Improving Your Outreach – Lessons from the Travel Niche

Outreach is definitely the buzzword of the year. Whether it’s used for acquiring guest post opportunities, mentions on social media, or product reviews and feedback, having a successful process for connecting to others is essential.

At the start of this year I took a little time out to do some traveling around South East Asia. As a result, I thought it’d be a prime opportunity to set up my own travel blog to document my journeys, as well as bring in a little extra income to cover some of my spending money.

After running the blog for around 9 months now, I’ve learned a lot of lessons from being on the receiving end of contact from SEO companies. So, I thought I’d conduct some outreach of my own to find out what other travel bloggers liked to see from companies reaching out to them and provide some recommendations about what actually works.

Travel Blogger Opinions

Over my time within the travel blogging community I’ve built some great relationships with a load of fantastic bloggers. I got in touch with a few of them to find out what they thought about the approach companies use when reaching out to them – take heed of their advice!

Heather Cowper – HeatherOnHerTravels.com

Q. In an average week, how many requests do you get from people looking for links to your website?

I get around 5-10 e-mails a day. I now have a marketing assistant who deals with these for me, so it actually costs me money to respond although I try to ensure we respond to all but the most spammy requests.

Q. Does it put you off if you receive an email from an SEO agency?

No, I’d rather receive an email from a professional organization than by someone who is looking for links but pretends they are a writer looking to promote their work. However, whenever I see an email footer from an SEO company I know what they are looking for and it makes me a bit cross if they then ask me to promote their client for free, when they are no doubt being paid.

Q. Do you prefer shorter, more direct emails or longer, detailed emails?

It needs to be on the shorter side, but long enough to convince me that they have taken some time to look at my blog and understand what might work for me.

Q. What really turns you off in an email that you receive of this nature?

If I get an e-mail that begins Hi or Hey there it is a big turn off. When my e-mail and my site name include my first name it shouldn’t be so very hard to address me by name. I am strongly tempted not to reply to anyone who can’t take the time to find out my name. I also get fed up of very generic e-mails that are just a cut and paste. Also it’s annoying when people ask what type of guest posts I accept when I have a whole page that they can easily access on my site with this information. I’d say that 90% of the requests I get have obviously not bothered to take a look at my blog.

Q. What would you say is one of the most important things for companies to do when emailing you?

Obviously, address me by name. Then take the time to review the information on my site about the kind of guest posts that I accept, as I am specific in my requirements to ensure I only publish high quality content that is of interest to my audience. I’m not especially impressed by anyone who tells me how much they love my blog unless they include some evidence that they have read beyond the most recent article. I’d also appreciate those who treat me as a professional and don’t expect me to promote their client for free – there is a value to my time, my content and my audience.

Annabel Candy – GetInTheHotSpot.com & SuccessfulBlogging.com

Q. In an average week, how many requests do you get from people looking for links to your website?

~50

Q. Does it put you off if you receive an email from an SEO agency?

Yes, if they are looking for free links which they are being paid to place.

Q. Do you prefer shorter, more direct emails or longer, detailed emails?

Short and to the point.

Q. What really turns you off in an email that you receive of this nature?

  • Unsolicited emails from strangers.
  • No company email address so I have no idea who they are.
  • No personal name used at the beginning of the email, just a domain name.
  • Saying they have a team of writers because there’s no personal relationship and I don’t know who’ll be writing the content, if they’re a native speaker or have any authority on the topic.
  • Offering to write quality content because it implies I don’t already have that on my blog.
  • Promising to Copyscape articles,  as that creates instant mistrust.

Q. What would you say is one of the most important things for companies to do when emailing you?

Don’t send blanket emails. My Write For page clearly states I only take guest posts from friends and genuine readers. In general, do your research to find out if bloggers accept guest posts, what type of content they actually post and if you can actually help them. Don’t waste their time by sending long, irrelevant emails.

Dave Briggs – DavesTravelPages.com

Q. In an average week, how many requests do you get from people looking for links to your website?

I would say that I get anywhere between 10 and 30 requests a week from people looking for links from my travel site.

Q. Does it put you off if you receive an email from an SEO agency?

I actually prefer an email from an SEO company than from a seemingly random stranger using a Gmail account. Being upfront and honest, (even if I say no to their request) is far better from my point of view, and even if I don’t work with them the first time, I may work with them in the future.

Q. Do you prefer shorter, more direct emails or longer, detailed emails?

The length of an email is not as important as its content. Get to the point, tell me what you want, and include enough information to save time on multiple responses from both sides. 

Q. What really turns you off in an email that you receive of this nature?

An almost endless list, but certainly don’t send me a request from a Gmail account, at least research enough to address the email to me personally and not “Dear Webmaster”, and most importantly, don’t ask me to do things for free – I have bills to pay!

Q. What would you say is one of the most important things for companies to do when emailing you?

Please move with the times, and stop focusing on links. I can do so much more for you as a social influencer, using not only an article on my blog, but social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Rosemary Neave – WomenTravelBlog.com

Q. In an average week, how many requests do you get from people looking for links to your website?

~40

Q. Does it put you off if you receive an email from an SEO agency?

YES.

Q. Do you prefer shorter, more direct emails or longer, detailed emails?

Shorter.

Q. What really turns you off in an email that you receive of this nature?

Matthew Barby

Matthew Barby

Digital Strategist at Wyatt International
Matthew Barby is a UK-based digital marketing consultant. Alongside this, Matt runs the Find My Blog Way blog that gives advice, resources and tutorials on various aspects of digital marketing.
Matthew Barby

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9 thoughts on “Improving Your Outreach – Lessons from the Travel Niche

    1. Thanks, Mike – appreciate your comments.

      One thing that we don’t see enough is people actually speaking with, and getting feedback from real bloggers. We seem to always be devising the latest outreach strategies, but nobody is actually talking to bloggers to ask what they want!

      1. Agreed, I love our industry but it is filled with a lot more talkers or “experts” than it is actual doers. Getting the voice of the people who are actually developing, implementing and maintaining the strategies is refreshing to read.

  1. Great article Matthew, it’s great to hear about blogger outreach from the other side. Looks like I need to make some changes to the blogger outreach process for the agency I work for.

  2. It’s very interesting to get the perspective of the bloggers. Seems like most of the tips could apply to most other industries where blogging is popular. Plans to follow up with a more travel specific post? Cheers!

  3. What I got from this: The vast majority of bloggers want to be paid. You can send the perfect email, and they’ll still want to be paid.That’s what I’ve got from emailing the vast majority of bloggers with content that has been created in-house. That of course doesn’t mean my blogger outreach is flawed, as I still manage to get articles published on other blogs.

    Additionally clients do not like to be seen paying for guest posts nor is it a good strategy. What if the activities you’re doing for your client (i.e. paying for guest posts) gains media attention? You’ll get a slap down by Google, as can be seen by recent examples such as RapGenius. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you’ll wish you never went down that route of paying for guest posts, which is clearly and absolutely against Google’s guidelines. They’ll make an example out of you if your client is big enough.

    But yes, this article affirms that what I do when I do outreach is sort of correct — aside from the payment bit.