If you want to reach more customers then get your blogger outreach programme in shape


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This post came about following my own experience and conversations with @adders and @thepaulsutton regarding PR agencies, blogger relations and blogger outreach.

We live in a world of influence. That’s not news. That’s the way it’s always been. The opinionated and opinion-makers have always been there whether they had an official office or position, expert status or not. There have always been amateur or enthusiastic or popular commentators and your customers, staff, partners and suppliers in whole or in part have always listened to them.

What’s different about now is not about opinion, it’s about reach, extended reach, potential reach, influence, the permanence of digital content and how bloggers are playing an increasingly big part in that influence game.

Why? Because people trust independent opinion. They trust the opinion of people like them. And bloggers, I believe, are viewed as people like them. I wrote about the research that supports this here.

Therefore, blogger outreach or blogger relations is becoming an essential part of many new and effective marketing campaigns. So, if that is the case, why do most PR agencies do it so badly?

Why, oh why, is that the case, given that the customers of their clients will be listening to or reading the opinion of these bloggers?

Is it because it is hard, different, beneath them or just doesn’t fit in with their model or way of doing things?

Why is it that most PR agencies treat bloggers like journalists when some are but most aren’t? Bloggers may be journalists but they tend not to be. Therefore, don’t assume they are and don’t treat them the same. If you do then the only thing you actually achieve is creating a bad first impression.

So, as a person who helps businesses build better relationships with their customers and their people as well as blogging about all things customer related, here’s my two-penneth on what PR agencies or any company doing its own awareness and outreach can do to engage bloggers.

  • Realise that bloggers are people. They don’t necessarily get paid for writing stuff like journalists do so don’t treat them the same.
  • Get enthusiastic. They are enthusiastic and passionate about their subject so get enthused about yours or go home.
  • Using names is good. They are people with names and most people with names hate spam or broadcast emails. If you want to engage a blogger use their name.
  • Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Calling someone up can really make a difference. Two things here:
    • One, don’t assume that bloggers are independently wealthy and have nothing else to do. Respect their time. Even after introducing yourself be polite as to ask whether This is a good time to talk.
    • Two, if you call and they ask you to call back then please do as they may be really interested in what you have to say. You never know. Not calling back makes them or me feel like something more important has come up and that I am, or we are, not that important.
  • Measuring influence is not as simple as Klout or PeerIndex. Don’t always trust Klout or PeerIndex or the other influencer scorecards. Sometimes they work but often they don’t. By the way, not every blogger is onTwitter! Or should be for that matter. Broaden your horizons people!
  • Influence is not limited to celebrity or A-lists. You don’t necessarily need an A-list blogger to make your outreach campaign successful. Your approach should depend on your client and their product/service. However, realise that A-list bloggers (who are they anyway?) will get inundated with outreach requests. May better to spend your time recruiting 10 smaller audience or more local or more industry focused or more niche bloggers than just one big name. More work, perhaps, but possibly a bigger and better return.

Now, assuming you get all of that and you are thinking about how you get started identifying and managing your bloggers and the process of engagement, here’s a link to a great process for managing blogger engagement.

However, a process doesn’t tell you how you should engage each and every blogger. That’s the human bit. Or, seemingly hard bit. Best advice I would give you is this….if in doubt about how to engage a blogger reach out and ask them. If you are too shy to do that then ask me I’ll be glad to help.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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