Good stuff. Working with awesome bloggers is cool, but it’s also tough.
(Now, I know that most of you who read this blog are up to speed with this. If so please add your own tips an tricks in the comment section as this isn’t a comprehensive list.)
1. Context, Context, Context
Blogging outreach should almost always be part of a bigger strategy, a context. It’s good for you to tie your efforts in working with influencers to what matters long-term for your business and it’s more worthwhile for the blogger to feel that they’re part of something bigger than just yet another campaign.
Forget about Spray-&-Pray outreaches. They do your brand more harm than good. In my experience, working with only one single influencer, in a close and mutually beneficial relationship, leads to better results than abusing some large email list.
3. One-To-One Marketing
Don’t get me wrong, I love email marketing. But as far as blogger outreach goes, you’re not working in the safety of your Opt-In Universe. Each and every email you send should be written individually, not a copy-and-paste template.
4. Pitch Blogger’s You Admire
There’s something written in-between the lines of every pitch; how you feel about the blogger. Maybe you’re one of those people who can fake authenticity, but even if you can, ask yourself if that’s the way you want to move ahead in your career?
5. Work With Bloggers That Respect You
If you collaborated with a blogger at one time and the blogger loved every second of it, you’ll have their full attention the next time you got something up your sleeve. So, get yourself a successful track record by pitching, pitching, pitching.
6. Don’t Pitch News
Extremely few individual bloggers start blogs to compete with news outlets. So don’t send them press releases. They started their blogs because they themselves have something to say, not to serve as megaphones for brands. Allow for them to be at the centre of the universe they’ve created.
7. “What’s In It For Me?”
Put yourself in the blogger’s shoes. Why would you collaborate with a brand? What would it take? Never pitch anyone anything that you yourself, in their situation, wouldn’t go for. This is a good life lesson as well. (Feeling generous today!)
8. Take $$$ Out Of The Equation
Never pay for positive mentions disguised as editorial content. I know a lot of agencies do this, but it’s such a dirty practice. If you want to put a blogger on the payroll, the outcome should have nothing to do with their editorials—and it should be clearly disclosed.
9. Pick Up the Phone
A lot of leading top bloggers have themselves assistants these days. Or even their own agents. So, do your research. Expand your network. If you send an email and you don’t get a reply, the fault is yours and yours alone.
10. Don’t Sell
When getting in touch with a blogger, you should be convinced in the depths of your soul that you’re doing them a big favour, that they will love you for reaching out. You’re not selling, you’re helping.
Extra: Newbie Advice
If your boss wants you to go through with a bad pitch, don’t put your individual reputation on stake. Say no, or better yet—offer a brilliant solution on how to make the pitch better.
If your boss gives you a hard time about your integrity, find a new boss.
I’ve made every mistake one can make. Before working with bloggers, I pitched journalists. And I’ve made my mistakes with them, too. So I’m proud to say that I’ve learnt about blogger outreach the hard way.
But working with online influencers is very rewarding. Not only from a traffic and conversion perspective, but mostly because they tend to have extremely valuable opinions. Some even make for great friends, given that you yourself are as passionate about what you do, as they are about what they do. Many brands forget this, because they’re staring themselves blind on reaching their readership.
But here’s the deal:
If a blogger’s readership matters to your business, then the blogger’s feedback on your business matters as well.