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How and Why Employee Advocacy Can Boost Your Startup’s Engagement Rate on Facebook

There are approximately three million businesses that promote their products, share their content, and engage with their target audience on Facebook. Unfortunately, the immense volume of ads and sponsored posts making their way News Feeds has been the cause of disappointment for many Facebook users. This, combined with the recent Cambridge Analytica fiasco, is causing […]

There are approximately three million businesses that promote their products, share their content, and engage with their target audience on Facebook.

Unfortunately, the immense volume of ads and sponsored posts making their way News Feeds has been the cause of disappointment for many Facebook users. This, combined with the recent Cambridge Analytica fiasco, is causing enormous problems for brands relying heavily on Facebook for their social media marketing campaigns.

As if this isn’t bad enough, Facebook’s announcement of changing its algorithm to prioritize posts from real people in your network over brand content. This is like adding salt to injury to the already depleting organic reach Facebook pages are experiencing since 2014.

Because of this, many brands using Facebook marketing will now have to resort to spending more on Facebook ads to get the same results. This may not appear to be a problem for well-established businesses. However, for startups that have to work with a very lean budget, this can be potentially problematic.

Which now begs the all-important question: is it still worth to market your startup on Facebook?

Believe it or not, the answer is still a resounding YES!

That’s because, despite everything, Facebook continues to be the most widely used social media platform with 2.2 billion monthly users. 66% of them log into their accounts at least once a day.

Facebook Users 2018

Source: Statista

Moreover, even though some project that Facebook ad prices will increase, the rate is still significantly cheaper than other forms of online paid advertising.

More important is the number of leads that become paying customers. Facebook delivers an average conversion rate of 9.21% across all industries.

Facebook Ads Benchmarks

Source: Wordstream

Understanding the changes to the Facebook algorithm

One valuable marketing lesson I’ve learned comes from Lao Tzu’s The Art of War: “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Facebook is not a startup’s enemy when it comes to engaging with their target audience and scaling their business. However, if you want to be able to achieve your social media marketing goals with Facebook, you’ll need first to understand how their new algorithm works. Only then will you be able to maximize it to your advantage.

Facebook’s updated algorithm is, in reality, is a step backward to the main reason why it was created in the first place: to become a platform that brings people closer together.

In his post, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that they would be doing a series of updates that will prioritize posts from friends and family.

Mark Zuckerburg

Screenshot from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook

The hope is that with these changes, these posts will spark meaningful conversations and discussions among its users. Facebook clearly explains how the new algorithm will work in the video below.

[Video Link: https://www.facebook.com/facebook/videos/10156988765141729/]

It’s because of this why brands have slowly shifted their Facebook marketing strategy incorporate and capitalize on employee advocacy.

What is employee advocacy?

Employee advocacy is a marketing strategy where your employees share content promoting your brand and your products using their social media accounts.

Why even use employee advocacy?

That’s an excellent question. After all, strategies like content marketing still works despite the changes happening on Facebook, right?

Well, for starters, recent events have caused people to lose their trust towards branded content, particularly content coming from their CEOs. Interestingly enough, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that consumers are shifting their faith towards employees of the company.

Employers Trust

Source: Edelman

This growing skepticism is due to the fact they have become increasingly aware of tactics companies use to market their brand online. 60% who participated in the study said that CEOs are driven more to make a profit than provide content that will genuinely help and deliver value.

Comit To Long Form Content

Source: Edelman

Since your startup’s brand is the cornerstone of your relationship with your customers, it’s crucial that you capitalize on those that your customers trust. That is why 96% of those that have used employee advocacy on Facebook and other social media networks have been reaping the benefits below.

Promoting brand awareness

The top two benefits companies experienced with employee advocacy have to do with increasing your brand’s messaging to your target audience.

Benefits of Employee Advocacy

Source: Hinge Marketing

As a startup, your brand’s message is crucial to your success. It’s what you communicate to your customers regularly. It’s also the critical element to help you build relationships with them so that they trust you enough that they’re willing to avail of your products and services.

