How to Find Influencers Who Want to Share and Link to Your Content
Free Book Preview: Brand Renegades
Your post isn't 100% original. No one's is.
Other people in your niche write similar posts, and some of them probably get a lot more traffic than yours.
Why is that?
It's disheartening to see someone else's post (that isn't nearly as good as yours) get a lot more traffic, especially if you put a lot of time and hard work into it.
It's not your fault. It's hard to get the same kind of exposure as someone who has a lot of influencers sharing their content. Here's what happens when influencers like Francisco Rosales or Chris Brogan share your posts:
Yes, they were able to send almost 400 readers by just tweeting about something. There's no way you're going to be able to compete with the combined impact of influencers like these on your own.
Let's change that.
Let's get some influencers to share your posts as well. The best way to do this is by finding people who already shared something similar.
Think about it. If you just shared a post on "Why You Should Still Be on Team Walt," wouldn't you be likely to share another post on Breaking Bad?
In other words, you just have to get your post in front of someone who's already shared something like it before. Here's how you do it.
Step 1. Find Similar Content With a Lot of Reach
Say you find someone who previously liked a post on "how to get blog traffic" without SEO. Chances are they'll probably like your post on "getting search traffic without building backlinks" as well (if it's good).
So, first, you need to find and make a list of posts that are similar to yours. Similar doesn't mean exactly alike. As in the example above, there just has to be some commonality.
People who liked the post on not doing SEO probably don't like the link building aspect of it. So, a post on getting some of the benefits of SEO without building links will resonate with them.
Let's break this process of finding good posts similar to yours into a few parts.
Find Trending Posts With Realtime
Realtime is a real-time discovery search engine by Bitly. Realtime tracks all the clicks that are going through the URL shortener and displays the links that are being clicked on the most at any given time.
This makes it a powerful tool because you can sort by actual traffic and find the most trending posts in your niche in real time.
Go to Rt.ly and sign up by connecting with your Bitly or Twitter account. It'll ask you for your email address. Once you provide it, you'll be taken to the page that will show you the most trending posts:
Enter the topic of your post in the keywords section:
Click on any topic and narrow down the search results to your niche:
This will give you a list of all related posts ordered by number of clicks per minute. This works really well for broader topics and larger niches. It's hard to find trending articles in micro niches or on a very unique topic.
Take a Look at Famous Blogs in Your Niche
Famous blogs in your niche have been around for a while. Chances are some of them covered similar topics. I'm sure every social media blog out there has good posts on how to get more retweets.
You don't need to get too complicated here. Keep it simple. Go to Google and search for your post topic and the name of the blog. For example, write viral headlines copyblogger. This will lead you to some pretty famous posts on writing killer headlines.
If you really want to, you can use this syntax: phrase site:famousblog.com, but there's no real need.
Use Topsy to Find Older, Popular Posts
Topsy is my go-to tool for finding popular posts on any topic. It analyzes its index of hundreds of billions of tweets and gives you the most popular and relevant tweets. Because it directly searches through tweets, it's very effective at finding posts that have received a lot of shares.
Here's what you do if you're trying to find posts similar to your epic post on SlideShare traffic. Go to Topsy and type in a related term in the search bar. In this case, it would be something like guide to slideshare.
This will take you to a page that displays all tweets that are related to this term. You want to see every post that has ever been written on this topic to find the most shared ones. So, change the time restraint on the left side of the page to all time.
This will take you to a page with the most popular posts on this topic. Look for tweets with a huge number next to the conversation bubble. This shows how popular that particular link was on Twitter.
Look at that! You just found an extremely popular guide to SlideShare on KISSmetrics.
You can bet that the people who shared this post on KISSmetrics would be interested in a case study on SlideShare traffic.
Use Seogadget's Content Strategy Generator Tool
CSGT allows you to search for content related to any phrase on a massive list of news sites, social media sites, content aggregators, and Q and A sites. Here's what that list includes:
- News and Discussion sites – Google Discussions, Google News, Bing News
- Social Media – Digg, Reddit, YouTube, Topsy Latest Tweets, Topsy Latest Top Trending Tweets, Twittorati Search, All Things Now
- Q and A sites – Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, How Stuff Works
- Content Aggregators – Blog Catalog, Fark, Redux, Helium, Cracked
This will give you a huge list of content that's similar to yours and save you a ton of time. It then breaks down all the information into different sections by title, by who and time published, and description.
When you get the tool, it'll be in view only mode.
You need to be able to edit the file to search for your own phrases. Go to File > Make a Copy to make your own version of this that you can edit.
After you make a copy you can edit, enter the topic of your post in cell B3. Results from some sites (Yahoo Answers, Google discussions, etc.) aren't going to help us out much.
When you do find an article that's similar, Google it. Sadly, this tool doesn't give you a link to the article. You're going to have to find it manually.
Use GroupHigh to Make Your Life Easier
GroupHigh speeds up the search by allowing you to easily search and sort through 13 million active blogs.
Go to GroupHigh and request a demo. It'll make your life easier and serve up a lot of relevant posts. Once you're in, go to the search function on the top bar and search for the general topic of the blogs that might write similar posts.
The search will give you two lists. One for all the blogs that have mentioned your topic and another for all the blogs that are centered around that topic. Stick to those that have mentioned it. There's no need for the other list right now.
All the blogs here have been active in the last six months and have a MozRank of at least 2. You can change the filter settings to display only blogs with a higher MozRank, but there's no real need. Search through the posts of these blogs by using the search bar under "post content" on the left.
