Sending the right outreach email is absolutely crucial to the success of your blogger outreach strategy. Learn how to write an outreach email that will help build lasting relationships with other bloggers and influencers in your niche.
Every great relationship with other bloggers and influencers starts with the first email.
If you want to work with an influencer, whether it’s to help you promote your content, ask them for a guest posting opportunity, or request to interview them, your email needs to catch their eye, compel them to read, and persuade them to do something mutually beneficial.
Thus, that first email is make or break; if your email is a success, then a door is opened toward an enduring, reciprocal relationship. If your email fails, then that door is shut, probably forever.
So of course it’s scary.
But if you’ve followed the blogger outreach strategy I’ve outlined in a previous article before even drafting your cold email, then it shouldn’t be as intimidating as it would be.
On the other hand, you may become too complacent in your outreach emails because there are so many email templates available, posted by the best of the best in the business. You may think that you can just take a template, fill in the blanks, send it out to as many bloggers and influencers as you can, and then call it a day.
Nope. It doesn’t work that way.
In today’s article, I’ll take you through the reasons why you should forget using those email templates and how to write an outreach email for most of the reasons for outreach you can think of.
As I’ve mentioned, there are plenty of email templates available for use that you can simply download, fill out the fields, and send the finished emails to everyone on your influencer directory.
On the upside, it’s easier for you because all you’re doing is essentially sending the same email to everyone.
However, remember that you’re reaching out to influencers in your niche, and they’ve seen it all. They know a template when they see one, and yours is just one of many. They have tons of things to do on their list, and they simply don’t have time to read a generic email that looks like it was sent to a hundred, if not a thousand more bloggers.
In addition to potentially offending the recipients of your email, another argument against using email templates is that you don’t learn anything about writing outreach emails. This may sound like an inconsequential skill; a task you can easily outsource.
Again, I disagree. Being able to write an outreach email is a very valuable skill to have. This isn’t the last time you’ll have to send out cold emails to potential clients or customers, especially if you decide to go the sales route at some point in your blogging career.
So what’s a blogger to do, then?
Instead of using a template, remember the general structure of an outreach email and then flesh it out whenever you’re writing an outreach email.
Working this way forces you to be more conscious of what you’re writing because you’re not dependent on a template. Being more mindful helps you know what works and what doesn’t, and ultimately sets you up to be a better, more persuasive writer.
Most importantly, people don’t want to build relationships with machines. Emails that aim to build relationships should be personally written and sent by yourself. Yes, it’ll take you a while, and it takes effort, but all relationships take time and effort to work. Relationships with bloggers and influencers aren’t much different.
Before we go further, take note that throughout the article, I’ll be giving some examples of phrases that you can use in your own outreach emails, but I won’t be giving an actual template that you can fill out.
Here are the parts of an outreach email that you’ll need to bear in mind every time you compose an outreach email.
Your subject line is what your recipients first see. Those 3 seconds are sometimes all you have to get their attention, show them you’re not a spammer, and convince them to open your email instead of chucking it to Trash or the Spam folder.
Be specific. You may think that being vague here can make them curious enough to click. But starting off with a generic subject line like “About your recent post” or “Feedback on your blog” can make them think that this is a mass email.
Instead, say something like “About your recent post [title of their post]” or “Suggestions on [title of their post]” or “Thoughts on your guest post on [website where their guest post appeared].”
This way, you pique their interest because they’re at least curious about what people have to say about their post. Bonus points if you find their guest post from another blog and comment about it; it means you’ve been following them for a while.
More importantly, mentioning something about them from the start (i.e., subject line) also shows that you’re not a spammer and you didn’t just email a hundred other bloggers the same email.
The opening deserves special mention because if you do this wrong, the rest of the email doesn’t get read.
Use their name.
If you’ve done your due diligence, there’s no reason for you not to know their name, so there’s even less reason for you not to use it.
Plus, they’ve already clicked on your subject line, which means they’re at least vaguely interested in what you have to say. Make them want to read on by showing them that you’re friendly and you’re not a spammer.
If you can’t be bothered to know their name, they can’t be bothered to read your email.
You should be able to break down the body of your email into the immortal words of Edna Mode from the movie The Incredibles: “What is it? Who are you? What do you want?”
It’s not enough that you know their name and their blog. Influencers would appreciate insights that would help them build a better blog and a better business.
Make good on the promise of your subject line. Compliment them, give them feedback, critique something they posted, agree or disagree with a point they feel passionate about, or simply express your interest in the topics they cover.
