Five Reasons Your Blogger Outreach Program Is a Fail
Blogger Outreach is one of the biggest parts of my marketing business. Call it influencer outreach or paid media. In fact, blogger outreach can significantly elevate your game and your message on line and in real life too. An authentic ambassador for your brand tells a story well and is sought out for their opinion. They are impactful and trustworthy and they have an audience.
This collage is a sample of a few of the clients I have worked with in the past year. I have been blogging here and writing on line for almost 5 years now. Thrifty Mommas Tips has grown exponentially and my experience has grown with it. This year alone I have managed many blogger outreach programs for my clients.
Other services I offer – writing, editing, business blogging for beginners training, full digital marketing and social media marketing. As a community manager, I also maintain many client assets and run several private Facebook patient groups through my business Thrifty Mom Media.
Maybe it’s the flurry of pitches I have received lately. Maybe it’s all the strange and unprofessional exchanges I have witnessed on both sides of the social media relationship, especially just since Blissdom Canada. Whatever the root of this public service marketing message, I’ve reached my tipping point, or perhaps my boiling point and I need to get this out.
Bloggers aren’t perfect, but many are professional writers, marketers and influencers. They are unique individuals with a unique asset in a digital marketing world. At a conference last year one speaker smartly summed blogging up like this: “Right now you are the prettiest girl in high school and everyone wants a turn to dance. Blogging is a valuable marketing tool. Don’t undervalue it.”
I spoke to this here in my post about why bloggers get paid for their service. Many of my blogger outreach campaigns have been an incredible tool driving on line buzz fast. Done well, blogger outreach is an art. Done poorly, without thought, it is a waste of money. Which camp will your campaign fall in? Any agency should know their strengths and contract out if they cannot do influencer outreach properly.
1. Google is not a strategy:
You googled blogger, or health blogger, or Canadian blogger, and you are compiling a list of the people who popped up. You might as well pick up the phone and start dialing random numbers. Not effective and definitely not a blogger outreach strategy. Are they working right now? Are they professional? Have they stopped writing original content or lost their voice entirely? You must know this before you contract them.
You bought a list of bloggers in Canada, or the US, or Timbuktu. I never ever get my bloggers from lists. Instead, my contacts come from my conversations and relationships and my network of writers and bloggers. I know from having dinner with many at the four to five conferences I go to each year that blogger X can write effectively and with conviction about lice treatment. Blogger Y has taken on too many clients this year and let me down on one contract. Without a doubt, Kerrie will deliver on time every time and personalize the message. Maddy is caring for her mother in her home and represents the sandwich generation demographic perfect for the campaign coming up in 2014. Sally is abrasive in person, but she has the audience we are courting and she’s worth the effort.
Smart marketers also know which one posted a NOT SO Family friendly diatribe about guns or sex or alcohol. Do not be unprofessional. Months ago one built her own infographic for a campaign and I have her on speed dial.
3. Knowledge, Research, Reading:
You don’t read blogs. Huge mistake. Bloggers are really unique. Each blog has an author, who is a person with a style and area of expertise. The best blogger outreach programs are run by people who actually read blogs and are familiar with them inside and out. They know the name of the author and where his or her strengths lie.
Each blogger has rates and in fact each blogger also has been sent 100 books this week. How is yours different? But you have another gift basket of branded T-shirts, water bottles and serving trays? How will your brand elevate stand out? Which book will be the one that gets reviewed? Good blogger outreach coordinators like reading, and even – here’s a shocking concept – like and value what influencers bring to the table.
4. How do you Define Influencer?
Your boss gave you a job to find on line influencers in the area of fitness and post pregnancy weight loss. You post a google doc form and say apply to be an influencer with well known fitness brand. The measure of influence is an intriguing concept that is not two dimensional. An influencer is not always the person with 25,000 twitter followers. Dig deeper.
I often tell my clients to come to a conference or two with me, or send me in on your behalf. Influence begins on the blog and on line and a true influencer with lasting potential is also someone who has a whole other life extending into speaking, connecting, networking, volunteering. You need to find the person with the X factor that everyone loves and wants to be. Influence is a big concept. Think big picture.
5. You are using the wrong metrics.
You think you identified your on line influencers in the field of dairy products. Maybe you even went to a conference and connected genuinely with some bloggers you want to hire, so you compile a spreadsheet. Blog name, Twitter followers, Facebook followers, maybe you added Klout or Kred, and blog origin geographically. Perfect start, right? Wrong. Tip of the iceberg.
