Blogger outreach can be a highly effective tactic to spread your message. It gives you the opportunity to directly interact with a potential or existing consumer and talk to them about your product or service, making it an ideal way to encourage natural links back to your site. But instead of this person just telling their family and friends about their experience, what if they shared it with their social networks, simultaneously increasing followers, Likes, shares, and buzz, too?
As marketers we know that links to our websites from Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and the like, will generate a ‘social signal.’ This signal is one of hundreds of factors search engines take into account when calculating a website’s credibility score. I like to think of it as super-charged link building. In fact, a well thought out plan to connect with a few influencers can move the dial more than 100 cold emails!
The Six Tips
Below are a few best practices for social link building with blogger outreach:
- Utilize Market Research Materials: Identify your target influencers; be sure to choose them wisely. When researching bloggers, factor in things such as MozRank, Page Authority, number of followers on social sites, how many comments their posts receive, etc. This information will help you gain a bigger picture of a blogger’s individual reach. This part of the process can be the most time consuming, but it’s worth it, as the people you will be contacting are critical to your efforts.
- Have Something of Value to Offer: Remember the golden rule of blogger outreach: WIIFM –What’s in it for me? Bloggers are very much aware of the power of their influence, and they understand that you want to capitalize on it. Naturally, they tend to expect a little something in return for their efforts. Given that, be sure to have something to offer them that speaks to their specific interests. Remember that every blogger/niche audience/consumer is different, so find out what makes them tick, and be prepared to offer them something in return for their time. See if you can send them a couple of your best selling products, or create a gift pack of your smaller offerings to equal at least $50. In general, tech bloggers want something that hasn’t been seen before; beauty bloggers want a swatch to the entire line of your product; and mom bloggers want to believe in your site/product before they get behind it. Do your research and don’t expect cold emails that offer nothing in return to be successful outreach.
- Communicate Professionally: Ever since the FTC put regulations in place about disclosing products in exchange for a post, blogger outreach efforts are hardly a secret. But many marketers have gotten a bad rep from blogger outreach because their efforts were sloppy, too self-serving, and/or entirely missed the mark. As you develop your outreach message, remember that you are reaching out to influencers, so it is important that your communication give them a good impression of your organization. That means take the time to carefully craft your outreach message. Be professional. Use your branded email. Don’t be sloppy – grammatical errors and spelling mistakes won’t impress anyone. Demonstrate that you have read their material and have a sense of their interests, and tailor your message to them. And most importantly, ensure that the person doing the outreach has sufficient product knowledge to engage in a discussion about it. For example, if your company sells surf boards and your outreach program is targeting a travel blogger who has posted about surfing, make sure the person doing the outreach has enough surf board knowledge to have a conversation about surfing with this blogger.
- Facilitate Contests in Conjunction with Reviews: This is a key factor in a successful social link building campaign and where the social aspect comes into play. The goal is to have the blogger try your product or service, and encourage them to share their opinion, their photos, and even a video of them using it, linking to the product at least once. Ask them if they are willing to offer the same product to their readers in a giveaway. Not only will the blogger receive more interest (traffic) to their blog by offering something free to their readers, it will attract more attention to your product and the review on it.
- Get the Most Out of a Blog Contest: Once the blogger you are working with has agreed to run a contest in conjunction with their review, offer ideas on how to encourage participation by offering participants ways to gain extra entries to the contest. For example, you might want to suggest that they have their readers Like and follow both the blog and your company to gain additional chances to win. Think this could get confusing for them to organize? Widgets like Rafflecopter will count the number of entries, link directly to the social profiles, keep track of entries, and even select a winner. The more the blog post is shared — including the links to your product– the more exposure you will get.
- Track Results: Take a baseline at the beginning of the campaign, before you begin outreach. Keep track of referral traffic, quality scores (such as Moz Rank or SEO Moz’s Page Authority Score), number of Facebook Likes and Twitter followers, keyword rankings, and inbound links. Then measure results every four weeks. Find out what worked, what didn’t, what type of consumer was responsive, and what will move the dial going forward. In addition, tap into information for case studies or shared learning internally.
Yes, blogger outreach is an effective tactic to get the word out, but don’t stop there. Be sure to also capitalize on it to super-charge your link building efforts. Doing so could help you boost your rankings and traffic!
Has blogger outreach helped you gain links? What worked well for you, what didn’t? Share your social link building tips here.