Lately, I’ve seen more and more companies in Dubai catching up with what is called: blogger outreach.
Blogger outreach is simply defined as the authentic pairing of your business with bloggers who create quality, engaging content about YOU! A blogger outreach campaign can be an opportunity to spread the word about your brand across numerous sites.
Bloggers don’t just write on the internet, they form vibrant communities through the telling of honest, authentic and often quite personal stories. This leads to trust; and trust drives actions. Blogger partnerships can help drive and leverage brands into the social media world by engaging real consumers with the brand’s story. This encourages would be customers to talk about the brand in an authentic way, creating social word of mouth.
But many, many businesses and brands, especially here in the UAE still hesitate and have this big question in mind: How can a brand or business gauge the number of products they sold or how many customers actually visited a restaurant (for example) via social word of mouth? Unless someone says, “hey I’ve come here because Grace (the blogger) said this restaurant/product rocks!” it’s difficult to measure the impact of the blogger outreach, isn’t it?
The simple answer: that same logic applies to billboard advertising or print advertising.
In both types of traditional advertising, it’s difficult to track which triggered a sale. But at least there is a way to tract online word of mouth: business/brands can track online mentions with simple tools like a Twitter search. I think that is the advantage of online vs offline word of mouth.
So how do you find a blogger fit for your brand and build a successful blogger outreach program? Here are some tips:
1. Spend time researching.
A blogger outreach program is only effective if you can spend more than 30 seconds on each blog you found on Google. Find the bloggers who are already writing about your niche. For example, if you are in the food industry, you would want to approach a blogger that writes mostly about food and so on. Obviously.
Also remember when choosing your blogger that bigger is not always better. Sometimes that may be true but quite often, it’s not. Choose a blogger that interacts with his/her followers more often. It’s better to have a blogger who has a loyal, devoted following than someone who has just a huge number of pageviews. If you can find both, lucky!
2. Avoid an automated approach.
So you’ve got a list of 500 blogger emails? Don’t spam them all with a generic email. Tailor it to the top 10% and approach them personally, each addressing why you think they are the perfect match to your campaign.
Don’t forget to address them by their correct name! Nothing puts off than an email that starts with Dear Editor, Dear Blogger or in my case, “Dear Sandie”.
Personalized introductory emails that clearly explain what’s on offer, and what’s needed, are going to be better than non-personal press releases. Press releases are one step away from being spam, if it isn’t already.
3. Be clear with your expectations from the blogger.
If you haven’t worked with that particular blogger yet, introduce yourself and if you are in an agency, explain who your clients are and what you do for them. Help the blogger understand your goals and what the client expects to evaluate and measure success: page views, referral traffic, mentions, new Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc.
4. Promote and track results.
Share the blog post/s across all your social networks and ask the blogger to do the same. Sharing the blog post drives traffic to the blogger’s website and readers are likely to click on the links within the post, driving traffic to your website.
Use your tracking tools (depending on your blogger outreach goals) to see if your strategy is effective.
5. Meet up offline (maintain your relationship with your chosen bloggers).
After the posts and engagement have passed, it’s still important to maintain relationships with the bloggers who worked with you because who knows when they’ll be able to collaborate with you with another campaign? Keep in touch and maintain a presence in their blog by leaving comments and interacting with them in their social media channels.
And a chat over coffee (or any drink) is always a good idea, yes?
Lastly, never forget that a blogger outreach may also be a chance to irritate a bunch of influential people, too.
Not everything will be perfect, and you’ll run into negative feedback. If a blogger has a less than perfect experience, encourage them to be honest and transparent. It’s much more valid than if they lie and say everything’s great. Plus, it gives the blogger an opportunity to say how you fixed their problem. And for you, it’s another place to improve and demonstrate your customer service.
It’s undeniable that bloggers can generate awareness around marketing campaigns by creating share-worthy / viral / contextual content, that works for the client and the blog audience (no selling out!). The right bloggers have built up a strong network and have a history of getting results, and relative to a million dollar TV campaign the kind of money for your blogger outreach program budget is peanuts. I’m obviously a little bit biased but more brands should give it a whirl.