Metrics are always changing and you need to be informed and stay on top of trends. Find areas with engagement and community. An “influencer” with 50,000 twitter followers is not much use to me if I read her blog and discover nobody is actually there. There is no engagement, very few comments and no personality.
Blogger Outreach Starts With Relationships
Blogger outreach is a relationship. I have been on both sides of this equation and it is a back and forth working relationship. My best blogging experience was working for a client who contracted me to write about something for Walgreens. Can you guess who was running that outreach? A blogger, a PR person who doesn’t actually believe fully in blogging yet, or a social media intern?
Paula this is such a well written article jammed with golden nuggets! Anyone in PR should know this and heck, print this out and refer to it.
Thanks Julie! Hoping some people will take this to heart!
These are great tips. I have found that it takes time for you to estabish your blog before you are allowed to do reviews for larger companies. So if you have the opportunity to review a product, jump at the chance. The more you do the more people will see your blog and skills. Also, don’t be afraid to ask companies especially smaller ones for opportunities. 😉
So true Christy: were you at blissdomca? Erica Ehm hit this nail on the head at power hour. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I know that when approached by PR reps, new or ones I’ve already worked with, I am always impressed when I know they’ve been reading. I have one or two that red and comment regularly.
Addressing a blogger by name and showing genuine interest goes a long way, doesn’t it?
Kerrie @ Family Food and Travel
Great post! Love everything you are saying about the importance of relationships and searching for the right people.
It reay is a relationship. No way around it. If you have no relationship the outreach suffers.
Yes, we need to educate the masses in how to work with us!
thanks for this,
Thank you Mitch! You get it and have been really transparent about what works from the start. You are a blogger doing blogging well with authenticity and a great voice. I understand why many outreach campaigns would reach out to you.
I really like the way you spelled things out for bloggers, too. It’s important for me to remember that writing on my blog is my choice — how I come across is important. I often turn down opportunities if I don’t think they’re the right fit for my style or audience. Thanks for validating my gut feeling!
I have found my best jobs by saying NO!
What a nice post. Great tips!
Good read. I have learned from this article. Thx.
Good read. I have learned from this article. Thank you
Good read. I have learned from this article. Thx.
Wow, Paula! This is such a great post. I’m bookmarking! Great tips and these are things many of us need to be aware of 🙂
Paula, what a well thought out article! The Marketing department needs to budget in blogger outreach in a MONETARY sense, instead of in free product. I work hard and need to be compensated for my time. What’s there not to get?
Thanks Paula, so true on so many levels. I love when fellow bloggers run a program because they know ho wit works and have an appreciation for us. Many brands/reps get it, yet so many still need to learn. I think respect and education is important for all involved and hopefully we will see more growth
OH this is a fantastic article! I get so frustrated especially when campaigns are given to those with high twitter followers when there is so much more to a blogger than this one social media stream. Sometimes I wonder if PR agencies even look at the blog they are working with. A blog is the WHOLE picture…it’s about the relationships and community that interacts on the blog, facebook, instagram and twitter.
Excellent post Paula.
I couldn’t agree more with Kim’s comment ^. Sharing 🙂
Loved the article my dear… and you hit it out of the park with this article. I can think of a few people that need to read it.
Thank you for this Paula. This is very well stated. I like to think some people are interested in quality content and good writing! Let’s hope! 🙂
Journeys of The Zoo
I am pleased to see that people (a.k.a. you) who are in the business of creating relationships know that influence is much more then just about the numbers. It is about influence, authenticity and personality to name a few.
I will be watching your campaigns closely and when one is a good fit, I’d love to work with you. Maybe if I ask nicely?
Besos, Sarah Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
Great tips!! I think its important to know who you are working with. I don’t have huge numbers of followers but I know I run an honest/fun blog. I’ve working with great people so they must be paying attention to what I do!
Nice post, Paula. It’s certainly obvious that you’ve sat on both sides of the fence. “Blogging is a valuable marketing tool. Don’t undervalue it”. Let’s keep educating the PR masses …
I think I’ll just send this link out from now on when I get a bad pitch. Great post Paula.
The Modern Mom
Thank you Paula! Great to hear both sides of the story 🙂
I agree that some PR companies need to be educated at the amount of time and effort we put into these posts. So I agree with most of what you say.
… and this is why I love working with you! You nailed it GF…