Influencer outreach and content promotion: How I got my second blog post shared 153 times



I published! YES!
One share!

I struggled my way up to 8 shares of my article after a couple days by posting it Twitter and in select Facebook groups.

My article, as awesome as it was, wasn’t getting shared.

Not even people who were supposed to share my post, who I KNEW would share just to support me, were actually sharing.


It’s a frustrating, angry, helpless feeling. I hadn’t expected my post to go viral, but 8 freaking shares?


Here’s what I did to move the needle and how you can do the same…

Start doing Content promotion and influencer outreach.

Fast-forward about 12 days and my article had 115 shares.
Now, about 3 weeks later, without further promotion I’m at 144 shares.

Is your content not getting as many shares or likes or links as it should? Get the 54 point checklist for content promotion and outreach

Here’s everything we’ll cover

What’s the purpose of the content you’re about to create?

First thing is to decide the purpose of your content. I’m not talking about a full-on content marketing strategy or plan (you should have one), figuring out who you’re creating the content for and why you’re making it.

You need to ask “gut check” questions and strategy questions.
It’s important to answer both.

Gut Check Questions:
Ask yourself:

How will this content help the person reading it & why will they want to share it?

A key question strategy question to ask here is:

What part of the funnel am I targeting?

You have to know this, because it will influence how much you can (should) spend on promoting your content, who your audience is and where you want to distribute the content.


Really this is another way to say, just how ready is a person to buy? And what sort of content should I create for each layer?

Top of the Funnel Content (TOFU):

This guy or gal is a window shopper.
Your goal is to answer your prospect’s questions about topics they care about, not to directly sell your solution.

At this point the prospect may or may not know they have a problem. So you’ve got to educate and inform. Get them into your funnel by signing them up to your email list, Facebook group or whatever private forum you have.

You might be asking, why don’t they know they have a problem?

Well, the person who’s about to build a website, might not yet realize they already have a traffic problem. :)

To make it simple, let’s say your buyer knows they have an issue and are struggling with something like generating traffic to their website.

The first thing a buyer will do is try to find out more, do research and get enough info to figure out the best solution.

Our person who is looking to get more traffic may not be sure if the solution is paid ads, like Facebook, Twitter, Google AdWords, etc., or if it’s creating content and doing influencer outreach or something else entirely.

Types of content:

  • How-to posts/videos
  • Resources
  • Best of
  • Guest posting (okay, not really a type… still, do it.)

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU):

The prospect knows they have a problem. They have narrowed down the scope of the search by a level, from “anything to do with generating traffic” to “okay, I’m going to try content marketing.”

That brings up another host of questions that they need answered.

How do I syndicate my content?
How do I get social shares?
Should I be using content upgrades?

The types of content you can produce to answer these questions can be similar to top of the funnel.

But there are additional content types that work well here:

  • Case studies
  • In-depth & authoritative how-to
  • Ultimate guides

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU):
The prospect wants to buy. It’s between your solution and a handful of other providers.


What’s effective here?

  • How-to posts (featuring your product)
  • Direct comparisons
  • Explainer videos

Don’t get too hung up on defining the top and middle of your funnel. Most marketers can’t even agree on where the top ends and the middle begins.

How do you decide what part of the funnel to target?
TOFU & MOFU – I need more traffic & attention.
MOFU – I need more prospects.
BOFU – I need more paying customers.

It’s a bit of a chicken or the egg problem. Of course we all need more paying customers (BOFU), but they only get in your pipeline if they know about you (TOFU) and believe you can solve their specific problem because you’ve given them the answers (MOFU).

Top and middle can be pretty fluid. You can still drive traffic from the middle and answer some more specific questions at the top.

To make sure that your outreach will work, pick a topic that already has popular content. Competition is good. :)

It means that people are sharing and linking to these articles… And your article is good enough, they’ll want to share and link to your article too.

Here’s how you can find popular, shareable content:

We’re not got to talk about coming up with content ideas in general. If you’re struggling check out:


Instead we’re going to focus on…

How to know if you’re content idea will be popular.

This 3 method is purposefully simple.

Step 1: Pop over to google and start typing in your topic.

Does it come up in googe suggest?

google suggest

If it does, great :) You know that you’re on the right track and that it’s probably a popular topic.

If not, your idea may still be fine.
But it indicates that there may be less search volume.

Pro Tip: Use Chome incognito. on a mac hit Command + Shift + N.
Google personalizes results based on your serach history. And you don’t want personal preferences to influence this search.

