How To Effectively Plan A Blogger Outreach Program
Blogger outreach is used by one out of five niche businesses according to Chief Marketer research. It’s no surprise since blogger outreach can yield powerful results.
It’s another way of leveraging other people’s audiences. So how does a marketer implement a blogger outreach program?
3 Reasons to use blogger outreach
Blogger outreach is valuable for marketers to expand and enhance their reach in these three ways.
- Leverage other people’s audiences. Bloggers have an established readership that’s often associated with an engaged social media presence. By contrast, unless you’re Victoria’s Secret or Nike, most brands and businesses don’t. (BTW—You don’t want to say, “I want to use your audience.” If you have any doubts check out what Peter Shankman says on the topic.)
- Endorse your product. By using and talking about your product, bloggers tell their followers about your product. The drawback is that they’ll also say the bad and the ugly as well. In most cases, this helps to qualify your product. Face it—no one believes a review that’s over the top positive.
- Supports your search optimization. Since the blogger will write keyword rich content, link to your website and mention it on social media platforms, this content will help improve your search results.
4 Ways to use blogger outreach effectively
If you haven’t used blogger outreach, it’s a great tool to add to your marketing toolbox. Here are four way to use blogger outreach.
- Offer a guest blog post. In this case you (or a member of your staff) write a special article for the blog. The goal is to get at least one link back to your website. (Don’t forget to check out their guest blog post guidelines.)
- Get the spotlight for your product or brand. Often marketers and PR professionals look to get bloggers to review their products. Testing your new product falls into this category. Understand that there are regulations about disclosing any exchange of free products or payments. BlogHer has well defined guidelines to follow on this topic. (Here are the FTC Guidelines.)
- Be a go-to resource. Volunteer to help the blogger by supplying useful information. Personally, I don’t read press releases and view them as PR spam. That said, I have a set of PR professionals I turn to when I need data. At the Sentiment Analysis Conference last week, I met NetBase CMO Lisa Joy Rosner and what did she do? She volunteered to give me tailored information on whatever topic I’m writing about. Guess who I’m going to call?
- Ask the blogger to write for you. You want the blogger to create unique content for your blog or other owned media entity. In this case, expect to compensate the blogger since you’re asking them to work for you (you’re being paid right?) and this is a work for hire.
9 Steps to develop a successful blogger outreach program
Here are nine steps to help you develop a blogger outreach program that’s a win-win for you and the bloggers.
- Determine your marketing goals. As with any marketing initiative, it’s critical to establish your objectives. Are you looking to build your brand, attract new prospects, or increase sales?
- Assess the blogging landscape. Don’t have an assistant send out a templated email to a list of bloggers. Instead research the blogs in your category to determine who are the dominant bloggers and what issues they’re focused on. What are the hot issues and how do they apply to your firm or brand?
- Find relevant bloggers. For most marketers this is the big step. Ask your team and other executives whose blogs they regularly read as a starting point. Then look through your owned media to see if you’ve got high profile fans. Look at comments on your blog and social media presence such as Twitter. Participate in relevant Twitter chats to see who’s there since they often attract bloggers. Check out attendee lists and posts about important conferences in your category. This will help you determine who’s interested in information in your field. It can provide opportunities to meet in person. Don’t forget to monitor Help-a-Reporter, a free service where you can respond to requests. Also, check blog listings like Technorati and Alltop as well as Google’s blog search as well as their Pagerank and Alexa scores.
- Do your homework. Don’t contact any bloggers until you look beyond the numbers and read their blogs to see whose work resonates with your brand. Understand their audience and hot buttons. Examine their most popular posts for insights as to what resonates with their readers. How does this compare with your market? Is there a match? Look at whether they have guest bloggers or endorse products (I don’t.) Further, don’t limit yourself to the top five bloggers in your field. You should seek a mix of blogs and sizes.
- Build credibility by engaging with the blogger. Build relationships by commenting on and sharing their content on social media platforms. This doesn’t mean being overly obsequious but rather approach them through actions that show you know the blog and their hot buttons. Where possible get out and meet them in person. Be creative in meeting bloggers. Use your social media networks to engage them, especially LinkedIn.
- Create a tailored, unique communication. Let me tell you bloggers can tell a cookie cutter request a mile away. Make them a targeted offer that’s unique for them. If you’re sending it to a bunch of other bloggers, why should I care? Write a tailored letter. Show them respect. Understand that they’re thinking WII-FM (What’s in it for me?). Understand your goals are secondary to theirs, the blog’s and its community’s goals.
- Make it easy to say yes. Most bloggers juggle a lot of different balls at the same time. As a result, they’re time strapped. Help them to say yes to your offer by giving them as much support as you can. This doesn’t mean crossing the line when it comes to editorial integrity.
- Be a flexible resource. Once you’ve invested in your research and building relationships understand your request can still be turned down for a wide range of reasons. Use the opportunity to make yourself a valuable resource. Ask if there’s anything else you can do. Remember, every blogger needs help at some point.
- Track the results. Monitor the results from your blogger outreach campaign. This means putting metrics in place that are aligned with your objectives to make the case for this initiative.
Blogger outreach is an effective way to expand your audience and credibility. It requires work and finesse to yield long-term results.
What other suggestions would you add to this list of blogger outreach tips? What has your experience been using blogger outreach? Would you please share any good or bad examples?
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