Broadcasting the same message over and over again to the entire target audience has become less effective over time, thanks to significant evolution in the world of social media marketing. Social media mavens are now focused on building strong and personalized relationships instead of promoting heavily on the social media and delivering the same message to the masses.
Trying to acquire as many followers and friends as possible to boost traffic and conversion rates has become less effective over time. Social media marketing has evolved into a method of establishing brand authority and improving SEO. ‘Buying’ followers and fans and exchanging links without any targeting is slowly losing traction as marketers find new ways to engage customers.
What is Blogger Outreach?
Although traditional social media marketing is still alive, how it influences the target audience has changed a lot. Getting the same people to retweet and or like your posts is not an effective strategy anymore. Blogger outreach campaigns allow businesses and individuals to diversify their social media influence and reach new audience.
Instead of pursuing people to join their groups and spread the word, businesses can leverage the already substantial following of social media influencers. Businesses can ask influencers to write/mention about their products and services in exchange for freebies or even money.
Blogger outreach aka influencer marketing revolved around finding the right influencers with a substantial following for your niche and convincing them to link to your content/product/site in exchange for freebies or something of value to them.
The partnership of businesses and influencers can work wonders, especially if you have a product that bloggers love. Finding the right person is the key in building an effective content marketing strategy that works for everyone in the long-run.
Types of Blogger Outreach
Depending on the nature of your business, your blogger outreach campaign can be based on different options including:
A business pays bloggers to write and publish sponsored posts that include a link to your product/brand/content. They amount of money you have to pay depends on different factors, including the followership of an influencer, your own niche and the type of posts. Many regions require bloggers to clearly mention when posting a sponsored post so they have to mention it in the disclaimer.
Product reviews is considered to the most effective and widely used blogger outreach strategy. It involves providing free samples in exchange for a review. This method might not be so effective when dealing with top-tier influencers and low-value products. If influencers like your product, they’ll let the world know about it and if they don’t, they’ll probably end up with a neutral review.
It involves the influencer hosting a competition and giving away a free product provided by the sponsor. This method is considered to be very effective as it engages the target audience and is a win-win for both the blogger and the sponsor.
What differentiates product reviews from product features is how the information is presented to the target audience. Instead of lengthy and detailed reviews, an influencer subtly mentions your product in a blog. For example, a blogger writing about his recent trip to Paris might mention your backpack in a post without going into too much details.
Businesses really serious about blogger outreach and with adequate financial resources can also host blogger events and showcase their brand to social media influencers. Having a whole group of influencers at the same time is a lot better than pursuing them individually. Although these events take a lot of time, effort and money, the rewards can be worth the hassle.
Benefits of Blogger Outreach Campaigns
Blogger outreach campaigns create a win-win scenario for both businesses and bloggers. Businesses get the exposure they need while bloggers get to know and use their favorite products for free. A blogger outreach campaign must have an incentive for the blogger otherwise the efforts won’t materialize. Whether it’s a physical product, competition prizes or just a subscription, there has to be some kind of incentive for both parties.
Businesses benefit in form of backlink building and more exposure to new audiences. It’s not easy to cultivate a loyal following and it takes a lot of time and effort to build one. Blogger outreach works equally well for both small and large businesses, which levels the playing field to some extent.
The Sniper vs. Shotgun Approach
Sniper (recommended) approach involves carefully selecting influencers and sending each of them very personalized outreach emails. A relatively small list of highly-targeted prospects combined with giving value to them (while expecting something in return) is what the sniper approach is all about.
The shot gun approach is an entirely different story. Businesses shoot out as many outreach emails as possible without giving much thought to personalization. This approach might work in the short term, but it’s not recommended if you plan on establishing long-term relationships. Marketers still take this route mostly because it takes less time and effort and they believe that it’s a more effective method to outreach at scale. The shotgun approach has many disadvantages including:
- Influencers are likely to mark your email as spam. Long-term email deliverability issues can arise as more people mark emails from you as spam, which is not something a business planning in the long-term would want.
- Regardless of how many outreach emails you send, there are going to be only a few quality sites that’ll move the needle. Instead of sending a 1000 emails and getting a response from 1%, it’s better to send 100 highly personalized emails and get 10 quality links.
- Sending so many emails without even knowing the recipient might result in low-quality links from weaker sites with bad reputation.
What Makes Blogger Outreach Effective?
Influencers who receive your products or services for free are not very likely to rip them apart in front of their followers. Most influencers would not want to burn established bridges unless there is something terribly wrong with your products/services. However, search engines like Google consider exchange of products/services/money for links as a ‘link scheme’.
Asking influencers to include these non-nofollow links might be considered as a shady practice. But many marketers prefer taking the risk anyway because of the the additional natural links and exposure to new audience it provides.
Best Practices for Launching a Blogger Outreach Campaign
Getting the attention of influencers is the most important step in successfully running a blogger outreach campaign. However, it is easier said than done. That’s why you have to get creative and find the right influencers for your campaign and reach them with the right message. Here are some of the best industry practices marketers should consider before launching an outreach campaign.
Understand the Influencer
Failing to understand what an influencer covers and how they cover it can lead to wastage of time and efforts. You need to find influencers that cover a very specific niche. For example, if you are in the business of selling gaming gear, you need to find an influencer that specializes in gaming gear not just regular PC equipment. Similarly, when searching for a food blogger, narrow down your research to bloggers who cover your specific food niche such as healthy, organic and home cooked food.
Going through blogs of influencers and matching their content with your products is a good starting point. There are plenty of tools which we’ll cover in a separate post that can help businesses automate influencer outreach. Alternatively, there are many agencies that provide outsourcing services and can get you in touch with influencers from different niches.
Get Creative and Simplify Communications
Using copy-paste content when trying to reach influencers has time and again proven to be an ineffective strategy. Things might be different if you have a groundbreaking product, but in most cases you have to think out-of-the-box to get attention of influencers. Most influencers probably would never have said anything about the type of product you are offering so it requires some creative thinking to convince them into talking about your product.
Influencers receive a ton of requests and usually don’t feel like replying to most of them. When Trying to get in touch with influencers, be relevant, to-the-point, personable and engaging.
Most influencers won’t bother covering your product or may even get offended unless there is a unique selling proposition. That’s why you need to explain to them in with creative content how your products are different and how they can improve the lives of their followers. Everyone is busy in their work and personal lives so keep the communication simple and to the point. Avoid information overload while still making the point.
Build Trust and Show Passion
Following influencers on social media sites such as Twitter and commenting on their blogs helps build trust and a relationship. You also need to be passionate about your offering, which should also reflect in your communication. Emotional and enthusiastic pitches are more likely to grab attention than lifeless sales pitches no one cares about.
We talked about outsourcing influencer research, but that should only be considered as a portal to getting in touch with relevant influencers. Passion cannot be outsourced so you’d be better off with writing your own content without annoying or stalking influencers.
The Wrap-up: Doing it the Right Way without Being a Spammer
Many people associate blogger outreach at scale with spamming. However, if done right, large scale blogger outreach can help businesses put their products/services/content in front of the right audience. The main objective of blogger outreach is to convince influencers to link to your website or talk about what you have to offer. In the end, what differentiates a blogger outreach campaign from spamming is how you do it.