Look at the results that come up. Dig into ’em.
You may end up getting an even better idea or being able to narrow your topic.

From a search on “How to create landing pages” I found a couple of guides to creating landing pages. When I opened them up, I found that each one had a section about calls to action (CTAs).
After a little more digging, I found some books entirely about CTAs.

If you change your topic or narrow your idea based on what you find, reenter the new search into google.
Does it come up in suggest?

Step 2 check social shares:

I use BuzzSumo:
cta button shares

Shares, check. :)

Make sure your topic is REALLY sharable:

  • Does it have over 1,000 shares, even for smaller sites?
  • Are there at least 20-30 sites with those sorts of numbers.?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, it proves that people like and share content on your topic. Immediately it’s a leg up, without having written a single word.

Step 3: Check traffic stats and backlinks

Then over to SEMrush. (affiliate link)


Check how much traffic your keyword gets.
And check the backlings for the top articles.

Even if you don’t signup for the paid plan, for our purposes, you should still get enough info on SemRush’s free plan.

How much traffic makes it “worth it”?
It’s tough to give an exact number.

If there’s only 20 searches per month, but 10 people out of 20 signup for your service after reading your article… is it worth it?

Sure, you need some minumum amount.
But, your article isn’t just going to rank for only a single keyword or phrase. Google will shows content that best answers a user’s search, including related keywords and ideas.

But, you’ll have to determine the minimum level for yourself.

Find out how hard it will be to rank

SemRush provides a difficulty rating for keywords, which is helpful.
But you’ll also want to check backlinks.

For my term “call to action buttons”, I looked at the top 10 articles.
They ranged from 10-18 links.

I used SEM for this, but you can also try Moz Open Site Explorer (free version)

You want to see that people do link to these pages. But the top 10 don’t have such an overwhelming number of backlinks that you’ll never be able to break on to the first page.

If you’re not sure of how to do any of this in SemRush, checkout Robbie Richards tutorial here

Taking it one step further:
For the top 10 most shared and for the top 10 most linked to pages (there will likely be overlap)
catagorize what type of post it is, so you can decide how to structure your post.

For example:

  • How to posts
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • List posts
  • Roundup posts

If 7 out of 10 are list posts… guess what you might want to make.

Involve influencers early to get maximum exposure

I knew my post was better and more complete than any other article out there (because I had done my research – like you will).

But no one knew me.

How do you get well known, popular people excited to share your content, when no one knows you?

Get them involved and give them a stake in the content.

Quotes are PERFECT for that.

Here are the 5 quotes I got… If you’re into copywriting, you should recognize some of the names:


The fact that an influencer’s quote is in the article has other cool side effects.

It says cool people hang out here. And in your reader’s mind, they start associating you with the featured experts, even if just a bit.

Here’s the exact process you can use to get influencer quotes:

Decide who you want to target. For me it was copywriters.

Where did I find them?
Well, I had a bit of an advantage here: I’m part of a copywriting group. Don’t worry if you don’t have that connection. You’ll find out how to get anyone’s email address (below).

The cool part about this quote strategy is that it still works really well if you don’t have a connection. So don’t get hung up on that.

Usually, you don’t need too many quotes. But not everyone will respond to your request. In this case, I sent out 31 emails and got 7 responses: a 22.58% reply rate.

That’s not bad.

FYI, I sent these emails right over Christmas. Probably not the best time to send an email, but I get antsy and a little impatient. Still worked. :)

You’ll want to try to send out at least 30% more emails than the number of quotes you want to get.

Track email opens and responses.
I used Yesware to track email opens and responses, but use whatever email tracking software you prefer.
If you end up getting you can send and track emails directly from there.

You could use a mail merge to send out these emails, but I usually don’t. Don’t automate what’s supposed to be a personal email to someone whom you really want to respond.

Still, no reason to reinvent the wheel. I came up with a general template to follow and personalized it for each contact. (Just so you know, I changed big chunks of the email for each contact, so it was more of an outline than a template.)

Here’s the general template you can use too:

The key to this email is to emphasize what they’re getting out of it. Be pretty brief. Try to make it relatable and likable.

If you do score a really good quote, you can mention in your email to others that they’d be featured along with <famous person>.

Here’s what the Google Form looked like:
google form


It’s easy for you to keep track of, and easier than composing an email for them. A form works best when it looks easy to fill out, so keep it short.

After they respond

Make sure to email the person again, thanking them and saying that you’ll shoot them an email with a link once the post is live.

