Although I’m an Inbound Marketer, a lot of what I do actually involves reaching out – to high-profile influencers in the industries that my clients operate in. Since bloggers and social media celebrities are the new newspapers and magazines, it makes sense that any brand who wants to increase their presence online could potentially benefit from partnering up with relevant blogs online. Because after all partnerships and collaborations make everything just that little bit more fun for everyone (I chatted more about this in a previous Reef blog post about digital PR).
So – let’s get friendly with our neighbours online! Here are some little tips for conducting better blogger outreach that I’ve gleaned from being on both the giving and receiving end of many outreach emails.
Find out who the top influencers in your industry actually are
This can be done manually using simple search modifiers, or by using one of the many online tools available to help you research top influencers in your industry. Twitter and Facebook can also be great for this, as liking or following a page will often bring up a suggested list of other closely related blogs and websites. Nuffnang is also a handy online database of Australian bloggers who have indicated that they’re happy to receive PR requests, and of course, backlink analysis tools can help you see what kinds of websites and influencers your competitors are targeting. Be sure to place priority on finding influencers who are based in your own country, as this not only makes it easier if you’re sending them physical items to review or give away, but if they link to your site (and they should for maximum SEO and PR benefit), the link will also carry more weight in the eyes of search engines.
Build relationships before you ask for anything
While not an absolute prerequisite, it definitely helps if you use your social media accounts to start following, retweeting and commenting on the blog entries and social media posts of some of these new influencers you’ve started keeping an eye on. That being said, most experienced bloggers these days are fairly used to being reached-out to, and in fact welcome these types of requests. Indeed, some bloggers and social media-ers are making careers out of their Instagram feeds, so completely-out-of-the blue emails can work, as long as you word it the right way, and have something to offer them in return (like a great piece of content or free item of value).
Think about what you can offer them and their readers
Basically – what kinds of freebies can you give away to help sweeten the deal? Freebies can include things like pieces of content or training guides which may be relevant for the blogger’s audience, a 12-month free subscription to your service or software, or physical goods related to your industry. Some bloggers also charge a fee for partnering with them on a sponsored post, but many will simply be happy for something that they can give away to their readers for free as a prize for winning a competition. These don’t necessarily need to be manufactured by your company either. For example, if you’re a travel company and you don’t want to give away thousand-dollar flights each time you do outreach, things like travel accessories, luggage and digital cameras that you buy can work well.
Be friendly, courteous and personalise all of your outreach emails
While it may be tempting to get the office intern to sit and spend hours copying and pasting the same email and sending it to each and every blogger in your database, it’s much better to personalise each of your emails slightly for each blog – Even if it is just changing the opening line and a few sentences in the body of the email to show that you’ve actually at least clicked through a couple of pages of their site. Try and find out the blogger’s name, and most importantly, be nice and help make the process as smooth and as easy as possible with them, whether that involves sending over some images for the post, or crafting up the competition copy for them to post on their site. Most bloggers have busy jobs and lives as well, and while a successful online partnership is a win-win situation for everyone, over-negotiating on price or playing hardball will just result in your email thread ending up in the bin. Build genuine rapport with a blogger, they’re more likely to want to work with you again on future client projects. More tips on crafting simple, courteous and to-the-point outreach emails here.
Keep track of everything in a spreadsheet
You come across a great blog one day and shoot off an email. One month later, you find the same blog. You navigate to the contact page, find their email, and start tapping out a nice little partnership offer to them. Suddenly, panic grips you, as you think to yourself, “have I already contact this blogger before? Will I look like a total imbecile if I send them yet another email introducing myself?” At this point my friend, I would ask you – Have got a basic spreadsheet where you’ve been meticulously keeping track of everyone you’ve already contacted, using a few different columns for “outreach date”, “reply date” and “publish date”? No worries. Just saunter on over to that bad boy and check to see whether the person you’re about to email will indeed be scoffing in disgust after they open your second introduction email to them. No spreadsheet? Well… don’t say we didn’t tell you so. Documentation is essential when conducting any form of outreach online, and you shouldn’t expect to remember each blog and their response (or lack of response) by heart. Keep spreadsheet. Sleep easy.
You’ll thank me later.
How do you conduct successful blogger outreach campaigns? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.