The way in which brands connect with bloggers reminds me of real life relationships and how they can go two very distinct ways.
In one scenario, the relationship moves slow and non-abbrasively and turns in to a potential long term relationship. Or there is the relationship that starts off on an aggressive foundation and leads to a really fun one night stand that doesn't go any further.
It's up to you which way you go with your personal relationships but when it comes to your interaction with bloggers, long term relationships are the most beneficial for digital marketing and PR strategies.
If you're a brand, a long term relationship leads to advocacy from a blogger who sincerely likes you and will mention your brand more than once creating a sense of trust from their audience in their recommendation.
If you're an agency, a long term relationship means that you can reach out to the blogger for multiple campaigns when they are a good fit.
Your pitch is your virtual introduction, a blogger's first exposure to you and your brand. The pitch should:
- Humanize your brand
- Be short and sweet
- Contain hyperlinks to all necessary information
- Tell the blogger exactly what you want and what you'll give in return
- Reference a familiarity with their blog
- Not bore them to death
Since blogger outreach should be an ongoing and non-abrasive process, I always recommend, when possible, to engage with the blogger before pitching. Share their content on your digital channels, tweet them a questions or compliment and comment on their blog. This way your email won't be the first time they meet you and you'll have better luck getting a response.
Want to see real life examples of pitches that work? Luckily I created this ebook full of such pitches.
Because you want your long term relationship to be mutually beneficial, set some standards or some qualifiers in place for any blogger you work with.
First of all, make contextual choices. Don't reach out to any given blogger within a genre, dig deep and find the uber specific or niche bloggers. For example, if I were doing outreach for a green, non toxic, educational toy company I am not going to reach out to any mommy blogger's email address I can find. I am going to dig deeper and find mommy bloggers who don't write about frugality (my toy is pricey), who have an affinity for things that are green and "hippie friendly" and bloggers who write about educational toys for young children.
Next, you don't want your brand mentions from your snug fitting contextual blogger to go unheard. So of course they should have some sort of reach but the best type of reach is brand specific. Where do you get a lot of exposure? If it's Google then set a minimum MozRank as your qualifier. If it's Twitter or Facebook, be picky with the social following. You get the drift...
Give to Get
When you meet someone, you have something to offer them. Good conversation, an interesting background and/or looks (let's not make this deeper than it should be).
Don't think this is any different when it comes to blogger outreach. In your pitch, tell the blogger what you can offer them. Payment, free product, an exclusive post, etc. are all popular offers.
If you're reaching out to quite a few bloggers you may want to make a list based off of context and then segment it by reach in to an "A list" a "B list" and maybe even a "C list." This way you can customize the meat of your pitches according to what you're offering the blogger which is going to be different per list or per how far they reach.
For example, maybe you are willing to offer the "A list" payment for posts but your "C list" is a list of bloggers who are great contextual fits and you think create awesome content but they're kind of a little blogger so you offer them something free from your brand.
I think you're catching my drift and can visualize how segmenting your bloggers may help your own brand or influencer outreach process...
Include Them in the Brand
No one wants to feel like they're part of a "one and done" type relationship. In your pitch or first few emails make it apparent to the blogger that you would like this to be an ongoing thing.
And fulfill the promise. Keep a list of bloggers who like your brand and have written about you. Send them email updates about your brand. Ask for their opinion on a new product. Give them exclusive information or product before the rest of the world.
Keep in mind that while it's tempting and easy, blogger outreach is no one night stand. The "spray and pray" tactic isn't the route you want to take. Lay the groundwork. Ease yourself in to the blogger's digital realm...
When it comes to laying the groundwork for blogger relationships, do you have any additional suggestions? Would love to hear other opinions in the comments section. Cheers to a good discussion!