How To Grow Your Blog With The Help Of The Pro’s

How To Grow Your Blog With The Pro's
Note from the Editor: I’ve invited Jason here to share some of his influence marketing wisdom because he really knows his stuff.

Better yet, Jason has offered to plan out a step-by-step plan for you. But hurry, Jason can only do this for the next week or so. Find all the details towards the end of the post.

Over the years, inbound marketers have focused their attention on building links.

Whether you are a white hat, gray hat, or black hat marketer (or lightsaber-wielding Jedi), doesn’t matter. They all want links.

Why?

Because nothing impacts your rankings like a good link.

Some results from a recent study by Dr. Matthew Peters of Moz:

“Out of the top [50 Google search results for 15,000 keywords], a full 99.2% of all websites had at least one external link…

In other words, if you’re looking for a site that ranks well with no external links, be prepared to look for a very long time.”

– Cyrus Shepard, Can You Rank in Google Without Links? New Data Says Slim Chance

So what did I do after creating my guide on how to get influencer attention, even if you are a nobody?

Tried to build me some links!

What I did not realize is how much cross-over influencer marketing has with link-building.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned about link-building on my journey of connecting the stories of entrepreneurs together.

1. Influencer marketing is about building relationships

Back in March, I created an article on the top 100 SEO experts to follow.

I knew that in order to get the article seen, I could not simply sit on my butt and wait for the SEO Google fairy to grant me free traffic.

And I had no email list…

So, what did I do?

I emailed the influencers and let them know!

I’m not gonna lie.

Finding those emails alone took some 11 hours.

But it was definitely worth it. Like over 1,800 social shares in 3 days and 2,300+ visitors worth it.

And that was with no email list.

I say that not to impress you, but simply impress upon you the value of doing this.

Now I know you may not have the time to do something like I did.

So I’ve created a simple step-by-step guide for you to find (almost) any influencer’s email in 3 minutes or less.

My favorite tool in the list, ContentMarketer.io, was even able to find the email address of Michael Phelps, Jeff Bezos, and Kim Kardashian.

Content Marketer Social Proof

Back to my story…

From a marketing standpoint, many would consider my article a success. But there was something I felt was missing…

Connection. Interaction. Trust.

Most on that list, I haven’t interacted with much since.

But there a few that did.

And as those relationships developed, so also came some links.

Related: 10 Costly Mistakes I Made (That You Can Avoid)

How to find influencers in your niche

  1. Head over to Buzzsumo.com.
  2. Type in the topic you want to focus on.

Step 1

In this example, I’ll pretend you are an organic food blogger.

  1. Click on “Influencers”

Step 2

  1. Search for influential bloggers.

Step 3

On the left column under filter types, remove everything aside from “bloggers” and “influencers” and hit search.

You may also find it easier to start by clicking just “influencers” and filtering out anyone who isn’t a blogger.

  1. Begin filtering through the sites.

Step 4

See the links by the arrows? Click on those.

Pro tip: I open these in new tabs so that I can click on each link on the page (ctrl + left click or command + click)

If you notice in the picture above, Chef Brooke doesn’t have any page authority or domain authority on her blog.

Without going into all the technical details, sites are ranked how important they are on a scale of 1-100.

Clicking on Ms. Brooke’s site, we find it is blank, which explains the score.

BTW, you can snag a 14-day free trial of Buzzsumo Pro and export all the information into a spreadsheet by exporting it.

Step 5

Makes things super simple.

Now, it’s a matter of learning how to add value to that person’s life.

Your first thought might be to focus solely on the top “AAA” people in your industry.

I admire those like Rand Fishkin, Dharmesh Shah, and Seth Godin who’ve made huge contributions to internet marketing as we know it.

While you can get a response from these guys (I’ve done so with all 3), doing something that really gets their attention is HARD.

I’ve found it best to work with those that are a few steps ahead of you (the A and AA players).

2. The right relationships can lead to powerful links. Here’s how…

Now that those in my industry knew about my “epic” article, I started getting some powerful links.

