While it’s always a good idea to have a blog for your business, getting other blogs to post about your product or online shop is not only super flattering; it’s also a great way to tap into their audience to promote your stuff! But anyone who’s tried emailing everyone from bloggers to journalists knows that more often than not, you get radio silence before you even get a “no thank you.” Here are some helpful guidelines, examples, and an example email you can copy, paste, and make your own to help you master how to get bloggers and influencers to promote your product.
Before You Hit Send…
Bloggers get a lot of “feature my cool online shop!” type requests, so it’s better to take some time to prepare before cold-emailing a blogger rather than burn bridges before they’re even made! Here’s what you gotta do to know what you’re going to offer them, know what you want, to become familiar with the blog, and to get prepared.
Find bloggers in your niche
Reaching out to finance bloggers about your Artist Shop full of movie parody designs won’t do you much good. Seek out and contact bloggers with the audience you’re trying to reach. This will help get your product in front of people who are more likely to be interested in it, and is also more likely to pique the blogger’s interest. There are lots of resources for finding relevant blogs (like here and here), but Googling “Foodie Blogs”, “Geeky Blogs”, whatever theme is relevant to your product is a good starting point!
Go down the ladder
Some blogs make contacting them as easy as clicking a button. But others require a little detective work. If you can’t find a way of contacting them on the site, check for contact info through their social channels. Sometimes bloggers are even open to people sliding into their DMs (but make sure they encourage that). For bigger blogs with a list of editors and content managers who run the site, try reaching out to a few of them first vs the head honcho. They’re sometimes easier to reach than the head honcho.
Ask, “What’s in it for them?”
Lifehacker said, “one reason this wonderful idea [of emailing bloggers] isn’t working the way it was expected to is that while bloggers have something pretty valuable to offer marketers, marketers so far have had little to offer in return.” It’s great for you if a blogger features your Artist Shop! But Bloggers have a lot to lose if their audience isn’t into it. Give them an enticing reason to work with you. For example, I reached out to the Foxtail + Moss blog to see if they’d want to do a “How to Make a Gallery Wall” post for Threadless. I ended up offering them their pick of 5 art prints free of charge to use for the post and, of course, that we would share the post on our social channels. The post turned out great, they were thrilled to work with us and got some fun new prints out of it!
Guest contribute to blogs
Having a few posts that you’ve written or having your stuff featured/reviewed on other smaller blogs 1: gives you some credibility and shows you’ve worked with people before, 2: gives you posts to link to in your email, and 3: is good practice before reaching out to a bigtime blogger.
Become familiar with the blogger and blog
Harsh truth: if someone reaches out to me and it seems like they haven’t taken the time to read my stuff, I’m less inclined to work with them. Mentioning a few posts you really like or that you like my writing style shows you’ve taken the time to get familiar with my blog, which means a lot! And it helps you understand their tone as well. If they’re super formal, better to pitch to them formally (simple as dropping a “Hey there!” for “Greetings!”). If they’re laid back, pitch to them in a friendly way (while still keeping it professional).
Reading up on a blog you’re going to pitch to beforehand will also help you figure out what kind of post ideas and offers appeal to them, if they’re even actively posting on their blog anymore at all, and will save you the awkward moment of pitching a post they published something similar to just recently.
build a relationship with them
One way to show you’ve read up on someone’s blog? Get involved! Comment on posts, share them, like tweets, follow them on social media, etc. Showing that you’re actually interested in their content goes a long way. Just don’t overdo it. Get engaged, not stalkery.
Writing a Solid Email: The ‘Dos‘ and ‘Don’ts‘
There is an art to writing an email that might get you noticed, or at least get you a response, vs an email that’s destined to become pixels in the virtual garbage bin.
DO send reminders, DON’T pester
It’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t hear back from a blogger right away, or when you have but then, radio silence. Wait! There’s hope! They easily may have missed or forgotten to respond to your email. Bloggers have a lot of emails to go through – this happens all the time. I try to respond to everyone, even if it’s to say, “Thanks, but no thank you!”
My rule when I’m reaching out is to wait a week or two to give them time to respond. Then if they don’t, just to send a follow-up reminder email checking to see if they got your message. If that goes unanswered, back away. You can try again in a few weeks, maybe even months, but you don’t want to burn a possible bridge later by being a nuisance now.
DO personalize, DON’T get weirdly personal
If I get an email that seems like it was copy/pasted into an email to 12,000 other bloggers, I’ll usually delete it. Personalize your email to every blogger you email. You can use the same structure for all of your emails, but tailoring that skeleton to each blogger by putting some meat on it (mentioning a post you loved or that you related to, that you went to the same school, etc.) makes us feel special and makes you seem more like a person as well!
It’s also really easy to get a little too comfortable or personal or too joke-y (jokes sometimes don’t always translate well through email). Remember, no matter how chill a blogger you’re talking to seems, always keep things professional.