When the post is live, email ’em.
Don’t ask for anything. Just let them know that the post with their awesome quote is live.

Thank each one on social media.
Twitter is perfect for this.

But you can do it on Facebook and even Linkedin, use whichever network they’re most active on.

Most everyone who gave me a quote, shared the post on their own social media.

I’d count that as a win.

How to get more eyeballs on your post with email outreach (moving the needle)

There are 2 types of outreach:

  • Influencer
  • Everyone Else

Both are valuable. But here’s the thing, there are a lot more people than there are influencers. So you need to treat influencer marketing differently.

For either type of outreach, you’ve got to get the person’s email.

So let’s take a step back from outreach and go over how to get people’s email addresses.

Sound good?

Email Hack #1 If you know the influencer

You’ve identified the influencer whose email you want.


Now Google them.
Let’s do Neil Patel for fun.
The goal here is to find their domain.


Neil’s got at least two different domains. And we found his Twitter.

Cool. Now we’re going to use an email permutator:

Just enter first name, last name and domain.
It spits back all sorts of possible emails.

Then paste into Gmail. Using Rapportive and FullContact you can get the email address.

Easy peasy.

No, I’m not going to give you Neil’s email. If you want to find it, well, it’s easy enough. Do it yourself. :)

If you’d rather get someone to do this for you, you can quickly shoot a video of the process (or borrow my step-by-step PDF) to train a VA.

Email Hack #2 if you only have the sharer’s Twitter id

This will come up when you’re trying to find people who have shared similar articles to yours.  (We’ll talk about how to find sharers in the next section.)

You either got the Twitter ID from BuzzSumo or a Twitter search.

You should have a list of Twitter IDs, names and URLs.
Most people have a site associated with their Twitter profile, which is helpful.

From here you can use the rapportive hack that I showed you above, but that takes time. And I promised you how to do it at scale.

How to scale finding email addresses

You have three options.

  • Automated
  • Freelancer
  • Combo

Automated tools to use
I use

It couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is upload your CSV, and the tool does all the heavy lifting for you.

Here are the results of a CSV I just uploaded.

You’ll see that decent amount are still missing email addresses. That’s not uncommon.

Also, there are some instances where the degree of confidence in the email is low, and others where you get the crappy general info@ email address.

No bueno.

But that’s okay. While this feature isn’t perfect, it’s darn good. Coupled with all the other great stuff CM can do… it’s absolutely worth it.

You can choose whether or not to take this step and use automation.
But it saves time and money. So I’d recommend that you do.

Either way…

We still need to find the rest of the email addresses.

Here’s how you can find a freelancer to automate your email collection process
Pro Tip:
The biggest mistake you can make here (and it’s one I’ve made) is to hire a regular VA whom you pay hourly to do this. Even with the training, you’ll pay way too much.
You want to pay PER EMAIL.
You should end up paying between $0.05 and $0.15 per email address.

So go to
Create a job posting.

Here’s a template for your post:

You’ll see in my job post that I had a list of sites, rather than Twitter usernames. Either one will work.

Do a test run with 4 or 5 providers on a small batch of 50 emails.
Find as many of the emails as you can, yourself before running the test. You only have to do this once. Trust me, it’s worth the extra time and effort.

You can thank me later.
(You’d better not be thinking that it’s not worth the money… It’s only 7.5 bucks per provider. It’s about the cheapest test you can run.)

Ironically, in my test the cheapest person was the best (out of about 10 people, I think).

An acceptable turnaround time is usually no more than 3 days.

Making people (not influencers) aware of your article

First task: find people who have liked similar stuff enough to tweet about it in the past.

(I’m starting to sound like a BuzzSumo commercial.)
But that’s what I use to do this.
view sharers

It’s the same research as before. The only difference is that now you’re looking for sharers.

Once you have their Twitter names, you can use one of the email hacks (above).

Pro Tip:
Always try to view this sort of outreach as a give, not an ask…

You’re reaching out to give them another resource and be as helpful as possible if they do reply.
Example: Vic Maine of replied, liking the article but being more interested in my outreach process.

So I detailed it out. Down to giving him the link to the personal freelancer I use
(which he commented on as being very cool and helpful).

By the end of our conversation, which is still somewhat ongoing, Vic asked me to send him any future articles.
(Ironically, this he has a pretty big following and he should have been treated as an influencer, by reaching out on other channels first.)

Does that always happen?
He** no.

Most of your emails will be ignored.
But it can still be a great way to make connections.

