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The 10 commandments for reaching A-List bloggers

Monday, 12 August 2013 | By Adam Franklin

Getting backlinks, retweets, endorsements and social mentions from influential bloggers is a powerful way to give your content marketing a real boost. However, the challenge is that they get hundreds of outreach emails every day.


So how do you, an aspiring blogger, earn the attention of the bloggers further up the food chain?    Let’s start with what not to do.


How to get ignored

  • Send an un-personalised email
  • Beg for something
  • Guilt them into it
  • Blast out a group email
  • Talk about yourself
  • Don’t include details on your email signature


This ‘spray and pray’ approach does more harm than good.  Fortunately for you, most people make one or more of these six mistakes and the worst culprits are usually SEO companies and PR agencies.  I personally recommend doing this type of blogger outreach yourself rather than engaging someone to do it for you.


How to stand out


The good news is that it’s relatively easy to stand out in sea of appalling outreach emails if you do your homework.   Think of backlinks as an indicator of your relationships and put work into your relationships.  People will link to you, if you’ve earned it.


Here is a process to follow to increase your chance at success.


10 steps to take before you “ask”


1. Identify the influencers in your market

2. Keep a list in a spreadsheet

3. Follow them on Twitter

4. Follow their blogs via your RSS feed (I use feed.ly)

5. Comment on their blogs

6. Tweet and share the posts that you like

7. Buy their books, read them, review them and blog about them.

8. Subscribe to their email newsletter

9. Email them with sincere praise or a thoughtful question (best to reply to their email newsletters)

10. Wait until you get a reply, and grow your relationship from there.


The golden rule is always to lead with generosity!    This process obviously takes time, and whilst that won’t appeal to some people, it is the only way to build relationships of substance with the right people.


Blogger Outreach Email Template


When that time comes to “ask”, I recommend you follow this format:


1. Be personal and friendly


Hi [first name], how are you?


2. Show sincere praise


As you may remember, I’ve been a fan of your books and blog since I was referred to your writing by ________ in 2009.


3. Lead with generosity


Your recent book about _______ resonated with me because of XYZ. I wrote a short review on Amazon and since I knew my tribe would find it useful too, I emailed it to my 1500 subscribers. It also prompted me reach out to you.


4. Ask


Using some of your tips from your book, I actually released my first e-book last week! It’s called ____________ and I credit you in the acknowledgements on page five.


If you felt it was worthy of a tweet or link that would make my day! But if you don’t, that’s cool too, I just wanted to say thanks for inspiring me to take action.


Note: My preference is not to actually ask for anything since they already know how valuable a tweet or backlink is.  I trust that if I create something valuable enough, they’ll want to link to it or share it anyway, without me asking. I do however make it easy for them to link to, hence the link.


5. Close


I notice your speaking schedule will bring you to Sydney later in the year. Knowing that you love _______, so you should really try _______ if you get the chance!


6. Email signature


All the best,






The key to success is to take the time to nurture the relationship, lead with generosity, don’t ask for too much, make it easy for them and provide enough info in your email signature so they can make sure you are legit.  Don’t fret if you don’t get a hit back, they are busy people. Keep following their work, leading with generosity and your time will come!


I must to extend a hat tip to Rand Fishkin & Tim Ferriss for the insights I’ve been able to apply and share here.


My first piece of content that earned the attention of prominent bloggers was the Web Strategy Planning Template, which is still a free download.