So, blogger outreach. What’s that, then?
Did you know that there are some 181 million+ blogs out there? Someone, somewhere is definitely talking about your area of interest. And your potential customers are listening to them. Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes including some of the internet’s biggest influencers. Many are known for their expertise in a certain field, their skills in curating great content, or simply having great taste. By inviting them to become your brand ambassadors, you can encourage them to create content that fits your marketing message. Think of it as a form of satellite content marketing.
What have bloggers ever done for us?
When advertising was king, a flashy message or aspirational lifestyle image was often enough to sell a product. But what happens when it gets into the customer’s hands? As you’ll read in our Inkybee ebook, studies show that greater than 80% of internet users read blogs at least once a day and that greater than 70% of consumers stated that blogs affected their purchasing decisions (Hubspot). Furthermore, 38% of bloggers will write about brands they love or hate (Technorati) – a number that is likely on the rise.
Furthermore, the latest Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey placed trust in online customer opinions at 70% – vastly outstripping traditional media. Consumers no longer trust the press or flashy advertising from companies, so an independent expert or advocate in the form of a blogger – a consumer’s peer – can be hugely valuable. Put those together and you could have a trusted, enthusiastic, and aspirational brand ambassador of your own. What’s more, these individuals can wield great influence and marketing potential to people whom advertising simply cannot reach.
As well as the key influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, there exists a key group of bloggers known as the “magic middle”. Not all bloggers are professionals who are paid to talk about companies and their products and services – but many do command their own powerful niche.
Regardless of their blog’s focus, magic middle bloggers are passionate people dedicated to writing about topics and issues relevant to them personally. These are the bloggers who tend to inspire real-world customers to explore and experiment with new products and services based on the word of their peers.
Bloggers vary in influence, and in their awareness thereof, but they are not going to champion you unless you provide value, content, or a reward to their blog. Treating them well and offering value to their audience is a winning strategy; but don’t expect something for nothing. As much as bloggers need content, they’re not tied to the same content output expectations as professionals and journalists, so make them an offer that they can get into.
Beware of the dog…
As much as bloggers can help you, they can also hinder you if you don’t offer them value. Bloggers don’t play by traditional media rules, nor do they serve the purposes of bigger organisations that they work for. The power is with the blogger, but the responsibility lies with you: they can be as negative as they can be positive if you don’t treat them right. Learn from the mistakes of others in our post about how not to conduct blogger outreach.
At its core, blogger outreach is a simple transaction between product marketer and a passionate communicator. You provide great content via a message, a product, or a service to the blogger and they transform it into a persuasive story for their readers, generating awareness and positive validation for your brand.
Simple DOs and DON’Ts:
- Know your audience. Their interests, their motivations. And not just at a superficial level.
- Be polite and patient: many bloggers receive masses of email offers and promotions.
- Offer your blog partners content and value in the form of products to review, content to promote, or giveaways and treats for their readers.
- Read the your potential partners’ disclosures. Just because you send a blogger a product does not mean that they will automatically review it.
- Don’t send endless follow-up emails to non-responders. One follow-up email is plenty. After that, it’s time to find new partners.
- Don’t chase up bloggers to mention you outside of your agreed partnerships.
- Don’t forget that bloggers are accountable to their audience and it’s a responsibility that most take seriously.
- Don’t demand promotion in exchange for entry into a competition. Value your potential partners quid pro quo.
Want to know how to make bloggers click, and stick? Read Brian Solis’ “10 Steps to Building a Better Blogger Relations Program”. And check back shortly for our upcoming Inkybee “Best Practices for Blogger Outreach” ebook.
What are your experiences with blogger outreach? If you’re a blogger we’d love to hear from you.