Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blogger Outreach 101



Below is an Step By Step process that I developed for a current client to reach out to bloggers.  I hope this helps others that are looking to reach out to bloggers to promote their product or service.  

Step One: 

1) The first step is to find the bloggers within the niche. Go to Technorati , Google Blog Search , Google and search for bloggers that are talking about your company. Look in web directories such as Yahoo Directory, DMOZ  and BOTA for blogs in the industry.  Forums are also a great place to look as well. Also check out blogrolls from the sites you know are relevant – it’s always good to know what the bloggers you’re reaching out to are reading.  PeopleBrowsr - is another site to help find bloggers. You can filter via location, influence & communities to zero in on who is worth reaching out to.

Make a list of at least 20 bloggers that have blogged about your company within the last 2 weeks. Concentrate on bloggers that appear to be evangelizing your company, but also add some bloggers that are critical of your efforts. You also need to reseach these bloggers.  To do that you can Use sites like Klout and PeerIndex to note each blogger’s influence. You can also experiment with Kred , Twitalyzer or TweetLevel,.  You will want to keep track of these scores as well on the spreadsheet. 

Narrow down your list to include the top ranking blogs within your niche. Research the number of followers and the traffic to their websites. You can measure this by using various tools such as; Alexa & Compete, just to name a couple. How frequently the blogger posts is important but if they haven’t blogged in a while, don’t let that be a deterrent. Your message might be the right one to get them blogging again.


2) After you have your list of at least 20 bloggers that are talking about your company, go back to every blog and respond to the blog post where your company is mentioned. Clearly identify yourself, and your position with the company. Address only the topics presented, and any relevant information. Invite replies from readers. Thank the blogger for the comment, and then go back and email them thanking them for their comments, and let them know that you are available for a short phone discussion or interview, if they are interested.

3) Subscribe to the feeds from all the blogs you commented on, as well as their comment feeds, if available. If your company has a blog, add links to any bloggers that are evangelizing your company on your company blog’s sidebar.

 

Get to know your bloggers and build relationships. Follow your bloggers on Twitter – whether from your brand’s or company’s account or your own – and talk to them. If you’ve got something interesting to say, they’ll listen.


Take every opportunity you can to make connections offline – such as industry events and conferences – or even think about hosting a blogger event of your own.

Visit your list of blogs again, and read any new posts, and also reply to any comments that were addressed to you, or relevant comments that other readers have left.

4) Answer any emails from bloggers, and if possible, schedule times to discuss topics raised with blogger on the phone, or via interview.

Don’t just send a blogger a press release and hope for the best. Tailor your message and demonstrate that you know why you’re writing to them. Which piece(s) of content on their blog were interesting or prompted you to write to them? Write to the blogger like they’re a human being but don’t be too over-familiar. Use an open and friendly tone of voice and unless you really think it suits, don’t be too formal. Get to the point!


Step Two and Beyond:

1) Every day you need to read the blogs and comment. This is the part of blogger outreach that becomes daunting because it’s no doubt time-consuming—and difficult to fit into your busy schedule. Yet if blogger outreach is a priority for you (and it very well should be), this initial investment of your time will pay off down the road. Just as it takes time to build a business, a Facebook fan page or a Twitter following, it takes time to build a blogger outreach network. But once you have that network in place, it becomes an invaluable part of your digital outreach strategy.

2) At least twice a week, you should again check Technorati and Google Blog Search for new mentions about your company. 

3) After you’ve established relationships with some of your target bloggers, feel free to reach out with a blog pitch. Before you send it, take time to ensure your pitch is thoughtfully written. Also, be strategic. Tailor your pitch to the blogger you’re reaching out to and you’ll be amazed at the results you can see. Do not Mass email pitch. These almost never work, and frequently backfire. Actually taking the time to talk to Blogger in THEIR space is MUCH more effective.  Don’t just send a blogger a press release and hope for the best. Tailor your message and demonstrate that you know why you’re writing to them. Which piece(s) of content on their blog were interesting or prompted you to write to them?

Write to the blogger like they’re a human being but don’t be too over-familiar. Use an open and friendly tone of voice and unless you really think it suits, don’t be too formal . Get to the point! You want the blogger to write something for you, so don’t make their life difficult. Attach images that they’d otherwise have to take from your website, give them accurate information, include links and make the information you’re presenting straightforward.


Why this will benefit Your Company and all other online brands:

1 – It will get you noticed in the blogosphere. This is a coordinated effort to reach out to bloggers and to engage them in their space. What you are basically saying is that ‘I respect you enough to take the time to respond.’ That’s HUGE! According to, BlogPulse there are close to 180 million blogs on the Internet. And although the vast majority of these are hobby blogs, the power and reach of the blogosphere as a whole has become undeniable. Bloggers are now seen as powerful and influential sources of information, some rivaling even the largest media companies. Imagine tapping into a fraction of this reach to help broadcast your company’s message. Sure, blogger outreach is time-consuming, but when you consider that the largest investment is your time, you can likely reap more significant results than you would through more traditional channels of marketing or advertising.

2 – It will show bloggers that you are serious about starting a conversation with them. This is why you can’t do this once, you have to make it a habit to read blogs from your evangelists (and even detractors). This wins even more respect among bloggers.

3 – It will get bloggers talking about your company. It is still rare for companies to make a sincere effort to monitor and respond to bloggers as part of a marketing strategy. It also encourages bloggers to evangelize your company, AND, just as importantly, it encourages OTHER bloggers to evangelize your company. This is literally creating a network of bloggers that will be more likely to promote and evangelize your company.

4 – It will greatly improve your social media and marketing efforts. Simply talking to your customers and potential customers in their space in the blogosphere is a wonderful way to better understand them, but also to better understand how social media works. It’s one thing to hear about how quickly ideas spread in the blogosphere, it’s quite another to spend a few hours talking to bloggers on their blogs, and then to see how quickly other bloggers link to your actions.

5– It shows bloggers that ‘you get it’. This makes bloggers much more likely to pay attention to your company, and blog about you, your products, and marketing efforts. Which means the network of bloggers that are talking about your company is further expanded. Which doesn’t hurt your company’s Google presence either.

6- Finally, say thank you. And mean it.  A quick email, a re-tweet, a link posted on Twitter – simple things to show your gratitude, show-off the coverage to your audience and (hopefully) reward the blogger with some lovely traffic back!

Best of all, all this is FREE.  It just requires someone to manage it.

Examples of successful Blogger outreach programs:
           

3 comments:

  1. Excellent tips! I do agree that reading everyone's blogs is a tough one, but definitely worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It is tuff to read them all but definitely worth the effort!

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