In a recent post, I talked about the rules for building blogger outreach relationships. One of the rules, and what I believe to be the most important one, was to understand your audience and/or topic in order to begin researching bloggers for your campaign. This is extremely important, and there are several tools out there that make the research step a little more manageable and efficient. If your company is just starting out, I’d recommend doing some research to find the right set of tools to fit your needs. Of course, you can always use Google, but I’ve found that many of the blogs are either outdated or too general. That’s why it’s really beneficial to learn about all of the blogger outreach platforms available.
Here are some of the tools that I’ve used and had success with:
Vocus has been around for years and serves as a helpful tool to find large-scale media outlets. They also have a search option to find bloggers too and hundreds of categories to include in the search. Of course, it is pricey to use and could be out of the budget for many businesses.
My favorite feature of BuzzStream is the link marker. Whenever I come across a relevant blog, I can just click the link marker and BuzzStream will filter through the site to find contact and other information. You can also use BuzzStream to see which sites are currently linking to your company’s website.
GroupHigh is one of the more advanced tools as far as blogger outreach software goes. The all-encompassing database makes it easy to input several keywords, filter by social influence factors, and view SEO metrics to refine the search. It’s a bit pricey but worth it if you plan to do a lot of outreach.
BlogDash is a good resource to use if you have a very general market you are trying to reach. Some of the categories include, “Food and Drink Bloggers” or “Health Bloggers.” While not the best tool for niche research, you can refine the search by selecting in-depth characteristics about the individual blogger in these large genres.
Although still in beta, Inkybee has already proven to be an advantageous platform. It has a great interface (which is unfortunately rare) and it’s easy to use. Just create a list and click “Add Discovery Job” where you can type up to three keywords for Inkybee to search to find relevant bloggers. It will then deliver all findings straight to your email and you can select the blogs to save or toss. Keep an eye on this tool.
Topsy is a social search engine that indexes different social profiles to deliver pages in chronological order. It’s especially useful if you have a specific topic in mind to search bloggers and social influencers alike.
Whither Google Alerts?
Of course, Google Alerts can help you find current and topical bloggers. From there, you can browse the blog roll and trackbacks to find more potential outreach contacts. However, I have found in recent weeks that it’s not as reliable as it used to be, so many of the tools described above are suitable alternatives.
Here are some other tools worth checking out:
Blog Lines – Resource for local blogs, news and events
Follower Wonk – An SEOmoz app to find, analyze and optimize for social growth
People Browsr – Data, analytics, influencers, and networks in real time data
With so many tools, how do you pick the right one? Decide how much your company is going to invest in blogger outreach in the long run, as well as your specific goals, and work from there. I like to start with the most available tools first (like the free tools) and then re-evaluate once I receive my first set of results.
Investing in a useful tool will save you a lot of time and stress. It all comes down to a strong initial launching point- find a tool, create lists and messaging, begin following and reaching out to the contacts, and finally, let the blogger outreach begin!
If you’ve used other outreach tools other than the ones I’ve listed, feel free to comment below or tweet me @alex_katzen.