The modern day consumer wants to hear about a brand or product via word of mouth instead of a self-promotional ad blaring from their television or interrupting their favorite Pandora station. Think about it, do you believe information about a person if they talk themselves up or if a mutual friend does the talking? You can look at bloggers as the mutual friend who talks up your brand to consumers who don’t know about how cool you are yet….
Why Your Brand Needs Bloggers
Why are bloggers the biggest influencers? Well the research tells us so.
This Digital Influence Report from Technorati reveals some key information about influencers, consumers and top brand marketers. I recommend reading through it but in the event that time isn’t abundant today, here are some highlights.
- “Though blogs and influencers don’t get a large portion of a brands’ digital spend, they rank high with consumers for trust, popularity and influence.”
- Blogs are in the top five sources of trustworthy information.
- “Influencers are most active on blogs, as 86 percent say they have them and 88% of those say they blog for themselves.”
Have you been considering starting a blog for your company? Or maybe you’ve been slacking on keeping up with your brand’s blog? Do it! This report from HubSpot shows that companies are reporting that blogging is the number one factor that increases traffic.
This Slide Share presentation from BlogHer shows just how much consumers trust blogs. Another one I recommend reading for yourself but here are the key points:
- 81% of the online U.S. population trusts the information and advice they get from bloggers.
- 61% of the U.S. online population has made a purchase based on a recommendation from bloggers.
- 41% of the U.S. online population says that blogs are better than Facebook to find out about new products.
How to Get Bloggers to Like You
The how always seems to be the toughest part, doesn’t it?
The first step is identifying the bloggers that are a good fit to be ambassadors for your brand. That means you have to actually read their blogs. The number one complaint that bloggers have is that they get pitches from people who obviously haven’t read their blog because if they had, they would know not to pitch them. And the thing to keep in mind about bloggers is that they can be a bit ruthless. I’ve seen a couple influential bloggers post pitches that were absurd. Don’t let yourself fall in to the bad pitch reel floating around the web.
If you are a GroupHigh user, you already know that you can find influential bloggers in any genre very quickly but did you know that you can also read their most recent posts right from the GroupHigh platform? Yay for time saving!
After reading through influential blogs in your genre and determining if they are a good fit for your brand, reach out and introduce yourself instead of pitching them right away. When I reach out to bloggers I write something to the effect of: “I’m writing because I find your content informative or enjoyable and I see some room for collaboration in our future.”
When making your virtual introduction, keep in mind that bloggers have egos (admit it, we all do) so don’t hesitate to praise them. Telling a blogger that you liked one of their posts and why you liked it not only puts a feather in their cap but makes them realize you actually do read their blog.
Develop a handful of online personas. I don’t mean be insincere but it’s okay to switch off between the intellectual you and the full of personality you. Through a blogger’s author bio and content you will get a feel for the type of blogger that you are reaching out to. For example, some blogs are informative and offer trends and facts without much personality in the writing. In this case you would want to come across as an authority on your topic and offer educated facts and informative topics. Some blogs are informative but use a lot of personality and personal stories to make a point. In this case be friendly and speak on your topic from a funny experience—trust me, these types of bloggers don’t want a dry pitch.
Ask yourself what you can do for the blogger not just what the blogger can do for you. Yes, let’s be blunt here, the goal is to get a mention or a piece of your content on the blog. But, your relationships in life shouldn’t be one sided so don’t treat your virtual relationships selfishly either. If it’s not monetary (a sponsored post or an ad) then brainstorm what you have to offer that would appeal to the blogger. Maybe it’s the benefit of your influential social media presence, you can offer a simple guest post swap, or perhaps you have an idea for a post that is really unique and their audience would love, try to offer the blogger exclusive information like a statistic, study, etc that you won’t give to anyone else for x amount of time, and sometimes, swag from your company is appealing enough.
Bloggers need ambassadors too. Just like you want to share information about your brand, bloggers want their words shared. Therefore, it’s a wonderful thing to engage in their social media channels before emailing them. Retweet their tweets, comment on their blog posts, share their content on Facebook, etc. Please note that these shares and comments should be sincere, don’t make like a robot and do it just because this article tells you to.
Don’t ever send a blogger a cookie cutter pitch or a press release. Bloggers are not traditional journalists and some professionals who have been in the marketing and PR fields for a while are having trouble with this transfer of influence. Bloggers are passionate about a niche topic while journalists are assigned broad areas. Journalists also get paid for their work and many bloggers have a day job on top of maintaining their blog so their time is very limited. Again, don’t send them a press release, if you only take one thing away from this article let it be that….
Once you have established a virtual relationship with a blogger and have gotten your post or mention, it’s crucial to maintain the relationship. Continue to engage and continue to stay in touch with the blogger. Blogger outreach should never be a one night stand. Plus, you can never have too many bloggers that like you and write about your brand.