Blogger Outreach: a Blogger’s Perspective

By Alana Brooks

I typically cringe when I hear fellow marketers discussing blogger outreach:

Let’s send out a mass email! What if we give them a press release? Don’t you think they’d be happy just to be working with us? If we link back to them on our blog (that has less than 12 readers), it’s definitely enough incentive!

It’s misconceptions like these that make me glad to call myself both a marketer and a blogger.

Though I’ve only worked at Likeable for a few months, I’ve been writing The Good Girl Gone Blog for over 2.5 years. It’s grown from a little diary read only by my parents and closest friends, to a full-blown fashion blog read by tons of people I don’t even know. I’m still amazed by the sheer amount of pitches that come my way every week, and the products companies are willing to send me in exchange for a review.

As a blogger, I know what pitches I’d like to receive, and as a marketer, I know the response I’d like to see from bloggers. Here are a few rules I’ve learned as a blogger that marketers need to follow in order to receive the desired results:

  1. Do your research- there have been too many times where I’ve been addressed as “Good Girl Gone Bad” or “Good Girl Gone.” If you’re reaching out to a blogger, you should at least know the name of their blog!  Addressing the blogger by their first name definitely goes a long way, and showing proof that you’ve actually read their blog is even better. Additionally, don’t contact a blogger simply because they get a ton of page views; make sure your product or Website meshes with what they write about. I’m a fashion blogger, please don’t’ ask me to write about your online religion courses or ask my readers to try a tall person dating site (sadly, I’ve received both pitches). 
  2. Offer incentive- Whether you’re working with bloggers or members of the press, don’t expect them to do something for free- the “what’s in it for me?” policy still applies. Whether you’re offering monetary compensation or product samples, make sure you’re giving the blogger something in return. Oh, and link exchanges? That’s totally not incentive.
  3. Be creative and open to ideas- I love when a company reaches out to me and asks me to participate in a creative campaign, but what I love even more is when they’re willing to be flexible. Offer the blogger ideas, but then ask them for their own- it’ll make them feel important and included, and will yield a final product that fits better with their blog and its readers.
  4. Make it easy- Bloggers are busy, they have jobs and lives in addition to their blogs. Be ready to provide them with assets to include in their posts such as photos, videos and any necessary links. The more you provide the blogger, the less they will have to do themselves and the more likely they will be to work with you. Please, please, please don’t ask a blogger to submit a review to you for approval- that’s not only annoying, it’s unfair and a waste of time.
  5. Maintain strong relationships- it’s more than likely that after running a blogger outreach campaign, you’ll want to work with bloggers again. Whether you work for an agency with a revolving client roster or work in-house for the same client, it’s definitely worthwhile to stay in touch. Instead of doing all the additional research to find new bloggers to work with, why not collaborate with those you’ve formed relationships with in the past? Send an email update saying you’d like to keep in touch for future promotions, leave comments on their blog, stay up to date on Twitter- all of these options are easier than starting from scratch, trust me!

In the next week or so, I’ll be following up with a response post on my personal blog discussing the same topic…but from the opposite perspective: How to work with marketers….from a marketer’s perspective.  I hope you’ll check it out.

Do you have any specific rules for working with bloggers? Have you committed any of these blogger outreach faux pas? Share your thoughts in the comments below!