Blogger outreach is becoming an increasingly effective method for businesses to extend their reach, amplify their messages, create buzz and most importantly influence the buying behaviours of their target markets.
What is Blogger Outreach?
Blogger Outreach is reaching out and working with bloggers whose audiences comprise of your target customers, with the intention of developing a relationship whereby the Bloggers will interact with your products/services/business and share their experiences with their readers in return for some level of compensation.
How Does Blogger Outreach Work?
- Bloggers introduce your products/services and/or business to their audience and their readers takes note because they respect and value the opinions of the Blogger, as they have developed their trust over time.
- Their readers become interested in your products/services – speeding up the “know, like and trust” process.
- A portion of their readers go onto purchase your products/services – Those people then tell their friends about their experiences and the benefits continue to escalate.
Why Should Businesses Work With Bloggers?
Businesses should work with Bloggers because:
- Bloggers can have far greater targeted reach than more traditional forms of PR and advertising.
- Bloggers are respected and trusted by their communities, far more so than advertising messages.
- Bloggers can provide unbiased reviews of your products/services/business.
- Bloggers can help you introduce your products/services/business to a new market.
- Bloggers can assist in making the content they share about your products/services/business go viral.
- Bloggers can be cost effective – but not free!
- Bloggers can provide a measurable return on investment (if you set it up properly).
What You Need To Do To Make Blogger Outreach Work
- Research – Target bloggers that communicate regularly with a large proportion of your ideal audience. Use Blogger fit (e.g. values, personality and approach), blog niche, audience demographics, web traffic, frequency of posts, social media following and level of engagement as measures. Most Bloggers will have a media kit that provides these statistics and their terms of service.
- READ THE BLOG – Do not move on from this point if you are not prepared to take some time to read the blog, familiarise yourself with the Blogger and the content they share and whether or not they are likely to be an appropriate fit.
- Develop Relationships Early – Well before you need the services of a Blogger, create a shortlist of potential Bloggers you would like to work with and make an initial connection with them via blog posts and social media to open up communication channels. Do this to develop a meaningful connection without any attempt to market your business.
- Make Formal Contact – Make a reduced shortlist and send a brief “personalised” email to each of them that is tailored to their blog and your past interactions so you are more likely to be remembered. Keep it short and focus on what you want to offer them (provide a compelling offer both for them and their readers – if appropriate) and be specific regarding what you want them to do for you and the next steps they need to make to progress this relationship. Top Bloggers are busy people and receive loads of spammy requests each day from less than reputable people that are trying to springboard off the back of years of their hard work in developing their community, so make your offer something of value and stand out from the crowd!
- Follow Up – Track your responses and follow up a week later if no response. If you genuinely believe that a relationship between your business and the Blogger will be a win-win for the Blogger, their community and your businesses, then consider following up off-line. It may just be that the Blogger has been too busy to respond and may respond more positively to a more personal approach than email.
- Confirmation Of Service – Provide a formal contact for the work to be undertaken, clearly stating what is required of the Blogger (including any exclusivity clauses) and what they will receive in return for their services – this will provide clarity and protection for all involved. You may wish to give them unique links for use to track the success of the on-line traffic they generate for your business.
- Blog, Tweet, Post, Share, etc – Allow the Blogger to undertake the work as described, responding to and supporting them in a timely manner as required.
- Track – Set Google Alerts for keywords specific to your campaign that will help you identify places where your content is appearing or being discussed across the web. Track the traffic generated by unique links provided to Bloggers to determine each Blogger’s level of influence specific to each campaign.
- Develop Long Term Relationships – Over time, build long-term mutually rewarding relationships with those bloggers that are providing results for your business – this will be far more effective than a one-off-relationship.
What Not To Do When Working With Bloggers!
- Don’t insult a Blogger by offering something of insignificant value for their time (e.g. a free copy of your latest book for them and one of their readers in exchange for them doing a review of the book). Top Bloggers rely on their Blog to make a living. Your book is going to be of no use to them when their mortgage repayments is due – cash would be!
- Don’t make it a requirement that they must not say anything negative. Chances are there will be some pros and cons to your products/services/business and most bloggers will want to share a balanced review with their audiences to ensure they maintain the credibility they have spent years developing – it will also make them more believable. It’s that credibility that you are tapping into, so don’t abuse it.
- Waste the time of Bloggers or be unreasonable in your requests. They are busy people and could very easily give your business a bad review if their experience in dealing with your business is not pleasurable.
- Ask Bloggers to hide what they are receiving in return for their work – quality bloggers will disclose when they are receiving compensation for a post and/or social media mention for a business. This is often referred to as a “sponsored post”.
How Can I Find Bloggers For My Business?
There are many resources that can assist you in finding Bloggers to approach to match your business, including:
- Social Callout
- Brand Meets Blogs
- The Remarkables Group
- Marmot Inc
- Google – Search blogs that discuss relevant keywords
- A directory or PR agency that specialises in working with Bloggers – often these are niche specific, such as Digital Parents (for parents that blog about topics relevant to families and children)
What Has Been Your Experiences Using Blogger Outreach For Business?
Have you used Blogger Outreach in your business? If so, please share your experiences in the comments below.