This should give you an extensive list of posts similar to yours. Star the blogs with posts that closely resemble yours. This will add them to a list, which you can go back to later and sort by influence of the blogger on social media. You also can take a look at their contact information, which will come in handy later.
Here are some posts you'll get in a few minutes of looking for SEO mistakes orSEO advice:
- Do You Make These 9 SEO Mistakes
- My SEO Mistakes On Money Dummy Blog
- SEO for Idiots: The 10 Basics of Blogging Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media and SEO Blend with Eric Enge
This barely scratches the surface of what GroupHigh can do; but for now, for our purposes, this is all we need.
Step 2. Find Who's Sharing These Posts with Bitly
It's time to dig into who likes to share this kind of content. Look for relevant influencers who can send traffic to your particular post. Here's how you do it.
Take the first post on your list and go to Bitly and shorten the URL. Paste the link in the bar where it says "Paste a link here…" in the top right corner of the page.
You will get a popup that gives you your shortened URL. Click the "View Stats" link in this popup.
This will take you to the page that shows all the traffic this post received through bitly links. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. This will show you who shared this post and how well their audience responded.
Here's how it looks for Aaron Lee's post on doing a proper follow Friday on Twitter.
You can see that the first three alone were able to send almost 200 readers to the post (a very tiny portion of this post's overall traffic). Now, let's find out how these people were able to send this traffic so you can see if it's worth contacting them or not.
Click on the number under a name. This will take you to stats that break down how they sent this traffic:
Take a look at how much of the traffic is coming from social media. If most of the traffic is coming from "other," move on to the next person. This means they sent this traffic by linking, emailing their subscribers, or some other means. You'll have a hard time getting people to do the same for you.
Most people who like your post generally will tweet it or like it on Facebook. You can see that the person above is a good influencer to connect with for this post because she was able to send 44 visitors from just Twitter alone.
Make a list of people who sent a lot of traffic to these posts and the title of the post they sent the traffic to. This will be useful when you're reaching out to them. Also, make a note if this was their own post.
The only thing left to do is find out how to get in touch with these people so they can do the same for you. Click on their name to go to a page with their Twitter handles and Facebook pages.
Once you're there, you can follow through from their Twitter or Facebook pages to their blogs or about me pages. This generally will lead to their email addresses.
Step 3. Get These People to Share Your Post
This is the fun part. Now, your goal is to reach out to these people and get them to share your post in some way.
Gregory Ciotti wrote about a case study he did on Moz, where he reached out to bloggers to get them to share his infographic. He took a look at people who he had some contact with. This doesn't mean a deep friendship. He just took a look at people he got a reply from once on a tweet or a comment.
He then reached out to these influencers to get them to share his infographic. When he compared the response rate of people he had no contact with to the response rate of people he had minimal contact with, this is what he got:
So, be sure to get in touch with people before you email them. The easiest way to do this is to leave a comment if they have a blog. Most of them will reply. Having some form of previous contact helped me get my posts shared by heavy influencers like Kristi Hines and Ann Smarty.
First, you need to reach out to bloggers who wrote about something similar to your post, and send them an email. (We'll get to people who simply shared the posts later.)
Keep these emails as short as possible, and give the blogger a reason to share the post. The reason should be simple, such as: it answers a question they asked in the post, it makes the same argument as their post, it adds something they might've missed, etc.
It should look a little like this:
For my post on getting traffic, I emailed 21 bloggers, and 7 responded with quick emails like this:
I've even received 2 emails like this, and I wasn't even looking for a link:
This was all with no previous contact. I have to give most of the credit to the shortness of the emails.
I read about a study on Unbounce that showed reminding people of their choice increased conversions. I wanted to see how well this applied to emails. So, I tested it out by adding this sentence at the end of the email: "I'm sure you're busy, and of course, it's your call, but I'd love to hear what you think."
(Side note: I also added one more sentence at the beginning of the email that talked about what I thought of their post.)
This completely backfired. Out of the 30 emails I sent for my most recent post, only 6 replied. Out of those 6 people, only 2 people were kind enough to share my post. One of the bloggers who ended up linking to my post sent me an email saying that, at first, she thought this long email was spam.
So cut down the length of your email ruthlessly. Even adding a couple of lines to your email will make it seem like spam and cut down replies.
Brian Dean at Backlinko wrote about a case study where Richard Marriot wrote to 115 influencers and got 47 replies. Dean attributes a big part of the 41% response rate to the fact that those emails were only 67 words long.
Keep your emails short. You'll save time and get better results.
Now, you need an email to send to all those people who shared a post similar to yours. There are two ways you can approach this. The first way is to shoot them an email like this:
I noticed that you shared a post by BloggerName on Twitter about "Title."
I have a similar post on "Title" that also argues that "argument."
Here's the post: [Link to post]
Just thought I'd let you know.
- Your Name
The second way is to send an email like this:
I noticed that you shared a post by Bob on Twitter about "Title."
I have a similar post that Bob just shared on "Title."
Here's the post: [Link to post]
Just thought you might enjoy this post as well.
- Your Name
Obviously, this works only if "Bob" decides to share your post. This is why you contacted the people who wrote the posts first. If any of them decide to share, you can use the second version of the email.
This works so well because the person's going to bother checking you out when they hear you're connected to the influencer. This shows them your post is credible and you're not some spammer.
Think about it. Wouldn't you be much more likely to share if you have a mutual friend? Or what if someone you respect shared it already? Save these emails for last and email the bloggers first.
That's it! You just got your post shared and linked to by a ton of influential people. Now, this post took a lot of time to write, so if you found it helpful do me a favor and share it with a friend.
So, how do you get influencers to share your post?