The insurgence of the blogosphere has taught marketers and bloggers a lot about the importance of relationships — both good and bad. While there are many ways bloggers and brands are working together, there are a few best practices that have been set along the way to make those working relationships win-win.
Remember your first date? Whether it went well or was a nightmare, from that point on you set a standard for your ideal date, and the type of person you wanted to date. The same is true with developing blogger relationships, and creating a warm pitch. You must first get to to know the blogger, make a good first impression, and know how to win them over.
1. Know Your Objective
It’s essential to know what your ultimate goal is with blogger outreach. What is the action that you want to happen? Are you hoping for a mention of your new product or service? Do you want to get the blogger to embed a video or perhaps an infographic? Do you want to get a link to your website? Determine what your goal is and then create a plan of action from there.
Develop quality relationships with good bloggers. Don’t send out mass pitches to blogs that will not find value or offer value to your product or brand. Likewise, don’t treat good bloggers like a row on your spreadsheet list.
Take the time to find highly-targeted blogs that will most likely want to cover your topic, brand or campaign. If it’s a blogger that has never puts videos on their site, they probably aren’t going to be a good fit. If it’s a blogger that rarely uses images in their posts, don’t ask them to embed your infographic…
Have a few metrics for measuring a blog’s quality, such as social engagement and well-written content. However, don’t let that override the importance of developing a relationship with the blog’s author.
2. Do Your Research
Never pitch a blogger whose blog you haven’t taken the time to read through. Read their About page, know what they regularly post about, where they guest post, what they like and don’t like.
Get really good at getting to know the blogger first through simply reading their blog. They will tell you a lot about who they are, and sometimes even how and what to pitch to them. Know who their children are — their names, how many they have, and if they’re married. You don’t want to pitch a product to them for their son, if they have a daughter. Don’t assume a foodie blogger is also a mommy blogger.
3. Build Relationships
It can be a bit intimidating to develop quality relationships with bloggers, especially with the surge of PR companies and brands getting outed for less-than-favorable techniques to get a link or a mention. Don’t shortcut building the relationship.
Yes, making a blogger your friend is going to take time. The key to your success is defined by the quality of your relationships, not the quantity. As with any new relationship, initiate and make a good first impression.
4. Have a Great Pitch Email
Your e-mail should coincide with your ultimate objective:
- Be sincere. If you aren’t, the blogger will recognize it right away.
- Let them know the benefit of working with you, however, do not promise something you aren’t sure you can deliver, such as volume of traffic or world-wide interest ;)
- Don’t sound like a press release. Have a basic template of what you want to cover, but personalize the pitch for every blogger.
- Make your pitch as targeted as you can. Show that you’ve really read couple of blog posts, and really believe the information will benefit their readership.
- Include links to supporting resources, videos, and relevant posts on their blog that relate to your pitch. Give them a good overview of what you want to share, and how it will benefit them and their readers.
- Know how each blogger wants to be pitched. Some bloggers like all of the information up front. Others want you to send them a general idea, to see if it is something they would be interested in tailoring to their audience.
- Show a bit of your personality, while remaining professional and direct.
- Keep it brief.
- Don’t include any attachments. Do you open stuff from strangers? I didn’t think so. Then why would a blogger?
5. Be Creative
There is a correct way to pitch to bloggers, but there isn’t a set way. Think outside the box when reaching out to bloggers.
Find common ground with them. Comment on their blog, follow them on Twitter, retweet their posts that you like, reply to personal tweets. Do all of this before you pitch them.
When you email them with your pitch, reference a recent post that resonated with you. Reference a recent Twitter conversation you had with them in your email. It helps if whatever you reference in your email is relevant to your pitch.
6. Be Likable
Think about what makes any good relationship: trust, reliability, honesty, generosity, etc.
How do show that you’re trustworthy? Tell them who you are, and what you want to accomplish. Don’t sugar coat or sell them empty promises.
Let them know you’re also there to be a valuable resource. Are you really good at something? Can you help them grow their readership? Teach them. Share exclusive news with them, respond to their requests promptly, and follow through with your agreements. Answer their emails within a 24-hour period.
Show that you genuinely care. Help them by promoting their posts, letting them know if they have a broken link, or if their Twitter button isn’t working.
7. Be Relatable
Find common ground. If they’re a career blogger who blogs about planning their wedding and you are newly married, congratulate them, and offer a few tips before getting into your pitch.
Also, give the blogger something to connect to, such as your social media profiles. Connecting with bloggers on social networks is a great way to initiate and build more of a relationship.
8. Always Give a Call-to-Action
Don’t be afraid to ask if they would willing to embed your infographic or blog about your new product launch. Encourage them to contact you if they want more information about the brand or product.
9. Follow Up
Some bloggers get several pitches a day. Don’t send a pitch and then disappear. If a blogger doesn’t respond to your pitch, it may not always be that they aren’t interested. Follow up with them at least once. However, don’t harass them.
If they agree to work with you, get a timeline of when they are planning to cover your brand or product. Don’t be afraid to follow up if that timeline has passed. Staying in communication with them will help avoid these pitfalls. Actually knowing about the blogger will help avoid you getting sent to pages like this… :)
What are some techniques you have used to develop effective blogger outreach pitches?