The Mention Blog

13 Proven Ways to Use Influencer Outreach to Help Your Content Rank

Here’s the story: You know influencers can introduce you to their audience.

When that happens, you grow your audience. And when you grow your audience, you get more pageviews, email subscribers, and… ultimately… sales.

It’s that simple, right?

Well…

Influencer outreach can definitely give you larger brand exposure. And, when you focus on backlinking techniques, influencer outreach can also help you get your content to rank.

That, in turn, helps you connect with a larger audience of folks who’re actively searching for the content you’re publishing.

So influencer outreach, at its core, helps you reach a larger audience in many ways.

Which brings us to the questions at the top of your mind: How can I do this? How can I grow my audience with influencer outreach?

You’re about to learn the process behind:

  1. Identifying your best opportunities for strategic growth,
  2. Getting started with the fundamentals of influencer outreach,
  3. And leveraging the 13 outreach tactics that have helped CoSchedule grow from zero to 1.3 million pageviews per month.

Research suggests marketers who document processes are 466% more likely to report success than those who don’t.

So get out your pen + paper to write down your influencer outreach process… then read on, my friend. Read on. 😉

First things first: Identify your cornerstone keyword opportunities

Focusing on fewer things often means doing fewer things better.

Therefore, concentrating your influencer outreach efforts to strategically share specific content (and subsequently earn shares and backlinks to fewer pieces) will have a larger impact upon getting that content to rank.

Keep that in mind. At CoSchedule, our blog manager and SEO wizard, Ben Sailer, keeps a simple shortlist of the keywords we want to rank for no matter what. These terms all relate to the core product we sell: A marketing + social media management calendar.

This shortlist also includes the URLs of the pieces we want to rank.

With this simple framework, we focus our minimal resources on doing whatever is within our means to make sure this specific content ranks for these specific keywords. The methods we use are all 100% ethical (white hat), and include tactics like:

And, of course, reaching out to influencers is a big part of this, too (which you’re learning about in full today).

So when you choose your keywords and URLs to rank, think through your content core.

This suggests strategically getting content to rank for keywords that are very connected with the product or service you sell.

In this way, you’ll not only focus your effort on getting your content to rank, but also boost those sales (which is ultimately why you have a job, am I right!?).

I mention this process simply because influencer outreach is just one tool within your arsenal for influencing ranking factors and actual conversions. It works best when you couple it with tactics you can control more fully.

So let’s get started on the actual outreach process. 😉

6 influencer outreach tips to get started

These best practices set the foundation for effective communication + ultimate success with influencer outreach.

1. Start with good content people will actually want to help promote and link to

Let’s get this straight: In order to earn shares and backlinks, your content has to be better than anything else out there on the topic and keyword.

Period.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

So… how can you do that?

Brian Dean at Backlinko pioneered a framework he calls the skyscraper technique. It’s a great guideline to get you started on actually creating really good content:

  1. Come up with an idea around a keyword that is link-worthy (something people actually want to consume and will seek out on their own volition),
  2. Read every one of the 10 pieces that rank on the first search engine result page for that keyword to include some of the core concepts you see over and over, but also PLAN how to include more value in your content by noting what those sources missed,
  3. And then reach out to the right people.

By the way, did you notice Brian just earned a backlink? Good content! 😉

2. Find influencers who are relevant to your audience

As the ever-wise Brittany Berger advises:

“You’re working with influencers in order to take advantage of their clout and audience. But if that clout and audience is in a field that has nothing to do with your brand, you won’t get much of an advantage.”

Lucky you, Mention has the perfect tool to help you find influencers who care about the keywords (and topics) you’ve included in your keyword cornerstone shortlist.

Simply use the influencer tools in Mention and search for the keyword to find the top influencers who have cred and followers.

#Easy.

3. Ensure there’s mutual benefit to the partnership between your brand and the influencer

As you begin sifting through the list of influencers you’re seeing in Mention, put yourself into the shoes of each person you’d reach out to and ask yourself:

“What’s in it for me?”

Why should they care about your outreach? What’s the benefit to them?

Obviously, you have something to gain. Understanding why they’d care will help you draft great, personalized outreach emails that actually connect.

We do this at CoSchedule by drafting what we call “speaking points”. We essentially go down the “why” rabbit hole. If I were to reach out to an influencer to earn shares or backlinks for this blog post, I would start by brainstorming something like this:

From there, use the ideas toward the bottom of your “why” list to draft your message for them (you could send that through social media, an email, a blog comment, etc.).

4. Start small and work your way up

A helpful framework to use here is website domain authority.

Moz’s MozBar helps you understand how authoritative websites are. The higher on their scale of 1-100, the better.

For example, The Huffington Post has a domain authority of 98. Alternatively, a local marketing agency in Fargo, North Dakota, has a domain authority of 71.

Then you can look at your own domain authority to help you understand which sources are more likely to work with you on your outreach. Do you think I stand more of a chance with The Huffington Post or with CoSchedule’s hometown marketing agency?

Do I even need to answer that?

Another method that works well here is a simple gut check.

For example, if I’m reaching out to marketers to earn links back to this blog post, I stand much more of a chance asking marketers in similar niches to Mention who seriously care about influencer outreach rather than someone “marketing famous” like Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin.

More often than not, your gut is right.

