Getting other blogs to link to your blog posts is not easy to do – particularly when you are starting out.
Taking a ‘write quality content and they will link up’ approach can work once you have a readership (although even then it’s not that easy) but what if your readership is small and other bloggers are not likely to see your posts?
One of the simplest things to do to get your contact in front of other bloggers in these circumstances is to email them to let them know of your post and/or to suggest it as a potential story for their own blog.
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Of course there’s a little more to it than just banging out an email with your link to another blogger. In fact if you do this you could actually do more damage than good.
Here are a few ideas for suggesting links to other bloggers:
Let me start by saying the most obvious thing – your content needs to be of high quality – the type of thing that people will want to link to. You can beg for links from other bloggers until you’re blue in the face but if your content isn’t linkable – you’re wasting your time (and theirs).
1. Reserve it for Your Best Content
Let me repeat what I’ve already said – it is all about ‘great content’. This is not a technique to use with every single post that you write. Use it selectively on your very very best content.
2. Check if the Blogger Links Out
Different blogs have very different approaches to what they write about and where they get their story ideas. For example a blog like Engadget links to other blogs in most posts that it writes – it’s almost like a news aggregator blog and is constantly pointing people to interesting stories on the web. Other blogs rarely link out – not because they’re selfish, but because they are blogs more about original ideas. You are likely to be wasting your time by pitching blogs that never link out.
Also look at HOW the blog links. Do they link to news stories? Do they link to other blogs as ‘examples’ in their posts. Do they link to controversial posts? Do they only link to blogs on certain topics or written in certain styles? The more you learn about HOW another blog links the better position you put yourself in to create your pitch to them.
Special Note: Some blogs even present you with methods to pitch them stories with contact forms dedicated to story submissions. This is a signal that you have permission to send them ideas.
3. Don’t Ask for a General Link to Your Blog
In most cases it is not appropriate to ask another blogger to simply ‘link to my blog’ (as in the front page). You’ll have much more chance of a link if you pitch them a story (a post you’ve written) than just to link to your blog’s front page. I find that generally people link to blogs in their blog rolls after they’ve been following you and relating to you for a while and see you as a helpful resource for their readers.
4. Relevancy Relevancy Relevancy
Only suggest posts on your blog that are highly relevant for the blog you’re pitching the story idea to. You drastically decrease your chances of being linked to if your story isn’t relevant.
5. Present a Posting Angle
When emailing a blogger with a post idea show them some potential angles that they could take with their post. For example – I used to pitch my links to gadget blogs when new cameras came out. I found that when I wrote a short summary of the story in my email with some potential points of interest that the stories got picked up more regularly than if I simply sent an email saying – ‘here’s a link that you might find interesting’. So I’d include a few features, why the camera was better than previous models etc. Often this extra information appeared in the post that these blogs published – in essence I was helping the blogger write their story for them.
6. Present Helpful Resources
Another thing that increased the chances of my camera posts being linked to was when I sent in pictures of the cameras with my email. Gadget blogs love pictures so if you save them time by providing them along with the story idea you’re cutting down work and again increasing your chances of having the story picked up.
7. Have They Already Covered the Story?
There’s nothing worse than being pitched with a story idea that you posted about yesterday. Scan the blog that you’re pitching to for their recent posts – it could save you embarrassment.
8. Be Personal
Where possible pitch a blogger rather than just pitching in impersonal ways. Use their name, show that you know their blog etc. However be careful when doing this to multiple blogs – you don’t want to personalize an email and then send it to the wrong blogger – major embarrassment!
9. Be Brief, Polite and Helpful
What ever you do be polite with your pitch – keep it brief (there’s nothing more of a turn off than a long pitch), introduce yourself and keep your email as helpful as possible. Only include details that will help the blogger write their post and in no way pressure them to write the story.
10. Don’t Ignore the ‘B, C and D-list’
Don’t just promote your content to Top-Tier blogs. Big blogs are being hit with story ideas all day everyday (often the same ones over and over again). Smaller blogs can be just as fruitful to pitch to because they often have more focused groups of readers. Sometimes multiple smaller blogs all picking up a story can get the attention of bigger bloggers too – making the story viral.
11. Build Relationships Before AND After Promoting Your Blog
I’m much more likely to link to someone (either on my blog or on Twitter) if I have had some kind of interaction with them before they pitch their story idea. Spend time building your network and don’t make your relationships with people just about what they can do for you. Also – when people do link to you after you’ve promoted something to them thank them for the link, offer to reciprocate and keep in touch. Don’t take their first link up as a signal to spam them with everything you write – but see it as a deepening of that relationship.