Increase your social reach

Employee advocacy and influencer marketing have many things in common. They both have followers that trust what they say and recommend. They both are knowledgeable in their respective industries. They both share content on social media.

The main difference between the two lies in the fact that influencer marketing involves collaborating with influencers who are not affiliated with your company. This can lead to many of your target audience becoming skeptical about the sincerity of these influencers when they promote your brand to their followers. In fact, customers are now becoming aware that many of the influencers they follow on social media are compensated by the brands they recommend on social media.

On the other hand, employee advocacy taps into the social media network of your employees. Because their friends, family, and followers on social media are aware that they are part of your startup, sharing posts about your brand and your products becomes more genuine. That’s why brand messages shared by employees get shared 24 times more than if these are posted using your brand’s social media account.

Now, if you think that your employees don’t have the same reach potential as influencers in your niche, think again.

True, the average number of friends a Facebook user has is 338. However, these same users generate an average of over 166 engagements on their posts.

Earned Facebook Engagement

Source: Statista

Do the math, and that’s a 49% average engagement rate!

Grow your bottom line more quickly

Brands that have an employee advocacy program in place grow twice as fast as those that don’t use employee advocacy according to StoreKit.

One reason for this is that having an employee advocacy program will transform your employees into your brand ambassadors. That means that they will need to have a deeper understanding of your brand and products to make sure that they’re promoted to their followers in a sincere, natural, and genuine fashion.

What’s more, employee advocacy taps into the power of word-of-mouth, which remains as the most influential type of marketing among customers. Not only does it help brands close seven times more leads, but also increase their customer retention rate by 37%.

Activate Your Advocates

Source: SlideShare

Leveraging employee advocacy on Facebook

By now, you see how launching an employee advocacy program can significantly help your startup circumvent the new Facebook algorithm, and increase your engagement rate.

Now, the all-important question: how do you do it?

Here’s a 7-step action plan to help you launch an employee advocacy program to boost your Facebook marketing campaigns.

1. Create a share-worthy culture for your employees

Even before Starbucks launched its employee strategy program, it already instilled a culture within their company where they consider their employees as their partners, regardless of their position.

By doing this, Starbucks created a workplace where their employees feel that they not only belong but accountable to the brand’s reputation and image. This sense of belonging and accountability eventually carried over to their Facebook posts and other social media activities when they launched their employee advocacy program.

Starbucks Image

Source: SlideShare

In the same manner, make sure that you develop a culture in your workplace where your employees feel valued and happy to work before you launch your employee advocacy program. Not only will this ensure the quality of the posts your employees share on Facebook, but also give them something to share about that will spark curiosity and engagement.

2. Set your goals

Make sure that you set clear goals and benchmarks for your employee advocacy program.

This will help you direct your strategy and create content that will resonate with your target market. Your goals will also help you monitor your employee advocacy program to make sure that your employee advocacy program resonates with your target audience.

When it comes to setting goals, I always recommend to my clients to follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula to make sure that the goals they set are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. That way, your goals are not just for you but your employees as well.

3. Explain the benefits to your employees

It’s crucial to highlight the benefits your employees will get from participating in your employee advocacy program. People crave for attention, and the need to be recognized. When your employees feel that you genuinely value them and put their needs first, they’ll be more willing to come onboard. In fact, one study published in the Harvard Business Review shows that 72% of businesses that recognize their top performers experience higher employee engagement.

Your employees also have already a lot on their plate. This is particularly true with startups where it’s quite common for some of the job responsibilities and descriptions become blurry. So, expect that your employees would initially view your employee advocacy program as another chore that they need to do.

More important, understand that you’re essentially asking them their permission to tap into their personal network on Facebook to broaden your brand’s social reach. Most—if not, all—of your employees consider their Facebook profile and connections very private, and they may see your employee advocacy program an invasion of their privacy.