DO make them an enticing offer, DON’T bribe
Saying “write about my Artist Shop” doesn’t make you stand out. But if you send an email with a post idea or two (a gift guide, a gallery wall how-to featuring your art prints, some really cool lifestyle photography of your product that I’d want to share or use in my pieces, etc.), some of your merchandise to use in a giveaway, or even an already written piece about your product, then you’re offering us potentially really cool content for our audience.
On the other hand, bribing? Not cool, and kind of shady! You can offer them a gift after they’ve written about your product, but don’t bribe them to get them to write a positive post.
DO be straight-forward, DON’T be unfriendly or demanding
Compose your email once you’ve done your research, know exactly what you want to get out of the exchange, and know exactly what you’re going to offer to the blogger. It’s better to be direct and sum up your pitch in a few sentences in the middle of the email rather than stumble around for a paragraph.
But don’t be demanding. Don’t box them in creatively, or come off as “you’re an idiot if you don’t talk about my life-changing product.” Be genuine, be kind, and be direct but be friendly. Remember, their voice has influence; you don’t want to make that voice mad.
DO grammar check, DON’T skip that grammar check!
I’m not gonna say that if I see a “you’re” used wrong or spelled “yuo’re”, I’m going to be less inclined to read your email…but if I see a “you’re” used wrong or spelled “yuo’re” I’m going to be less inclined to read your email (which is also great dating advice, #TheMoreYouKnow) It’s not about being a grammar snob – it’s about seeing if you’ve taken the time to actually carefully check your email.
Putting it All Together
SUBJECT LINE: This subject line tells them exactly what I’m asking for and poses it as a “would you be interested?” question.
FRIENDLY GREETING: “DEAR MADAM AND/OR SIR” or “Dear Ms./Mr.” is a little formal, especially when you’re not sure who will receive the email in a multiple blogger situation. Being friendly and inviting.
FRIENDLY INTRO: Introduce yourself and what you do. This is also a good point to throw in something that connects you to the blogger – really enjoying a specific blog post, being a fellow Chicagoan female blogger, going to the same school, etc.
THE ‘ABOUT’ AND THE ASK: Better to keep this short, simple, and to the point, and make your ask clear. At the time for this email, I didn’t know we would be doing a DIY post, it evolved! But had I known that, I probably would have mentioned “If you’d like to pick some prints from our site, we will send them to you free of charge for the post so that you can get some great pictures!”
TYING IT ALL UP: This is admittedly a little more personal than I would write to a typical blog, and probably as casual as I would feel comfortable getting in an outreach email. But it is nice to do a little wrap-up and talk about how you would love to work with them and tap into their expertise, fellow geekiness, etc.
Here’s a rough skeleton of an outreach email for you to play around with:
SUBJECT LINE: A few guidelines for the subject line:
- Be specific
- None of that spammy, “please read!” or “urgent!” or “hello”
- Should sum up what the email is about
EMAIL CONTENT: Keep it short, consise, to the point, and sweet!
Hey there, [Blogger’s name or, if they’re a total ghost or it’s not specific which of the Blog’s writers it will go to, “people of BLOG TITLE”]!
My name is [your name], I’m a [your title] at [where you work – link to it!] I recently discovered your blog and have been reading it like crazy! I really enjoy your voice. Your post about [mention a specific post here] really spoke to me [sum up why a certain post stood out to you in a sentence – remember, personalize but don’t get too personal. Keep it short, sweet, and about them].
I would love to work with you and create a “10 Ways to Wear a Geeky Graphic Tee” post for your blog featuring designs from my Threadless Artist Shop, “[name of shop, link to it],” if you’d be interested. If you’d like to take some lifestyle shots with my product, I’d be happy to send you some samples. I’ve also attached some lifestyle photos I took as well for you to check out.
Thank you so much for your time and let me know if you’d be interested! And of course, if you have a different direction you could take a post, feel free to do so! You’re the blogging expert here.
[Helps to have little footer information (see my example email to Foxtail and Moss)]
Once you’ve connected with a blogger, don’t just fall off the radar! If they post about you (even if it’s just a promo tweet), share their social posts about you across your social media as well! And remember: don’t get discouraged. You’ll get a lot of non-responses. But you’re bound to get some bites!
Now go forth into the wonderful world of email outreach! And of course, there are plenty more types of templates as well as resources out there, like the following:
Sources for this article and resources for YOU!
- “How to Reach Out to Bloggers and Social Media Influencers” – Thrivehive
- “How to Write Emails to Influencers (That Will Get Opened and Read)” – writinghappiness
- “How to Reach Out to Influencers So That They Can’t Say No” – crazyegg
- “How to Get a Blogger to Promote Your Product” – lifehack
- “7 Tools for Finding & Connecting Influential Bloggers” – Hubspot
- “Blogger Outreach Tips: How to Write Outreach Emails That Don’t Suck” – bloggingwizard
- “How to (Better) Reach Out to Bloggers” – Internet Marketing Ninjas
- “How to Reach Out to Bloggers to Promote Your Brand” – Volume Nine
. . .
We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please let us know in the comments! Thank you!
Illustrations done by the amazing Katie Lukes