How to Influence Bloggers and Make Them Use Your Stories
You are a proud businessman focused on sales and lead generation.
Gone are the days when you wrote in your outreach emails something like "Hi, I was just looking through your website and really enjoyed it. In fact, it made me wonder if you ever accept guest articles."
You read Ninja Outreach and other big dogs, you learn from them, you follow their advice, and you see the result.
And yet, every time after rejection you experience the widest scope of emotions, starting with self-torture and ending with a desire to throw your computer at their faces.
This post is not about striking influencers with your bodacity. And it's not about types of content to outreach for wowing them.
It's about how to influence bloggers, calling out to matters none of us would ignore:
Ego. Emotions. Basic needs. Instincts.
And if these strategies don't result in a boom of your influencer marketing, you are welcome to find me and throw your laptop at my face.
How to Influence Bloggers and Make Them Use Your Stories
But how the heck were they going to stand out of that crowd and succeed?
In order not to get lost in that 84% using the same tactics of gaining influencers' attention, you need to shift gears of the blogger outreach.
#1. Tell Them What They Want to Hear
Human beings are selfish creatures. We crave for something able to satisfy our needs, prove we are awesome, or able to make us awesome.
Top bloggers are human beings, too! (What a surprise, isn't it?)
So, your first step to influencing them is flattering their ego. For that, forget about self and appeal to their selfishness and desire to be treated as individuals.
"Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Carnegie understood that magic. According to a study, it's a unique reaction in the brain that triggers its greater activation and allows others to benefit from it.
Obvious, simple, and yet so powerful!
Always call bloggers by name in your outreach letters. To double the effect, repeat it through the letter.
Names work the room.
Ana Hoffman confirms that "everybody loves a little flattery, but only when it is genuine and appropriate." Make bloggers feel you do know about their work, you appreciate it, and you sincerely consider it valuable.
But don't run it into the ground! No one loves crawlers.
What can you do?
Ana suggests offering a compliment or saying thank you. Once they've replied, you have a green light to engage deeper by tagging influencers where appropriate or tell them about your offers and ideas.
The key insight here: be sincere. As Aaron Orendorff (iconiContent) says, "just become a vocal fan of the folks who you admire. Share their stuff. Comment on it. Tag them. Sign up for their email list."
That's all they want to hear from you, so give it to build relationships and make them listen to you.
#2. Hook them
Influencers get hundreds of emails daily. What does make yours so special for them to care?
The best way to hook them is appealing to their emotions.
1) They are curious, so be different: write something they don't expect, make them smile, avoid cliches.
In his article I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading, Tim Soulo explains why he does it: all those letters look like carbon copies!
You'll never influence top bloggers with generic subject lines and tons of URLs in emails. They are fed up with that, and such letters do nothing but frustrate.
Frustration is not the emotion we want to knock out!
Try video outreach where appropriate. In her speech at the conference for digital marketers, Alex Tachalova mentioned a guy who took a short video about his content and sent it to her. Needless to say, she was hooked.
2) They don't want to lose a profit, so appeal to their pragmatism: give them answer to the question "What's in there for me?"
- Add a useful tip to their post.
- Offer a different perspective to the problem they mention.
- Share truly awesome content they won't want to miss.
- Ask for comments and say you'll mention them as experts. (We all are proud when someone calls us experts, aren't we? Appealing to ego again, you can influence bloggers' decision to help you.)
3) They are skeptical but they want to solve problems with least resistance, so be useful before asking something.
In his article for Smart Blogger, Brian Dean suggests the variants like pointing out broken links at bloggers' websites or offering to improve their resources. "Because let’s face it, no serious blogger wants broken links."
Words matter, too. You can influence bloggers' decision to open your email (at least) by using particular words in subject lines. Here go 18 words from Aaron Orendorff:
And here come 31 words to avoid in your pitches (the old yet timely list from your humble narrator):
#3. Give them meat
I bet you consider human instincts when generating your content: appealing to five basic needs makes readers consume your content like the dickens.
Why not try this approach in your outreach emails?
Appeal to basic human instincts when offering content ideas to bloggers. Many write headlines accordingly:
- What Craft Beer and Food Trucks Can Teach Us About the Power of Collaboration – Copyblogger (Appealing to the instinct of ingestion)
- How Wattpad Became the Hottest New Influencer Marketing Platform – Contently (Appealing to the instinct of procreation)
- Guess the Writer – Bid4Papers (Appealing to the instinct of action)
Offering such-like headlines might raise your chances of hooking them.
To influence bloggers, Mike Hanski recommends using power words in your writings.
Some words make people feel a certain way, and this is the reason we all have gathered here, haven't we?
Mike’s top five power words to mention in your outreach:
One more thing to consider: does your outreach "smell" like meat?
Your email should have a strong information scent for influencers to nose out there is something meaty in your offer.
Big dogs don't have time to read every Tom, Dick, and Harry; so, include visual clues to your outreach for bloggers to notice while scanning your offer.
In other words, make it readable:
- Use short sentences and paragraphs.
- Don't forget about subheadings, bolded words, and bullet lists.
- Make sure your outreach has a surplus value.
A surplus value is something in your offer that makes your story different. Why should bloggers choose it among others? Why should they trust you?
#4. Manipulate? It's up to you
Did you hear of Ryan Holiday?
Writer, marketer, and media strategist, Ryan reveals secrets of online media manipulations and tells how he made top blogs, including big dogs like The Huffington Post and The New York Times, trust fakes and publish his stories.
As well as other journalists using this tactic (Andrew James Breitbart, Irin Carmon, and James O'Keefe), Holiday is responsible for several manipulative media controversies that helped him promote products and make them go viral.
Taking into consideration psychological factors that affect choices, he "helped" bloggers make decisions.
Ryan's book Trust Me, I'm Lying describes nine tactics of influencing bloggers and serves a perfect example of how manipulation works:
- Bloggers are poor; help them pay their bills.
- Tell them what they want to hear.
- Give them what spreads, not what's good.
- Help them trick their readers.
- Give them something they can sell.
- Make it all about the headline.
- Kill them with pageview kindness.
- Use the technology against itself.
- Just make stuff up.
I read the book. Controversial, yet interesting for illustrative purposes. Don't we practice any of these tactics, after all? (2, 5, and 6 in particular)
NLP is a powerful weapon, too.
Politicians, copywriters, lawyers, and other persuaders use it to change people’s thinking, get them do what they wouldn't ordinarily do, and get them to take action.
The most powerful NLP language patterns are many, and they include but are not limited to motivation, invoking emotions, asking questions, and appealing to identity, as well as hierarchy of values.
To use or not to use it, that is the question.
How far are you ready to go for making influencers use your story? Is the game worth the candle, after all?
Influencer marketing is trendy because it works. Most marketers run this strategy, using and inventing tactics that would influence bloggers and get them interested in given products or services.
What do you think of tactics described here? Do you use any of them, appealing to human psychology rather than cold email outreach? Or, maybe you've developed your personal strategy of influencing top bloggers?
Just share your thoughts in the comments below!
Lesley Vos is a writer at Bid4Papers blog. She is a ghostwriter and content creator with 5+ years of experience in the niche. Lesley specializes in data research and text content, and she has a passion for reading and travel. Find her at @LesleyVos or drop her a line at email@example.com.