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The Non-Template Guide to Blogger Outreach

Many people approach blogger outreach with the ‘hit-or-miss’ approach.

It is quite similar to a person who has never played basketball in his life throwing balls through the hoop and missing most of them.

Here’s the point:

You cannot send hundreds of template e-mails to bloggers and just pray that they reply.

Some people have tried that already and all they get is a measly 5% reply rate. And that is when they are lucky. Think about it. For every 100 e-mails you send. You get 5 replies back.

That’s hardly a stable way of link building.

So what can you do?

Throw the templates…Seriously!

And do these steps instead.

If you want to create content that gets links and shares, you should start by observing bloggers.

Don’t look at your keyword tool. Don’t look at the search engines. Don’t even look at your potential customers.

Look at bloggers.


  • Well, bloggers have the power to share your content. They have a website to link to your content.
  • Also, bloggers often have social media profiles. They also have the means to share your content.
  • Bloggers create content everyday – they are an amazing source of proven content ideas
  • Bloggers are the perfect case study of what works and what doesn’t. You can see the posts that gets a lot of comments and shares and you can use that as inspiration for your future content topics.

But how do you know the type of content that bloggers like to share?

I do simple content link audit on a target blogger.

For example, Neil Patel is one of the bloggers that I look up to. I look at his website and see that he is linking to some content about SEO. This shows that Neil may like topics related to SEO.

Then, I also do a quick search on Google to see the top 10 ranking websites about SEO.

I then visit these sites and look at what they are writing about and what they are linking to.

It is important that you already have a topic that is interesting to bloggers before you do any sort of outreach.

A Good Topic + a Good Content Format  = Shareable Content

The good news is that bloggers are a wonderful resource of content ideas.


Here’s the truth.

Some types of content get more links than others.

And it usually has nothing to do with what it contains. Sometimes, it is just because of its format.

Here are some of the proven content formats that I know:

NOTE: If you want a detailed explanation as well as a step-by-step process on how to create these content, you can visit my 5 Content Formats blogpost.

People simply love definitive guides or detailed tutorials. These are the guides that has multiple chapters or steps and have a detailed definition of terms or demonstration of steps.

Why People Love This Format: It is detailed and complete. It is perfect for someone who is looking for some detailed information about a topic that they like to learn about. There is a complete demonstration of each step so that they can implement it without the help of anyone.

People also love short snippets of information put together into one giant list. This is the reason why directories are still so popular.

Why People Love This Format: It is easy to skim and it looks like it contains tons of information in one article. Also, they always appreciate the effort of putting all the information in one location.

Aside from the giant list, people also love small but detailed lists. This can contain as short as 5 items with highly detailed step-by-step information for each item or this can contain around 12 to 20 items with 100 to 300-word explanations for each. It is really effective for a list of methods (such as link building strategies).

Why People Love This Format: It gives them a list and the meaty details on how to implement each item. It is highly organized and detailed which people love.

Videos, if done well, are a good alternative to teaching through text. With a video, the teacher is able to demonstrate how something is done and even has some music or voiceover to keep the learner’s attention.

Why People Love this Format: Aside from word-oriented Learners, there are also visual learners. These people prefer video over text.

With social media, it is now easy to share information through images. And this is how the infographic was born.

Why People Love this Format: You see tons of statistics and information in one image. What more can visual learners ask for?

BONUS TIME! There is another format that I have not mentioned in my blogpost and that is the case study.

I have a confession to make. I am a case study addict. I love clicking on case studies when I see them and I don’t know why. Maybe it has something to do with reading success stories and seeing how they got to where they are. It thrills me and makes me want to read the case study all the way through.

Why People Love This: There is something intriguing in knowing how a person gets from one point to another. A case study is a perfect way to assert your position as an expert and to also get people reading and sharing.

Those are the content formats that I know. What do you like the most out of the bunch?


Forget the “Write and Wait” Approach. It is useless to write anything unless you have a group of people who are interested in the content.

This is what this step is all about – it is about finding the right people to promote your content to.

In the first step, you have already found some bloggers who are willing to share your content – these people have their own websites so they have the means to link to you. However, you focused on their content so you can find out what they are interested in. And that’s that.

Now: we move on to look at the bloggers who are interested in sharing your content.

Again, the process is simple.

Just use the following search query:

[TOPIC] + inurl:blog

This will uncover a list of bloggers who are interested in promoting your content.

Visit each listing in the search result and record the following:
1. Blog URL
2. Name of the Author
3. E-mail of the Author (can be found in their Contact Page or About page)
4. Social Media Profile Links (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Instagram)

Record everything in a spreadsheet. Here’s an example.

What does this do?

  • Well, it gives you a list of go-to people in your niche giving you a wealth of topics and ideas.
  • It gives you an overview of your niche community – you now know the relevant names in your niche.

This is the building block that will help you with the next step.


Finished researching bloggers in your niche? It is time to join the community.

For this, I have a simple process.

Keep track of all the feeds of your community bloggers

First, I keep track of all the bloggers in the community using a tool called Feedly. This tool is an RSS aggregator and it puts all the feeds in one location.

This allows me to stay on top of the latest posts in the key blogs in the community – also giving my website more exposure in the process.

Comment on their posts and share their posts on your social media profiles

I then proceed to commenting and sharing the posts of the bloggers in the community – this is my version of community participation.

Why do I do this?

  • It allows me to get to know the key bloggers in my niche.
  • I get to learn more about the content and culture in the niche
  • I also get new ideas for new topics
  • I also get to share the love by commenting on their posts and sharing their content
  • I also get to meet new friends along the way
  • I get exposure for my website because comments and shares grant me some form of ‘connection’ with the blogger.

As you can see, I get all these benefits just for participating in the community. What more can I ask for?

The best part?

It also sets the stage for the star of this process – blogger outreach. I will explain all about this in the next step.


You may have heard about blogger outreach dozens of times. Usually, it refers to a template system where you (1) research influencers and (2) send template emails to connect with them.

There are even softwares to automate this process.

While this process may sound simple, it is hardly effective.

A colleague of mine who have tried this only got 2 replies from sending 500 e-mails. That gives him a measly reply rate of only .4% – not that enticing eh?

There are better ways to do outreach and most of them doesn’t need a template.

As I try to do a variety of blogger outreach strategies, I found that one simply stand out among the rest – this is the case study method.

In this method, you simply become the case study for a target influencer’s product or service.

It goes this way.

STEP 1: Buy the Influencer’s Product
STEP 2: Review the Product

It’s that easy.

Why do this work?

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  • First, it establishes you as a power customer – this means that you did more than just buy. You implemented the influencer’s method or used the product or service with much success.
  • Second, influencers need stories from people like you – you are a solid social proof that can give them more sales in the future.

From here, you can approach an influencer and share your experience. Do it without asking for a link and he will most likely reply if your story is compelling enough.

But that is not the only trick up my sleeve, click here for more Blogger Outreach Strategies.


Another powerful way to do outreach is to look at what other people are doing and copy it.

You can do this by reading some case studies.

Case studies are the new breed of content. It tells you in detail how a person goes from point A to point B. It is interesting to read and is also the perfect study material if you need more strategies about blogger outreach.

Here are some of the most interesting blogger outreach resources.


So that’s how you do blogger outreach without the templates. It’s not that hard right?

Again, here is a worksheet that can help you. Download the Worksheet to start doing Non-Template Outreach.