If you are serious about building your brand, you need to know how to slide into bloggers and contributors DMs and email inboxes!
You probably have an amazing story to tell but need a way to break through the noise and effectively engage contributors at major publications.
The first step is to recognize that most of the publishing today is done by contributors and not staff writers.
This means that they are not actually employed by the publication and operate in their specific niche.
Why does this matter?
Well, contributors usually are entrepreneurs, business owners, and thought-leaders in their own space, so the articles that they publish are looking to further their business objectives and cement them as a leader in their niche.
To start let’s chat about why we are taking a social to email to phone approach…
This is how the inbox of a contributor at a major publication (Forbes, Inc, etc.) usually looks.
Your chances of effectively engaging them through email are close to 0%. So, we have to find a more effective way to engage.
What should you look for in a contributor or blogger?
Many people, when searching for a contributor, make contact based on the first impression of the contributors. They stumble upon a good article, Google the name of the author, and send a message to them on their social media accounts.
Even though this can sometimes turn into a good story, generally, you need more information about the person before you message them.
The person that you want as a contributor should fit in the industry you’re trying to boost. Notice their area of expertise, what are they good at, what is their tone, their style. Think about how all of that will fit with your website strategy.
If you want to get to specifics, you should make sure that the person you’re going to collaborate with is:
- Transparent- asking for a portfolio or examples of their writing is a very reasonable request. Depending on your needs, you might also want to see references or published pieces. Anybody who refuses to provide these things is shady at best.
- High-quality- when reading their portfolio or examples, you shouldn’t find grammatical mistakes or sentences that make no sense. Make sure that the person has an engaging voice and knows how to structure the writing properly.
- Original- plagiarism is a big no! You have to make sure that the contributor you’re considering for collaboration doesn’t have a history of plagiarising content. Re-writing is one thing, copy-pasting other peoples’ content is a whole different level.
- Flexible- you need a person that will write content by the rules you set. It’s your website, it’s your style. They have to be flexible and create content that will suit your specific needs.
Where to find suitable bloggers and contributors?
Now, you may know how to contact the contributors and what to look for, but where can you find these contributors? Well, there are many ways you can go about this.
- Visit forums and communities
Find forums, communities, and sites that are related to your niche where many people are sharing their ideas and content. In this way, you can either find content creators, but you don’t necessarily have to. Some of the people that are creating engaging and long posts on forums can be good choices even if they do not write professionally. Some people just have the knack for it! Use that. Following Quora answers can be a good decision in this direction.
- Content Search Engines
Tools like BuzzSumo, Feedly, Twitter lists, Google query, and search- can help you see what’s happening in your area of content. Open the first results you get on whatever search engine you’re using, and look at blogs that have multiple contributors. Go through the blogs, and on those that you like write down the authors. Once you have several authors, don’t just write them immediately. Dive deeper. Research what kind of content they’re the best at, how many people follow them, what is their voice, their style. What kind of impression do their blogs imprint on you? Once you narrow them down, you can start contacting them.
- Go through your emails and comments
Sometimes other people reach out to you, and they want to collaborate. Make sure that you take notice of every comment left on your blogs, and search through your emails. Even if you don’t have an offer, you can see which of the people that left comments on your blog might be interested in long discussions on the relevant subjects of the industry. It can’t hurt proposing collaborations to some of them that check out all the boxes we previously mentioned.
Additionally, you can always turn to freelance and visit sites where freelancers are selling content such as Freeup, Upwork, Freelancer, etc.
Here’s exactly how to contact contributors and get yourself covered in major press.
1. Find A Publication In Your Broad Niche – i.e Entrepreneurship
Can’t think of one? Try Future Sharks.
2. Perform a specific search on that site for your specific niche area i.e ‘Storytelling’
Most sites will have a good searching functionality. Try picking the stories with the most views/shares.
4. Find their Facebook page, Instagram or Linkedin
Try using the platform that looks the most active.
5. Like their page or follow them then send them your message.
Hi [name], saw your article in [publication] about [what was the central message?]. Being a [tell who you are – keep it short], I really connected with it. Was wondering if you’re open to chat about it?
You can also be direct and add something like:
I have some ideas about a new post on Topic. Would you like to collaborate together on it?
Congrats you sent a reply to a targeted contributor! After some time (typically 24-hours) you will get a reply that usually looks something like:
Hi, ____ — sure. Just shoot me an email and we’ll take it from there. (contributor email address)
The ball is in your court now! You have establish the initial relationship with the contributor and they are now waiting for an email from YOU!
6. Craft the Best Email / DM
A major key is the subject line! Try something like:
Subject: Thanks for our Facebook chat, [name]
I have included an email template below for you to base your message off:
Hi [Contributor First Name], I saw your article on “[article title]” on [publication name] and I really connected with the message! I enjoyed the part where you mentioned [one short line about a part of connected with] — I think most people in my circle wouldn’t think about [what?] this way and that could limit their [ability to grow their business, develop their personal brand etc]
I noticed that the article had [X number of views], I expected a lot more for the immense value & effort that you put into that piece. I know my network will get a lot of value out of this post, so I shared through my social channels, and on my organization’s page.
I think the biggest value my followers will be able to get out of this article is [why do they need to read the article]. [Tell who you are and your accomplishments]
[Contributor First Name], I really enjoyed reading your work and I am excited to follow you on your journey. I noticed that there is a lot of noise out there in the contributor world. Do you think that’s why this article this article didn’t get as many shares & views as it could of?
After you send this email the key is to be patient. Contributors are extremely busy operating their own ventures, and any other email can come off as aggressive. My suggestion is to wait 24-hrs for a response.
Here is how a reply from the contributor could look:
Thanks for your message, really glad to hear you got some value from the article & of course you know messages like this warms one’s heart! Very appreciative…
That’s very supportive of you to share with your network & you are right about the views, it’s something that I have to figure out and explore how to get more people to see the article. I primarily shared it with my network, so I think that’s why it didn’t get as many views.
I look forward to learning more about you as well…
Thanks so much,
If you’re able to reach this point that is HUGE — but don’t be discouraged if you don’t. Like I said, contributors are extremely busy people and sometimes timing/schedules don’t align!
7. Your Second Email Reply (or follow up)
If they reply to your initial email they are interested, don’t be arrogant or pushy, tell them a bit about yourself….
[Tell about yourself, suggest a couple angles – always ensure you’re relating back to their work, beliefs etc.)
If you’re willing to include me in a piece, I think it would be a really interesting collaboration given that both of us are very passionate about this area! — I always make sure to share the message on my channels to help get as many views as possible, because I really want people to see this story just like you do!
I would love to jump on a call at your convenience for a discussion!
Important points to consider
- Great blogs today are mostly done by contributors and not staff writers. That is why the content is specific to the niche they operate in and has valuable insights.
- Avoid contacting them by e-mail since their inboxes might be extremely full. Instead, use social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
- Make sure the people you collaborate with are trustworthy, flexible, gifted, and original.
- Do the hard work when it comes to discovering contributors that will fit the style of your website because, in the end, it will be worth it.
Congratulations! You have specifically targeted a contributor for your niche, and engaged them in authentic conversation!
You have significantly increased your chances of being included or featured in a piece.
Remember to start your conversations with contributors on social, move to email, and eventually try and get them on the phone for a authentic conversation!
Want a guaranteed feature on amazing sites like Future Sharks? DM me and I’ll be happy to help.
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