Incentives and recognition don’t necessarily need to be in the form of monetary compensation (although that will still be very much appreciated). Here are some of the benefits employee advocacy can give your employees to get them on board:

  • The potential to become respected thought leaders in your industry
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Sponsorship to industry-related conferences and workshops

4. Invest in an employee advocacy platform

As with most social media marketing automation tools, getting an employee advocacy platform like Smarp will make launching and monitoring your program quicker and easier for you and your employees.

When choosing an employee advocacy platform, here are some things you need to consider:

  • Connected to major social media networks. Employee advocacy platforms are not created equally. Make sure that the one you choose seamlessly combines with the top social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • Accessible through mobile devices. Nearly 80% of people use their mobile device to access social media networks, particularly on Facebook. It’s essential that the employee advocacy platform you choose to use can be accessed on different mobile devices regardless of its operating system. That way, your employees will be able to use it and share content wherever they go.
  • Ability to view analytics. Analytics is the most critical feature your employee advocacy tool must have is its ability to provide you with comprehensive analytics in real-time. It should also be able to cohesively integrate with Google Analytics and other marketing platforms your startup uses. That way, you get detailed insights into the effectiveness of your employee advocacy campaign in increasing your engagement rate on Facebook.

5. Provide your employees with training

Studies show that 54% of companies don’t provide training to their employees before and during their employee advocacy program. Perhaps it’s because of the number of people using Facebook and other social media networks.

While that may be true, it’s vital to provide your team with ample training and guidance before and during your employee advocacy program. Only then can you maintain a consistent voice on Facebook.

You’ll also need to train your employees in using the employee advocacy you chose to use for your program. By doing this, you reduce the likelihood of your team becoming frustrated or confused in using them. Otherwise, this can become the reason for them to drop out from your employee advocacy program altogether.

6. Provide shareable content that sparks conversations

Always remember that one of Facebook’s goals for making changes to its algorithm is to spark meaningful conversations among its users. So if you want to increase your startup’s engagement rate on Facebook with employee advocacy, the content your employees share here must do just that.

For this to happen, you need to make sure that the branded content you supply your employees is helpful, informative or entertaining to others. Even though these are your employees, providing them with nothing but posts about press releases and product offers will not get you anywhere.

Also, give your employees some liberty to create their own posts about your startup to share to their network. These kinds of posts appear more natural for those in their network to see. Not only will people from their network be more willing to engage in the posts, but your employees won’t think twice about sharing them on their personal network.

At the same time, it also gives your employees more participation and involvement in the program. When that happens, they won’t feel like they’re being ordered around to post whatever piece of content your marketing team creates.

Have social media posting guidelines in place before the launch of your program. That way, you can be sure that your employees won’t post anything that would reveal sensitive information about your startup or put it in a negative light.

This is where using an employee advocacy tool also comes in handy. Having a central hub where your employees can upload and share content from gives you the ability to screen and review the posts your employees create before they get published. By doing this, you’re able to make sure that every post shared is aligned with your overall marketing goals.

7. Keep things interesting for your employees

When you launch your employee advocacy program, everyone is excited. However, this excitement won’t last. Also, it won’t sustain itself unless you become proactive about it. If you don’t, there’s an excellent chance it would slowly fade until your employees completely forget about this.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that you assign a point person who would be responsible for keeping the flame of your employee advocacy program alive among your employees by getting their feedback and asking their questions or suggestions.

Key Takeaways

Facebook’s decision to take a step back to its mission may initially be disastrous for startups using this platform to promote brand awareness and engage with their target audience. In reality, this will only happen if startups aren’t willing to adjust their social media marketing strategy.

Implementing an employee advocacy program is one way to help increase your brand’s engagement rate here. By transforming your employees into your brand ambassadors, you’ll increase the chances of your startup’s content making their way into your target market’s News Feed.

However, your employee advocacy campaign is only as good as the quality of content you share online. Even though you got your entire workforce onboard, if you don’t provide them with content that’s share-worthy, you still won’t get the level of engagement you’re hoping. Worse, it can discourage your employees to take part in the program.

