Business Week ran a story recently talking about the importance travel website Expedia were placing on blogger outreach as part of their marketing strategy this year. They invited 16 key bloggers for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, which was all part of a charm offensive aimed at getting the bloggers onside to help Expedia with their marketing efforts.
“If our goal is to get closer to travelers … bloggers are a very interesting place to us,” says Joe Megibow, vice-president of Expedia U.S.
Expedia rightly appreciate the importance of bloggers in our social age, especially as younger people typically ignore more traditional marketing channels such as newspapers and magazines.
So how can you follow Expedia's lead and start a blogger outreach program of your own?
Here are a few tips that should get you up and running.
5 tips for conducting blogger outreach
- Set your goals – What do you want to achieve with your outreach? It could be more sales, it could be better branding. Whatever your goals are, you need to have them clearly defined at the start so you can measure how effective your efforts have been.
- What's in it for them? – So you've sussed things out from your perspective, now you need to figure out how this will benefit bloggers. It could be kudos from being on the inside of a company they admire, it could be something much simpler like being given freebies to blog about. Spend some time getting into the mind of your bloggers.
- Find your bloggers – It's easy to start your search out on the social web, but your own website should provide you with some willing and eager bloggers to get you started. Check out your existing social media to see if any bloggers are keen participants. This low hanging fruit will get you off to a great start with your outreach. Once you have these devotees on board you can start scouring the web on places like Technorati, Alltop, Twitter and of course Google to find bloggers in your niche.
- Make your approach – If you do nothing else, please make sure you treat each blogger as an individual. A bulk email to 'dear blogger' is unlikely to endear you to anyone. Instead take some time to research the blogger, find out what interests them, where they hang out online and then contact them individually. They may do other things than just blog (speaking for instance, or writing for the press). Don't treat all bloggers as the same.
- Give them plenty to work with – You've identified what motivates the blogger earlier. One of the key things will be to increase traffic to their blog, so make sure you give them plenty to work with. This could be a great inside scoop, it could be an attractive infographic, a white paper or an informative video. Whatever you use, make it valuable to the blogger and make it easy for them to write a post using it. Don't forget to also give each post a push down your existing marketing channels to help the blogger achieve success. Success early on will be a great help in getting the blogger coming back for more.
Suffice to say these 5 steps are a basic start guide to get you up and running, and a successful blogger outreach will do an awful lot beside this. These should get you off on the right foot however.
As always, I'd love to hear your blogger outreach stories in the comments section. Have you achieved success? What strategies did you use?