How to guarantee a 0% response rate from blogger outreach

November 12, 2014

How to guarantee a 0% response rate from blogger outreach

Last week I had the chance to speak at the Content Marketing Show in Brighton (make sure you read Sam’s post about the key takeaways) – it was my first ever major public speaking opportunity and I’m now really pleased that I put my name forward a few months ago.

If you missed the conference, you can view my slides online; I’ve embedded my presentation in this post to make it really simple for you… My talk was called “How to guarantee a 0% response rate from blogger outreach” and highlighted ways to do it well, as well as very badly. I included a few ‘real life’ examples which you can see in the first few of my slides below:

More about blogger outreach

However I want to go further than this and answer a few of the questions that I was asked on the day.


I mentioned the topic of guest posts, and how many bloggers find it irritating when they are sent content by companies who are only doing outreach from a link building perspective. This led to a couple of questions about how it’s possible to do guest posting better.

There is of course no perfect solution that would work for every brand, and it is something that needs to be done on a case-by-case basis. It helps to understand how the search engines view the activity of guest blogging, so have a read of this quotation from Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team:

“If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”

So if this is your end goal, you might want to rethink your strategy. Guest blogging has seen its peak, and is now in a decline. Bloggers have become wise to this tactic and many have policies on their websites that say they do not accept guest posts in any form. Yet if you are a company who is trying to connect with bloggers because you have something really great to share with them, you’re going to need to think about how you can differentiate your approach to your competitors. Here are my top tips:

  • Never mention linking back to a specific URL or the use of non-branded anchor text
  • Don’t suggest to bloggers that your content is “100% unique” as this is an indicator that you are outreaching to many bloggers
  • Have a clear reason to get in touch with a blogger, i.e. they have mentioned your brand previously or their interests are clearly aligned to you
  • Provide something of real value

Ultimately, if you’re struggling trying to place your content online, you should probably take it as a sign that it isn’t as spectacular as you think it might be. Put yourself in a blogger’s shoes to ask yourself “would I post this on my own blog?”.

If you have content that would work better as a press release, you can at least try and reformat your copy to use in a different form, somewhat easing the burden on your budget for the work that has already been carried out.

In terms of the number of guest bloggers that are suitable for a blog, this again will depend on the quality of what is written, how influential they are, and the reason for getting contributors. There are many industry websites such as State of Digital ( that do this well; you’ll see our very own Daniel Bianchini write on there from time to time, and he does this along with many other digital marketing influencers.

If the aim of getting guest bloggers is just to get fresh content, it’s probably not going to be worth it. However if you want excellent content, then seek the best bloggers possible to help you out. And make it really transparent who they are by including them on your editorial team page. 

The next question came from Paige Hobart who wanted some more information on skim links…

As Paige suggests, some bloggers aren’t too familiar with the affiliate links that are being driven through their content. There is actually an excellent blog post on this topic from Bryan Conte, which even goes into how these links can be removed when they are created automatically.

As a brand you may need to provide education to bloggers if you are looking to work with them, after all, you have the digital knowledge to help them – building this relationship may help you to get better results with them in the future too.

Finally, Tash Mills wanted to know how I use Google Analytics…

Google Analytics is incredibly helpful when it comes to blogging, however there are some people who obsess a little bit too much about the data they see. I frequently see bloggers say “someone found my blog by searching for XXXXXX!” – but the one off visitor through this term isn’t exactly going to make much of a different to overall blog success, so I tend to discount any data that is attributed to less than 10 visitors (at least).

It can be useful for coming up with post topics, but I prefer to use it to see trend information about the number of visits, and what pages people have entered or exited my blog through. My main goal when it comes to blogging is to simply write what I love, so it’s always nice to see my audience growing in line with my own personal progression as a blogger.

If you have any further questions about what I covered at the Content Marketing Show, be sure to leave a comment below and I’ll get in touch.

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