19 essential blogger outreach tips – including what you should NEVER do!
Last week I talked about the rise and influence of lifestyle bloggers. We discussed what lifestyle blogging is, who the lifestyle bloggers are, and how and why businesses should engage with them.
Bloggers have the power to make or break a company brand. Their influence (through online ‘word of mouth’ marketing) on the success of product launches, brand awareness and perceptions is huge. Yet many businesses remain in the dark about how to work with bloggers – and many are making fatal mistakes.
This weekend will see hundreds of bloggers turn out for BritMums Live, the UK’s biggest parent and lifestyle bloggers conference. If you aren’t attending the conference but are keen to connect with bloggers, how should you reach them?
jrc.agency recently ran a blogger outreach workshop. Successful blogger Leyla Brooke joined us to share her knowledge and insights from writing and managing the award-nominated parenting blog, Thisdayilove.co.uk. This post shares some of those insights, along with some of the things we’ve learned from running blogger outreach campaigns for clients.
Sending blanket emails out to all the bloggers you can find will not yield results and may harm your chances of future success as you will be perceived as a time waster.
Finding the right blogger(s) for your campaign is vital, and there should be a good match between your target audience and the blog readership – as well as an offer that benefits everyone.
There are a number of ways you can find relevant bloggers:
(1) Use popular blogger hashtags to put requests out, such as #prrequest, #journorequest (journalists use this to ask for writers and case studies), #bblogger (beauty blogger) #lblogger (lifestyle blogger) #pblogger (parenting blogger)
(2) Blogger forums are an excellent way to find relevant bloggers, although many are closed to companies and brands or are invite only (eg UK bloggers). BritMums have a blogger sourcing service.
(3) G+ – There is an open G+ community for UK bloggers. There are also a number of LinkedIn groups for bloggers, some of which are open access.
(4) Check out some of the many industry-specific top blogger lists, for example:
- TOTS 100 and Britmums (two biggest sites for parent bloggers)
- HIBS 100 (home interiors bloggers)
- Foodies 100 (food bloggers)
(5) Or simply a general Google search will bring up some of the most popular blogs.
If you are searching online, be aware that not all bloggers are receptive to PR requests, and many will not do sponsored posts. Bloggers who are happy to do sponsored posts will normally state this on their website. So you can tailor your Google searches accordingly…
For example, for parent blogs that accept PR approaches, type the following in the search bar: parent blog “sponsored posts”, parent blog inurl:links
Once you have a shortlist of relevant bloggers to approach, you should work out which one(s) are most likely to bring you results.
(6) Consider the longevity of the blog – Is the blog established with regular content posted over a long period of time? If a blog mainly comprises lots of adverts and reviews, or the blogger is not generating their own content, you need to ask how long will they stick with it.
(7) Look for a loyal following – You also want to have a higher percentage of returning visitors showing a loyal following. Some established bloggers will share this information as part of their rate card, although many may not.
There are a variety of other ways to establish blogger quality:
(8) The number of likes they have on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc
(10) Check their Feedburner stats – This tells you how many people are subscribed to their blog. The higher the number, the better.
(11) Bloglovin – This is a useful tool for curating and managing the blogs you want to read, allowing you to look at your favourite blogs quickly (has a newsfeed). Use it to keep an eye on the most popular blogs and the ones that are updated most regularly.
(12) PageRank – This algorithm (a numerical value) is used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results, so gives an indication of the likelihood your product blog will appear on the first page of Google search results.
(13) Video bloggers (or vloggers) – YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google. If you can find a blogger who is also a vlogger, the additional YouTube hits they can generate will be a huge boost for your reach.
What to ask bloggers for and what to offer them
Once you’ve chosen the right bloggers to approach, you need to spend some time researching them further to establish what kind of offer is most likely to appeal to them. Each blogger is different. There are no hard and fast rules, but the suggestions below should help you avoid the most common pitfalls.
(14) Take care in how you address them. Read their blog to find this out. For example, Leyla Brooke calls herself a “family blogger” on her blog. Yet Carrie Longton from Mumsnet notes that many don’t like this term, preferring “parent blogger” instead.
(15) Tailor the offer specifically to each blogger and their blog audience. The importance of taking time to find out what is of interest to each blogger and their audience cannot be understated. And this isn’t just about matching the product with the market, it’s about understanding the views and opinions of the blogger too. If you are selling baby milk formula, approaching a parent blogger who has recently blogged on the importance of breastfeeding is not likely to elicit a positive response.
(16) What do you want? Make it known from outset what you want form a blogger. If it’s just a link, say this at the beginning. Be open, or the blogger (if they’re not clear what you’re after) may just quote you a big fee.
(17) Offer a competition/giveaway – If the competition is hosted on a blogger’s own site, it can bring lots of traffic to them. Especialy if the blogger then posts the link on all the competition sites to draw in additional traffic. This is a win-win situation for you both.
(18) Be clear upfront if you are offering a fee. Fees vary depending on the blogger and their reach. Fees also vary depending on the length of time a post would be live for, with permanent posts commanding a higher fee.
(19) Alternatively, you could offer a non-fee benefit to the blogger. Again, be clear upfront. A BritMums Live ticket and expenses is highly valued by many lifestyle bloggers. Again, the benefit has to be a good match and something valuable to the blogger.
The main things to remember when approaching bloggers are to be courteous and to show that you’ve done your homework. An approach should show that you’ve read and respect their blog, understand their audience and readership, and are prepared to make an appropriate offer to compensate them for their time.
Remember: A blog is a blogger’s own personal online space. They are not obliged to write for you or accept your content. Good bloggers invest a lot of time and effort into maintaining their blog and their audiences, and they will take great care to ensure that all their blog content is valuable for readers, ‘on brand’ for them, and will not contradict their values or offend their readers. (The blogging community is very close knit, and information about rude PRs or irrelevant approaches is likely to be shared among other bloggers.)
As long as you understand and respect the points above, and approach bloggers with them in mind, you have a much greater chance of being invited to share a blogger’s valuable online space to access their readership and reach.
Blogger outreach and research takes time to do well and achieve good results.
If you would like some assistance with your blogger outreach campaigns, contact me to discuss how jrc.agency can help.
Does your company have a good blogging campaign success story you’d like to share?
Are you a PR-friendly blogger with further advice on how companies should approach you? Or perhaps you have some blogger approach horror stories to share to help other avoid the pitfalls?
Do please share your comments below…