Thinking about approaching bloggers as part of your Digital PR campaign?
Some forms of marketing have evolved into P2P (person to person) instead of B2C or B2B. It’s no longer about pushing your message out to people; it’s about making a connection with people who will tell others about you. Blogger outreach might seem like PR 101 but there’s been a recent wave of criticism about PR people happening across the blogosphere – from receiving mass emails to misleading pitches – bloggers are reaching their breaking point.
Bloggers have a distinct advantage when it comes to spreading a brand’s message. They have direct access to target audiences and can influence purchasing decisions with word-of-mouth marketing.
Research from BlogHer has shown that 81% of the online population trusts information and advice they get from bloggers and that 61% have made a purchase based on a blogger’s recommendation. Because bloggers are active on a variety of digital channels to promote their own blog and their partners’, they are the perfect influencers.
- 38% of bloggers blog about brands that they love or hate
- 65% of bloggers follow brands on social media
- The majority of bloggers feel that bloggers are treated less professionally by brand reps compared to traditional media
Tips & Tricks
1. Look right under your nose:
Simply scouring the web in search of the right blog can result in an overabundance of bloggers ill-matched to your business. Why search aimlessly when some bloggers have done a lot of the work for you? Review your website for comments, revisit old emails and check for Twitter mentions where a blogger may have already reached out to you. Bloggers who have made the effort to engage have proven they are diligent marketers and will help get the brand seen and heard once you collaborate
2. Reference Blog Directories:
Browse Technorati, review Alltop, crawl BlogCatalog and search Alexa to determine who the big blogger in your field is. Find the top influencers in your industry, research them and move in for the kill. If there is a blogger you wish would highlight your business, but you feel they are too big to conquer, search the content on their blog for mentions of smaller, yet related blogs that you can successfully connect with. Once you have built relationships with these smaller blogs, you can return to the once-unapproachable site with some posts under your belt that are worthy of mention.
3. View the blog from a reader’s perspective:
When reaching out to bloggers try to behave like a reader would. Try to forget that you are a brand gaining coverage, look at the blog and ask yourself these questions:
- Would I like to read it or would I click off quickly?
- Are real people behind this or is this an anonymous content mill run by a company which publishes everything as ‘admin’?
- Is this blog around for a while (established) and does it publish fresh content regularly/recently?
- Has the blogger actually covered exactly what I look after, not only the broad topic?
- Is the post genuine or only written in order to generate affiliate revenue? You can tell by the language they use whether they mean what they say or not.
- Is this blogger actually competing with my client directly?
- Do I like the appearance/visuals/design of the blog?
4. Use Google Products:
With all the Google products in existence, it’s no wonder that more than one can aid with blogger outreach. The obvious choice, Google Blog Search, is where you can search keywords relevant to your business as well as your business name. This allows you to locate and contact those who may already be an evangelist of your product.
5. Do your homework:
Take the time to research and identify a targeted group of bloggers to connect with about your brand’s initiative. This means actually scanning recent posts to better understand what their interests are and checking out their presence across all social channels.
This can go as far as even getting their name right! As simple as this may seem, the reality is sometimes bloggers get emails that start with ‘Hey There,’ ‘Insert Name Here’ and ‘Dear XXX.’ On a related topic, even common names like Kelly or Mike can be spelled not so commonly such as Kelley or Myke, so make sure that you have the proper greeting and spelling before reaching out. The language that a blogger frequently uses is also important to how you should approach them.
It’s also important to ensure the blogger you’re contacted is right for your business. The best ways to do this are:
- Consider the size of the blog’s social media community including profile reach and visibility on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest (if they have them)
- Make sure the blog content is in line with the buyer personas outlined
- Usually ask or look for statistics on readership, unique visitors and SERP positioning (Search Engine Results Pages) for relevant keywords
- Look at Page Rank (this is not always the highest determinant)
6. Be relevant and desirable:
Remember that both of you have a responsibility – you to secure coverage and the blogger to provide interesting content to their readers. Before reaching out, make sure you and/or the content makes sense for the blogger’s audience (this is also part of doing your homework). And when it’s a natural fit, connect your pitch to a related post that the blogger has written, a re-occurring theme that you uncover on their blog or a recent trend, just don’t force the connection.
7. Find authentic brand ambassadors:
One of the best ways to get on a blogger’s radar and start the process toward an organic relationship is to send him or her a free product from your brand with no strings attached. Reach out to introduce your brand, your product and your message, then allow the relationship to unfold from there.
Keep in mind that the “no strings attached” approach means that if you send a blogger something for free, it may or may not result in a post or social mention. But when it does, the mention is authentic and the blogger’s friends, fans and readers are more likely to respond positively. If bloggers like what they see (and wear), they usually write a sincere post – the best kind!
8. Give bloggers a reason to feature:
Providing your targeted bloggers with everything they need to write about you almost certainly guarantees a mention. Allowing them to choose a product that suits them, sending them detailed information about the brand we are representing and keeping in touch with them to check if they need anything else will encourage a post, and fast!
To reach even more potential customers, ask the bloggers if they’d like to host a giveaway for their readers. If their audience loves your product, they may write about it too!
Giving bloggers the right assets to enhance their understanding of our client’s product/service goes a long way. Think about what you can provide each blogger to further engage and spark their interest. This could range from giving the blogger exclusive content, to sharing product for review, or providing multiple products for reader giveaways.
9. Launch a unique campaign
The best blogger outreach campaigns are highly creative, and Ariel rose to the challenge.
Ariel sent fashion bloggers expensive clothing from desirable brands that were so stained that the bloggers couldn’t recognize what the item of clothing was. Of course, the clothes were accompanied by Ariel Stain Remover so bloggers could wash the clothes and reveal their new free piece of clothing. The campaign generated a ton of buzz and reached over 3 million women.
10. Understand the meaning of partnership:
A true blogger partnership is a relationship that extends beyond coverage and is mutually-beneficial. These days, many formalised blogger partnerships involve a payment of some sort – but outside of the financials, engaging ways to activate these partnerships could be offering bloggers:
- The opportunity to pilot test programs
- Serving as counsel on program development
- Or providing exclusive access to upcoming campaigns or product launches for sharing across their communities
Blogger outreach is the perfect way to add the one-to-one-to-many approach to your digital marketing efforts. Creative campaigns that let bloggers experience your location, product or service for themselves encourages authentic content and a long-term relationship.
To make the most of your blogger relationships, remember that bloggers are busy and they may be receiving many pitches. Grab their attention by making a conscious effort to be respectful and personalise your outreach.
If you’d like more information or help with your Digital PR and Blogger Outreach Program feel free to contact us on 0118 324 9000 or email us.