It’s possible you’ve already engaged in one, even if you didn’t know that’s what it was called: a blog outreach campaign is simply the process of reaching out to bloggers in your niche or industry as a way to promote your business. Chances are you’ve also been on the receiving end of a campaign…
“Hi, my name is Bob from ABC company. We have this great article we think your readers would like to know about.”
or better yet:
“Dear Webmaster, please see the attached press release and share it with your audience.”
In case it wasn’t clear, these are two examples of the wrong way to reach out to bloggers! This post, on the other hand, will outline a simple 7-step process you can follow to create a campaign the right way!
7 Steps to a Successful Blog Outreach Campaign
The process outlined below isn’t complicated; in fact, most of it is just based on good old common sense. It does, however, require a significant amount of pre-planning and a commitment to nurturing relationships with potential bloggers.
1. Identify your goals and make a plan.
There are many possible goals you could have in mind for your campaign: from building inbound links, to driving targeted traffic to your site, to creating a buzz about your product or business. Before you do anything else, it’s important to determine what your ultimate goal is.
For instance, if your goal is to increase your email subscribers, you’ll want to have a plan in place for how the campaign will help accomplish this. Will you be asking if you can contribute a guest post? Then you’ll want to include a link to a signup page in your author bio.
Or let’s say you want to generate awareness for a newly launched product: How do you propose the blogger does this? Will you send a free product and hope that they write about it? ‘Generating awareness’ is pretty subjective: how will you measure whether you’ve achieved your goals?
2. Learn everything you can about the blogger.
Regardless of how professional the rest of your pitch is, if you don’t personalize it to the blogger at hand you might as well not send it. Using an opening line like ‘Dear Webmaster’, or even just a generic greeting like ‘Hello’ will get your pitch sent to the trash 9 times out of 10.
Before you even think about sending an email, find out who the primary blogger is for the site. If it isn’t immediately obvious, there are a few ways you can do this:
|1||The About page|
|2||The Contact page or form|
|3||By reading some of the posts|
|4||If all else fails, there’s always the option to run a Whois search; although for larger, multi-blogger sites, this may not connect you with the ideal person.|
Once you have a good idea of who you want to connect with, it’s important to read their posts, and learn all you can about how and where they hang out online. For instance, do they guest blog on other sites? Any media mentions? Run a Google search for their name to see where else it shows up.
Checking out their LinkedIn profile is also a great idea: this will give you a good overview of their employment history, skillset and whether they’ve aligned themselves with other brands in the past (or even currently).
3. Learn everything you can about the blog.
Later on, we’re going to talk about personalizing your pitch to the blogger and his or her audience. But if you haven’t actually researched the blog and the blog’s demographic, this can be nearly impossible. Before you create your email, it’s important to do a bit of sleuthing: to find out everything about the blog that could be relevant to your business and campaign.
Some ways you can do this include:
|1||Following the blog’s social media accounts: How many fans and followers do they have? How engaged are they?|
|2||Running a Google search for the blog name to see if it’s received any media mentions|
|3||Subscribing to their newsletter and feed|
|4||Regularly reading their blog posts|
|5||Checking them out on Alexa to get a general idea of their demographics (if they’ve registered)|
4. Confirm that the blog is appropriate and relevant to your business or product.
Given what you’ve now learned, it’s critical that you determine whether the blog, blogger and audience are actually relevant to your business and goals. For instance, your initial research could have revealed that while the blog’s vanity metrics like Page likes and Twitter followers were high, engagement was low.
Since you’ll be investing time and even potentially money into this partnership, you’ll want to ensure the blogger can actually help you meet your goals. If possible, take a look at how they’ve worked with brands or businesses in the past: Did those campaigns appear to be successful? Was the audience responsive to the campaigns?
5. Connect with the blogger (BEFORE you send your pitch).
Your goal here will be to become a known entity: to get on the radar of the blogger before you send your pitch.
There are a number of ways you can do this. Following them on social media (as discussed in #2 and 3) is a great start, but this is when you’ll want to start actually interacting with the blogger. This will mean commenting thoughtfully on their blog posts, sending a brief introduction email, or sharing their social media posts with your audience.
A mistake some marketers make at this point is to bombard a blogger with comments and attention for a few days to a week, and then sending an email. A better approach is to gradually get on their radar, interacting with them for 1-3 months prior to actually sending your pitch.
6. The pitch: The right way to do it.
Unfortunately, the pitch email is often where marketers mistakenly start their blog outreach campaign. And this is also the reason why so many campaigns never get off the ground. But now that you’ve laid the groundwork for your pitch – by doing your research and getting on the radar of the blogger – it’s time to send your email.
One of the most important aspects of your pitch email will be to keep it personal. One way to do this is to address your email by name, and to sign it by name. Although it can be acceptable to have your PR agency write the email, the same rules apply: remember that this is an email from a real person, to a real person (sounds so obvious, doesn’t it?).
You’ll also want to be specific: Specific about how your business or product is relevant to the blog and audience at hand. Obviously, the more relevant the blog is to your business or product, the more successful your partnership will be. Lay out how you think your product could help their audience, and – and this is important – how this partnership is mutually beneficial.
Unless you’ve created a truly groundbreaking piece of content that the blogger decides to share with his or her audience, they will be expecting something in return. It could be anything from a free product, cross-promotion or monetary compensation…but generally speaking, there will need to be benefits to both parties.
7. Monitor your campaign…together.
Whether you end up contributing a series of guest posts, having your product reviewed, or cross-promoting each other on social media, it’s important that you continually monitor the success of the campaign. Despite your research and planning, it’s possible your campaign will still need to be tweaked to connect with the audience.
Check in with the blogger periodically to determine how successful the campaign is. Ask questions like: How are things going from your perspective? Have you received any feedback about our product or the campaign? How many views has my guest post received, and how can we improve this number?
Running a blog outreach campaign isn’t difficult, but does require research, planning and monitoring. It should also be thought of as a potentially long-term investment; after you’ve found a blog that’s a good fit for your product or business, you’ll likely want to form a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship with the blogger. When you think of it in these terms, you begin to see that all the research and planning is worth it.
Have you run a blog outreach campaign? Did you follow the steps above? Share with us below!
Image courtesy of Christian Schnettelker.