Working with bloggers isn’t just a PR exercise – given the potential for engagement through reader comments, brand exposure through social media shares, and the opportunity to obtain valuable backlinks, it’s PR, social media, and SEO all rolled into one.
Because of this, bloggers have become increasingly attractive targets for anyone with a vested interest in growing a brand online, and consequently, competition for coverage is fiercer than ever. As bloggers’ inboxes become ever more clogged up with pitches and propositions from enthusiastic brands and marketers, standing out becomes more difficult.
Even with the best piece of content or story in the world at your disposal, there are many reasons why a blogger outreach campaign can fall flat on its face; sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s luck, but mostly it’s down to bad planning and lazy execution.
So you’ve produced a killer piece of content – congratulations. Unfortunately, this is worth very little unless you can communicate it in a way that is meaningful and relevant to the blogger, and in a way that will resonate with their readers. Before you even think about reaching out to the contacts on your carefully curated list, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s in it for them? Put yourself in the position of the recipient – the very busy, already inundated with emails from other people just like you recipient – and ask yourself what makes your content the best piece of content they’ll see today? How are you going to sell that to them and convince them to take notice?
- Why is the content relevant? Demonstrating that you’ve taken the time to actually read the blog you desperately want to be featured on goes a long way. Have they covered similar topics in the past, or is there a topic you can provide a counter argument to, for example?
- Is the format right? Think about what you’re sending and the way it’s presented. A lifestyle blogger is unlikely to be interested in a lengthy press release in the same way a financial blogger is unlikely to be interested in a hilarious meme. Presenting information in a format that is familiar to the recipient is essential if you want to stand a chance of it being shared.
Accept there’s going to be a cost involved
It’s becoming increasingly common for bloggers to request payment for publishing and/or sharing content, and justifiably so in the majority of cases, given blogging takes time, and time is money. Before reaching out to bloggers, you should already have an idea of what’s on offer and how much it’s likely to cost – they may have a media pack or similar page on their site which details the sponsored packages they provide.
If there’s no budget in the pot, be honest from the outset – it doesn’t mean you can’t take a chance by reaching out, just don’t insult people by asking for freebies when they’re clearly not on offer.
Have a plan B
According to a recent survey of 300 bloggers, the main reason outreach emails are ignored is because of the story or content being pitched not fitting with their readership. A lack of budget also featured highly, unsurprisingly (see previous point).
It’s highly unlikely a blogger will ever reply to explain exactly why they don’t like your pitch, but you can assume that if they didn’t reply, they don’t like your pitch. Instead of following them up and asking if they liked your pitch – which they probably didn’t – try suggesting alternative ideas which you think might also be of interest; this could be the same content presented in a different format, an alternative take on the original story, or a completely separate idea. Follow up emails shouldn’t just be something you do out of necessity, they should be seen as a second opportunity to get a blogger’s attention.
A successful blogger outreach campaign is built on good preparation. Putting the time into understanding what makes a blogger tick, the type of content they share, and the way they share it will significantly increase the odds of an outreach campaign being successful. Of course, having good content goes a long way too, but even that won’t help you if your pitch is bad.