Be sincere but courteous. Remember, you want their goodwill, not get into an argument or turn them off with coarse humor or language.
At this point, you want to introduce yourself to them. It boils down to “What is your name and what’s your deal?”
“I’m [your name] and I blog over at [link to your blog].”
It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that, but if you’re looking to impress a high-profile influencer, you can do a more creative introduction. You can maybe take a cue from Daenerys’s intro:
Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.
You could include a fun fact about you that could resonate with your recipient. If you both happen to play basketball or do calligraphy as a hobby, mention that. Be careful not to exaggerate or fabricate, though. You’ll be found out sooner or later, so save yourself from potential embarrassment.
There could be a variety of reasons for your email. Whether it’s merely thanking them for a helpful post, to introducing your content, to asking them to promote your content, make sure you’re clear on what you want to say or what you want from them.
Here are some things to keep in mind when composing the body of your email.
Thank-you email. Express your gratitude profusely but honestly. More than that, show them exactly how their post has helped you. You can tell them an actual, detailed story about how you applied helpful tips they shared in their post.
Feedback email. Whether you think their post was awesome or it sucked, say it constructively and politely.
Flattery for flattery’s sake won’t get you anywhere. Give them details. What was the thing you liked the most about the post? Which point resonated with you? Why?
It’s the same for the flipside: criticism for criticism’s sake won’t get you anywhere. You didn’t email to pick a fight. Tell them what you think as honestly as possible. What didn’t you like about the post? What would you have said or done differently? Why?
Introduction to your work. Invite them directly to read one of your recent blog posts. Give them a good reason to read that post. For example, mention that the topic is something they’ll be interested in. Or it could be something that adds to one of their own blog posts, such as a supporting case study or supplementary information.
Another way to get them to look at your content is to ask them to review your work. Invite them to give you their feedback and tell you what they think about your post.
Request for social media promotion. Subtly suggest that your content may be worth sharing to their readers. The suggestion may sound better if it’s phrased like a question, instead of an outright request.
For example, look at the following sentences:
“I’d like to humbly request for you to tweet this blog post to your followers.”
“Do you think this is worth tweeting to your followers?”
Give them a graceful way to refuse; it’s very awkward to have to say “No” to a request. They’ll tend to ignore your email instead, and off to the Trash folder you go. You want them to reply, even if it’s only feedback or pointers so you can improve your content into something that they’ll be more inclined to share.
Plus, if you’re content is truly excellent, they’ll share it, whether or not you request that they share it.
Proposal for a guest post. When you go this route, have a list of three specific topics they can choose from. If you already have previous blog posts that you’ve written about these topics, include links to those, so they can have an idea about what kind of quality they can expect from you.
You can also have them suggest a topic that you can write about. If you go this route, it’s best to be prepared; you should know which of their blog topics and posts are popular and get plenty of shares.
Invitation for an interview. Interviews are a bit difficult to pull off if you’re going to do it purely through email, so try to arrange for a convenient time for a quick call so you can have a conversation. Offer to send them the questions in advance so the interview can go quickly and smoothly.
If you’re not prepared for quite a huge undertaking, you can do an expert roundup instead. Ask them to give their expert opinion on a hot topic in your niche. The good thing about it is that you can ask for quick soundbites instead of a considerable chunk of their time.
Offer to use one of your blog posts as a resource. Unlike guest posts and interviews, you’ll tend to send this type of email to bloggers that have around the same number of followers as you do (as I’ve mentioned in my previous post).
It takes a lot of guts and a lot of faith in your content to offer your own content as a resource. It implies that there’s something missing in their content that you have to fill. But if you do it right, i.e., be gracious without sounding condescending, it’s effective. You can say something like:
“I just wrote a post called [title of your blog post] that might work really well with one of your posts [title of their blog post] as a resource. Would you mind checking it out [add link to your blog post] and telling me what you think?”
Or you can also give them a heads up that you’re going to create a post that they might want to reference in a recent post they published.
Yes, I only mentioned three questions at the start of the section, but this is the most important one that needs to be answered.
You want a tweet, you want a link, you want your content to be read by their readers. But what will THEY get out of it?
If you only request for favors without offering something of value in return, all your efforts would have been in vain.
Here are some of the benefits to them that you’ll want to play up and emphasize.
Thank-you email. Aside from the good vibes from being able to help, your account of how their content helped you would make a good case study for them. Make sure to write it in an engaging manner, and make it clear that their blog post played a big part in helping you achieve a particular goal.
However, suppress the urge to explicitly state how your story can make for a great case study. Leave it up to their discretion whether or not to use your story in one of their blog posts.
