5 Things You SHOULDN’T Do When Approaching Bloggers

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answersBrian asks:

I know successful blog promotion is all about networking with other bloggers and practicing strong SEO. How exactly would you go about asking others to link to your blog and increase the quality link juice? Is it bad form to strait-up ask for a link, or propose a link exchange? Or is it the kind of thing that just naturally develops over time?

That is quite a pertinent question. Networking with other bloggers is certainly essential, but I see many people doing it the wrong way. Below you will find 5 things that you shouldn’t do when approaching bloggers for your networking efforts (with a bonus tip in the end).

1. Asking for a link to your blog, article or service

Albeit good your blog, website or service might be, don’t email bloggers asking for a link. Links are the currency of the web, and people don’t give them away for whoever comes asking.

Additionally, if you write an email to a blogger explicitly and exclusively asking for a link, there are high chances that your email will be sent to the trash folder as soon as the person gives it a quick glimpse.

This approach can do more harm than good, therefore, because it won’t get you the link in the first place, and it might also damage your image and burn a bridge with the blogger.

2. Stating that the audience of that blog will be interested in your article or service

Writing to some blogger stating that you are sure that his audience will be interested in your service or article is a lot of presumption. The blogger knows his audience, and he will be the one determining whether or not your service or article will be interesting to his audience.

Again, this approach might do more harm than good. If the service or article is indeed relevant and useful to the audience of that blogger, he will consider writing about it, because it represents an opportunity to give value to his readers.

Your statement that “his audience will love the service” will certainly not convince the blogger, but it might annoy him.

3. Proposing a link exchange out of the blue

There are many spammers around who mass email webmasters and blog owners proposing link exchanges. If you approach someone with this same style, guess what, you will look like one of them.

If you are trying to develop link partnerships where you will recommend relevant and useful sites for your readers, and where your partners will do the same, take the time to build a relationship first.

4. Proposing a deal where only you have something to gain

The summary of this point is: don’t try to be a smart ass. If you have a blog that receives 30,000 monthly unique visitors, don’t email another blogger who receives 500,000 monthly unique visitors asking whether he is interested in exchanging banner ads with you.

Networking is about finding win-win situations.

5. Asking before you give

This is a golden rule of networking: give before you ask. If you want bloggers to link to your service or articles, link to their posts first. If you want someone to promote your products, promote his products first.

This approach is even more effective is you do it genuinely. In other words, don’t link to or promote someone’s products just because you are hoping that he will return the favor. Do it because you think that his website or product has a good quality, and because you genuinely want to spread the word about it. If in the future the person returns the favor, that is a plus.

Bonus Point: How To Pitch Your Service or Article

You might be asking yourself: “OK, those are the things I shouldn’t do. How should I approach a blogger if I want him to write about my service, product or article, though?”

It is simple: write an email or use his contact form and go straight to the point. Mention that you have a service or article, and that you want him to take a look. Include the URL, and sign off. If the service or article is interesting and relevant to the audience of that blogger, he will certainly write about it. If it’s not, he won’t. As simple as that.



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32 Responses to “5 Things You SHOULDN’T Do When Approaching Bloggers”

  • Ibrahim | ZenCollegeLife.com

    simple, yet elegant advice here. But sometimes blunt asking for something works. Sometimes elegance must be neglected, especially when starting out. Noobs don’t have a lot to offer for help, but if their goals resonate with me, I’ll throw them a bone.

  • Blogger User

    I really like the idea of building relationship with the blogger first before asking anything such as link exchange or to link to posts.
    And ya to build relationship one can do things to get in touch with the blogger; such as be active commentator in the blog, linking to his posts or other things that can be done from ones side before approaching him.
    I had read similar post before but this post which comes with a reader’s comment is more interesting.

  • Adam Pieniazek

    Solid tips Daniel. Just emailed this to a few of my clients who I’m helping do blogger outreach.

  • Heidi Cool

    Solid advice. If you build up the relationship first, by leaving insightful comments on their blogs, linking to them, following them on Twitter, FriendFeed, etc. then they’re likely to take a look at your site of their own accord. I’ve gotten many links this way.

    I’ve also found this is a good way to get blogging ideas. For example I’ve written blog entries that follow up on an article someone else has written and vice versa. I then link to their post accordingly. Sometimes they’ll write another post in response and you can build up a nice blog-to-blog dialog. If you build up such a rapport, and if that person keeps a blogroll page, then they may very well add you because they already know that your content also appeals to their audience.