5. Work with people you already have existing relationships with, if possible

The previous tip makes this one super obvious: You have friends in your industry already. Leverage your existing relationships to help each other out.

Some people who may want to help are your:

For example, CoSchedule hosts a weekly podcast where we feature guest talent. Those conversations work really well for establishing a relationship that later blossoms into mutually beneficial outreach opportunities from both parties.

Just saying… you probably have friends like that, too.

6. Tailor your outreach email to each influencer, using templates only as a starting point

You just put a ton of time into creating amazing content, researching the right people, and going down the “why” rabbit hole to really understand these influencers will care.

Don’t mess it up with a noticeably canned outreach email template.

Trust me. I see the same copy from about three different marketers every single day. Everyone knows.

So tailor your outreach email for each person.

Just to get you started, here’s an outreach template/guideline (but again, PLEASE write your own):

Hi,

My name is {Your Name}, and I’m the {Your Title} at {Your Company}, a {describe why you’re a credible authority on the topic} company.

I recently conducted some research to see what folks are talking about when it comes to {Keyword} (a topic near and dear to our hearts here). In doing so, I found this post on your site:

{URL}

Would you consider including {Your Company} in this post? Our {Product/Service} would be a great fit, and it might be a good excuse to refresh this content.

If you’d like to try our product free, we offer a two-week trial here.

Thanks in advance,

{Your Name}

And because I’m feeling generous, here’s an email outreach template to help you earn an unlinked brand mention:

Hi there,

My name is {Your Name}, and I’m the {Your Title} at {Your Company}. I recently noticed you mentioned us on your blog here:

{URL}

However, we noticed there is no link directing to our homepage. Would you consider adding a link to {Your Website’s Homepage URL}? This might help your readers find our site more easily.

Thanks again for writing about us. We appreciate it!

Best regards,

{Your Name}

Bonus Tip: Can’t find the influencer’s email address? Use Datanyze Insider. You’re welcome. 😉

7 influencer outreach tactics that help build links

So now that you know how to capture the influencer outreach opportunity according to best practices…

…let’s get into some of the tactics I’ve seen work really well for us here at CoSchedule, shall we? 😉

1. Let people know when you’ve referenced their work

You wrote an awesome piece.

You researched your topic and provided a link to a great resource from your content.

Reach out to that influencer to let them know you admired their work so much that you included their advice in your content.

I’ve seen this tactic work well for increasing social shares. If they email you back, you also get the added bonus of the beginnings of a relationship you can leverage in the future.

2. Claim unlinked brand mentions

If you checked out the influencer email outreach templates in the previous section, you already have a feel for this tactic.

This is best used when an article references your brand or company name, but the author forgot to link to your business’ homepage.

Ben Sailer is the dude who leads up these outreach efforts here at CoSchedule. He’s gotten backlinks to CoSchedule from pretty reputable sites like Salesforce using this approach.

The good news is that Mention makes it super easy to do if you simply monitor your brand name. 😉

3. Reclaim broken links

Sometimes, older content on the internet just becomes outdated. So let’s say you notice you’ve lost a link (tools like Moz can help you understand when that happens).

Simply reach out to the content’s author or the website’s editor or blog manager and provide the most relevant URL from your cornerstone keyword opportunity list and ask them to include it again.

On our team, Ben’s also had a lot of luck with this tactic because those websites want to provide a good user experience. Broken links = no beuno.

4. Get your spot in roundup posts

You can use the first influencer email outreach template from the previous section to get you started here.

Essentially, you find blog posts where your product or service would be a great fit. Then you ask them to include you in the blog post.

Think of posts with headlines like this: “10 Social Media Monitoring Tools That Actually Work”.

Someone at Mention could easily reach out to ask if the author or editor would add Mention as an 11th tool.

5. Reach out to local government and universities

This is a new hack Ben’s been exploring. Basically, every city has lots of government entities and likely educational facilities, too.

So he spots opportunities to work with colleges’ journalism teams to be included in their article research. Another opportunity is freely providing your content marketing as educational resources for those universities. You could even pitch stories of how you’ve hired their graduates and what they do at your business.

There’s tons of opportunity there. And typically, the .gov and .edu domains have a lot of clout.

6. Reach out to publications that are currently linking to sub-par content

You’ve followed Brian Dean’s advice. Your content is a skyscraper, towering over your competition’s content with waaaayyyy more value.

Simply search for your keyword, find content that links to other sources where yours would be a better fit, then reach out with the ask.

7. Pitch yourself for guesting on podcasts, blog posts, and roundups

Marketers are always looking for an extra helping hand. You can make the ask to be included in the content they’re publishing on their sites.

I’ve had plenty of guests on the Actionable Marketing Podcast that CoSchedule hosts because they simply reached out to me with the ask. It works.

Actually, I’m wrapping up this guest post for Mention right now because I made the ask. 😉

How Will You Use These Influencer Outreach Tactics?

These tactics have been one of many in the marketing strategy the team at CoSchedule has used to grow an email list of 250,000+ subscribers, gain 1.3 million monthly pageviews, and influence a 9,360% boost in customer signups.

I hope these work for you as well as they’ve worked for us. 😉 And I’d love to hear from you what’s worked in your marketing, too! Hit me up on Twitter at @njellering.