The blogosphere has been a major online marketing medium for years now. Bloggers are trusted voices who can bring in customers and help you build your community. They're capable of exposing others to your message and getting the buzz started -- but only if you approach the task diligently.
Reaching out to potential bloggers is a more intricate process nowadays than it was even five years ago. Great bloggers are constantly getting pitched by marketers, making it all the more important for you to stand out from the crowd if you want them to pay attention.
Trust me, though: It's well worth it to invest time in building connections with high quality bloggers and turn them into a brand advocates who will be willing to help you out over and over again.
Want to achieve worthwhile results from your blogger outreach efforts? In this post, I'll go over a few tips for reaching out to bloggers effectively. Then, I'll talk about seven great blogger outreach tools that will help you connect with bloggers in your niche.
Before you start reaching out to bloggers, you'll need to figure out who you'll reach out to by doing some quick research. As you're searching for bloggers, look for people who are in your industry or in an industry that somewhat relates to your product. This way, their audience will be similar to yours and may trust the blogger more when they talk about your product or write a sponsored post about you.
You'll also want to look at their following. The larger their audience is, the better the posts will be for your brand awareness. While you might not be able to see traffic or follower numbers directly on their blog page, looking at their social media channels might be a good way to distinguish how many fans they have and how engaged their audience is with their content.
Many bloggers don't mind helping your brand grow -- in fact, some of them may like what you offer. All in all, many of them will appreciate additional sources of income.
But there's always a chance one of those power bloggers will be insulted by the means or message you use to reach out to them. If you're really unlucky, they might voice their irritation in public, thereby tarnishing your reputation. So how do you reach out to the bloggers without running into a risk of ruining your brand name? As someone who's been on both sides many times, here are three tips.
Here are four guidelines for blogger outreach:
How to Reach Out to Bloggers
- Send a straightforward email or message.
- Tailor your email to each blogger so it feels personal.
- Don't rely on interns to do outreach.
- Send a follow-up -- but don't go overboard with emails.
Tip #1: Send a straightforward email or message
I love emails that get to the point right away. The more straightforward you are, the more time I save. But there's a fine line between being straightforward and being just plain careless.
Here's an example of a careless blogging -- the very one that inspired me to write this article in the first place:
Don't want your emails to end up in the bin? Take time going through active blogs in your industry (using some of the tools I talk about later), reading media kits, searching for reviews they do, and so on. Do your homework before inviting bloggers to partner.
Tip #2: Tailor your email to each blogger so it feels personal.
All bloggers are different. Some of them might be really insulted by your paid review offer, for example. This doesn't mean the same blogger may become your brand ambassador if you invite him or her to be your webinar or podcast featured guest.
Instead, tailor your offer based on what each of your bloggers seems to enjoy doing online. Which types of blog posts do they gravitate toward? Do some research to identify the types of content each blogger is currently doing to earn his/her living so you can approach them with an attractive offer.
Tip #3: Don't rely on interns to do the outreach.
I've seen far too many emails from company managers apologizing for an unprofessional email their intern sent. Don't get me wrong, interns are wonderful -- but they likely don't have much of a feel for your industry and how to navigate the politics of reaching out to other professionals.
It's best to entrust your company's reputation with someone more experienced with professional outreach.
Tip #4: Send a follow-up -- but don't go overboard with emails.
Like any business prospect, sending a second follow-up email a few days later could show the blogger that you're interested in working with them. It might also be helpful if the first email they received got lost in the shuffle or was forgotten about.
However, if they seem like they are genuinely not interested or responsive, you may want to move on so you don't seem desperate or annoying. Leave them with a good impression of your company and brand, even if they don't wish to work with you.
Blogger Outreach Software
1. HubSpot Sales Hub
The Sales Hub includes a number of features that allow you to streamline and track your outreach process. These tools include email tracking, calling and live chat capabilities, a meeting scheduler, deal tracking tools, and email or contract templates.
The software's Starter plan, which still includes a wide range of features, is $50 per month, while you can pay more for more advanced features with the Professional and Enterprise subscriptions.
Below is a quick look at what you'll see when you look at prospects on the HubSpot Sales Hub. For a full demo, click here.
2. BirdSong Analytics
The newest tool in my arsenal, BirdSong Analytics allows you to export anyone's Twitter follower list into an Excel file. The export includes each Twitter user's real name, bio, URL, "Verified" status, and latest tweet.
You can imagine how many opportunities this feature offers: For example, you can download the list of all Twitter accounts @NYTimes is following and, by playing with Excel sorting and filtering features, identify those journalists who cover your niche. It's lots of fun!
BuzzSumo is a search and reputation management platform, and it's always one of the first tools I use to find bloggers to reach out to.
I love the tool for many reasons, but I felt in love with it in the first place because of the ability to filter results by the time frame. This way you can see who covered your topic most recently and what kind of spread it got in social media. (The top results are your best targets.)
TwtrLand is another search tool I was introduced to recently that helps you find influencers in any skill anywhere in the world. (Here's an example.)
You can monitor brands on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and analyze their landscape. From what I've learned about it so far, it appears to have much more value -- in terms of quality of results it returns -- than similar Twitter influencer search tools. You can search TwtrLand by skill, location and name and then filter search results by influence level, location and categories:
Circloscope is primarily a Google Plus circle management tool, and it's great way to discover niche influencers and connect with them on Google Plus. You can easily identify active and influential members from any Google Plus community, see who any of your current peers follow, and create a list of influential users attending an event or a Google hangout.
Add to this lots of filters (for example, you can set to see users who were active on Google Plus within a week or so), and you get a great influencer discovery tool.
This platform connects businesses to bloggers in a very flexible way. You can create projects and invite bloggers to spread the word about them on your own terms while giving both parties flexibility. (For example, businesses cannot dictate the types of links bloggers are required to provide, which helps keep this platform safe from any abusive tactics.)
Tomoson has its own "ranking" algorithm allowing you to easier identify influencers. Businesses can also set minimum requirements to applying bloggers.
The best way to get a feel of the community is to become part of one. MyBlogU is one of the most action-driven platforms which serves two goals:
- To connect to bloggers by helping them. (And we all know by now that helping people is the most effective way to build long-term relationships online.)
- To get featured on their blogs by providing expert quotes to their queries.
Twitter chats are my favorite way to build connections with influencers. They are open, everyone can join, and no one goes unnoticed. The TwChat tool allows you to find chats in your niche and easily participate in any of them.