Nine Tips for Reaching Out to Bloggers
There has been a lot of attention paid lately to strategies and tactics for reaching out to bloggers. In fact, the Council of Public Relations Firms has recently released a study focusing on this very topic. The primary finding of the study was that individuals “who understand the blogger ‘culture’ are having more success in communicating in this online channel than those who do not.” This seems pretty straightforward, and most of understanding blogger culture is something that comes with time. There are, however, several best practices you can implement in your blogger outreach efforts. I have explained nine of them below. If you have any questions or additional suggestions for items to add to this list, please leave them as comments.
Your organization’s brand and reputation is one of the greatest tools you have at your disposal. Being upfront and honest when you contact bloggers will begin your relationship on good terms by ensuring that they realize you are contacting them in good will with a straightforward agenda. As an added benefit, some bloggers may even be flattered to be contacted by an organization such as yours.
Get to Know Them
Want to pitch an idea or story to a blogger but don’t know much about what they write? It is time do some research. Make a point to familiarize yourself with their content. That way you can reference things they’ve written in the past when making your pitch. This will also give you a better idea of what types of stories they may be receptive to.
Send What They Need
Provide the blogger with everything they’ll need to write about your issue. This includes but is not limited to text, links, video, audio, images and any other related resources that you think will be useful to them. Don’t go overboard with a bunch of attachments, but make it clear in your initial email that you’d be happy to provide any of the above. Unless you have a prior relationship with a blogger and they are expecting it, do not send press releases. A press release in the inbox from a stranger is extremely unlikely to get much consideration. In fact, it could make it harder for you to make your case the next time you contact them.
Keep it Relevant
Make sure you are sending them information on a topic that they have written about before. The one exception to this is when it is a natural fit, in which case you should spell out how it is related to something they’ve written in the past.
Keep it Timely
The best time to get information on your issues onto blogs is when they are in the news. For example, an organization working on tax issues may have an easier time getting attention when the stimulus checks are coming in. Similarly, if your organization’s response to a major news event is more than a few days late, don’t even bother to send it. The news cycle online is even faster than it is in print and on television. If you want to be a part of it, you have to keep up.
Become Part of the Dialogue
For blogs you are especially interested in having a presence on, join the conversation. Aside from just reading them, you should leave thoughtful comments on their posts. Do this in a respectful way that adds meaning and value to the conversation. If you don’t have a worthwhile comment to make, wait until you do. Most blogs will allow you to enter your URL when you are commenting, so your site will get a link. Do not, however, leave comments linking to your site unless it is extremely relevant. If done carelessly this can be viewed as spam and will not be looked upon kindly. Maki at Dosh Dosh has excellent advice on this front:
I feel that adopting a networking-oriented perspective when commenting will actually improve your comment quality, not to mention that people will more easily recognize that you’re reaching out or trying to connect on a more personal level. Bloggers are usually good at sniffing out people who are just out for a link or some quick traffic.
Think long-term, think relationships and think about getting repeat benefits.
Treat them as Individuals
Because after all, they are. Avoid sending blast emails to dozens of bloggers at once. Take the time to personalize your outreach efforts with the bloggers name, URL, and perhaps even a comment on something they’ve written recently. Taking this small bit of extra effort can make all the difference in the world.
Link to them
Every blogger loves to get links to their site, especially from a credible organization like yours. Consider this a form of leverage. It isn’t quid pro quo, but it will definitely get you on their radar screen and make them see you in a more positive light.
Similarly to linking to their blog, buying advertisements is an excellent way to get their attention. Aside from getting their attention, you’ll also be reaching a potentially very influential audience.
- Some Differences Between Pitching Mainstream Press and Bloggers
- How do I get Placement on Blogs?
- How to Pitch Bloggers – 21 Tips