bloggers asking them to take a second to look over your new [blog/site/product/service/article/video] and gotten almost no response. It happens all the time.

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Google recently ruined our startup launch with a 'false positive' phishing warning that coincided perfectly with our launch announcement to 4500 existing customers.

The article I wrote about that hugely damaging mistake attracted the attention of John Mueller, who responded sympathetically and said he would 'let the team know' about the problem.

Good to his word, I noted a few hits from Mountain view, California on the affected site and at the article, and a few hours later the erroneous phishing message was removed.

Video blogging (adding clips to a blog) can help to drive traffic, lower bounce rate, increase engagement and conversions, and generally improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Internet marketing.

Video blogging also provides plenty of "different" marketing opportunities that written content can't - because it is a rich medium for communication.

Bloggers who rely on written content only may find their rankings in search engines suffering as Google continues to include more and more video results (especially from YouTube) in its organic search results.

Almost all businesses that have researched Internet marketing strategies are aware that high quality, engaging and relevant content is one of the best ways to drive valuable organic Web traffic.

The problem is that many people don't have the time or patience to build up a good base of content via blogging.

So what's the alternative?

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