Whither blogger outreach?

kallejipp / photocase.com

Photo credit: kallejipp / photocase.com

Let’s face it, the term certainly has it’s issues. For those outside PR it probably sounds like somebody being a bit sick on their shoes whilst within PR there are all those connotations of spam and bad practice. But putting all that aside for one moment, it’s clear that blogger outreach is in some form of ascendancy.

Firstly, lets look in more detail at what blogger outreach is exactly – or rather, what it should be, because it’s often done very badly. In simple terms, it should be the process of building real and meaningful relationships (friendships to be more exact) with the right bloggers and then “reaching out” to them with relevant propositions that have potential of benefiting both the blogger and you. The blogger benefits from you providing great content to share (for example) and you benefit from him or her taking your message directly to the right target audience for your campaign.

But let’s not get hung up on the term “blogger outreach”. Why is it in the ascendancy?

Perhaps the main reason is that blogger outreach is an incredibly important part of the digital marketing mix which is transforming modern marketing in its entirety. Blogger relations, influencer marketing, content marketing, word-of-mouth marketing are all part of this mix, as is the important SEO process of link building, or perhaps more correctly, “link earning”. However, because blogs are in some way the content engine of of social media, an organised blogger outreach campaign can provide a solid backbone for a more general digital marketing campaign

Secondly, the relatively new concept of “link earning” is also contributing heavily to the current ascendancy of blogger outreach. Because Google has effectively binned lots of the traditional SEO-based techniques of link building, marketers now need to think more laterally to earn the links they would previously have built using SEO. The SEO industry is learning that reaching out to the right bloggers is a fast and direct method of getting the type links that Google really respects.

Some other major benefits are outlined in our “8 Reasons Why Blogger Relations are Essential to Your PR Strategy” but the bottom line is that reports of the demise of blogging are greatly exaggerated. Rather, bloggers are becoming increasingly influential because it is a fact that somewhere out there, there will be a blogger who is already engaged with and talking to your target market. Furthermore, the likelihood is that their audience is highly engaged and active in social media.

It is your challenge as a PR or marketer to make friends with that blogger by reaching out to him or her today.

Great, so how do I get started?

Well, the most important thing to do is read the (free) Best Practice Guide to Blogger Outreach. It covers the entire process in some detail and it warns you how to avoid the pitfalls and difficulties you are likely to encounter.

But we’ve also got a big announcement.

As some of you know, we’ve has been very busy building over the last couple of years building a new tool called Inkybee to help manage the process of blogger outreach.

We’re very pleased to announce that as of today, Inkybee is in full, free public beta.

Inkybee is a simple, user-friendly tool to relieve the pains of anyone doing blogger outreach.

In simple terms this is what Inkybee will do for you:

  • Inkybee finds relevant blogs for you.
  • Then Inkybee tells you which ones are the most influential.
  • You can track your relationships with your bloggers.
  • And finally Inkybee measures the value of your work.

Go and give it a test drive by clicking on the button below. It will take seconds to create an account, it’s free and there’s lots of help videos and links to further resources inside.

Give it a go and let us know what you think.

Inkybee blogger outreach

Smarter blogger outreach... for the busy PR

Inkybee is in free public beta. Click below to create a free account and take it for a test run.

Start free trial
  • http://twitter.com/Soulati Jayme Soulati

    What a great post, Hugh. Except, you buried the news too far below! Good thing my anticipation for the announcement kept me reading.

    First off, I just spouted off to someone pitching me to guest post on my blog; that’s sort of like a blogger pitch, right? What I informed her was that there are a few steps for me to accept your content unseen for my primary daily blog and the number-one factor is relationship. Do I know you?

    Have we tweeted? Have you commented on my blog? Are you in a tribe I’m in? Have I been invited to friend you on the Interwebz? Etc., etc.

    And, when you send me samples of blog posts from September 2012; well, that’s a red flag.

    Secondly…CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    VERY Eager to try Inkybee (what a great name), and will jump in. I’ll reserve my suggestion about a blog post just until I troll around through; however, I do so love to promote and support; it’s the PR in me! 

    • http://blog.forthmetrics.com/ Hugh Anderson

      Hi Jayme

      I just really want to say thank-you for stopping by, taking the time to read the blog and post a comment. As a small business we truly recognise and value the support given when someone goes that extra yard for you.

      You know the subject matter inside out so I hope you like Inkybee; and I suppose hiding the announcement is just down to us Brits not wanting to blow our own trumpet. But if you want to help blow it for us, that’s just great!

