091: Using content as a form of outreach with Ryan Robinson

I got the pleasure of catching up with Ryan Robinson at the HOW Design Live conference.

Ryan runs a content marketing consultancy and has some big clients like LinkedIn and Zendesk. In addition to that, Ryan is a contributor at Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur Magazine. He has also written a great article on how to start a blog.

Not only does he have a ton of experience in writing great content, Ryan really stands apart because of his ability to get that content in front of as many people as possible.

In this episode, Ryan talks about how he landed some of these huge clients and contributorships. He lays out some great strategies to help others get their content noticed, pitch guest posts, and become contributors.

Winning clients

As we hear so often, relationships play a huge role in winning new clients. Ryan started doing freelance content work on the side while he was working for CreativeLive.

With his time at CreativeLive, Ryan had access to a lot of the big names coming through. He got to meet influencers and leverage the relationships in order to create content for their blog or help them in other ways. These relationships also allowed him to get connected to other potential leads.

In addition to these relationships, Ryan has his own personal blog that acts as a living portfolio of what he can do for his clients.

Everything he publishes on his blog is for freelancers, and there have been a lot of companies that have reached out to him because they have tools targeted toward his readers.

The #1 tactic

Ryan has a favorite tactic for getting new business. It is an approach that enables him to reach out to companies in a way that provides real value.

Ryan will create a blog post that mentions several companies he wants to work with. In this blog, he will mention how these companies provide tools or services that can help his listeners.

Once the blog is created, he will reach out to the companies and mention that he has featured them in his blog and ask if they mind looking at the quote to make sure it is okay.

This is the basis for a lot of the relationships Ryan has built. There are a lot of these that don’t turn out, but he has had great success in landing clients this way.

After the initial outreach, there are 3 buckets these companies fall into.:

  1. They never respond

  2. They give a simple thank you and tell him the quote looks good

  3. They are extremely grateful and thankful for the feature. Some of them ask if they can share it or even syndicate it on their blog.

Based on their response, Ryan prioritizes them and pursues those that look promising to see if they can turn into a paid relationship.

Becoming a contributor

As I mentioned before, Ryan is a contributor for Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur Magazine. Becoming a contributor is huge in setting yourself up as a leader in the industry, but it can be extremely hard to do.

Ryan points out that there is a little bit of luck involved, and getting the first one is the biggest battle. Once you have one, you can leverage that in order to get others.

He ended up becoming a contributor with Inc. because of a guest post he wrote for Buffer. And, that is a great way to get your content out in front of a huge audience. Fortunately, he was able to post on a publication that was already syndicated, and that spun up a bunch of opportunities for him.

Guest Posting

One of the first steps to landing a guest posting gig is to identify those blogs that you can best provide value for. Ryan looks for authorities in the space he wants to be an authority in.

He customizes every blog he reaches out to.

Since Ryan has a successful blog himself, he gets pitched every day, and he can tell when the outreach is scripted. The person doing the outreach usually links to a blog he has written in the past, they say they love a topic he covered in the post, and then they ask if they can write a guest post for him.

This approach isn’t building a relationship, and it isn’t unique.

The tactic Ryan mentioned above about actually featuring other companies in your own work can be huge in doing successful outreach.

For him, he will send them a link to some of the things he has posted in his existing content and use that as a launch pad for continuing the conversation and landing an opportunity to write a guest post.

I had a great time sitting down to talk to Ryan and hearing about how he differentiates himself from other content marketers. He has some great tactics and ideas on how to provide value up front for those you reach out to. I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you can take some of these outreach methods back to use on your own content marketing.


Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
Deep Work - Cal Newport

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