Blogger Outreach: How to Stay Engaged and Connected
This is Part 3 of a series on blogger outreach, where will we be discussing best practices for brands and their agencies looking to target bloggers as part of an influence marketing strategy.
While the first two steps in the blogger outreach process are all about the planning and sweat equity, today’s topic is about leveraging the work you’ve already completed to be fully engaged and proactive in your blogger outreach strategy.
(And, If you missed our first two posts in the series, you can check them out here - Setting Clear Parameters for Blogger Outreach Success and Building the Foundation for Successful Tracking)
How to Be “Fully Engaged” During Blogger Outreach
If you’ve properly set up your foundation for success, then you can be way more tactical and agile during your outreach program.
Being more engaged doesn’t just mean retweeting mentions of your brand like a machine gun or being a self-promotional megaphone. You’re not broadcasting here, you’re contributing.
So here’s a few best practices that can help you be more engaged and proactive (without being self promotional) in your blogger outreach:
Be an active patron for your bloggers
Be an active patron for your blogger, their content and their audience by commenting on their articles and posts, and sharing it with your networks to drive traffic back to their blog. Do this, regardless of how much traffic the blogger is sending your way in return.
Be a resource first
Focus your content strategy on the topics that address specific needs in your market, not just promoting the product or solution that is driving your outreach strategy. One example would be repurposing a series of related blog posts into a free webinar and inviting relevant bloggers on your outreach list to participate as speakers.
The idea here is to give value – above expectations and without agenda – and over time you will earn the respect and permission from a growing audience. This make outreach much easier.
Exceeding expectations is never a bad idea. One way is to write follow up posts that offer new insights or a different take on a blogger’s post, then thank them in the post for establishing a dialogue on a topic important to your market.
In fact, thanking the blogger for their efforts isn’t just a standard best practice for blogger outreach. Gratitude is a simple core element of building healthy relationships. As Cheryl Harrison points in Blogger Outreach: The Power of Saying “Thank You, “it only takes a second to say thank you.”
The time investment to personalize your approach and set the right tone for your outreach is minuscule compared to its impact on your relationships with bloggers.
Follow up to gather data
After the campaign has ended, make sure to follow up with an email thanking the blogger for their time and asking how they thought that the campaign performed.
Specifically, ask: How did their audience respond? Was it relevant, useful and engaging? Any stats or metrics that we can share in a case study? What can I do to improve the next campaign and make this partnership more beneficial to their audience?
Listen for opportunities to refine
As I discussed in my last post on building the foundation for tracking outreach, it’s better to plan ahead for opportunities to refine your outreach process rather than “winging it.” This can be accomplished by setting milestones in your strategy for review.
From there it’s really a matter of being aware and listening to the conversations around core topics that are most relevant to your brand – through social, blogs, media, etc. This will help you keep track of trends and new developments in your market (and react) as they evolve.
Why Being Engaged During Blogger Outreach Matters
Keeping the dialogue open by proactively engaging in the conversations happening around your outreach campaigns will allow you to better measure and/or gauge opportunities to improve. It also allows you to better manage resources (and the many moving parts) so that you can maintain momentum while thinking ahead to your next campaign.
But you will also leave a more positive impression on the blogging community by being a resourceful, respectful and valuable voice. It’s good for your brand reputation, good for bloggers, good for consumers, and good for the PR and marketing communities.
How do you stay engaged and proactive in your blogger outreach campaigns? Please share in the comments below.
Image credit: gfpeck