Creating a blogger outreach program is as natural a part of brand marketing on the web these days as any other. An extension to social campaigning, it is a thorough and honest way to tap into a blogger’s trusted reader base, while fostering a connection and relationship with a valuable content creator.
Pitching to a blogger is simple enough — you provide a sample or trial of your product or service. The blogger writes up what they honestly think about it, and you get to share yourself with the world (or at least that sliver of cyberspace where the blogger has some authority).
Efficient, effective and free, you have nothing to lose! The only problem is finding the bloggers themselves. How do you hunt down those web gurus who have the most clout, while still relating in a significant manner to your brand?
These tools are free, simple to use, and totally awesome for anyone looking to create or expand their blogger outreach program.
Tools to Find and Connect to Bloggers
Tomoson: Out of all platforms connecting brands to bloggers for mutual benefits, this one is the most straightforward yet the most flexible. It makes sure you connect to bloggers on their terms, as you are not allowed to dictate how they review your product or link to you. And that’s the best way to do blogger outreach, but keep in mind that blogs are editorial.
When running a promotion you can tell a person where they can link to IF they want to. It is not required that people link to you because it’s against Google policy. Most people will work with a business to help in any way they can (source).
Tomoson also has their own rank that measures users’ influence which works much better than Klout for me.
BlogLocal: Let’s say you realize that a blogger that is popular in your industry is a 30 minute drive away. That is the perfect opportunity to contact them through social media and request a face to face meeting to introduce them to the product or service in person, and then get them on board for a review.
It is also a simple way of connecting on a deeper level that will provide the foundation of a long term working relationship.
BlogLocal shows you blogs in your area, so you can find out who is around you in any city, or in the cities you frequently visit.
MyBlogU: MyBlogU lets you build your authority by contributing your expert opinion to a relevant article. It’s a great tool to build your brand trust.
At MyBlogU, there are a ton of active bloggers who are looking for expert snippets and comments, interview opportunities, and a chance to help one another. That makes it a rich hunting ground for bloggers that obviously know about your niche, and so would be open to working with you on whatever you need help with.
It may also be a chance for you to show your own authority and value to the community at large, and start building a repertoire with others in the industry.
Before you connect …
Long gone are the days when blogger outreach was considered a success when you got one product review and happily ran away with it. Today it’s all about building solid relationships; it’s about turning bloggers into brand ambassadors or brand evangelists.
Here are some tips for you to make the most of every connection.
- Connect on Twitter. In spite of nearly everyone on the planet having some form of experience with this social media platform, not everyone knows how to best utilize it for relationship building. It is rare to find a blog that doesn’t have a Twitter. Some will have several, including those for their individual writers, editors, and founders. You can connect with them one on one, sharing their content, @tagging them, or just engaging in a valuable manner that makes them more familiar with you and your brand. I maintain separate Twitter lists for my valuable blogging contacts to keep a closer eye on them. Tools like Oktopost and Commun.it makes profiling social media contacts very fast and efficient.
- Find out what projects they are involved in. You may find that other projects a blogger is maintaining may work even better for you (or compliment your future plans) or you may discover the blogger is planning to go to an event nearby. Whatever it is, spend 10-15 minutes browsing around to see how else you can work together — your research will be highly appreciated. I usually use this tool to find other sites the blogger has. I also make sure I go though their “About page” and most recent social media updates before I reach out to the blogger.
- Use tools to collect more information on people you connect. Rappotive is excellent for seeing who the person behind the email is, for example. And of course, Knowem will make your job much easier finding the bloggers’ social media identities with one click.
Most bloggers are more than welcoming of the chance to try something new and blog about it. Not only does it expose them to something they may use in the future, but it gives them a chance for fresh content that attracts an audience based on a previously established brand. The key is to approach blogger outreach properly!
Blogger Outreach is an important part of any marketing strategy in this day and age. You need the right tools, and luckily there are plenty that are free and can help you. Try these out, and let us know about any others you enjoy in the comments below!