Blogger Outreach – 4 Tips for Success

I recently had the opportunity to attend SocialFresh 2011 in Charlotte, and was particularly impressed with the presentation given by Heidi Sullivan (@hksully) from Cision about blogger outreach.

Blogger outreach should be a key part of any digital marketing plan. Although traditional media coverage is incredibly valuable for a company of any size, the power of blogs cannot be ignored in this digital age. Blogger outreach is important for two main reasons – coverage and publicity for your product or service, and the SEO benefit.

For Publicity

 

Although bloggers continue to fight for relevance among the general populace, they carry a large amount of weight in the online community, especially as consumers continue to turn to the internet for their friends’ opinion on goods and services. Getting coverage through blogger outreach is an excellent way to get your message online, shared, and read by existing and potential customers.

For SEO

Backlinks are arguably the most important piece of an SEO campaign, and blogger outreach provides an easy and impactful way to build links. Blogger outreach carries SEO value, especially if you are able to get a backlink from the blog post. The more authoritative the blog, the more SEO value a blog post about your product will pass to your own website.

Blogger outreach can typically be done with two staff members – an SEO expert to determine the best blogs to pitch based on the blog’s authority, and PR practitioner. However, although many PR practitioners are no strangers to writing pitches, blogger outreach may be a foreign concept. Follow these four tips to get started, and soon you’ll find that blogger outreach can just as easy as pitching a traditional outlet.

  1. Research

    Any good media list starts with good research, and blogger outreach is no different. Using a tool such as Technorati or Cision will yield a list of bloggers in your niche. Once you have this list, audit the blogs from an SEO perspective to narrow your target.

  2. Relationships

    As with traditional media, flattery can go a long way. Identify your key bloggers and build a relationship with them through digital channels – mention how much you liked a certain post, comment on posts (without advertising your own brand initially), follow them and engage them on social networks (especially Twitter), and connect in real life if you have the opportunity. A good relationship with a blogger will go a long way towards getting your company covered in their blog.

  3. Relevance

    Given that most blogs cover a specific niche, and specific topics within that niche, don’t send general media advisories. The chances are low that a blogger will be interested in writing about executive appointments, company events, or general company news.

  4. Respect

    Although many writers for the larger blogs (TNW, Mashable, etc.) likely make a living from their writing alone, many bloggers write on the side and most likely have a full time job. Therefore, most bloggers will be writing on the weekends and at home, but still need time to spend with their families. Be mindful of their lifestyle when sending pitches.

Once you’ve begun a blogger outreach campaign, I’m sure you’ll find that it’s not much different than any relationship with a reporter for a traditional media outlet. Do you engage in blogger outreach for your organization? Have you been successful?

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