    That said there may be times when it is appropriate to ask. Last year I was speaking at a conference for Web professionals in higher education. The conference site listed blogs related to higher ed/Web so I e-mailed the organizer and asked to have mine added. (I actually did this before my abstract had been accepted for the program.) She added me immediately because my blog really did fit into the specific scope of that links page.

    I’ve also rec’d many link requests and do reject most, but there have been a few exceptions. I used to be Webmaster for Case Western Reserve University and one of the sites I built and maintained was the “Visit Case” site. I had a page there that included transportation information include bus and light rail train routes to the university. Whenever the Webmaster for the regional transit authority would e-mail me suggestions I would add them, because this was information I specifically wanted to be accurate and thorough and he was the one who knew it best.

    I did not, however, add every hotel in the metro area that asked because that would have made the list unwieldy. Instead I restricted the list to those fairly close to campus who had served visitors well in the past.

    So I do think it can be appropriate to ask, but only when the link in question really is the exact fit.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Tip 6: Do not take a Blogger for granted:
    Most bloggers when approaced would be willing to help you out. That doesn’t mean he has nothing else to do. When you approach someone for help, make sure that you have done whatever you can to solve the problem yourself.

    At least, Google (or Bing) your problem for a solution. Make the Blogger feel that you have done your part, and he would be glad to help you out 🙂

    Daniel,

    Do you think one should wait till advertisers find us or should we ask them if they are interested? As a popular Blogger, I guess that your Sponsors came to you naturally. How did you find them in the early days? Any tips on contacting them?

    Thanks.

  • David

    I have a service and would like you to take a look. The URL is above.

    Kind regards

    David

  • Zemalf

    I wonder how bloggers choose who they pitch to? Blogger of similar status (e.g. both beginners) or shoot to the top straight away?

    And how often bloggers get these suggestions from other bloggers? I’m assuming, top bloggers must have a filter in their gmail to handle’em 🙂

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Arun, in the early days you need to hunt sponsors down. But make sure that you will be able to deliver value to them (i.e. brand awareness, clicks and leads).

    After a while sponsors will start to inquire about advertising opportunities on your site, and then you can sit back and work on other activities.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Daniel,

    Thanks for the reply there.

    I had a sponsor once, and he was very happy with the perfomance. Since I have fewer ad blocks, each block gets good no. of clicks.

    But I am having a hard time convincing sponsors. As always, it will be better soon I guess.

    Thanks again 🙂

  • Michael Aulia

    I have a few emails asking for link exchange and mostly I replied by saying I’m not interested.
    As you say, it has to be a win win situation. How can I do a link exchange/banner exchange when his/her blog’s Alexa Rank is still in 1,000,000 mark? (mine is around 59k)

  • rajsekhar291

    good ideas.I’ve never read any tips like this.I think these can make a big difference.good post and thanks for the post.

    freedombusinesssystem

  • bilin

    my blog just startup and there are so many question need to explain by superior like Daniel, how to sent the question to you?

    and i notice that you put Brian’s link in the post, could i get the same process while i ask a question?

  • LithiumMind

    i am glad i read the above post. These are definitely mistakes that should not be made.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @bilin, either post a comment or email it to me.

  • Melvin

    Oh thanks Daniel. When I was starting I was like that to be honest. Luckily I have completely learned that, that’s not the way to do it. ironically when someone does those things to me I get pissed off easily,LOLz…

  • Focused Awareness | Matt

    Blogger etiquette was a mystifying subject to me and probably many blogger. Thanks for putting the info out there so everyone can be more successful and use the power of the blog-o-sphere to its fullest.

  • opit

    Many bloggers post linking policies on their blog. Even though I run an atypical site in that I actively promote new content, there is a cameraderie which is there to encourage new talent. Every year there is a push to list new blogs at major sites so as to poll the online community.
    There are also bookmarking social sites to promote those with similar interests. Spiders read self-chosen tagfiles and people can network with those of similar interests : all in the chase for personal instead of routine contact.
    Blogging is like shouting at the breeze and getting no response too much of the time. If one does not use social communities and comment…there may not be much uptake.

  • excITingIP.com

    That was an informative and a frank post. Since my website is fairly new, I was also having the same question in my mind as to how to approach others in my niche. I think your suggestion at last was a gem. Thanks, Daniel.

    One more thing: What is this Alexa rank that one commenter above is talking about?

    excITingIP.com

  • Harrison Schmidt

    Those are great tips, especially “Proposing a deal where only you have something to gain”.

