How to Ask Bloggers for Backlinks and Reviews

Getting reviews from bloggers and online content creators can make a huge difference in how successful a new product or company is. In addition to bringing direct traffic from the sites giving you links, incoming links from high-ranking websites, especially if they include keywords, can help your search engine rankings. Links and favorable reviews from sites with active user bases can also result in your website being shared on social networks all over the web. Get enough high-quality incoming links, and you can see a big jump in the number of interested visitors coming to your site. But getting that valuable coverage can be elusive for a lot of marketers. In fact, it can be downright frustrating.

Always Be Professional and Personable

Sending an email that comes across as a form letter is a quick way to turn off bloggers and others that might want to review your company or your products. It gives the impression that you’re too busy to properly communicate with those you’re looking to get help from, and in turn leaves a blogger feeling like if you couldn’t invest the time, why should they?

Take a few minutes and check out what your intended recipient is all about. Mention a recent article they’ve published, or something they’ve talked about on their blog. Address the person by name. If the name is ambiguous, and you’re unsure of whether the person is a man or woman, look for a photo. As someone who has such a name, and who also has her photo plastered next to nearly every article she writes, it comes across as a sign of laziness when someone emails me and addresses me as “Mr. Chapman”.

A Little Flattery Can Go a Long Way

Everyone likes to be flattered, as long as it’s genuine. If you’re looking to get coverage from a particular person, flatter them a bit. Check out recent articles they’ve written or other content they’ve created. Then tell them you enjoyed it.

One warning here: don’t do the bait and switch. Don’t email the person you want to review your product praising their work, wait for them to reply with a thank you, and then email again with the request to write a review for you or give you a link. That’s annoying, and makes us wonder if you were being genuine in the first email. Instead, include the praise and the request in the initial email. You’re much more likely to be taken seriously on both accounts in this way, and it feels like you’re being more honest and sincere.

Don’t Spam

If someone declines to write a review of your product or otherwise dismisses you, don’t keep emailing them. It’s annoying, and generally a waste of time on both sides. An occasional email if you have updates or news to share is fine, but don’t send weekly updates unless the blogger has requested you do so.

The same goes for sending mass emails out to a bunch of sites at once. It’s not professional (unless the people you’re emailing have signed up to receive updates, and even then, make sure you use a program that sends individual emails rather than including everyone in one big blast) and it sends the impression that you don’t see the value in taking the time to individually target your recipients. A personal email will get you much better results.

Don’t Go After the A-Listers

Ever tried to get a review or coverage from an A-List blog? You probably found it to be frustrating and most-likely fruitless exercise. The truth is that most top blogs are inundated with requests from people and companies who want coverage.

Rather than spending all your time chasing down the top bloggers, why not focus on the mid-list bloggers instead? These people are often much more accessible, and much more willing to check out your offerings. And getting coverage from five or ten mid-list blogs can easily exceed the amount of visibility you’d get from an A-list blog.

The other bonus here is that often once your product gets some coverage on smaller blogs, the larger blogs will pick up the story. They don’t want to end up the only blog in their niche that isn’t covering your story.

Offer Something in Return

Offering bloggers something in return for a review can be a great way to get more attention. But just offering a backlink or similar doesn’t hold the same value it used to. Instead, you’ll need to come up with something creative to offer in exchange for a link.

There are a lot of authors and book publishers online who use this kind of technique: they’ll offer a review copy of their book (usually in ebook format) to anyone willing to publish a review. Offering a free product can be a great way to get some blog coverage. Another option is to offer a discount code to their readers, or to sponsor a contest on their blog. These are great ways to increase the likelihood of getting coverage.

Bonus Points

If you want to increase your chances of getting good coverage, become an active participant on the blogs you’d like coverage from. Comment on their posts, engage in discussions, and make yourself known. Then, when you finally send an email to ask for a review, they’ll (hopefully) recognize your name.

Make sure that whatever you’re commenting is useful and contributes to the conversation. Don’t just leave generic comments like “nice post” or “great job”. Bloggers often view these kinds of comments as spam and either ignore them or don’t publish them at all. Instead, offer your opinion on what they’ve said, or expand on some point in the post. This will make you more memorable and also lead to a better relationship with the blogger.

Some Sample Email Requests

If you’re not sure how to go about approaching a blogger about a review or a link, take a look at these examples for some ideas:

I just read your post on [topic] and thought you made some really great points. I especially liked your take on [whatever part you liked]. If you have a chance, I’d love it if you’d take a look at [my product]. I think it might be of interest to your readers. Thanks!

I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog (you might remember me from some of the comments I’ve left), and just wanted to give you a heads up about my new project, [project name/link]. I’m looking for help getting the word out about it, and would appreciate any mention you can make, either on your blog or elsewhere. Thanks!

