Blogger Outreach: Building the Foundation for Successful Tracking
This is Part 2 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.
In Part 1 of our blogger outreach series, we discussed the importance of setting clear parameters for success before executing your blogger outreach strategy.
Today’s post continues with the same trend of setting clear, upfront expectations for blogger outreach, but this time we’re focusing more specifically on building the foundation for successful blogger outreach tracking.
Once you’ve established baseline goals and segmented your engagement list – the next step is ensuring you can properly manage all components of your strategy once the starter gun goes off.
Building the Foundation for Blogger Outreach Tracking
Once you launch your outreach efforts, you’ll need to think and be light on your feet, so front loading some of the critical “planning and structure” pieces before jumping in is ideal. Not only will it help from an efficiency perspective, it will also allow you to remain watchful and responsive to opportunities for refining or improving elements of your strategy.
I’ve outlined what I see as three key components to building a solid foundation for your outreach program.
Spreadsheet for tracking
Use this as a central repository for all relevant data and observations during your campaigns, as well as tracking which influencers you’ve already connected with.
How you setup your columns and tabs (and what you capture) is largely dependent on your objectives (and how detailed you want to be), but here are a few key items that you’ll want to consider including:
- Blogger outreach list (URL and contact info, whether you’ve already engaged with them)
- Links to blog posts or articles that are relevant to each outreach campaign and/or blogger
- Social engagement – how many shares, blog comments, mentions, RTs, etc.
- External resources – contact information, roles and responsibilities, etc.
- Coupon or promotional codes – whether these are active/inactive and which bloggers are actively using which coupons so you can attribute sales to the right source.
Monitor your social channels
While you should be monitoring the blogger’s entire digital footprint (not just their Twitter and Facebook feeds), it is important to ensure you have “eyes” on social channels to see where a blogger’s audience might or might not be engaging with your content and whether your content is driving action.
Basic social monitoring for blogger outreach might include :
- Individual hashtags for each campaign so you can monitor these Twitter feeds proactively.
- Setting up shortened URLs for each campaign so that you can track activity individually from blog through social channels and beyond.
- Subscribing to RSS feeds and proactively tracking new posts from bloggers on your outreach list (hopefully this goes without saying)
- Connect with bloggers on social networks (same here).
- Set up Google Alerts to monitor where information is being shared.
Plan for agility
Being agile is more than just keeping an eye out for opportunities to refine your outreach process; it’s planning for them.
Chris Brogan emphasizes a “rework” phase being built into your strategy. In a post outlining his basic steps for setting up the mechanics of an online promotion, Chris suggests always having this phase in play, no matter how rock solid your plans might be.
He suggests that “plans are never bulletproof” (amen), so it’s critical to plan for reviewing and refining your blogger outreach strategy once launched. I’d also consider setting specific milestones to review (e.g. 30, 60, 90 days) so that you can allocate resources and schedule for campaign gaps ahead of time.
Tracking Blogger Outreach “On the Fly” Won’t Work
Pre-launch is when you roll up your sleeves and the real work begins. When you’re organized on the front end, it makes it easier to refine your efforts as you go. Building the foundation is critical for this reason, above all else. Establishing solid footing before you launch allows you to be agile and tactical when it counts (and not paralyzed by decisions).
It means you’re not introducing too many variables (hello metrics mess) by constantly adjusting the core strategy. Instead, you are only shifting tactical pieces of the campaign should opportunities arise.
Perhaps most importantly, building a solid foundation for tracking blogger outreach will also help you capture the bigger picture of what worked and what didn’t, which will serve as an invaluable case study for future strategies.
What are your best practices or tips on successfully building the foundation for tracking blogger outreach campaigns? Please share in the comments below.
Image credit: Celeste