    Another tip – If you want other bloggers to promote your affiliate program, you should pay atleast 50% or better 75% so they actually make some good money from the sale and will want to promote it. Clickbank or Commision junction are good system to have your affiliate program with. And promote the bloggers affiliate programs on your blogs in return.

  • Ecommerce Help – Tyrone Shum

    “Proposing a deal where only you have something to gain

    The summary of this point is: don’t try to be a smart ass. If you have a blog that receives 30,000 monthly unique visitors, don’t email another blogger who receives 500,000 monthly unique visitors asking whether he is interested in exchanging banner ads with you.

    Networking is about finding win-win situations.”

    Regardless to say, asking for a favor wherein you are the only one to gain is something that can trigger a unhealthy relationship between you ad the other person. I don’t want to be harsh, but basically all of us would want something that can also be of a benefit to us when ask of something like a favor like this. Apart from this, we should also make sure not to ask out of the blue to have your link posted in their site. Be considerate and tactful.

  • Boerne Search

    All good tips. I like #6 too. It does seem that some people can become a little too dependent on there help. This is a quick write off for me. Ever have someone ask for help and them sit there like you’re going to take the ball and run with it as they recline and relax.

    No Freeloaders! 🙂

    Kane

  • gaus surahman

    Yes, networking is not selling products. It is a matter of building relationship rather than gaining all the profit to your pocket 🙂 It needs sincerity more than trickery. Geez, did I say anything right here? Thanks for well-phrased basic advice on blog promotion.

  • LaurenMarie – Creative Curio

    Daniel this is great! I added as a recommended read on my contact page because I’m definitely one of those website owners who gets a lot of “promote my new service!” requests. Tweeted the article, too.

    I particularly related to your idea of how to get the attention of bloggers: link to them first. I’ve found myself much more interested (and likely to recommend) someone’s site if they mention my site first or contact me on Twitter and say they like my content. Then I want to explore who they are so I can give a more personal “thank you.” I think using this tactic also makes it feel like it’s my choice—better yet, my idea!—whether or not to promote someone’s site.

  • iWrite2know

    I agree to your post. I run a free service on my website. I do not indulge in link exchanges nor do I ask for a back link. I email to the blogger and offer my free service. If the blogger agrees, it works for me. I do not pressurise the blogger or pursue him aggressively.

  • Claus D Jensen

    Hi,

    This is a very useful post!

    I totally agree with you, and love the idea of sending an email, and go straight to the point!

    That will make it more like you will get a straight answer! 😀

    Greetings,
    Claus D Jensen

  • arka sokaklar

    I agree to your post. I run a free service on my website. I do not indulge in link exchanges nor do I ask for a back link. I email to the blogger and offer my free service. If the blogger agrees, it works for me. I do not pressurise the blogger or pursue him aggressively.

  • Phaoloo

    They are all real things bloggers encounter everyday, my inbox is always hit by link exchange requests or ask for links to their posts.

  • Medyum

    Thanks for the reply there.

    I had a sponsor once, and he was very happy with the perfomance. Since I have fewer ad blocks, each block gets good no. of clicks.

    But I am having a hard time convincing sponsors. As always, it will be better soon I guess.

  • hikaye

    Solid tips Daniel. Just emailed this to a few of my clients who I’m helping do blogger outreach.

  • Judith Swartz

    MY website and blog are not yet live and I certainly want to be correct; greatly appreciate your comments. Do the same blog link rules apply to websites? For example, if I mention your name, is it rude to link your name to your website?

  • shanna

    Thank you for the BONUS POINT tip! I wasn’t sure how to approach other bloggers who may be interested in becoming an affiliate for my goals mentoring membership program.

    Since this program is only going through a beta test right now, I don’t have traffic to offer anyone so I will be sure we both win through the commissions portion of the affiliate program.

    THANKS so much!

  • Sally Strebel

    This is such a great article. However, it makes me sad that articles like this must be posted. The process of approaching anybody should have been developed in elementary school.

    1. Someone seems cool and they have similar interests.
    2. You tell them that you think they’re cool & you have similar interests.
    3. You find your own coolness by bringing something to the table and offer/hope to be friends. If they don’t respond to your friendliness, try again.
    4. Stay cool and maintain the friendship

    It may seem juvenile and simple but why complicate a proven system.

    I think the problem occurs when people initially approach someone as a blogger first instead of a possible friend.

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