And there were some decent sites that linked to my site too, including from SEM Rush and Search Engine Watch.

How did I get links from power sites like those?

Relationships.

Shane Barker and I chatted a couple of times and gave me some guidance as a new content marketer.

I was very appreciative of it and didn’t expect anything more to come of it.

But he wrote an article on SEM Rush and linked it to my site.

Keep these 2 tips in mind

  1. In order for your article to be linked to, it needs to be worthy of a link.

In Dan Norris’s book, Content Machine, Dan shares several ways you can begin to set your articles apart from the competition and build a 7-figure business (as he did with WP Curve).

One of the best ways I do this?

Provide actionable steps.

Some practical words of wisdom from Dan himself:

“One way to do it is through extreme utility.

What can you do to the extreme to make your content more useful?

  • Can you add action steps?
  • Can you add detailed images to explain things better?
  • Can you have supporting documents and resources that people can use and actually apply to their own business?
  • Can you give them pre-filled templates for software apps like Google apps or Trello to help them get started immediately?

Take utility to the extreme and give people every opportunity to actually take action on your content.”

This has been one of the biggest game-changers in how I blog.

  1. There’s never a guarantee.

Even if you provide the best article on your topic and get some of the right people to see it, there’s never a guarantee it will get a link.

The biggest challenge is making sure the right people actually see your content.

My suggestion?

Spend some time (and perhaps even money) amplifying your content.

3. Relationships lead to other link opportunities (like this one)

A few days after the SEO article went live, I asked Adam if I could write a guest post for the Blogging Wizard.

Although he politely declined, he did refer me to two others.

One of them, “10 Tools You Need to Create a Blogging Empire” became the top 3 most shared articles in the past year.

Blogging Empire

It should be obvious.

But sometimes I forget I can build links myself with a guest post.

Naturally, that should not be your prime focus when writing an article.

It should be about delivering exceptional value to your audience.

Think about it this way:

If every link on the Internet was treated equally (in SEO terms, all dofollow links became nofollow), would you still include it?

Simply including a link won’t drive meaningful traffic to your site.

Providing value in the right context will.

Some final thoughts

There is still much for me to learn about building links and growing a blog.

But if I had to put my money on two strategies to get free traffic from Google, it would be this:

  1. Create quality content worth sharing.
  2. Build meaningful relationships with influencers.

I’m not gonna lie. There’s still much for me to learn. And it’s often felt like an uphill battle.

Want to connect with influencers in your niche?

My goal is to help internet entrepreneurs connect with experts, influencers, and linchpins so they can rapidly grow their business together.

I want to do an experiment with you:

Tell me a little about the project you are working on and, if applicable, the expert you want to connect with in the comments below.

In return, I’ll do my best to provide you simple step-by-step ways to connect and add value to them so that you can grow your blog together.

Feel free to share this with a fellow internet entrepreneur who would benefit from connecting with influential people in their niche.

My offer stands for the rest of this week. I’ll try and fit in another week if this gets crazy and we go above 50 comments.

Jason Quey

Jason Quey

Jason Quey helps internet entrepreneurs connect with influencers, experts, and linchpins to rapidly grow their business together on his site, The Storyteller Marketer. Download a free copy of his simple eBook, "5 Strategies to Find (Almost) Any Email Address In 3 Minutes or Less".
  • Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to share this with your readers Adam!

    Look forward to helping them in any way I can.

    Cheers,
    ~Jason

    • My pleasure, Jason – you’ve got plenty of valuable lessons to share and so glad you’ve been able to share them with us today.

      Big thanks for being available to help our readers out in the comments!

      Best,
      Adam

  • Jason this is a really solid article! Well done. And now, to take you up on your offer… here’s my request for an introduction. I want to help Marcus Lemonis (from “The Profit” TV Show). Know anyone who can make that intro?

    I’ve already emailed him 2x with no luck. I even send a mockup of a test I’d like to run on CampingWorld.com.

