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Blogger outreach: how to email bloggers to collaborate

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I’ve been blogging for seven years now and it’s been my main source of income for four years since monetising my first blog in 2016 when I realised I could get paid to blog.  By 2017 I was able to quit my part time job and fully focus on blogging as a lucrative business idea.

Since then I have started two more of my own blogs and I also helped to build content and paid work opportunities on another.

Needless to say, I have experienced a lot of blogger outreach emails, both good and bad.  I receive up to 150 emails per day across my blog inboxes so I’ve quite literally seen them all.

From the blogger scam emails of SEO sharks pretending to be a fellow lifestyle blogger supposedly wanting to write an innocent guest post to boost their blog’s exposure, when really they want to slip a few client links in there, to the daily emails from those expecting free advertising on websites or offering a tweet in exchange for a couple of hours of my content writing…!

Yes, I get inundated with these irresistible offers every day!!

Joking aside, I do also get to work with lots of amazing brands, blogging networks and agencies that aren’t fishing for a freebie, actually value my time and resources and are a pleasure to work with.

So if you are a brand looking to work with a blogger then I’d like to offer some words of advice on how to email bloggers the right way for better relations all round.

The right way to do blogger outreach

 Blogger outreach_ how to email bloggers for collaborations

1. Choose appropriate bloggers

Firstly, avoid wasting your own time by doing some research into the right bloggers for your brand.  For example, there’s no point in emailing a vegan blogger to promote your leather handbags!  Yep, I often get emails for my vegan blog to work with all sorts of non-vegan food and products. 

If a blog is fully beauty based then they probably don’t want to write about or promote lawnmowers.  By emailing a bunch of blogs that have set niches or values, you are not only wasting their time, but your own time too.  It’s much better to ensure you are emailing someone with relevance.

Put simply, make sure your brand fits with their blog or there is an angle that works.

There are many lifestyle bloggers that can work with numerous brands, but if you have a highly specific niche or a product that clashes with certain lifestyles, then make sure you search for bloggers that complement your brand.

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2. Know who you’re emailing

“Hey UK Money + Lifestyle Blogger”

“Dear Sir”

“Hi Lydia”

I regularly receive emails addressed so lazily.  Many of these emails then go on to tell me how they are avid readers of my blog…

A quick look at my socials or blog and you will quickly learn I am female and my name is Victoria.

Even a simple “Hi” or “Hello” is better than copying and pasting someone’s entire social profile name or assuming their sex if you don’t know.

But if you are really interested in working with a blogger then spend a couple of seconds finding out their actual name.  Most bloggers have it on their about page, home page or somewhere prominent and not very difficult to find.

It’s much more personal and is a great way to immediately capture the blogger’s attention.

Just to note, it's highly confusing my blog is called Lylia Rose, so I don't actually mind when people email me calling me this!  Read the story of Lylia Rose to learn more about my (now) totally irrelevant blog name!

3. Value their time and resources

Blogging isn’t as ‘easy’ as people think it is.  It takes time to build a blog whether that’s to build certain metrics such as domain authority or domain rating, website traffic, email lists or social followings.

To get to the levels where brands actually want to collaborate can take years!

I don’t know any brand or digital marketing company who wants to work with a blog that started yesterday.  They don’t.  They want to work with blogs that have developed an audience for brand exposure or a certain metric that helps with their SEO.

It takes time for a blogger to write content, take photos and promote a brand.  That time should be valued.

If you are an SEO company wanting a link in a blog post then this is a form of advertising too and you want it on a blog that has potentially taken years of effort to get to a certain metric you need your link on.

Whether you want a blogger to run a giveaway, host a guest post, write a sponsored post, review an item or share something on their social channels, you should value their time (remember this when writing that seventh follow up email as well) and resources and expect to pay.  It’s all a form of advertising or marketing and you shouldn’t expect a blogger to give this for free.

It really bugs me when digital companies approach me to work for them to increase rankings or visibility for their client, yet they don’t want to pay me.  It’s my services that are helping to get them the results for their client and they are paid, so they should pay me. 

I see it every day - bloggers being asked to work for free and it’s so frustrating.  I also get several requests per day myself!  I’ve spent over seven years working hard on my blogs and business, working up to seven days per week, working from early morning right through past midnight, constantly learning and growing, constantly increasing my metrics… I shouldn’t give all that effort away for free, or be expected to.

I value my time and the years of effort I’ve put into my brand.  And if you are a blogger reading this, you should too.

If you are a brand or agency and you are reaching out to a blogger then expect to pay.  Value their time like you value yours.

One of my favourite and most honest articles about this subject is by a fellow blogger called Fran who says You wouldn’t expect a magazine to print your ad for free, so why me?.  It’s an all too familiar experience of a brand expecting access to a blogger’s audience on their blog and socials, a lot of time in content writing, photography and promotion with lifelong advertising, presuming the socials and blog post stay live forever, all in return for nothing for the blogger.  No payment and not even the offer of the item in question for the blogger to keep.  It’s crazy brands can even think this is acceptable.

4. Use a dedicated blogger outreach service

Sourcing the right bloggers for a digital marketing or SEO campaign can be time consuming, which is why there are numerous blogger outreach platforms out there like who take the hassle out of sourcing the right bloggers for your brand.

Using a blogger outreach platform means you can secure high quality content and product placement from bloggers who want to work with your brand.  The bloggers can apply to work with you if they decide you are the right fit for their blog which can cut out a lot of wasted back and forth emails.

As a blogger I do love being contacted directly when brands want to work with me, when they are relevant and have budget, but it’s also great to be able to apply for relevant paid blogging opportunities through various blogging job platforms.  It means I can pick and choose the blogging jobs I want to apply for that satisfy my fee requirements and blog topics.

5. Don’t be vague

A good explanation of what the collaboration will entail, the brand and website link it will involve and the budget is the most perfect email.

Or you can ask for the blogger’s media kit or rate card if you’d rather know what the blogger charges and what services they offer if your campaign style is flexible.

By offering a personalised email and full explanation of the expected collaboration, you will save so much time on emails and potential disappointment.

I receive so many vague emails that don’t go into detail and it involves a long email exchange to learn exactly what the expectations of the collaboration are… often to only realise after 20 emails that they have no budget and are expecting everything for free.

Or perhaps the product isn’t relevant or they insist on a YouTube video when I don’t have YouTube or Facebook post when I don’t have a Facebook page…

If this was stated in the first email then I could have politely declined and we’d both have saved so much time!

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The best way to approach a blogger by email

So to roundup, here’s the best way to approach a blogger via email when you want to work with them:

  1. Make sure your brand/product/link is relevant to their blog
  2. Email them using their first name - never guess!
  3. Don’t expect them to work for free
  4. Use a blogger outreach service if you don’t have time to do blogger outreach properly
  5. Outline any campaign requirements in as much detail as possible in the first email to avoid wasting time