This is a guest post by Kristen Matthews, marketing and community manager for GroupHigh in Boulder, Colorado. She loves the collaborative elements of modern marketing so feel free to contact her for anything at Kristen@grouphigh.com and follow her on Twitter @Kristenwords and @GroupHigh!
As outbound marketing tactics become obsolete, establishing relationships with bloggers who can promote your brand via word of mouth is becoming more important than ever.
Now that modern consumers are wired to tune out traditional ads and have the self-empowerment to research brands on their own, marketers and PR professionals are scrambling to fill the internet with good content about their brands and their client’s brands.
The sweet spot lies in not only producing content that subtly links back to your brand but also establishing a balance of content about your brand produced by others. It all comes down to the fact that humans trust word of mouth recommendations over self-promotional garble.
This is where blogger outreach comes in. And trust me, you want to get the influential bloggers on your side before your competitor does.
A decision should never be made without considering solid facts so here are a few for you.
This Digital Influence Report from Technorati reveals some key information about influencers, consumers and top brand marketers. I recommend reading through it but in the event that time isn’t abundant today, here are some highlights.
- “Though blogs and influencers don’t get a large portion of a brands’ digital spend, they rank high with consumers for trust, popularity and influence.”
- Blogs are in the top five sources of trustworthy information.
- “Influencers are most active on blogs, as 86% say they have them and 88% of those say they blog for themselves.”
This SlideShare presentation from BlogHer shows just how much consumers trust blogs. Another one I recommend reading for yourself but here are the key points:
- 81% of the online U.S. population trusts the information and advice they get from bloggers.
- 61% of the U.S. online population has made a purchase based on a recommendation from bloggers.
- 41% of the U.S. online population says that blogs are better than Facebook to find out about new products.
Companies Using Blogger Outreach
Because I work best with examples, here are a few companies who do blogger outreach really well and have seen success.
- SAAS: Nestivity gave exclusive access to influential social media bloggers to their new Twitter tool. This surfaced a lot of reviews and hype before the official launch. Smart.
- Fashion: American Apparel used bloggers in their catalogue so that they’d write about their experience.
- Sports teams: The Harlem Globetrotters used blogger outreach to target family focused bloggers and gave them passes to their games for posts. Ah, the power of the mom blogger!
- Hotels and travel agencies use blogger outreach prevalently. They send travel bloggers on trips to review the destination. Makes me want to be a travel blogger…
How You Can Do it Too
Once you’ve established the need for blogger outreach, the inevitable questions remains: How do I come aboard?
First you need to consider and outline the perfect bloggers for your next campaign. If you put yourself in your target audience’s place, what types of bloggers would you follow? Hone in by filling out these categories in an outline:
- Genre of blogs: such as cooking, fashion, marketing, etc.
- Niche: such as vegan, high risk fashion, inbound marketing, etc.
- Reach: For example you may have a visually driven campaign and want your bloggers to have an active Pinterest presence. Perhaps you want your bloggers to have a certain amount of unique monthly visitors or a decent MozRank.
Follow your outline precisely. If a blogger only sort of fits your criteria but has a ton of Twitter followers, refrain from reaching out. Keep in mind that you are going to have the most success reaching out to bloggers who are a snug contextual fit instead of email blasting every blogger in your genre.
Once you know who you are looking for, you need to decide which avenue you are going to take to find them. If you are going to be doing a moderate to heavy amount of blogger outreach I’d recommend investing in a blogger outreach tool like GroupHigh which is worth its cost in time saved.
If you are still unsure about blogger outreach and are not ready for a tool, check out Google’s blog search or Inky Bees free version.
Do you have any blogger outreach tactics that have worked well for you? Share in the comments below and cheers to a good discussion!