While you can gush mentions about your brand until you are blue in the face, and Kim Kardashian can tweet about your brand until she breaks a nail, the two of you may cause awareness but lack the audience loyalty and trust to cause notable action.
That’s where the mid-level influencer comes in, particularly in the form of bloggers. Bloggers are one of the most prominent mid-level influencer groups and find themselves in growing demand among brands of all stripes.
Here are a just a few examples:
> M/C/C recognized the power of the “mom blogger” and harnessed it for Chuck E. Cheese’s. It was able to grow some of its lesser-known marketing programs and establish a giant network of mom blogger partners.
> Vaseline uses blogger outreach by getting beauty bloggers to host product giveaways on its website.
> Wendy’s has launched a blogger outreach campaign targeting family friendly bloggers to promote Wendy’s Frosty desserts.
So, how do you get your brand in front of influential bloggers? Here are five best practices I’ve observed in my own blogger outreach efforts as well as those among my clients.
1) Search contextually, not numerically
Searching for bloggers by niche (not popularity) is the first step toward harnessing the power of the mid-level influencer on behalf of your brand.
It’s tempting to reach out to a blogger who is a “sort of fit” but has 15,000 Twitter followers. Nevertheless, it’s a waste of your time, the bloggers’ time and—if they mention you—the audience’s time.
Homing in on bloggers who are a contextual fit gets better response rates and a better ROI on your outreach campaign because the audience is relevant to your brand.
2) Refrain from cookie cutter pitches
When you have a list of 100 bloggers to contact, it’s hard not to give in to the cookie-cutter pitch. But, your response rates (or lack thereof) will make you sorry for doing so.
If time is an issue, the “meat” of the pitch can be the same for every blogger, as it briefly talks about your brand and what you have in mind for the relationship. But the intro should be personally crafted and tailored to each blogger.
I should caution you from copying and pasting from word documents. It may not look like it in your email window, but the formatting often gets messed up and the blogger will know that you did a cut-and-paste job. Huge turnoff.
3) Do the research
Jumping in blindly is never a good idea. Read through the blog. Maybe you’re reaching out to foodie bloggers and promoting a new organic brand of beef. Reaching out to every foodie blogger is going to annoy the vegetarian bloggers.
4) Don’t underestimate the human element of communication
If an anecdote, commentary on a post, personal story, etc. is relevant to what the blogger writes about—include that in your pitch. It’s nice to humanize the correspondence.
5) Send them something free
Information or free products for review tend to yield good results, especially if you send the contents to bloggers without any strings attached. If they love it, they’ll write a positive review.
Fashion brands do a great job of this. They send fashion bloggers their clothing and accessories without stipulation with the hope of a good review. Many times the bloggers will write posts and include photos of themselves wearing the items and inspire their audience to buy the clothing.
Now you know how brands are doing blogger outreach and seeing success. So go get your bloggers before your competitor does.