I had a problem when I was writing my previous blog post, Social Media Share Buttons Impact on Performance. I have not yet established an audience for my blog, so when I published that post I was worried that hardly anyone would read it.

I thought the post was well done, probably my best so far. I spent a lot of time on it, and I felt like it was adding something valuable.

My survival instincts kicked in and I began sending tweets to people to get them to take a look at my post. Few of them were people that I had interactions with in the past; most of these people did not know who I was. I didn’t give it much thought, I just knew I had to find a way to get someone to read that article.

I sent a message to Rand Fishkin because he seems like a cool guy who appreciates it when someone taps him on the shoulder and asks him to take a peek at something, as long as it is exceptional content.

And then this happened…

I’m not sure if this is a coincidence, but the folks that I reached out to who did share the article, also put the most thought into their tweets about the article. They didn’t just echo the post title and add the link, they commented on the subject.

Others did not share or respond at all, and that’s okay. I tweeted @ Matt Cutts, Smashing Magazine, and others that did not respond, but you can’t expect everyone to be interested.

In the first week after I published the post, it earned over 100 social shares, over 1,200 pageviews, and 2 links. For me these are fantastic numbers. If I had not personally reached out to some people—who were kind enough to share with their followers—I would not have earned anything close to those numbers.

My guidelines for personal outreach

After that I gave some thought about personal outreach and came up with some guidelines.

  • The content that you are asking people to read must be outstanding. Don’t expect people to care about a dime-a-dozen post that can be found on countless other blogs.
  • Relevance is key. Make sure your content is relevant to their interests. I had followed each person on Twitter for awhile before I reached out to them, and was aware of their work and the type of content they typically shared.
  • Ask as little as possible from people. I didn’t ask anyone to share my article, I only asked them to read it. If they read it, I considered that a success, and I was thrilled if they shared it.
  • Don’t keep reaching out to the same people every time you publish something.
  • Don’t be a pest. Don’t take it personally if they don’t respond. Don’t expect anything.

These are my personal guidelines, I would be interested to learn what has worked for you. How can someone effectively reach out to you? What are some habits that people do that make poor outreach tactics? If you have an answer to any of these questions leave me a message in the comments below.