The marketing concept of Blogger Outreach is not new but to the uninitiated or those not directly involved with SEO, it is simply more jargon to add to the already over burgeoning pile of confusing terms surrounding digital marketing and Search Engine Optimisation. Before we begin to discuss how to harness it effectively or to evaluate the advantages of this marketing strategy we will explain what it actually means in everyday language.
Defining Blogger Outreach
Blogger Outreach, in the simplest terms is word-of-mouth marketing.It describes digital marketer’s activity in harnessing the marketing power of influencers’ demographic in reaching as wide an audience as possible to promote product trust and manipulate consumer purchasing behaviour. When you connect with influencers in your particular business or industry they provide platforms for communicating with your potential customers. The blogger outreach process includes creating authentic credible and inspirational content that bloggers can relate to and promote in an effort to reach out to a wider consumer population that will connect with your brand, products and services. It consequently follows that the bloggers with the greatest authority, impact and outreach are the most influential force in adding value to your product, brand and services by promoting and highlighting them to a qualified global audience.
It makes sense for Businesses to deploy these marketing influencers or ambassadors to get their brand message out there. Bloggers can be compensated either financially or in kind – perhaps through free products or other services – in actual fact you can get influencers to promote your content for free if you approach it in the right way.
The first thing to consider is how to evaluate the most effective bloggers so you find the thought leaders who rank highly in Social Authority, and whose blog success correlates generally with Domain authority. The latter can be evaluated by entering the blogger’s home Page URL into “Open Site Explorer.” The greater the Domain Authority the more influence leveraged by the site in Google. On social media networks a good indicator or metric is the number of comments a blog attracts for its post. The real aim is to harness blog links that generate more targeted traffic and this can be achieved sometimes more effectively through smaller blogs with a fervent following than a more authoritative site with less engagement.
The second question that springs to mind is how do you access and engage bloggers who have a recognised following as effective brand influencers. The simple answer is to build a relationship with them or in other words – curry favour. You can get onto their radar screen in a number of ways, for example by consistently sharing their content. You can write a short resume on Google + to describe how much you enjoyed their post or answer questions on Social Media where bloggers love to engage. Why not write a complimentary note about the blog and add value to the conversation or alternatively you could send a complimentary Email to generate contact with as many bloggers as are worthwhile. Another attention winning technique would be to inform them of any broken links on their site – you can do this through Chrome Extension ““Check My Links” which is a simple process. You can also win kudos by informing them of page updates required or features not properly functioning. Outreach tactics are varied and many and represent a very good means of warming up relationships. They will of course be decided by your particular goals – the obvious one being to get bloggers to see and share your content.
Recognising thought leaders
Contrary to common expectation, bloggers with smaller communities are invariably more influential than their celebrity peers. “Technorati”, which is a great source of quality blogs, reports that “ 54% of consumers believe that the smaller community, the greater the influence”. In reality they all (both women and men) exert influence in the marketing stakes. Moz’s “Followerwonk” deploys a rather different approach by concentrating on the influencer rather than the blogs. A common thread is the power of the blog that pops up at any time in your Social Media Feeds (Twitter and Facebook). The blogger behind the post can suddenly becomes an overnight celebrity of cult status and you wonder why. You consider their blog from every conceivable angle yet it appears no better than those you have been crafting yourself and you wonder why? Their strategy is as old as Netscape yet it works because it sticks to the time-tested approach. They use blogger outreach to grow and expand their blogs. To find those influential bloggers you simply check out the blog’s About Page in the hope that you can retrieve the blogger’s email address. If not, some high profile bloggers will use a contact form which might be your only means of communicating with them. If that fails you can use Twitter to ask how you can get in contact with them.
Establishing a Blogger Outreach Target List
You can get influencers to promote your content for free by using the proper tools to leverage profitable research and build a valuable outreach inventory.
There are a number of free tools to help you establish your outreach target list, for example, “Alltop” which provides a selected list of excellent blogs in diverse industries. To access relevant blogs in Alltop you have to enter a keyword into the search field that best describes what your blog is about.You will probably find a list of related topics in the query response and you can hone in the most relevant blogs in the category. To be a little more structured in your blog outreach you can create a spreadsheet capture list across Social Media pages -Twitter and Facebook – adding Blog, Blogger and Contact columns where you can record relevant information from your searches as you find it. Zemanta have recently supplied a comprehensive guide to accessing contact information for blogger outreach and this is an additional reliable source for your spreadsheet list of blogger contact and blog information. When you think you have found a reliable blogger or influencer you can check out their Twitter account to see if they link to a blog. You can find out their follower count and Social Authority score which will be very useful into the future.