Creating quality content aligned with your goals, encouraging your employees to take an active role, and giving them ample training and resources are the keys to using employee advocacy to increase your engagement rates on Facebook.

Blogger Outreach: How to Integrate Influencers Into Your Content Marketing Strategy

You’ve slaved away for days on a stellar piece of content for your business’ website. You’ve made sure that it’s optimized just the way that the experts advised. You uploaded it to your site and distributed it to your different social media channels and you gave yourself a well-deserved pat on the back… Then, the […]

You’ve slaved away for days on a stellar piece of content for your business’ website.

You’ve made sure that it’s optimized just the way that the experts advised.

You uploaded it to your site and distributed it to your different social media channels and you gave yourself a well-deserved pat on the back…

Then, the next day, you check your stats and…

You find…NOTHING!

Blogging Conspiracy Keanu

Clearly, the blog post was published, the pat on the back was given, what more do you need?

After all that hard work, you’ve got nothing to show, leaving you feeling frustrated, disappointed, and possibly, disillusioned.

But, whom are we kidding? You’re downright ticked off!

It’s enough for you to start thinking that all the benefits of content marketing are just hype and you’re seriously considering giving up.

Before you throw in the towel on content marketing, I want you to know that I’ve been there, and I feel your pain.

However, at the same time, I’m here to tell you about a strategy that I added into my content marketing activities that’s gotten influential bloggers and startup founders to share my content, get me some guest post invites, rank #2 in Google, and get new clients in the process.

That strategy is blogger outreach.

Blogger outreach (sometimes called influencer outreach) is getting other bloggers within your niche to promote your content and brand on their blog and social media accounts.

Not just any bloggers, of course.

We’re talking here of those established and influential bloggers that’s built themselves a loyal and active following (think Everette Taylor, Ryan Robinson, Joei Chan of Mention, and Growth Marketing Conference speaker and guest blogger, Sujan Patel).

 

Why include blogger outreach in your content marketing strategy?

Well, because it works.

How many times have you come across a blog that seemingly appeared from nowhere, and the author now the newest expert in your niche that’s rubbing elbows (and shoulders) with the A-list bloggers you dream would respond to your emails?

This is what blogger outreach can do for you and your content.

By taking the initiative, you’re getting your content you’ve worked on for hours (even days) the attention it deserves.

If you approach them the right way, blogger outreach can help you quickly build your brand’s credibility. As a result, you’ll start earning more high-quality inbound links, increase your site’s domain authority in Google as well as in other search engines. You’ll also begin attracting better-qualified leads to your business that you can convert into customers more efficiently. More important, you’ll be able to build a relationship with these influential bloggers and startup founders which can lead to co-marketing campaigns.

Tor Resfeld of Time Management Chef’s success is one example (and one of my inspirations).

In addition to getting featured in 158 blogs within 14 months, his blogger outreach efforts paved the way for him get invited to do speaking engagements and interviews that further help build his brand and credibility.

At the same time, the influential bloggers that he’s now developed a relationship with have started driving more qualified leads for his coaching business which went from $0 to $3000 per month in just three months.  

If that’s not enough to convince you to include blogger outreach into your existing content marketing strategy, check out these stats from Sprout Social:

  • 81% of people that go online trust the information they read from these influential blogs.
  • 63% of people today admit that they are more influenced to buy something recommended in a blog than elsewhere.
  • 61% of people purchase a product or service

Getting noticed: the biggest roadblock

All of this sounds well and good. The only problem is: how do you get these people even to notice you?

Ironically, since blogger outreach is an effective content marketing strategy, everyone in your niche that’s doing content marketing is trying to get the very same influencers to notice them. The thing is unless you do something different, the message you send out to these influencers will drown in their inboxes.

Aim to become a purple cow by tapping into untapped niches and making your marketing campaigns stand out. 

As well consider following influencers and editors via Twitter by turning on your mobile notifications to build organic relationships.

As well you may even discover what annoys them the most.

