Dear Socially Stephanie,
I'm interested in learning how to reach out to bloggers for coverage of my product. I have heard all about blogger outreach and influencer marketing, and I'm really excited about it! What's the best way to go about it?
Curious in Charleston
Dear Curious in Charleston,
I'm not going to lie. I like what I'm hearing. Influencer marketing is absolutely critical to your online success. But you know that. Otherwise you wouldn't be reaching out, right? So instead of me sitting here and blabbing on about all the wonderful ways a solid influencer marketing campaign can help you increase your organic reach, increase trust, and gain authority, let's just talk about the tactics.
When it comes to social media and influencer marketing, it is best to start with the people who you know love your product or service. These are your first influencers. And to encourage them to share on your behalf is going to be easier because they are already familiar with what you have to offer. So start there. Write a list of your most socially active clients, customers, and users. Now save that.
Next thing you'll need to do is come up with your campaign. Usually, just asking a group of active individuals isn't going to cut it. There needs to be an incentive of some sort. The better the incentive, the more likely it is to get those top dogs barking. Your campaign can be around a specific sale, product launch, or event. Start with a one-time thing. Boundaries and deadlines are good when it comes to an influencer program.
All right, moving right along here, it's time to get into the nitty gritty details of the campaign. Identifying those who you want to connect with and work with. There are two ways of going about it. One is on the manual side, and the other is a bit more automated. I'll share both with you so that you can figure out which is a better fit for you. Sound good? Yes, I agree.
Let's start with the manual process. First things first, you are going to be doing a lot of research. I like to start with a spreadsheet that has the following columns in place - genre, blog name, URL, contact name, contact email, social media profiles and social media follower count. Follower count isn't that important, but it does give you a nice overview at potential reach, which is why I include it.
Next comes the research. Identify the keywords you want to use. Say, bloggers or social media people who talk about fashion. More specifically, those who talk about wearing clothes from Banana Republic. These are your keywords because you know your customer also shops at Banana Republic. Your influencer list should be filled with people who fit your customer profile and more importantly whose audience fits your customer profile. Got it? The next thing you'll do is start googling for those keywords and start adding them to the list. I like to start with blogs and work my way through the other social networks for more real-time content. Twitter and Instagram are both great places to look for people who are currently interested in your keywords. Blogs can be older. Now fill your spreadsheet.
It's a numbers game, so the more people you find, the better your odds are going to be when you reach out. Especially while you are just starting out. The more you engage and the better you treat your new blogger friends, the more likely they are to work with you for the long run. Remember that.
So that's the manual way of going about it. It can be time consuming, but it is a very good exercise. Feeling overwhelmed? Don't fret, The Shelf is your answer. The Shelf is a new marketing platform that takes this manual approach and automates it for you. Not only does the tool find the right people for you based on your search query, it allows you to add people to a list and email that specific list through the platform. It makes managing those pesky excel spreadsheets a thing of the past. You can even see who has opened your email and keep track of the responses in a easy to find manner. Plus, it looks really beautiful. Think Pinterest here.
Currently, it is only available for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, but I hear they are opening up to DIY, mommies, travel, and food - that's around the corner. Tech, marketing, and business are coming up next.
Well there you have it. Two ways to find the right people to engage with and connect with. Which will you choose?
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