Tools for Sourcing Influential blogs/influencers
There are many resources for finding influential blogs. We will endeavour to explore some of these that can help you differentiate between the useful and less so by categorising them according to specific author, site and topic. Our goal is to find blogs displaying in searches with a lot of authority.
- The first tool is “Clear Voice” which enables you to search by Author, Topic or Site. It provides data through an Influencer scoring metric and also gives you authorship statistics displaying likes, shares, comments posts published, sites contributed to and a lot more. This information saves you the time of having to sift through data from many diverse metrics and on different sites by providing all the stats collectively in one place for you to make informed choices about the most influential thought leaders.
- Another useful tool is “Buzzsumo” which is a fantastic research resource. It is a brilliant marketing tool in that it provides you with information such as top performing content and influencers for specific topics, domains and other search terms. You can use this data to find out what other influencers shared that topic. The built in features include various filters that filter by type and location. Through a filtering process, this tool gives you the top performing content categorised by the number of social shares, content type and date. This software also exports reports to CSV files which is an additional bonus for users.
- “Traackr”excels at expanding and recording your outreach efforts by providing influencer profiles which include all their social networks and blogs with useful contact information. Influencers are ranked on their reach, resonance and relevance which makes Traackr an excellent authoritative blogger identifier tool. In brief, it features relevant niche bloggers, geo-targeting, multilingual filtering choices and network analysis denoting who is associated with key influencers.
- “Little Bird”, contrary to its pejorative connotation, is in fact a very effective tool for cutting through the white noise and identifying the most relevant influencers who best match your target audience. It is designed to help you find niche communities that relate best to your business goals and objectives. Its expanded reach finds connections between other bloggers and also finds useful content that will interest and enthuse your audience. You are reminded at this juncture just how important it is to help bloggers in whatever way you can before requesting or expecting their input and assistance. This is the two way street that we discussed earlier in the article. It helps to build up a relationship through social media before sending that Email that can make or break the relationship before you are even able to cultivate a meaningful dialogue.
- “Follow Up Then” is a piece of software that helps you organise and streamline your outreach campaigns. This goes beyond the purely communication element and helps you to research, manage and audit your outreach campaigns. It is designed to send you Emails to reschedule reminders and BCC Emails will remind you whilst not letting the recipient know.
- “Yesware”, whilst being more of a piece of sales software, does double up very well as an outreach tool. Its functions include Email tracking which permits you to see who is opening your Emails, clicking on links and opening attachments. An added bonus is its ability to integrate with Gmail and Outlook as well as its tracking and analytical functionality.
- “Nimble”, as its name implies, is a flexible CRM tool but with a difference. It has the ability to display all your Emails, social messages from your contacts, activities and contacts in one place for your convenience and appraisal. It has apps which are available from the App Store and Google Pay and like Yesware integrates with Gmail and Outlook. It has built in Task management including the capability of managing deals and your sales funnel. It will also identify key contacts according to relevancy.
- “Inkybee” is brilliant for managing each step of an outreach campaign including analytics and updating on campaign progress. With every blog it locates it provides social profiles, engagement, activity, inbound links, social following and SEO metrics from MozScape. It also helps you to find influencers among your Twitter followers with a useful Twitter feature.
- “Buzzstream” is a wonderful tool when it comes to sending Emails and managing outreach campaigns. Its many features include: integration with Open Site Explorer, Buzzsumo ( already appraised in our useful tool list), Followerwonk and more. It has a built in CRM and task management functionality and with its Buzzmarker extension provides extra functionality in browsing the web.
In conclusion, you can see the benefits of all of these blogger outreach tools that are readily at your disposal. You can pick and choose what you consider the most effective, from your own particular niche perspective. This will ensure your blogger outreach campaign is successful in acquiring the influencer leverage and authority to promote your products and services to a targeted and qualified online audience. Taking all of our suggestions in the round you can reach out effectively to all those influencers who are best qualified to provide a platform for expanding your marketing outreach and increasing your customer growth.