      Hugh

  • andymturner

     

    What is it about ‘blogger outreach’ that leaves me feeling distinctly
    uncomfortable, aside from it being such a horrible term that can only serve to
    strengthen those who like to ridicule the PR profession? First, the idea of
    attempting to form friendships with complete strangers, then milking that
    friendship (if you ever get that far) to pimp some client’s marketing message
    seems to me to be wholly wrong, let alone unrealistic. Have we not learned
    anything from the constant and increasingly vocal criticism by journalists of
    the how-are-you-today, plastic PR people and their aggressive spam pitches?

    We should be trying so much harder to encourage our clients
    to focus their marketing thinking on something more fundamental: fulfilling a genuine
    need better than anyone else; to build a better mousetrap, if you like. By
    doing that, PR pros can do more good than they ever possibly could posing as ersatz
    friends to bloggers. It is by doing something interesting, making a clear
    difference or solving a problem better than anyone else has so far that those precious
    earned links will be generated. Just about everything else is just
    turd-polishing – and who wants to do that?

    • http://blog.forthmetrics.com David Cumings

      Hi Andy, yes, whether we like it or not, the digital realm (and all of the opportunities it offers the PR industry to enable them to do even better work for their clients) is here to stay, and it isn’t going away. Consequently, PR pros have to learn how to develop relationships online in exactly the same way that they have been doing in the real world for decades. Of course there are lots of ersatz relationships and spammy pitches in the digital space, but there are just as many sham relationships in traditional PR. The digital and the ‘real’ world are converging fast and they should be treated exactly the same. 

      The point about doing blogger relations well or (public relations generally for that matter) is that you need to go beyond fake relationships. On a simple level, its about developing relationships of trust – in much the same way as in the real world. Once that relationship has developed (ideally it will be a genuine friendship), then there is the opportunity to work together in sensible ways for mutual benefit. In terms of the proposition/pitch itself… to be compelling, the rules are simple: be relevant, be credible, educate if possible (teach, don’t sell), and certainly entertain. Is that not exactly what is needed when conducting traditional PR? Be spammy and aggressive and you won’t get far in either realm.

      Of course, to deliver the success you are describing for your clients, all of this has to be conducted within the context of a carefully considered strategy that is nailed to real and measurable objectives. Far too much PR (digital or traditional) is still ‘spray and pray’ and this is where the digital realm offers exciting possibilities for the PR profession. 

      At the risk of preaching to the converted, the ‘better mousetrap’ you describe is now simple for any PR pro to implement online and it looks something like this. 

      1. Define some measurable business objectives with your client (sell X amount of some product over Y period, generate X interactions with some proposition over Y period etc etc)

      2. Define a target audience who will deliver those objectives (this is where you can forget the completely out-of-date and useless ABC profiling and think more laterally about real people: for example, people interested in fashion, music and art are likely to deliver the X interactions needed with the proposition over period defined)

      3. Work out where those people ‘hang out’ on this internet (the important things about the mousetrap is that there is no point in physically building it – a new micro site for example. That’s a waste of time – make sure that you are found where the target audience is already spending time. By coincidence, it’s a fact that thousands of the people who are capable of delivering your objective are to be found reading blogs. Moreover, the people that read blogs are also the prime-movers in social media who do most of the sharing. Hence the emphasis on blogs being the back-bone of a successful digital campaign.)

      4. Craft a compelling proposition for this audience (and create associated media such as video and images. Be relevant and teach rather than sell. And, make it look good too.)

      5. Build a simple landing page where the proposition can be delivered (and measured). Use a blog page or something equally as simple like this: http://www.inkybee.com/blogger-outreach-a-best-practice-guide/

      6. Implement simple measurement on the landing page (Google Analytics as a minimum)

      7. Reach out to the people who are capable of putting your proposition in front of the audience you have defined (the bloggers) and make friends with them.

      8. Watch the results come in as the mousetrap delivers the proposition to your target audience and they begin to share it.

      9. Measure the performance of the campaign against the initial objectives and report the success back to your client.

      Of course, this mousetrap only works if the proposition is compelling. And it has to have been put in front of a relevant audience with great integrity. But, that’s the point of good blogger relations!

  • http://www.thewriteprovider.co.uk/ Shaun

    @andymturner:disqus  Some people really don’t understand what it is to contribute quality content to the web and that is how blogger outreach should be approached. Write generic garbage, receive similar results. Work with people who know what they are talking about and offer something to benefit readers and you will have excellent results. 
    Journos can bleet on about plastic PRs all they want, but when digital completely replaces all other kinds of media, what do you think those Journos will do then?

    • andymturner

      My guess is they’ll be blogging and complaining about crappy, ill-considered spam pitches from every man and his dog

  • Spook SEO

    A great blog I am glad to read the experts’ views. This is very informative for me. I also agree with Andy. You are right that “We should be trying so much harder to encourage our clients to focus their marketing thinking on something more fundamental: fulfilling a genuine need better than anyone else….”

Previous post:

Next post: