guest post by David Spinks
Blogger outreach is being used in more and more in marketing and social media campaigns. Some campaigns completely forgo traditional media outreach and just focus on blogger outreach. If you can get enough buzz going in the blogosphere, chances are mainstream media will catch wind of it, too.
So why the shift? Well bloggers…
- Are usually more approachable than mainstream media.
- Have focused audiences so companies can be very strategic on which ones they contact.
- Have close and trusting relationships with their readers.
- Once a blogger covers your company, it strengthens your relationship with them and you may be able to connect for future stories.
Blogger outreach isn’t the same as pitching traditional media, however. It’s actually very different. When you’re pitching a blogger, you’re not pitching a company (usually), you’re pitching a person… so the approach is very different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be strategic about it.
Just look at it from the blogger's side.
Not a blogger and can’t imagine yourself in their position? No worries… Here are some things that as a blogger, I like to see in a pitch, and as a marketer, have worked for me in blogger outreach campaigns.
1. Familiarity. If I recognize the name of the person emailing me, the chances of me even opening the email is exponentially higher. The chances of me writing about them is also a lot higher.
Strategy: Don’t just show up and pitch the blogger. This campaign should be planned ahead of time, and you should commit time to reading, commenting, and interacting with the blogger's community.
2. Relevance. If the content you’re pitching me is very relevant to my audience, not only will I consider writing about it, I’ll probably be happy too! Hell, I spend half of my blogging time just thinking up ideas to write about. If you help me by giving me an idea that’s actually valuable, I’ll thank you! Most pitches I get are way off topic.
Strategy: Even if you don’t have time to interact before making the pitch, at the very least, you have to READ the blog. Know who you’re pitching and who their audience is. And no, you can’t tell this just from looking at the title and NO you can’t BS a blogger into thinking it’s valuable.
3. Convenience. If the blogger is like me, they don’t have much time as it is. They may want to write a post about you but they don’t have time to do the research. Save me time and I’ll be a happy blogger.
Strategy: Provide the necessary information, so the blogger doesn’t have to search for it on your site. If you don’t want to be too upfront and in your face about it, just let the blogger know that you’ll be happy to provide them with more information. In general, just keep in mind, the easier you make it for the blogger, the easier it will be to get coverage.
4. Exclusivity. I may get a lot of pitches. I can smell a bad one from a mile away. One way I can tell right away is if the email is canned, or templated. If you sent the same email to 100 bloggers, they’ll know it. Sure you might get a few responses, but you’ll have wasted a lot of opportunities and possible relationships.
Strategy: Include personalized information. It’s okay to use the same information in a lot of the emails, but at the very least, the name, the intro, and any content specific information needs to be personalized. I.e., instead of saying “your blog”, use the name of the blog. Personalize wherever possible.
5. Advantages. So I’m helping you. Can you send more traffic to my site in return? Can you promote my site on your website or in your newsletter? Perhaps you can offer something of clear value to me?…just remember that whatever you offer me in return for a blog post, will be disclosed in the blog post.
Strategy: This won’t work for all bloggers, but it can’t hurt to offer. Some will decline any sort of “favors”. Others would love it if you promoted them on your site a bit, or did something to drive more traffic to them. If you can offer something of clear value to the blogger in return for their covering you, you’ll be much more successful.
I’ve done a few different blogger outreach campaigns. There was one campaign where my boss wasn’t sure if my method was effective compared to just plugging in a name and emailing a massive amount of bloggers every day. So I did both and compared the results.
I found that while it might take more time per email, reaching out personally, and using these other guidelines, results in a lot more legitimate responses than sending out 200/day with a template email. They also help you forge long term relationships with bloggers.
So those are some thoughts to get you started. If you’re a marketer what has worked for you in your blogger outreach efforts? If you’re a blogger, what kinds of pitches do you prefer?
David Spinks is the Community Manager for Scribnia, where the world’s bloggers and columnists are reviewed by their readers. He also blogs at The Spinks Blog about business, careers and professional communities.