    The reason I want to meet him is that I love his style of optimizing businesses and I think I can add HUGE value to his companies by helping them optimize their websites to increase conversions, sales and profitability.

    If you know anyone who could help me get 5 minutes of his time, I’d be much obliged. You know where to find me. 🙂

    -Todd

  • Hi Jason, thanks for the detailed post and your help. I’m working on a food blog (http://kipkitchen.com) with my partner, and the blog offers quick and easy meal ideas for two. We’re thinking of connecting with Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum but we’re unsure if this is a good idea as we’re direct competitors. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Karen,

      Most of the time, I’ve got to connect with “competitors” in order for us to grow together.

      Keep in mind this:
      1. Not all visitors will buy from them, but may from you (and vice-versa).
      2. The pie gets bigger the more value is created. It’s not a zero sum game.

      Adam’s a champ at blogger outreach. Yet here we are, helping each other out.

      In short, go for it!

      Hope that helps,
      ~Jason

  • Great article Jason! I’m going to use the buzzsumo strategy to find more influencers in our niche (collaboration and PM). There’s a lot more in that tool than meets the eye. If you have any other thoughts about influencer strategies for us at https://www.wrike.com/blog/, let me know and thanks!

    • Thanks for the compliment and dropping by Tom!

      1. I’d try mentioning anyone you mention. In this article (https://www.wrike.com/blog/lean-journey-errette-dunn-podcast/), did you try pinging Toyota or Airbus?

      Read about a team who did FB ads, spent $4, and got 40K views just from doing mentions to big companies.

      2. Have you considered building relationships w/productivity & SaaS bloggers or others who hold your target audience? (your audience was a guess, looking at your product page)

      This could be anything from getting them to guest post to giving out free products.

      I’ve seen companies do this with every blogger they could find to just catering to a small handful of top-tier blogs. All depends on their style.

      Might find some valuable info here: http://www.thestorytellermarketer.com/influencer-marketing-guide/#connect-online

      If you need more help, hit me up in the Skype room!

      Hope that helps Tom!

  • Hey Adam,

    Thanks for sharing Jason’s post here although he had initially requested to write for Blogging Wizard. I think this is just as good actually.

    Great to see you here Jason and of course as you know I’ve read through your amazing tutorial on connecting with influencers and have linked to it myself. You did an amazing job on that post and this one as well.

    You can get the attention of other bloggers when done correctly. Just from some of the tactics you’ve showed us we all know that when done properly we definitely don’t mind making that type of connection. I haven’t done everything that you’ve shared but I’ve had some wonderful results myself from linking out to other bloggers and just building those wonderful relationships.

    I was telling a client just today during our session that the only people who read my “hire me” page are the ones that have heard all about me, have never visited my blog before but are ready to purchase. All of my clients so far have been strictly from the relationships I’ve built and some of those started by being recommended by others. It definitely does work.

    Great share, thanks a bunch and I’m off to share this one as well. Hope you both have a wonderful rest of your week.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hey Adrienne, great to see you here.

      My pleasure – Jason’s got plenty of valuable lessons to share and I’m so glad he put this one together for us.

      Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

      Talk soon,
      Adam

    • Hey Adrienne!

      I might have had some wires crossed in communication :P.

      Great to hear how this has worked for you! If you decide to try some other ideas, let me know how it goes!

      ~J

  • Hi Jason, so I have to admit my biggest problem is that I just don’t “get it”. I don’t see how people can develop any sort of meaningful relationship via any of this social media or random emailing. Everyone says you “have to make a connection” and I’ve never seen how on earth that magically happens. Ok granted, I haven’t figured out how any sort of “networking” happens in real life either. (ok, my general approach to life is problem –> solution, move on)

    Also, I haven’t the slightest idea even what sort of “influencers” or other random people I should even attempt to “connect” with.

    Anyway, my blog is http://www.anphira.com/blog and it’s supposed to be targeted at small business owners / managers and solving their web problems (and driving clients for me).

    • Hi Gen,

      Honestly, I’ve been the worst at “networking” in person and was very skeptical how well you can build relationships myself.