For non-influencer outreach, I tend to use templated emails and Mail Merge.

Why Mail Merge?

  • There are just too many people to email one by one.
  • It won’t take away from the message. You can easily add some personalization.
  • You can automatically follow up.

Keep your emails short, so you don’t take too much of the person’s time. You’re just introducing them to your article/resource.

It’s important to mention why you’re emailing… because they liked xyz article.
Make sure there’s an obvious connection between the article they tweeted about and your topic/ blog post.

Here’s the outreach template you can customize for yourself:

Here are the numbers from the email I sent:
185 recipients
63% open rate
1% click
6% reply
4% bounce

If you use Yesware, you can compose a second email to automatically be sent x number of days after the first, to people who didn’t open or respond to the first email.

Try sending the same exact message with a Different subject.

Here are the results from my followup that I sent 7 days later using this technique.

Subject: Quick Question…

146 recipients
43% open rate
1% click
6% reply
10% bounce

Definitely worth sending at least 1 followup.

In the end, 179 people opened my message. 20 replied.
Quite a few shared :)

And I made some awesome connections.

How you can connect with Influencers

Influencer outreach is a bit of an art… That can lead to awesome results and relationships.

Your influencers are going to be bloggers with a big following, people with a lot of social followers on twitter or facebook.
And now you can also look on Pinterest, Snapchat, and other networks.

It’s anyone who has built a fan base or network that you hope to connect with.

Does influencer outreach work?
Short answer.

Getting into the details… Typically, NO, you can’t just shoot off an email to Mark Cuban and say
“Hey, I think you’ll like this.” (like I did for non-influencers) It will probably be ignored, just because they get so many emails and they don’t know you.

But if you’ve got a compelling subject and write a great email, it might not…
Still, you normally won’t just send an email.

Pro Tip:
Start interacting with you influencers first. Try to get on their radar.

No guarantees, but it ups your chances of a response and conversation.

For example, if you wanted to get Neil Patel to respond to your emails…
First you’d go to Twitter, maybe favorite and retweet something he wrote.

Now, at least, he might see your name.

Then you’d try to leave a valuable comment on Neil’s blog.
(Maybe he’d respond to it in the comments)

If you found out he was on or some other community… You’d need to go out of your way to leave an answer that is long, thoughtful and valuable (hopefully).

Join Facebook groups Neil’s in, etc. You get the idea.

After creating multiple touch points and getting some interaction, you’d finally shoot Neil a personalized email. NO mass mailing. You’d subtly remind Neil of your interaction, that he “knows” you. Again you need to be pretty short and to the point. Only email you something if you think he’d get value from it.

(Just a quick aside, sometimes you don’t need to get all the way through this process before getting a response. If you used some research or quoted an article of one of youre influences, make sure to thank tehm for it on Twitter or another platform where they’ll get the message.)

That’s exactly what happened when I thanked Noah Kagan of Appsumo & Sumome for the awesome data that I used in my post.



Of course, this takes time and effort. And it isn’t very scalable.

But that’s kinda the point. A good relationship with even one influencer can be invaluable.
And if you do it right, you’ll both get a lot out of it.

Could you automate some of this? Sure.
The same email sent out to non-influencers would probably work for an influencer after a couple of other interactions.

You can find articles about successfuly automating influencer outreach.

But just ‘cause you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Maybe I’m wrong about that. But I don’t think so.

To quote Sujan Patel of ContentMarketer:

Relationships were never meant to be automated.

(Sujan wrote a great post about outreach emails being the secret weapon for content marketers. Worth a read.)

And who knows, maybe you’ll become friends with an influencer or start a project together.

Do’s and Dont’s for your paid content promotion; How you can learn from my mistakes

To be perfectly upfront: I failed here.
Except for the ONE smart thing I did…

I rushed making some ads. Didn’t come up with compelling enough copy. Visuals weren’t great.

So it bombed.

I know better.
But at that point I had spent so much time on the post and email outreach, I just wanted to be done.
The ads suffered because of it.

I don’t plan to make that mistake again.

The goal was to run some low-spend ads to see how it would increase social shares and post views.

In total I spent about 50 bucks. (exact numbers below)
Here’s how I (mostly) tanked, by the numbers:
I ran two Facebook ads. One directly to the post. The other was of the “blur test video”, with a link to the post.

Here’s the ad that went directly to the post:

I didn’t get a single click on my direct-to-post ad.
Spent $15 bucks.

I only ran the ad in the desktop news feed.

