Tapping Into Your Alpha Audience: How Blogger Outreach Can Amplify Your Reach

In a recent conversation with Mark Schaefer, he shared something that should be of interest to every SEO and content marketer out there: Only 2 percent of social media followers share content. Yes, that’s right — only 2 percent.

Let’s step back a bit. We know we need links, but building them can be dangerous if you leave footprints for Google to find and penalize. To grow organic rankings safely, links have to be earned on the basis of great content. Let’s assume you’ve mastered the art of content marketing and are already producing compelling, fascinating content.

But if the reality is that only 2 percent of followers share content — what hope do you truly have of earning links if your audience doesn’t share or amplify?

Building Your Alpha Audience

Unless you are one of the VERY lucky few who has a built-in audience, you need a strategy to get your audience to come to you. Instead of focusing on growing your numbers — traffic, social followers — the emphasis should be on building your “alpha” audience. According to Schaefer, your “alpha” audience is that 2 percent of your audience that shares content and in turn, has an active community around them. By targeting this group, you can create engaged brand ambassadors who will amplify your content for you.

Your main focus, then, should be to build trust and relationships with this “alpha” audience, and to slowly grow the percentage of your audience that is “alpha.”

But the question remains — how do you reach them and develop a relationship with them?

Complementing Content Marketing With Blogger Outreach

In an Internet that values quality over quantity, it’s important to build powerful relationships to help amplify your content. To connect with your alpha audience and grow it with new ones, it’s inevitable — you have to reach out to people and build relationships. By complementing your content marketing with blogger and influencer outreach, you can reach that core “alpha” audience. Yet to do this in a scalable, structured way can be very difficult.

Whether you are building relationships to announce content you’ve created, or to offer to guest post for others, or to conduct interviews with authorities, finding and maintaining relationships with others in your industry is fundamental.

5 Steps to Scalable Blogger Outreach

Here we’ll outline a scalable method for blogger outreach that you can use to find, track, and maintain relationships with your alpha audience.

1. Finding Relevant Authorities

The obvious place to find relevant authorities is Google. You know that whatever sites are at the top are trusted by Google and can be considered a trustworthy source. So the first step is to become a master of Google search operators so you can unmask them. If you need some help creating search operators, this toolcan also help.

Don’t stop at Google. You can use other tools to discover experts such as Buzzsumo or Klout.

And of course, don’t forget to search for hashtags and keywords on social media sites, particularly Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. You don’t just want people who have a lot of traffic to their site, you also want people that have large social followings, and you’ll uncover those by searching for your keywords in various social media sites.

2. Reaching Out

The pitch letter will make or break your outreach campaign. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received responses where people say, “I get dozens of these emails every day, but your letter really stood out.” The pitch letter has to be:

  • Brief: People are busy – keep it short!
  • Personalized: Make it obvious that you’re not sending this same letter to hundreds of sites. People like exclusivity, and will react if the letter has personalized elements.
  • Readable: Use short sentences and bullet points. Help people scan your email to guarantee they’ll actually read it.
  • Authoritative: Tell them why you are an expert and show them examples of your work.
  • Clear About Your Expectations: If you are telling them about great content — why? What do you expect in return? People will refuse to answer if they think you’re trying to sell them something.

Here’s an example of a fantastic pitch letter:

I represent clinical psychologist [Authority Name], founder and director of [Institute].

She works heavily with millennials who are suffering from the adverse effects and issues surrounding technology overuse. [Institute] is the first facility of its kind. [Authority Name] is unique in her approach to the treatment of her patients and offers a comprehensive holistic intake. She is a guest blogger for [Industry Blog] and a regular contributor to [Industry Magazine].

Would you consider [Authority Name] as a guest blogger for [SiteName]?. She would be able to provide your readers tangible tips and tools that they can implement in their homes to insure the safety of their teens, particularly when it comes to setting boundaries where technology and the Internet is considered.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

3. Tracking Conversations

If you’ve emailed enough people (the response ratios is usually about 10 to 15 percent), you’ll start receiving responses from people willing to share your content, open to accepting you as a guest blogger, or willing to be interviewed. The worst thing you can do at this stage is to ignore their email or to delay in responding to them.

For Gmail users, a fantastic free extension that you can use to track your conversations is Streak. We use Streak to track the status of every single email. We create stages based on the progression of the conversation, then on a daily basis we can keep track and advance all conversations individually.

tracking-conversions

Some of the stages we use are:

  • Send Topic Ideas
  • Pitched
  • Pitched Needs Attention
  • Needs Content
  • Needs Editing
  • To Be Published
  • Accepted
  • Published

We also use the Streak boxes to add notes about each contact, add and track conversation dates, and to add reminder dates for following up with each contact. This allows us to establish an inexpensive, collaborative outreach method where dropping conversations is minimized if we are religious about updating the status.

4. Developing a Relationship

Don’t be a one hit wonder. Don’t just guest blog for others once, or share their content once. It’s important to continuously engage and to treat this as you would a business relationship.

Here are a few ways to stay engaged:

  • Use a tool like Hootsuite to create circles of your “alpha” audiences so you can read and engage with their social media content.
  • Create a category in Feedly called “alpha” so you can follow their blog posts.
  • Create Google alerts or Mention alerts on their name to track news articles or other prominent publications.
  • Use Streak Reminders or schedule tasks to remind yourself to reach out to them every few weeks and offer to write additional content for them.

5. Going Beyond

Your alpha audience is in high demand — every competitor in your niche wants to tap into their amplifying powers. If you are finding roadblocks and your campaigns are not yielding results, you need to consider going a little bit beyond the norm. What can you offer your alpha audience that others can’t, or won’t?

This is the time to be truly creative. If you regularly create infographics — why not offer to create a custom, exclusive infographic for them? If you have a PR agency working with you, why not bring them in as “experts” during media interviews? If you sell a product, consider sending them a sample or free products to gain their attention and encourage product reviews. Differentiate yourself from the masses and your chances of being heard will substantially increase.

Play the numbers game. Don’t get discouraged if you send out 100 emails and no one responds. The key is to keep trying and if what you’re doing isn’t working, revise your strategy and try something differently.

Do you use blogger outreach as part of your content amplification strategy? What tactics have you found helpful?

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