I just read your post on [topic] and it reminded me of a post I wrote [or read] on the same subject at [blog name]. My company, [company name] focuses on just that subject, and I thought your readers might be interested in a review if you had a chance. Here’s a link to our media page if you’re interested: [link]. Let me know if I can give you any more information or help out in any way.

Thanks!

Notice how all of the above examples are short and to the point. They all open with some sort of personalization, and they all close with a thank you. Bloggers are busy people, and the shorter you make your email to them, the more likely they are to actually read what you’ve said.

Cultivate Your Relationships

When you do get good blog coverage, it’s important to continue to cultivate those relationships. Monitor the comments section of any post you’re mentioned in, and address concerns directly and openly. Thank the blogger who wrote the piece for their coverage.

Track which blogs are giving you the best coverage and the most leads, and make sure you maintain those relationships. Promote their content through your social media accounts whenever you feel that it’s relevant and helpful to your own followers, and you’ll likely find they do the same for you.

About the Author: Cameron Chapman is a freelance designer, blogger, and the author of Internet Famous: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Online Celebrity.

  1. Cameron:

    I enjoyed your post especially the pithy ways to approach a blogger. Personalization and flattery seem to be part of the mix. The point about 5-10 mid level bloggers versus one A lister seems dead on to me. Good observation.

    Rob

    • Yeah it is isn’t it? It’s really simple concept but people easily get discouraged when they try going after the A listers.

  2. Thanks Cameron for this post. Funny because each points you bring up are so simple (which yet to often are overlook) yet each of these points are so true!

    Good point too on the A-listers. Well looking forward to your next post.

    Seb

  3. Being a marketing guy, I have written to a lot of bloggers and have found that the response rates are much better when you contact them using their online contact form as opposed to email.

    If you have to contact them over email, then a subject like “Suggestion for content on <>” typically works well.

    And I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel that adding a smiley early on in the mail (right after the flattery) adds a whole lot of warmth to the message and gets more people to respond.

  4. It is standard to write “I am reading your blog and I like it very much, you wrote about this and that”. When I read it, I know that the person is just trying to be nice, I don’t treat is seriously.

    I am blogging about Russia (a lot of data visulizations about Russia, economy and so on). Once I received mail from pills producer, he wanted to place info about his products on my blog. It was totally without any sense, I do not write anything about pharmacy, so I don’t think that my readers would be interested in the products. In my opinion he is wasting his time writing to each blogger, he meets in the internet. It looks like spamming techinque: post info where it is possible.

    • Well if a company that’s selling pills, casino or other random crap, chances are that they’re spamming. Link building through this method works for sites that provide great content and value.

  5. John Burnside Jan 03, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for the great post. I always lack a little confidence when asking people for a link on their blog but I am starting to talk to some other bloggers and this blog has helped me figure out how to do that best.

    • Well that’s fantastic to hear. It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is them saying ‘no’

  6. Noteworthy is the balance between quantity and quality. Not all backlinks does help your blog’s seo effort.

  7. it never ceases to amaze me how people don’t understand the power of a good blog review. On a heavy trafficked site like ours, it can make or break a product.

    People send us requests for reviews all the time. the problem- 90% of them are not relevant to our audience and get ignored.

    Take some time to really understand what a blog writes about and pitch them your angle. “here is how we think our product might be useful to your readers”

    • I understand what you mean… you’ll constantly get hit by people out of your space for things not even relevant to your niche.

  8. It is and it’s a lot of hard work. But it pays off when you see your rankings increase.

  9. As a small business owner trying to get their businees moved up the SERP’s it is often very intimidating to work out the best techniques to get qulaity backlinks or reviews. Alot of our competitors have links on peoples blogrolls and the like, and it was baffling to work out how they were doing this! It is great to have an article like this from a blogger, clearly stating what a blogger wants to hear! Cameon, do you have any tips as to how to find quality blogs in a particular niche? This is my next task!! Thanks, Mike

  10. I haven’t been in the marketing game for very long, so I like to read everything I can to help get me on the fast track.
    Often, articles will offer some advice that even I know is wrong, but this piece seems to have summed things up in a clear, concise manner and focuses on some very important points – I’ve learned something here, and I thank you for the valuable advice Mr. Chapman :)

    • If you haven’t been in the biz for that long, this is a great way to hit the ground running ;). I think one of the best ways for you to learn would be by implementing it immediately and talking to us about your results.

  11. I just started a website and immediately I know I need to connect to bloggers. After reading this article, i feel more confident. Thanks Cameron, looking forward to read more of your blogs.

    • Yes, that’s the best and fastest way to grow. Go to conferences, meetings, whatever it takes to connect with others in your field. That’s the name of the game.

  12. Hope this is the best and fastest way to grow, and ask people.. thanks for your time to write this …. ThnaQ

  13. This is the best way to grow. Networking on the internet is a great way to build quality backlinks for your website. A lot of people underestimate how many bloggers will give you a quality backlink if you just ask in a professional matter. Great article!

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