Tips From Editor To Get Featured in Fast Company

Tips To Get Featured in Forbes

Most of all avoid the number one mistake that every content marketer makes when trying to reach out to these influencers: focusing too much on themselves.

If you want to get the attention of these influencers, you need to turn the table around, i.e., making it all about how you can help the influencer.

Yes, it does seem counterintuitive.

After all, why should you be helping someone that’s already established? You’re the struggling newbie here. You’re the one that needs help, right?

It all goes back to the crux of content marketing, which is to create valuable, customer-centric content so that you can establish and build a mutually beneficial relationship. Just like with your target customers, these bloggers are always looking for quality content that provides value to them and their loyal followers.

When you can position yourself as someone who can do just that, you stand to have a much better chance catching their attention, and get them to pay attention to what is it that you have to offer.

 

Steps to integrate blogger outreach

Step 1: Revisit your content marketing goals

Before you start reaching out to influential bloggers, take a few minutes to revisit your content marketing goals because these will tell you what to ask the bloggers best you plan to contact.

Blogger outreach, like any good kind of content marketing strategy, will require a lot of time and effort.

For example, if your goal is to increase your site’s page rank, I found focusing your blogger outreach efforts towards participating in link roundups.

These are primarily blogs that feature other people’s posts that offer additional related and relevant content to their readers.

On the other hand, if you’re looking at using blogger outreach as a way to increase your revenue and get more clients at the door, you may get better results doing an epic roundup post.

This was the case with my good friend Ryan Robinson when he created a roundup post where he shares the best business advice from the most successful entrepreneurs.

Not only did this post build his brand’s credibility and authority, but it also helps him get five of these highly successful entrepreneurs to become his clients.

“While I’ve gone on to land paid contracts with several of the entrepreneurs I featured in my business advice roundup piece, it’s important to note that I didn’t start those conversations with the intention of selling them anything.

My goal was to provide value to them in the form of featuring them to my blog audience of 200,000 monthly readers and through writeups I later did on my publication columns.”

“It was only after this post started getting thousands of shares and once I began publishing pieces mentioning the influencers on my columns for sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc that the gears started turning and I got a few requests to chat about how I might be able to help them create similarly successful content for their own blogs and for the startups they ran.

Since then, I’ve been replicating this process.

It’s been by far my most effective outbound selling technique, because it’s based on the foundation of providing massive upfront value (the way my clients want to receive it) and giving them a real-life preview of how my content marketing consulting process functions—rather than just a pitch on what I could do for them.”

 

Step 2: Consult your buyer persona

Even though influencers are your primary “target” when doing a blogger outreach, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have to disregard your buyer persona altogether.

On the contrary, your buyer persona is your compass that points you in the direction where your blogger outreach activities—and, consequently your entire content marketing strategy—should go.

That’s because one of the critical elements in creating a buyer persona is knowing your persona’s content preferences. Part of this is knowing who are the top influencers they follow.

These are the people that you’ll need to include in your blogger outreach list, which we’ll talk about next.

 

Step 3: Make your blogger “hit list”

Now that you’re clear on your content marketing goals and reviewed your buyer persona, the next step is to create your blogger “hit list,” which is mostly a list of influential bloggers in your niche that you want to reach out and build a relationship with.

To do this, first open a new document in Google sheets and create the following headings:

  • The name of the blog
  • The blog’s URL
  • The name of the blogger that owns the blog (you can find this on the blog’s About Page)
  • The blogger’s email address

Once you’ve gotten the headings in place, the next step is to fill them up.

Start off with those blogs you remember right on the top of your head as well as those that you picked up from your buyer persona. Here are some of the tools that I use to help me create and update my blogger outreach list:

 

Google Search

Google is one of the first places I go to when looking for influential bloggers to include in my blogger outreach list. Since Google places the blogs with much authority on the first page when you search, it makes perfect sense to include those that are listed on the first search results page.