The image isn’t very eye-catching. The CTA is practically non-existant (which is especially ironic since the post is about how to create a badass CTA). Ugh.

Here’s the video ad:


The video did better. Mostly staying around $0.05 per video view. Going up to 7 cents by the end.

Still not enough people clicked through.
The most successful placement for this ad was the suggested videos on mobile. That got the best CTR.

In the end not enough people clicked. My CPC was way too high.

Here are the numbers.
fb_ads results

The one smart thing I did: retargeting

Unfortunately, I set it up a bit later. Dumb.

You can see that the CTR is decent, at just over 2%.
I could get that up higher.

I plan on testing more.

Image ad vs. video vs. promoted post.
Better image. Stronger copy.

Here’s the ad and the numbers:


retargeting post

Reach as wide an audience as possible with content amplification

You do that by making sure your acticle is easy to share.
And getting the article in front of relevant people, using outreach and ads.

Here’s how you can get more likes and shares

Set up SumoMe sharing. It’s awesomely easy to do.

If you use wordpress, it takes all of 5 minutes to download the plugin and add my social networks to the tool.
(even if you don’t use WP it’s pretty simple too)

Make sure to pick the right networks to display and pair it down to only a few options. This avoids the paradox of choice


SumoMe also has an awesome image sharer tool that you should use. If you use WordPress pay attention…
WP automatically links pictures, and the sharer tool by default won’t pop up on linked pictures.
You have 3 options to fix the link issue:

  1. Change your sumome image sharer settings to share linked images (not  great because it makes the link harder to click)
  2. Manually remove the link from your image in wordpress
  3. Stop wordpress from automatically linking images

I chose #3.

If messing with any code scares you, then don’t.  But all you have to do is copy the code below and paste it at the end of your wordpress site’s functions.php
The easiest way to do this is inside wordpress. (though maybe not the best… because if you mess this up you can BREAK your site)

Go to Appearance –> Editor –> functions.php

Paste this code:

Leverage your core group

Ask your close friends, family, mastermind groups, other bloggers, whoever is in your core support for feedback and to share.

If you don’t have that core group yet. Start by finding just 2 other people who are in the same space you are.
Start having weekly masterminds.

Email your list

At the that I wrote the article my list was only about 80 people. Eventhough my list was small, the people on it are awesome and really helped kickstart the sharing.

42% opened the email.

Not everyone will open your email, like less than half will see it. Consider resending the email to everyone who didn’t open it, using a different subject line. I didn’t do that this time, but should have.

Here the email I sent…

Post on social & content distribution sites for maximum exposure

Tweet your link out. Do it multiple times, because most people aren’t going to see your tweet. According to Meet Edgar, the prime lifetime of a tweet is only 24 minutes.

Also, make sure you add Twitter cards to your site to increase visibility and clicks.
When you tweet your link, the Twitter card automatically adds an image that will get you more clicks.

I have a WordPress site and use the Yoast SEO plugin.
All you have to do is enter your Twitter handle and make sure to set a featured image.

If you don’t use WordPress or want to know a bit more, Buffer created this awesome guide:


Poste relevant Facebook groups where you’re active.

Post from your LinkedIn account and in LinkedIn groups.

Submit the link to distribution sites:
For me those industry specific sites are:

But your will be specific to your industry/topic.

Helpful posting on other forums and Q&A sites

Find related topics on write insightful and helpful answers.
If you’re new to the forum, don’t add your link to your post yet. Wait till it’s been viewed, commented on and has helped people.
Then update your answer to incude your link.

Because I’m already active on inbound, I added a soft CTA with a link to my post.
You can see the discussion here:

Do the same on and on

Syndicate on

To reach a wider audience impoort your blog post to  Medium’s import tool is pretty darn good and typically the post only neededs minor tweaking after the tool does its work

In my case, I didn’t promote the Medium post, and it only got 1 view. Pretty clearly not worth the effort.

At least not yet.


Some people kill it on Medium.
I think it can and will be a good channel at some point, after a bit more strategy and time investment.

Buffer has taken an awesome approach, which you can see here:

How your next artice and mine can get even more traction

On top of all the steps I took, here’s the plan to get even more traction for upcoming articles:

  1. Ask influencers for feedback before publishing the article publicly.
  2. Test retargeting using Google AdWords.
  3. Test native ad providers like Outbrain and Zemanta.

If you enjoyed this article, please share. And don’t forget to download the checklist!

Get the 54 point checklist for content outreach & promotion to make sure your content is getting as much traffic, likes and shares as possible.

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