As outbound marketing tactics peel away in the form of paint falling off of billboards, I am loving how much of a collaborative turn the world of marketing has taken as we head down the road of inbound.
Every time I read through my Twitter feed, influencers and brands are recommending the words of others. Each time I read a blog post, content from other bloggers are linked to. All of these links, shares, tweets and likes are the modern and digital way to recommend something or someone—it’s word of mouth marketing and it’s the best marketing a brand can get.
If you think about it, we didn’t see much of this in marketing ten years ago. Commercials didn’t say “oh by the way, check out this product while you’re at it,” and rattle off handy information about a coinciding brand. Billboards didn’t state “read the billboard of this hotel 5 miles up the road.” Thus a tangible transition in to a collaborative, word of mouth marketing world.
So how do you get your own brand involved in this word of mouth marketing experience? Well, since much of the recommending of brands is happening in blog posts and bloggers are arguably the strongest spoke in the influencer wheel, blogger outreach is the logical next step.
How Big Brands Do It
If your company is ready to collaborate with bloggers or wants to take outreach to the next level, here are some ways that big companies are doing it and seeing uber success. With all of the following examples, ask yourself: how can I apply a similar strategy to my own strategy?
- The Harlem Globetrotters used blogger outreach to promote their 2013 tour. They primarily reached out to family bloggers with a far reach and offered them game vouchers for posts. Needless to say they scored some lifetime fans and got some awesome exposure.
- Ford is currently using bloggers and active social media users to market their new car with tons of awesome content. Their new car, the “Fiesta” is available only to select bloggers and influential social media users for 6 months who will thoroughly document their experience with the car via all kinds of yummy content.
- Fashion companies seem to grasp blogger outreach quite well. More fashion brands than I have room to list reach out to bloggers to write about their apparel. Usually the brands send fashion bloggers their clothing in the hopes that they will take pictures of themselves in in the garments, link to that specific apparel item and recommend the clothing to their network.
- If you market for a SAAS company like myself, it’s beneficial and cost effective to offer bloggers a free trial of the software. Nestivity did this by giving social media influencers exclusive access before the app was launched which created some buzz surrounding it. I prefer the nonabrasive approach where you simply offer the blogger a trial and hope it inspires a post instead of offering it to them under the condition they write about you.
Define Your Target Bloggers so that You Can Find Them
Once you’ve established the need for the word of mouth marketing a blogger can give you, it’s time to define the bloggers that you are going to reach out to. I find it easiest to outline the following two traits and only add bloggers to your list that fit into your blogger outline perfectly.
- Context is by far the most important factor to consider when determining who to reach out. Decide which genre your ideal blogger falls in to. Run a search by genre and then filter out by niche. For example, if I were marketing a vegetarian recipe search engine, I would look for blogs that fall in to the cooking genre and have posted about vegetarianism as the niche.
- Determine what type of and how far of a reach your target bloggers will have. Decide if there is a minimum number of monthly traffic the blog should get. Perhaps define a target SEO stat. Or decide if you want them to also be on certain social media channel and how much following they need to have on said social media channel.
Springing off of my vegetarian search engine client that I used as an example above, I may require the bloggers I work with to be on Pinterest because I’m running a visually driven campaign and I want my bloggers to have a minimum MozRank of 4 so I know they are at least somewhat authoritative.
Finding Ideal Bloggers
Now that your target bloggers have an image, it’s time to go find them. There are a variety of blogger outreach tools out there for every section of the spectrum.
Google blog search is a free option and is good for companies not doing a lot of blogger outreach. If you are going to do a moderate amount of blogger outreach, check out Blog Dash. If you plan to execute a decent to massive amount of blogger outreach as part of your marketing strategy, I recommend checking out a blogger outreach platform such as GroupHigh. (Kristen is employed by GroupHigh.com)
Stay in the Loop
After you establish the need for blogger outreach as part of your marketing strategy and start reaching out, make sure you are staying up to date and are in the loop to receive tips and best practices. Here are some resources to help!
- Now that I have laid the blogger outreach groundwork and established basics, I’ll be posting tips, tricks and use cases pertaining to blogger outreach so check back once a month!
- If you want a thorough rundown on blogger outreach check out this article on KISSmetrics by Kristi Hines. Kristi is also a contributor to Maximize Social Business.