The top 5 most-popular blogs have a combined audience of over 100 million people. That’s five times more than the finale of American Idol. What does that mean? You need to know how to pitch bloggers. Luckily for you, bloggers can be more accessible, more targeted, and WAY cheaper than an ad during American Idol. However, many people are trying to do the exact same thing. Here we give you our tips on how to cut through the clutter and make bloggers love you.
1. Email blasts look like…email blasts.
I don’t know about you, but we get emails all the time from vendors that want to work with us, bloggers that want to partner with us, and companies selling their products. We’re so used to these emails that we immediately delete anything that looks like this:
This email wastes time with a ton of text, doesn’t have anything to do with my specific company, is trying to sell an unfocused offering, and isn’t offering me any immediate value.
The truth is that there is no way to customize large-scale outreach unless you actually know things about your audience and can send them segmented messaging. So you should either do a better job of segmentation and use of your CRM, or you should spend the time to put together well thought-out emails that explain why that specific blogger should think about writing about you.
2. Don’t go big. Go niche.
I know how tempting it is to reach out to TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Mashable, and the other huge blogs out there. But because of their extreme visibility, these sites also field an extremely large number of inquiries/pitches per day. That means that your pitch is less likely to be seen, much less accepted.
Assuming you DO get through and your email is actually read, you might be rejected because your pitch doesn’t appeal to the majority readers of a blog with 10 million people. I know you think everyone cares about your product/service, but they don’t. There is something called product/market fit that entrepreneurs and marketing professionals grapple with all the time. What this means in the context of blogging is that you need to find blogs that FIT your product/service/website as opposed to blogs that might be read by some of your audience. Find the blog that is saturated (at least 75% of total readers) by people that you would consider your target market.
3. Get on their radar as a giver
No, this does not mean that you need to send a blogger your product for free. In fact, I strongly recommend not doing that except in rare circumstances. However there is something that you could give a blogger that is much more valuable: your audience.
When I was working on a blogger outreach campaign for the National Chicken Council, we reached out to bloggers months before we asked anything of them. We simply introduced ourselves and asked if we could promote one of their posts to our Facebook page of over 10,000 fans. We knew that they wouldn’t mind, but this got us on their radar, and pulled them into our community. We would then regularly post content of theirs, which of course earned us some karma. By the time we were launching a video contest about chicken and wanted their promotion, it was almost a guaranteed placement. We had been promoting their content for months, and we were simply asking for a 1x promotion of a contest that was probably valuable to their audience anyway.
4. Save them time
Creating great content takes time. Therefore, the best bloggers usually don’t have a ton of time on their hands. So when pitching them, get right to the point and don’t make them sort through several huge paragraphs. Use bulleted copy whenever possible. Most importantly, give them a quick way to visualize the story for their blog by offering “angles” or titles to a potential post. You can also offer to write a guest post so that you aren’t asking them to work for you; you are simply asking for their blessing.
5. Interact with bloggers on social
I get an email every time someone follows me, re-tweets my content, or makes a comment on our Facebook page. Savvy marketers will use these subtle avenues to increase their awareness among the blogs they are targeting. We’ve actually been invited to write for high-PR blogs solely through social media. If you are actively distributing your content (and thus thought leadership), you make yourself a highly visible resource for bloggers that want an expert opinion. And when you are doing the outreach, your social profiles help to establish your credibility as someone who can garner interest/reach once a post is published.
6. Know their stuff
Want a surefire way to get on a blogger’s good side? Tell them what you like about their blog/views, but make it something that only a devout reader would know. For example, you could mention how a blogger’s posts “have evolved from posting entirely about consumer technology to more business-focused articles.” This shows that you are an avid reader (or you are at least doing the grunt work of looking into what this blogger is about). Don’t resort to simply saying “I loved your post on ABC – it was really interesting” because that doesn’t prove that you actually are a fan or did any homework. It only shows that you know how to find one of their blog posts and insert it into your outreach template.
7. Highlight their expertise
This is a tip that not only gets you on bloggers’ radar, but also helps you gain larger reach when you are distributing blog posts. Incorporate other experts into your content, so that if they promote that post they are also promoting themselves. We’ve used this in several examples below:
As you would expect from brands that focus on online marketing, they responded quickly and positively to our sharing of their expertise. The best part is that they have over 350,000 followers combined. Even a simple thank-you from them garnered new followers for us. If our blog posts had focused exclusively on their tools, we probably could have garnered a re-tweet which would have driven significant traffic to our blog post.
Now you know what bloggers want, and you are probably saying: “that seems like a ton of work. I’d rather just pay for some ads.” But what you might not be thinking about is that a relationship with a blogger doesn’t pay off just once. It can have ongoing benefits. Let us know if you have any questions about how to best implement a blogger outreach for your brand.