One of the core concepts that makes digital outreach work is that it’s a value exchange, where the parties involved all get something they need out of the relationship. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle that many people ignore, to their detriment. So what exactly constitutes value?

Value for Bloggers

A practice that’s increasingly common is for brands to develop relationships with well-known bloggers and influencers. These relationships are based on a clear exchange of value: the blogger uses and promotes the company’s products, and in exchange, receives monetary payment or free products, or both.
But what if you’re a small company, or a sole trader or freelancer, and you can’t afford to pay money? This is where value comes in. Even if you can’t offer financial compensation, chances are you have something to offer, for example:

  • A copy of a self-published book or training programme
  • A free account or product license
  • An affiliate deal
  • Shares or mentions on social media (if you have a large number of followers)
  • Your own services

Note that paying money for links is considered “black hat” SEO practice. If you pay for links, those links must be no-follow, which means they don’t influence search engine rankings.

Value for the Audience

When bloggers choose what content to create and publish, it’s always with an eye on what their audiences find interesting. The most popular bloggers are very much in tune with what their audiences want to read about, and that means it’s not enough to provide value for the blogger when you contact them with an outreach proposal. The blogger’s audience needs to benefit too, because that’s who they’re blogging for. So, for example, if you want to use the opportunity to advertise your own products, offer those products to their audience in a form of a giveaway. Similarly, if you want to write a guest post to advertise your services, offer your own services.

Finally, note that many bloggers are happy with or even prefer alternative forms of compensation, so don’t be afraid to reach out, even when you can’t offer financial recompense.