It’s no secret social media has transformed marketing into a transparent relationship between brands and consumers, heavily focused on the users’ engagement with a product, brand and service. In today’s market, one of the most influential resources consumers turn to are bloggers.
Blogger outreach may be an important component in specific PR programs and by implementing an outreach strategy, brands are able to tap into pre-established social networks to increase online traffic, shares, and sales.
Map out the strategic goals of your program and how those goals will connect to your outreach program.
At the core of a successful outreach strategy is relationship building. It is an extensive process that consists of research, contact, and post-contact follow-up to deliver results.
Before diving into blog identification, you’ll want to map out the strategic goals of your program and how those goals will connect to your outreach program as well as identify the personas of your target audience. By identifying the audience personas, you ensure that the bloggers with whom you make contact represent the audiences that you want to reach.
It’s easy to create a massive list of blogs that relate to your content but it’s imperative to identify whether or not a blog is relevant and worth pursuing. Blogger outreach for the purpose of PR requires passion and alignment in order to achieve success. The blogger must be aligned with your product or service – and just as importantly – passionate. The relationship with a blogger is personal and alignment with goals and passion helps you gain coverage. The research stage allows you to focus in on which bloggers will be the right fit for your brand.
Identify the following:
Organize and identify key blogs that will get the most bang for your buck.
- Domain authority – The domain authority indicates reach and influence or simply put, how high it would appear in an organic Google search. The higher the domain authority, the higher the reach.
- Social authority – Who is following the blog can be more influential than the number of followers. If a blog is followed by someone with a lot of social influence specific to your market, that may generate more traction.
- Follower engagement – A blog with a small but passionate following can be more influential than a larger blog with a passive following. A lot of engagement indicates an audience that is invested in the blog who trust the information and content being provided.
Personality: What is the blog’s content, tone, style and audience?
Every blog is different. Identifying the “personality” of the blog will aide in crafting a personalized email later on.
Common Interests: Do your goals align?
It’s important to identify whether or not your goals align with theirs to avoid wasting time. If the end goal is a product review, why waste time on a blog that doesn’t review products?
Keep track of the findings in an excel file or content planning database for future reference.
The Soft Introduction:
Once target blogs are identified, most people will go straight to the cold email. However, when thought about, it’s a slightly absurd approach. It’s as if they are throwing a party exclusively for their friends and all of a sudden your band shows up expecting to be the entertainment. Frankly, you would be asked to leave.
Instead of showing up to the party unannounced, let social media be a mutual friend that introduces the two of you. Follow them and like their posts, leave positive comments or share relatable content with them. This tactic not only demonstrates how your interests align but also establishes a personal connection. The blog is an important part of their life and if you take a genuinely authentic interest in them, they will be more likely to do the same for you.
The Formal Introduction:
Your formal introduction is the moment where the research will pay off and a personalized email will be sent to each blogger. Tailor your introduction to who you are talking to because that’s exactly what you are doing, you’re talking to someone!
Personalization – Address their name, identify a connection, let personality shine through
Flattery – Show off your research and why you want to work with them
Transparency – State your goals (guest blogging, link to site, product promotion, etc.)
Credibility – Why should they take interest in you?
Benefits – How will it benefit the blogger, not just you?
*Remember to craft the email to match each blogger’s personality and tone!
Follow-up with a blogger is just as important as the initial contact. Building a mutually beneficial relationship does not happen with just one email.
Responses include but are not limited to:
No Response: Send up a follow-up email or move on.
It’s not the right fit or time: That’s okay! You caught their attention and something you said prompted them to respond. The initial contact is not always about accomplishing your goal, it’s also about cultivating a positive relationship in case the right fit comes along. Stay engaged with their content to let them know you are still interested.
Interested but hesitant: It’s possible some will be hesitant and “assess the pros and cons of moving forward with the relationship.” If so, don’t let them forget why you caught their eye in the first place by sending a friendly, follow up email. Don’t allow too much time to go by that they forget about you but don’t push them away by bombarding their inbox.
Yes! That’s great! Keep the spark alive.
Once a blogger has agreed to review your content, product or service it’s important to do the following:
Equip them with all the information needed to make an informed decision: provide error-free content, send the product, etc.
Give them time to decide whether or not to post the content before offering it elsewhere.
Don’t take any revisions personally: In reality, they know their audience and hopefully only make small suggestions to tailor it to their style.
Remember their vulnerability: By publishing outside content, the blogger is linking their name to it. They want to be sure your content is valid, trustworthy and satisfactory for their following.
Congratulations! All your hard work has paid off and it feels great, right?
Here are a few tips to move forward:
Share: Promote your content and their blog within your own social network.
Engage: See the reaction and participate in the conversation.
Discuss the future: Where do you see the relationship going? Will you be able to provide content on a regular basis or will it be a case by case basis?
Keep the relationship positive.
Keep your promises: Breaking a promise is breaking trust and potentially jeopardizing the relationship as well as future opportunities.
Continue to interact with their work and be supportive.
Throughout the whole process maintain open communication. Without it, trust cannot be built and the relationship will crumble. Be up front with your intentions and stay true to your word.
After all is said and done and once you’ve built a relationship with a reputable blog, you will open doors to get eyes on your content, increasing reach, shares, traffic, and potentially sales!