In addition to those blogs that are listed on the first page of Google’s search results, I also do a search based on the suggested related searches Google lists at the bottom of their search engine results pages (SERPs).

Blogger Outreach Research

Aside from these being excellent places to also look for influential blogs within your niche, you can also take note of these keyword phrases and use them when creating content.

AllTop

AllTop is a curated list of high-quality blogs in practically every industry and niche. It’s an excellent place for you to discover quality blogs that are within your niche that you may not be familiar with.

When creating a search on AllTop, start off by using a generic keyword.

AllTop will give you a list of related categories based on the keyword you used.

AllTop Influencer Marketing Strategy

Choose the category that best describes the kinds of blogs you’re looking for. AllTop will then give you a list of the all the blogs in that specific category that they classified as being of high-quality.

 

FollowerWonk

Unlike the first two, this tool developed by Moz doesn’t provide you a list of blogs. Instead, it gives you a list of the bios of the people that contain the keyword you used to search.

What’s great about this is that it not only gives you the blogger’s Twitter handle so you can have a way to connect with them, but it also gives you their social authority rank, which is the blogger’s influential content on Twitter.   

One thing to remember when using FollowerWonk is that is lists down all the social authority ranks of everyone whose bios include the keyword you used when searching.

A quick way how to find the most influential ones is to click on the Social Authority tab on the rightmost part of the screen.

Twitter Blogger Outreach Strategy

This will sort out the Twitter handles from highest to lowest social authority ranking, and make it easier to weed out the one worth reaching out to.

 

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo works very much like FollowerWonk in that it gives you a list of the Twitter handles of the influential bloggers whose bios include the keyword you used in your search.

Of the two, I tend to use this more frequently because it offers a lot more useful information.

For starters, while BuzzSumo doesn’t provide the influencer’s social authority on Twitter, it does give you the domain authority of the influencer’s blog.

This metric gives you an estimate on how well a website or blog ranks on Google and other search engine results pages. The higher the domain authority, the better it will rank.

BuzzSumo Influencer Marketing Research Tool

Another useful piece of information BuzzSumo gives is the average retweets. This metric gives you an average estimate of the number of times an influencer’s post is retweeted by others.

Then there is the influencer’s retweet ratio.

This tells you what percentage of tweets the influencer puts out are retweets. In the image above, for example, Brian Clark of Copyblogger has a 40% retweet ratio. That means that for every 100 tweets he shares on Twitter, 40 of were retweets of other people’s content.

Ideally, you’d want to look for influencers with a very high domain authority, retweet ratio, and average tweets.

These are the best influencers to include in your blogger outreach list.

The number of influencers to include in your list greatly depends on your business.

If you run a niche-specific business, 30 influencers is a good starting point. On the other hand, a blogger outreach list with 100 influencers will be a better option for someone running a SaaS startup.

 

Step 4: Segment your list into tiers

Separating your influencers into different tiers is essential for you to get the most out from your blogger outreach efforts.

Not all blogs are created equal, neither is the manner on how you approach each influencer in your niche.

Getting straight to the point can work with most bloggers when you reach out to them while a little bit more TLC is needed if you’re approaching industry leaders, which can take some time.

By segmenting your list, you’ll be able to maximize your time by starting to generate some buzz and gain some quick wins for you and your business.

 

Step 5: Getting on their radar

Believe it or not, even influential and well-established bloggers keep a close watch on how their content is performing. You can use this to your advantage by regularly sharing their content and commenting on their blog posts to get them to notice you. Unfortunately, the mistake that lots of people do when they try using this technique to grab the influencer’s attention is that they only leave a relatively general comment like the infamous “Great post!” comment.

Let me throw a bit of tough love here: you’re not going to get anywhere when you leave comments like this on their blog posts or when you share their comments on social media.

If you want to grab their attention, take the time to craft a well-thought-of comment to leave in their blog posts. Not only will this be a way for you to show to the influencer that you’re able to provide insights that will help add value to their readers, but it will also help you stand out from the rest of the many others leaving comments on their blog.

