These days, no PR campaign is complete without a blogger outreach. Bloggers reach targeted audiences and enjoy much more credibility than paid ads. They also tend to have loyal readers who are willing to follow their recommendations. It pays to get on the good side of bloggers.
But for many PR folks, interacting with bloggers is new ground. Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes. Some do it for profit, other for passion. Still others for both. One approach may be welcomed by one blogger, but found offensive by another.
We don’t have any formulas to offer, just a reminder that bloggers are people. They appreciate sincere pitches from companies and PR professionals who offer them something relevant and useful to their audience. And, remember, even bloggers can’t resist a good story.
Get better results from your blogger outreach by following the tips below.
How to Reach Out to Bloggers
1. Do research the blogs before you even think of approaching the blog owner with your pitch.
Make sure you know what the blog is all about, what types of topics are covered, and who reads the blog. You’ll need to read at least a couple of weeks worth of blog posts and comments to get a good idea.
Some bloggers are open to PR and have a PR section on their blog. Look for that. Are they open to writing reviews in exchange for free product? Or do they only write promotional content in exchange for money? Or do they prefer total editorial independence by not accepting anything at all from companies? Get a feel for this before you prepare your pitch.
Also, is the blog a good fit for your product? Does it reach your intended market? Would it benefit your company to be mentioned in the blog, or would it be detrimental?
2. Do interact with bloggers long before your campaign.
Nobody likes being used. Bloggers would get offended if you approached them only because you have a campaign. Long before you think you need them, start building relationships with them. Read and comment on their blogs. Share them in your social networks. Follow their Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts.
Be natural about it. If your product is relevant to them and their audience, then it would be easy to “talk” about topics of common interest in social networks — not necessarily specific to your product or business.
3. Do drop the corporate-speak.
Bloggers write in a conversational style. Your pitch should be natural and conversational, too. Drop the formal, corporate language you may be used to at the office.
4. Do offer a valuable story.
Content is precious to bloggers, so you’re more likely to get results when you offer them stories with a lot of mileage. Think of stories that have:
- great potential to go viral (incredibly shareable)
- are evergreen (will attract traffic for years)
- profit-building (will attract subscribers, leads or affiliate sales)
Yes, this means you can’t send out press releases and expect bloggers to publish them. Free products, giveaways for contests, exclusive experiences, and interviews are popular with bloggers.
5. Do make it easy peasy.
Don’t expect bloggers to go the extra mile to publish great content and help promote your product. Some will, others won’t. Why take the chance?
Make their job as easy as possible by providing more than they’ll ever need to create a high-quality blog post, such as:
- first-hand experience of your product or service
- quotes or sound-bites
- option to interviews
- pre-written tweets
Also, if you have an affiliate program, go ahead and create an affiliate account for the blogger, and send them their login details along with their affiliate links.
1. Don’t send a generic or inaccurate pitch.
When you reach out to bloggers, use their name (with correct spelling) and the name of their blog. Never say, “Dear blogger,” even if you qualify with “mommmy blogger,” “eco-friendly blogger,” or whatever else.
When bloggers receive irrelevant or wrong pitches, they may not even make the effort to respond to you.
2. Don’t grovel.
Sure, you want to get on their good side, show what a great product you have, and make them feel important. However, bloggers can see (read?) through that very easily and they’ll either be totally turned off or take advantage of it.
3. Don’t forget to follow up.
Bloggers are busy people, just like you and me. They may forget about you, so very gently follow up with them. Two follow-ups by phone or email ought to be enough after the initial contact. Of course, if you’ve built relationships with them via the social networks, then it gets a lot easier. You could simply send them a DM saying, “BTW, did you get my email about the giveaway?”
4. Don’t forget to promote them.
After a blogger has published a post about your product or company, don’t neglect to bring your audience to them. Share links to the post in your social networks. Email your subscribers about the post. Bloggers appreciate additional and extra traffic, and they’ll be happy to work with you again in the future.
5. Don’t take negative reviews personally.
Bloggers who are serious about their craft want to give balanced reviews. They will not publish one that’s gushing and 100% positive, even if they loved the product. They will always mention a few negatives, misgivings, or precautions for their readers. Blog readers value honesty and authenticity, so the writer will always strive for this, even if it means saying something not so favorable about you.
And when a blogger does say something negative about you or your product, never ever ask them to rewrite their post — even if you did give them something for free. It’s better to write a pleasant comment that addresses the issue, without attacking the blogger. Respond with grace and you’ll earn the respect of the blogger and their readers.
Have you ever reached out to bloggers before? What lessons did you learn? Share them in the comments below, or via Twitter or Facebook.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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