Lately, I’ve seen more and more companies in Dubai catching up with what is called: blogger outreach.
Blogger outreach is simply defined as the authentic pairing of your business with bloggers who create quality, engaging content about YOU! A blogger outreach campaign can be an opportunity to spread the word about your brand across numerous sites.
Bloggers don’t just write on the internet, they form vibrant communities through the telling of honest, authentic and often quite personal stories. This leads to trust; and trust drives actions. Blogger partnerships can help drive and leverage brands into the social media world by engaging real consumers with the brand’s story. This encourages would be customers to talk about the brand in an authentic way, creating social word of mouth.
But many, many businesses and brands, especially here in the UAE still hesitate and have this big question in mind: How can a brand or business gauge the number of products they sold or how many customers actually visited a restaurant (for example) via social word of mouth? Unless someone says, “hey I’ve come here because Grace (the blogger) said this restaurant/product rocks!” it’s difficult to measure the impact of the blogger outreach, isn’t it?
The simple answer: that same logic applies to billboard advertising or print advertising.
In both types of traditional advertising, it’s difficult to track which triggered a sale. But at least there is a way to tract online word of mouth: business/brands can track online mentions with simple tools like a Twitter search. I think that is the advantage of online vs offline word of mouth.
So how do you find a blogger fit for your brand and build a successful blogger outreach program? Here are some tips:
1. Spend time researching.
A blogger outreach program is only effective if you can spend more than 30 seconds on each blog you found on Google. Find the bloggers who are already writing about your niche. For example, if you are in the food industry, you would want to approach a blogger that writes mostly about food and so on. Obviously.
Also remember when choosing your blogger that bigger is not always better. Sometimes that may be true but quite often, it’s not. Choose a blogger that interacts with his/her followers more often. It’s better to have a blogger who has a loyal, devoted following than someone who has just a huge number of pageviews. If you can find both, lucky!
2. Avoid an automated approach.
So you’ve got a list of 500 blogger emails? Don’t spam them all with a generic email. Tailor it to the top 10% and approach them personally, each addressing why you think they are the perfect match to your campaign.
Don’t forget to address them by their correct name! Nothing puts off than an email that starts with Dear Editor, Dear Blogger or in my case, “Dear Sandie”.
Personalized introductory emails that clearly explain what’s on offer, and what’s needed, are going to be better than non-personal press releases. Press releases are one step away from being spam, if it isn’t already.
3. Be clear with your expectations from the blogger.
If you haven’t worked with that particular blogger yet, introduce yourself and if you are in an agency, explain who your clients are and what you do for them. Help the blogger understand your goals and what the client expects to evaluate and measure success: page views, referral traffic, mentions, new Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc.
4. Promote and track results.
Share the blog post/s across all your social networks and ask the blogger to do the same. Sharing the blog post drives traffic to the blogger’s website and readers are likely to click on the links within the post, driving traffic to your website.
Use your tracking tools (depending on your blogger outreach goals) to see if your strategy is effective.
5. Meet up offline (maintain your relationship with your chosen bloggers).
After the posts and engagement have passed, it’s still important to maintain relationships with the bloggers who worked with you because who knows when they’ll be able to collaborate with you with another campaign? Keep in touch and maintain a presence in their blog by leaving comments and interacting with them in their social media channels.
And a chat over coffee (or any drink) is always a good idea, yes?
Lastly, never forget that a blogger outreach may also be a chance to irritate a bunch of influential people, too.
Not everything will be perfect, and you’ll run into negative feedback. If a blogger has a less than perfect experience, encourage them to be honest and transparent. It’s much more valid than if they lie and say everything’s great. Plus, it gives the blogger an opportunity to say how you fixed their problem. And for you, it’s another place to improve and demonstrate your customer service.
It’s undeniable that bloggers can generate awareness around marketing campaigns by creating share-worthy / viral / contextual content, that works for the client and the blog audience (no selling out!). The right bloggers have built up a strong network and have a history of getting results, and relative to a million dollar TV campaign the kind of money for your blogger outreach program budget is peanuts. I’m obviously a little bit biased but more brands should give it a whirl.
I am still coming to terms somebody else is reading my blog. I used to think it is something private and personal that it doesn’t matter if you have a loyal following or not. Perhaps because I am so used to my solitude it doesn’t matter if somebody is commenting back or sharing my posts.
On the other hand, knowing somebody else is reading you makes you even more responsible as a blogger. And I feel that with responsibility, it hinders creativity. So 99% I write for myself — i write because i need to get these words off my head.
Golly what am i saying? Happy spring to you and the family!
Some very good points, Grace! I’m surprised at the way bloggers are treated by marketers sometimes, and it’s really off-putting.
Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment. And the problem with press releases overflowing in my inbox on a daily basis is that most if not all of them do not have the Unsubscribe option!
Hay naku. These PR people! I’ve not come across any PR person lately who really has bothered to get to know me as a blogger. Basic things like the name AND knowing what my blog is all about they don’t care about. So why should I care about them?
I would only start to sincerely bother should they start to really care.
Blogger outreach is always worth it Grace, unfortunately like everything on the internet that is a good idea, many people will jump on the bandwagon and who do not fully understand the concept. However, often it is worth wading through all of those useless contacts to find a real diamond!
Thanks for blogging about this topic, one that is close to my heart. It’s time for people to take authentic bloggers seriously. Blogging is a fairly new concept here, but those that blog seriously also blog responsibly. The great thing about blogging responsibly is that we have control over what we want to say on our blog, whether we want to review an event or not. From the very beginning, I have been very picky about reviews. I do not go to events that do not interest me, just for the purpose of blogging. Most of the times, I pay my own way (as a solo-traveller, that is something that I’ve always done). I suppose we can also be picky about companies that approach us for blogger outreach activities as well. I prefer agencies who take the time to phone me and make an introduction (considering these days I receive bunches of press releases asking for interviews and reviews and I have a hard time separating the wheat from the chaff). These are the ones I connect with easily and I am grateful that such agencies do exist amongst the hundreds that don’t really care. Once agencies understand what the role of a professional blogger is, then things will get easier. This will take time. And that’s why bloggers such as yourself, and many others (including myself) are here to show the difference. It will take time, but we are on our way!