So you have something you want to promote…you want to create awareness, build inbound links for SEO, and ultimately, generate leads and/or sales. One of the most overlooked news sources today are blogs. Not only can bloggers provide you with links, but they can also spread the word about your news or product to their readers. Bloggers are big.
How can you get bloggers to love you and want to post about your news or product? It’s definitely important to note that any relationship takes time and effort. Bring the romance to your bloggers with a little patience and extra work. Just like when you have a crush on someone, it’s best to act cool and not too pushy. Follow these same rules with your outreach campaign.
Relationship Rule #1
Before starting your research and outreach campaign, I’d suggest getting a blog. What better way to understand your target than to become one? Blogging can be time-consuming, so if that’s not an option, find a friend who blogs and ask them some questions about writing, PR pitches and what they look for in those pitches, etc. They will most likely tell you that they blog for enjoyment purposes, so they don’t read long messages nor do they want pitches that aren’t relevant to their blog’s topic.
Relationship Rule #2
After you feel like you have a basic understanding of the blogging world, you can start researching bloggers in the specific industry, market or topic area you plan to target. This is crucial because there’s nothing worse than pitching the wrong subject to a great blogger. The scary thing is that the blogger could call you out publicly on your faux pas, so be careful before sending out these pitches.
Relationship Rule #3
Definitely check out the various tools available to find bloggers. Many of them are free too. Here are some popular tools that are helpful:
- Blog Dash – A free tool to use to find PR-friendly bloggers, but you can pay for more premium services.
- Buzzstream – This is a great paid tool to use for not only researching bloggers, but also managing relationships.
- Group High – This is a very useful tool but pretty pricey; includes a huge database full of bloggers.
- Technorati – Free and good for finding influential blogs on specific topics.
- Blog Catalog – Great user interface with many categories that rank bloggers by influence.
- Blog rolls – These include blogs that have been recommended by other bloggers.
- Blog directories – Other directories include blogs listed by city, state, region, etc.
- Google – Always useful to find niche blogs
Relationship Rule #4
Once you’ve found your bloggers, it’s time to get your flirt on. If time permits before starting the campaign, add these bloggers on Twitter and other social media profiles and stay up to date with their updates. I especially think commenting on their blog posts is effective, and Twitter and Google+ (gasp!) have been my favorite social media sites to communicate with bloggers. You can share the bloggers’ content and make comments with your thoughts. It shows you care and there’s nothing wrong with a little ego boost, especially in the beginning of a relationship.
Once it’s time to start the blogger outreach campaign, you will hopefully feel a little more comfortable with each individual blogger to understand his or her style and preferences (I like to try and match my email tone to the specific blogger). Here are a few tips to really craft a great outreach email:
- Relax – When I first started outreach campaigns, I wasn’t very successful because I sounded like a robot in my emails.
- Be natural – The best way to get your message read is to write like you speak. It’s surprisingly not always an easy task to accomplish.
- Read it aloud before sending – This is the best way to edit and really helps create clarity in your message.
- Double check the email before you send it – There’s nothing worse than sending the wrong information to the blogger or having a grammar error. Check it over.
- Create a compelling, but brief subject – This can be anything from a question to an enticing request based on the blogger’s interests
Now that the messages have been sent, it’s time to sit back and wait.
Once the responses start rolling in, you can move forward in your outreach efforts. I’d say that any response, no matter the answer, is a good response because you can learn from each blogger. Maybe someone will tell you that you hit the wrong niche market, which would help you redefine your next campaign. I always like to respond with a thank you to bloggers that respond, no matter if it’s a success or not because so many people just won’t respond at all.
If you have any blogger outreach questions or tips, feel free to leave a comment below tweet me @alex_katzen.