Feedback email. Giving them honest, constructive feedback helps them align their blogging goals with their strategies and lets them know which techniques are working and which ones aren’t.
Introduction to your work. It’s a chance for them to critique someone else’s content and probably even get some inspiration out of it. Plus, having someone defer to their expertise affirms their status as an influencer and is a big ego boost.
Request for social media promotion. Admittedly, this one is more beneficial to you, so stress that your blog post is high-quality and interesting to their readers. Make sure the blog post you want them to promote really is excellent and about a topic that is of interest to their audience.
Guest post. The apparent benefit is, again, sharing a ready-made, high-quality piece of content to their readers. The implied benefit is that they don’t have to post content for at least one deadline; they can use that time however they want.
Interview/roundup. Granting an interview is a good way for them to be exposed to a new audience (i.e., yours). This is also a big ego boost and establishes their status as an influencer when you post the interview or post their input in the expert roundup with other influencers in your niche.
Resource blog post. You could fill in a gap in their content that they may not have noticed. Also, valid outbound links are also beneficial to them. Even if they’d prefer that their readers stay on their blog, linking out to reputable links to high-quality content (in this case, yours) helps their SEO.
Aside from these benefits to them, also state that you’re going to do your part. For instance, if you’re going to ask for a tweet, say that you’re also going to retweet their tweet to your followers, in effect promoting their social media to your readers.
Or if you’re going to go the guest post route, state that you’re going to promote the link to your post (essentially promoting their blog) and that you’re going to reply to the comments that your post may elicit.
The closing statement is not as important as the body, but this is your final chance to leave a lasting good impression on them. Here are a couple of points about your closing statement that you should consider.
Ever read an email that sounded promising and exciting but then after you’re done reading you’re like, “That was great, but now what?”
Don’t be that guy (or girl). Give them a definite course of action to take. You can have them reply if they’re interested in what you have to offer, or reply with the topic they’d want you to write about for a guest post.
Whatever step you want them to take, be absolutely clear that they have to reply to your email or otherwise contact you back. The specifics will of course depend on what you asked of them.
It seems really obvious to thank people when asking for something, but you’d be surprised at how many bloggers forget this basic but crucial gesture.
Thank them for their time. Not only is it polite, but it signals to them that you respect their time.
Don’t make the rookie mistake of signing off with only your name.
You’ve introduced yourself, yes, but you want to leave your recipient with your contact details. It doesn’t need to be your phone number. Your best email address, a link back to your blog, and links to your social media profiles are best.
Composing outreach emails, especially cold emails, is way different from composing emails for newsletters, for example. In many ways, it’s more difficult, because you’re essentially asking favors from people who don’t know you very well, if at all.
Here are some hints so you can convince them that your content is worth their time and that you’re not just a spammer looking for suckers.
It isn’t obvious, but this has been a recurring theme throughout the article.
From calling them by name, to saying something specific about their blog or blog post, to offering them a specific article that is suited to their needs and status as an influencer, ensure that your outreach email is tailored for that particular recipient.
Consider how your proposal is related to the recipient. Do you write about the same topics? Did they write something similar recently that has proven to be popular, and do you have anything to add to that?
Offering something unrelated to their content or their goals decreases the chance that they will say yes to you.
Your offer may be relevant, but it might not be relevant for them right now.
Admittedly, you can’t force timing. Some opportunities peek out, and if you’re open to these opportunities, then you can grab them as they come and capitalize on them.
For instance, they may be planning to launch a big project to which you can contribute. Or they may be working on a case study that your story may fit into. If you get wind of these opportunities and you’re able to work your pitch around them.
Before you sit down and write your outreach email, let’s recap the parts of an outreach email:
Here are some final reminders on how to write an outreach email.
Anything that opens you to rejection is anxiety-inducing, at the very least. But sending out cold emails to prospects is a skill that you need to learn if you’re serious about making money on your blogging journey. Hang in there, stick with it, and learn all you can.
Don’t be discouraged by the “nos” and the cold shoulders. Focus on the “yeses” and the “maybes.”
It’s not what they can do for you; it’s what you can do for them that will persuade them to say yes to what you’re offering.
Make sure to offer something fresh and valuable to them and their audience to keep them interested.
Any relationship thrives on mutual respect, and this should be evident throughout your email.
Respect their intellect, respect their expertise, and respect their time.
Remember: A good outreach email opens the possibility of building a mutually beneficial relationship with an influencer in your niche.
Have you written your first outreach email? Which tips did you find to be the most helpful? Share it in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.