      But since I’ve seen others do it, I knew it could be done.

      Aside from the advice above on finding influencers in section 1, another route is to scan an article that’s popular on Buzzsumo related to your topic and look for top sharers.

      Looks like you talk a lot about WP.

      1. http://www.wpsuperstars.net/ is in the same field, so I’d go to Buzz and scan their URL.

      2. I’d click “Sharers” for their most influential people

      3. Then I’d go through the list and start connecting to those people.

      I’ve created some how-to guides over at http://blog.contentmarketer.io/, which should help w/building relationships online.

      Hope that helps!
      ~Jason

      • Thanks Jason, I’ll go read your guides.

  • Hi Jason,

    I literally built my blog and business over the first six months, and now 15 months with other strategies, on your exact premise.

    The truth is that the majority of offline businesses (especially B2B) that are successful are great networkers and many offline businesses are as well. Now, the online world is finally catching up as the noise intensifies.

    The reality as I wrote both last week and this week is that if we network well together we do create relationships and opportunities for one another.

    Most people who struggle with this concept do so because they have not been properly trained in how to network, especially offline. If you can do it well offline I can say for my own experience it is easier online.

    No cold calling or fighting to get someone’s attention. Just include them in a relevant way. For example, in June I wrote about an experience with a local Interstate Batteries franchise in my blog and tagged both the local and national. As I shared today, they wrote about me in their corporate blog and now I have an opportunity to do business with them.

    Today, I included them and Southwest Airlines and I’m already getting buzz from both of them. No gate keepers, no “no’s”; just good online networking that is positive, relevant and compelling.

    In addition, I have written two blog articles on SEMrush, was the first to do a podcast with them and in addition I’ve done two webinars. I’m preparing another article right now for them. They have been a HUGE support for me. I even stopped by their corporate offices and met with them. You can see the pic on the blog article today, lol…

    SEMrush has literally forwarded me tens of thousands of dollars in new business; and there is more to come.

    But, I try to do the same for them! Networking is a 2 way street.

    I can tell you that it absolutely works!

    Great post Jason. I appreciate your insights once again.

    • Hey Don!

      Great to hear about your success with making those connections!

      It is fascinating to leverage other companies too. Haven’t played with that much myself.

      Thanks for dropping by!
      ~Jason

  • Sherman Smith

    Hey Jason,

    Networking with influencers and creating valuable content is a winning combination. It also compliments each other well.

    I do have to admit that it took me a long time to realize the value of networking and I’m still learning how to network as we speak!

    I know and use some of the top tools but haven’t gone full fledged with them. I’ll also have to check out your tutorial thus weekend when I have time.

    Thanks for sharing Jason and I hope you have a great day!

    • Great to hear Sherman!

      I’m now the growth strategist of ContentMarketer.io (one of the tools mentioned in the article), so if you need any assistance, feel free to reach out to me or any of the others on our team.

      ~J

  • Chris Spooner

    Hi Jason,

    I, like a lot of the commenters below, would say that I just don’t “get it”. I read posts every day on how important backlinks are to your SEO and how critical it is for the growth of your blog to have credible links to your site. My problem is that I just don’t “get” how to network. I don’t know who the “influencers” are in my chosen field (I write a sports blog, http://www.aspoonfulofsports.com), and have no idea how I would go about reaching out to them about my blog, let alone how to convince them that my content is worth reading or linking to.

    • Given your site, I’d focus on improving the design first.
      1. Add a picture to each post
      2. Get a logo that doesn’t look quickly thrown together

      While design isn’t a be-all, end-all, as a minimum, it should look sloppy either.

      Journalistic opinion is different than information that is more “evergreen.” Your focus needs to be on why your angle/approach is worth considering.

      Don’t worry about SEO/backlinks. Focus 1st on adding something of value and building relationships.

  • Yes, if you want to grow your business you have to build connections. This is a very important method of establishing your online reputation. What better way to spread the word about you and your business is getting it distributed throughout your connections. http://apustudentgov.com/

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