Now, when it comes to sharing their posts on social media, make sure that you don’t forget to mention them in the post by using the @ on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or the “+” on Google+. That way, the influencer will get a notification on their end that you shared their content and left a few insightful thoughts about it as well.

Another method I found to be effective in getting the attention of influencers is by answering questions they send to their followers. Again, this is an excellent opportunity for you to add value to their followers, and get their attention.

When Web Hosting Secret Revealed surveyed what online business owners consider as the best website development tool or platform to use. My response got me featured in the blog post along with the likes of Justin Metros (founder of Radiator), Efe Cakinberk (CEO of Smart DNS Proxy), and Zane McIntyre (owner of Commission Factory).

WishPond Featuring Top Inbound Marketing Consultant Kevin Payne

If you’ve written a piece of content that turns out to be similar or relevant to an existing article an influencer wrote, you can send an email offering to help improve their resources.

After I published my post on the 25 Lead Generation Strategies for SaaS Startups,  I happened to stumble upon James Scherer’s blog post all about using gated content. Even though it’s been two years since he wrote it, the topic was still very relevant.

Since I also talked about using gated content in my blog post, I decided to reach out to James about it.

Not long after, I received a reply from him and I was even more ecstatic when I saw that James listed my blog post as #3 in the list of the related article resource section at the bottom of the blog post:

Lead generation Strategies For Saas Startups

In just a little over a month, this blog post is now ranking #2 in Google beating content written in both Forbes and Inc.com.

Here is another case where The Muse contributor Caroline Liu included a link to my post as one of the resources in her article on finding your life’s passion right alongside prominent names like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and online business entrepreneur Marie Forleo.

How To Find Your Passion in Life

However, my favorite blogger outreach technique would have to be sending a courtesy email to influential bloggers I featured in my blog posts because it’s what gave me the most results regarding my blogger outreach efforts with roundup blog posts.

Since I’m an African American male I have written several articles on minorities (based on ethnic background and gender) in the tech startup scene which has begun to lead to me being able to interview prominent figures via Skype and phone who I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to connect with.

Unlike offering a resource to an influential blogger, a courtesy email is a more direct approach of letting the influencer know that you’ve mentioned them in your blog post and that you’ve included a link to their content.

Even if they are influencers and industry leaders in your niche, they still love it when they learn that you’ve found their content extremely valuable that you’ve used it as a resource in your blog.

Here are some of the things that happened so far as a result of using this technique:

Received a retweet on Twitter from Everette Taylor, a marketing influencer with over 375K followers:

Everette Top Marketer Via Twitter

Received a tweet share from my good friend, Ryan Robinson:

Ryan Robinson: Content Marketer On Twitter

Step 6: Focus on building relationships

This is crucial if you’re aiming to get industry leaders to endorse your business, let alone acknowledge you.

Let’s face it: industry leaders tend to have their guard up whenever businesses and entrepreneurs try to approach them. That’s because more often than not, they do so because they need something from them.

Even though that may be the case, do your best to resist the urge just to ask them a favor. Instead, focus on nothing more than establishing and building a genuine relationship with them. Slowly, the walls will go down, and it will be easier for you to ask them for help.

That was what happened with Jamie Turner of the 60 Second Marketer and me. Unlike the other influencers, I connected with him back in 2016, and he became one of my mentors (and still is). It was not only early this month when I finally submitted a guest post on writing buyer personas for him to consider.

Within a week, he told me that the guest post I sent was approved and published.

 

The Final Step…

I’ve just shared with you what blogger outreach is and the steps to take to integrate it into your content marketing strategy.

Just remember, when reaching out to influencers, make sure that you focus on how you can help them and provide them with additional value.

Yes, blogger outreach takes time.

Yes, blogger outreach requires much effort on your part.

However, in the end, it’s a worthwhile investment that will help take your brand out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

Have you ever attempted to include blogger outreach into your content marketing strategy?

What technique did you use that yielded the most results for you? How has it affected your brand and your business?