Five Blogger Outreach Tips to increase your Response Rate
In order to ensure that your content is being shared, covered, linked to or whatever activity you need to happen, successful blogger outreach is crucial to the success of your campaign. Bloggers receive many e-mails and unfortunately, one of the main mistakes that a lot of PR/SEO employees still make, is making contact without having done proper research. That is exactly why they may find themselves receiving a very low response rate which subsequently leads to the failure of a campaign.
I have therefore summed up, what I believe to be the top factors you need to include in your outreach approach, in order to increase your response rate with bloggers.
1. Do your research:
Research is, without a doubt, one of the most important things you need to do prior to reaching out to bloggers. Doing a quick homepage scan after you have found the blog for a specific keyword through Google or Buzzsumo, is not conducting adequate research. Neither is checking out their backlinks and assuming that they will share your content because they shared something similar in the past.
When researching bloggers it is important to find out what kind of person is really behind the blog. Listen, read and learn what type of material they write that is relevant to your subject and make sure you research the kind of audiences their content attracts. This will allow you to create a personalized first e-mail that shows the blogger you have done your homework and that you are taking them seriously. Here are a couple of questions worth asking yourself when researching a blogger:
- How relevant is their blog to your campaign? How interesting is the content you are offering to their readers?
- What does the blogger like writing about? How often does the blogger publish new posts?
- How engaged is the blogger’s audience with the blog in general? What kind of content receives the most engagement?
- How open is the blogger to external content? Does the blogger cooperate with other brands?
2. Make it personal
Besides not doing your research, another mistake that I still see happening a lot is failing to personalize the initial correspondence you send to a blogger. Your response rate will decrease significantly if you don’t do so as most of these general e-mails end up in the “trash” folder. If you do the research right, you should know enough about the blogger in terms of their motivation, interests and audience to write a personalized and appealing first introductory email.
Also, if you are not sure if the blogger may be interested, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask if your offer is something that appeals to them and if you are contacting them whilst you’re working on an expert – piece, mention the other bloggers whom you have been in contact with. Giving enough information and asking questions allows the blogger to really understand what it is you are proposing and enables them to decide on whether they want to be part of it.
3. The offer
Many influential bloggers get paid via advertising however according to the Technorati report from 2011 on the state of the blogosphere, bloggers are primarily motivated to blog in order to:#
- To share their experience with others
- To speak their mind on areas of interest
- To become more involved with their passion areas
It is crucial, when contacting a blogger, to make sure that your offer is really adding value to their blog. This means that the content you are offering or are asking them to be part of, needs to be informative, entertaining, interesting and most important; relevant. The content should not be of commercial nature, as this is not adding value and will probably not help them grow their audiences which is what most bloggers are looking for.
One of the ways by which you can enhance this is by helping them with the promotion of their blog. How can you do this? You can offer them free exposure by involving them in an article that you publish on your client’s blog. You can also offer bloggers exclusive imagery or invite them to a blogger event, where they can test new products and be part of a fun experience. Opportunities to get early access to the latest collections or supporting competitions they run on their blog, are also ways of offering something back in order to make the collaboration a win-win situation for both parties.
Having said all of the above, there are still bloggers who want to be compensated. If the blogger is required to do a significant amount of work, then this may be appropriate. Remember though, that paying in the form of products or money, needs to be legally disclosed. So, if a blogger writes about your service or product and receives a financial compensation for this, the blogger should mark the post as “sponsored” as well as including a nofollow attribute. This will not directly help your SEO campaign (except for a more natural link mix) however may assist in achieving other goals such as increasing brand – awareness.
Regardless of the offer, it is important that you are always honest to the blogger and be clear about your expectations. Also, if you make any promises, make sure you keep them. Consequences for not sticking to your word, may lead to negative publicity.
4. Make it easy for the blogger
By doing the work for them and by making sure you give them all the necessary information they require, you are not only helping the blogger but are at the same time also creating a stronger relationship as well as increasing the likelihood of bloggers wanting to work together with you again. Here are a few things you need to prepare for and think about:
- What is the aim of the project?
- List down important details in a short and concise manner
- Provide the blogger with supporting high resolution imagery
- Have background information ready
- Give the blogger a unique angle
- Show an example
It is really important that you do not ask too much at once! This information exchange only takes place where the blogger has responded to your initial outreach e-mail.
5. Maintain the relationship
Relationship management is key to successful blogger outreach. You want to make sure you maintain your relationships, as you may want to collaborate on another project or ask them for advice on your next project to find out more information or to see if your idea is interesting enough (pre – outreach!). Don’t just contact them though if you need anything, this should be mutual just like the offer. The more you help them the more likely they want to help you with your campaign. Staying engaged when it comes down to following up regarding the content’s performance is also important in the case where they a) have contributed to content you are hosting on your clients site or b) have published content for you.
Do not forget to thank the blogger as well and to ask if they would be interested in further collaborations and of what nature they should be. This will allow you to personalize your next offering even better and thereby increasing your response rate even more.