Read on for an up-to-date blogger outreach guide
Bloggers and vloggers sit happily alongside celebrities in the list of most popular media stars. Certainly, their social influence is as powerful and their credibility is unmatched by the brands who court them – a whopping 81% of us trust bloggers. Listening yesterday to BBC Radio 1’s interview ‘Meet the vloggers: Self-employed and earning a fortune‘ highlights just how serious and lucrative a profession it is to young people today. None of the interviewees wanted to reveal their earnings, but according to gamer turned fashion entrepreneur and YouTuber, KSI who has amassed 4 million followers on YouTube is’ “a lot better off than I was two years ago.”
In the last few years, brands and big businesses have realised the value of tapping into the biggest bloggers and are willing to pay handsomely for it. Blogger outreach has been a hot topic for a few years now, but it’s a really hot topic again right now and here at White Horse we are finding that the best bloggers are able to name their price.This is relevant in both the B2B and B2C sectors. This huge interest from our clients has spurned us on to write this blogger outreach guide but we also highly suggest you read this article by read write – Brand Marketers Totally Miss Social Media Influencers.
Tangible value to your B2C or B2B business
Simply put, many businesses are finding that blogger outreach adds tangible value to their businesses in a number of ways. The latest research shows that 77% of marketers are blogging today in 2013. Here’s why:
– Enhances and optimises their SEO strategy by building valuable backlinks
– Builds credibility and endorsement of their product or service. An endorsement from a ‘cool’ blogger counts for a lot!
– Creates reach through leveraging other people’s networks and audiences – through guest and on-site blogging (more below) you build your voice and brand.
The blogging stars of today
Many of the big vloggers and bloggers around the world have appointed ‘talent’ managers who negotiate deals between bloggers and brands. We are always on the lookout for the best/most interesting and rising stars that we can work with and link up with our clients.
For us, blogger outreach is a little bit like dating – we establish and develop relationships over time. A good partnership won’t happen overnight, it has to be worked at. You have to admire, flirt, tease, make virtual come-to-bed eyes and gently persuade your chosen bloggers, social media darlings and publishers that you are a good fit.
Before you start – research
Free tools to help you
There are lots of free tools that you can use to source and find bloggers. This excellent post from Kiss Metrics has a handy list on their article the ultimate guide to guest blogging. Think what will fit with your brand and product. The vloggers have some of the biggest followings on You Tube and are a perfect fit for high-impact and credible You Tube advertising that suit the creative, beauty, media and food industries.
Get your spreadsheets open
Start with a spreadsheet and list all the blogs you like – think about style, how it fits in with your message, imagery, social reach and influence. List their social networks and make notes about how you might approach them. Being well researched shows and makes your pitch much better.
The four ways to engage with bloggers
1. Guest blogging
You write a unique article for their blog, with the aim being to get a link back to your website. Always be knowledgable, study their content, editorial spread and style. Then, write a personal, targeted email that introduces yourself, what you do and what kind of content you can write for them. Include any benefits or new insights that will be valuable to their audiences. We love this article by Social Media Today ‘The ultimate guide to guest blogging’ for an in-depth guide to guest blogging.The most successful bloggers will get hundreds of requests per day so you must build a relationship with them first. Seek them out on social, connect with them – help them get to know you before you pitch that article.
Make sure you check out their guidelines; don’t misuse it by blatant advertising, or keyword stuffing. Write content their audiences will want to read and share. An old but still relevant post today is by Social Media Examiner on the best examples of 8 brands that benefit from guest blogging.
2. Build a blogger-focused community
Sending out new products in advance of launches, a product for blogger reviews are a great way to get coverage. As long as you have the ultimate confidence in what you are selling! There are regulations about disclosing any exchange of free products or payments, but it’s an excellent way to drive user-generated content and get reviews out there. For the bloggers, it gives them something new – an ‘exclusive’ to talk or write about. As long as you are sure it’s within their niche, it’s a win-win.
3. Build a community of bloggers writing for your blog.
This can take time and patience to seek out the perfect selection of bloggers. Ideally, an on-site community will feature a high-profile guest blogger, a few lesser-known (and cheaper) but willing bloggers and niche specialists. Be aware that the highest-profile bloggers can cost a few thousand pounds (up to $10k) per piece, and you will often have to negotiate with their ‘talent’ agent. Respect them – these bloggers have spent years building up extremely influential networks – this is what you are buying into, after all. Let’s face it, it’s cheaper than a 30 second slot in the middle of the Superbowl, but can be just as effective.
Our five golden rules to follow
Be personal. Blogging is a personal thing; don’t send blanket emails or one pitched and mismatched article to multiple bloggers.
Be goal-oriented. Don’t waste yours – or the bloggers – precious time. Only approach them when you are sure this is going to achieve your, and their, goals.
Think of it like a date. You have to work at it – follow them, friend them, engage with them on their preferred social network, send them something funny, inspiring or thought provoking.
Offer them as much as you can, and more than they expect. Make it easy for them – created a great video? Send them the embed code; supply a fact list/contacts/incentives for their audiences. Think beyond the traditional article – got a whitepaper/report/visual campaign ready to go? Give them an exclusive preview or access to share with their community and they will thank you for it. Firstness counts for a lot.
Create great content. It sounds obvious, but don’t just push out cr*p! Be innovative, different, opinionated, visual and ALWAYS high quality. If you create great content, the piece will get shared and you will attract the attention of other great influencers in your industry.
The most effective blogger outreach programmes are developed over time and are living, breathing projects rather than a one-off. Whether you are doing this in-house or engaging an agency that offers blogger outreach services like White Horse, take your time to really research and define a ‘gold’ list of bloggers. Be prepared to work. Hard. Create something unique, interesting or entertaining that will delight their audiences.
What experience have you had with blogger outreach? We would love to hear what has worked and what hasn’t.
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