Investing resource into a blogger engagement campaign should be a no-brainer for all businesses, large and small. Getting your brand featured on an influential blog is a sure-fire way to gain brand exposure, getting in front of the people that matter, your target audience. In this article, our Head of PR explains how to succeed in blogger outreach.
Selecting the right influencers
There’s a wealth of research that shows a very high percentage of the online population trust information they receive from bloggers, and an equally high percentage of these people go on to purchase an item or service a blogger recommends. Selecting the influencers you collaborate with is a very important part of the process. You really need to ensure the blogger is the right fit for your brand, they should understand your target audience, objectives and mirror your companies brand values. Choosing the right bloggers is the first step to ensuring the campaign is a success.
This relationship works two-ways as any blogger worth their salt won’t want to collaborate with a brand and promote a product that isn’t the right fit for their blog and subsequent audience as this can jeopardise their integrity. It’s worth remembering that high profile bloggers are in demand and receive large numbers of requests from companies who wish to work with them. Mass emailing a pitch with the hope of someone picking it up is not going to achieve the best result. Bloggers like to know you have researched their blog, content and audience so personalised pitches are the best way to get their attention. By tailoring your pitch and ensuring your brand and product resonates with their blog and audience, you are onto a winning formula.
When selecting a blogger to work with, most people will automatically look straight at the bloggers number of followers across their social channels. We need to delve deeper into the analytics rather than just look at the number of followers and ask questions such as:
- Who is engaging with the blog and posts?
- What’s the demographic of the followers?
- How many page views do they receive?
- What type of engagement can we expect?
Seeing large numbers of followers can be positive and you straight away think the blogger is going to raise brand awareness on a large scale but it’s more important to know if the followers are engaging with content and what they are doing post engagement. The main piece of advice to take away here is that the best bloggers for your campaign might not have the most followers but they have the highest levels of engagement.
Creating a strong campaign structure
Having a clear objective and structure for your campaign will lead to you selecting the right bloggers. Looking at the bigger picture and how the blogger outreach campaign will fit into your wider marketing activities is a must if the programme is to be successful. If part of a multi-channel campaign then choices such as timing, campaign assets and messaging can all affect the desired outcome and what you require the bloggers to achieve.
Establishing goals with the blogger at the start of the project is a great way to ensure both parties are happy with what’s required from the collaboration and understand what success looks like. It’s important to build a good relationship with your blogger network as this will lead to authentic content that the blogger’s followers are more likely to engage with. If the content looks forced and unnatural, both parties will suffer.
Building long-term relationships
When entering into a blogger outreach campaign, it’s worth noting that the most successful campaigns are those that build relationships with bloggers to encourage sustained advocacy. Forming ongoing relationships with bloggers who mention your brand on a regular basis provides authentic and subtle content as opposed to one hit wonders where the bloggers followers might feel the content is paid-for and therefore loses its value as a genuine recommendation.
Hosting a blogger event is a great way to recruit influencers instead of continually sponsoring content and sending out samples. The face-to-face engagement allows you to establish a much stronger relationship with the blogger and this comes across in the subsequent content. By incorporating blogger events as a regular item on your marketing calendar, you can ensure bloggers are receiving tailored content via an ongoing process which is great for the relationship as the bloggers feel valued.
Blogger engagement has long been seen as a great way to boost SEO efforts, however, Google has recently reported that they are sending out outbound linking penalties. This relates to a warning from Google a few weeks ago where they asked bloggers to ensure they were disclosing free product reviews and such posts should include nofollow links (view our original report here).
If the blogger you work with reviews a product or service, this is still deemed as normal practice however you need to ensure all associated links within the post are nofollow or Google will penalise you. Featuring on an influential blog with followers in your target market is still a great way to raise your companies profile as you are allowing your brand to be seen by lots of people which means more people engaging in online conversations.
Word of mouth is one of marketing’s most powerful tool’s and engaged followers are likely to share content across social channels which is a key element for successful brand awareness. Working closely with the blogger network to create high quality content which can then be shared across all marketing channels not only serves the purpose of boosting your brand profile, it also allows you to build up a bank of fresh content to use throughout the year on seasonal campaigns.
It’s clear to see that building relationships with influencers and incorporating ongoing blogger outreach into your marketing campaign is more important than ever. Building your authority via high profile bloggers is not only key in building a brand, it’s also a great way to create engaging content. If done properly, blogger engagement is one of digital marketing’s most effective assets in driving awareness.