kristin-matthews_0

How to Leverage Blogger Outreach to Increase Brand Exposure

inbound marketing

In today’s podcast, I interview Kristen Matthews, marketing manager at GroupHigh. Kristen is an outreach expert, and in this interview we talk about blogger outreach. Blogger outreach has fast become a popular way for brands to increase awareness for their products and stimulate word of mouth, mentions on social media, inbound links, and other good stuff.

To promote GroupHigh Kristen does a lot of blogger outreach. Kristen also does case studies for different case study articles and ebooks. And she works with GroupHigh’s top brand clients to give them advice and setup blogger outreach campaigns.

Why is blogger outreach valuable?  Because people trust them!

  • 81% US online population trusts info and advice they get from bloggers – that is almost everybody!
  • 61% online population has made a purchase decision based on recommendation from a blogger.

Stats from BlogHer.com

Ready to learn more? By the end of this episode you will have a very clear path about what you should do to get a blogger outreach program setup within your organization.

Listen now and you’ll hear Kristen and I talk about:

  • (02:30)  Introduction
  • (03:30)  Why is blogger outreach so important?
  • (06:30)  How do you find the right bloggers?
  • (09:50)  What are some tools to use for outreach?
  • (14:41)  What are some do’s and don’ts for making contact?
  • (18:51)  What are some other benefits of working with bloggers?
  • (26:20)  How do blogger events work?

Resources Mentioned

More About This EpisodeGroove Digital Marketing Podcast

The Groove Digital Marketing podcast is the podcast for entrepreneurs  who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business. It’s designed to help entrepreneurs discover which proven tactics and strategies  are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Trent:
Hey there bright idea hunters. Welcome back to episode number nineteen of the Groove Digital Marketing podcast. I am your host, Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast where we help marketing executives to discover ways to use digital marketing and marketing automation to dramatically increase revenue.

So if you are looking for ways to increase traffic, capture more leads and ultimately more customers, this is a really good show to listen to. And the way that I make good on that promise is I bring proven experts on the show with me who are experts in particular areas and I get them to share with you and with me the exact tactics and strategies that they are using to achieve the success that they are getting.

So no theories and no puffery and no hype, just real stuff from real people who are often times your peers and a whole lot of idea sharing. So in this particular episode we are going to be talking about blogger outreach, which is fast becoming a very very popular way for brands to increase awareness for their products. And stimulate word of mouth and mentions on social media and inbound links and all sorts of really good stuff that you want to have.

So Kristen is an outreach expert. In case you are not familiar with blogger outreach and why you should be doing it, in this episode we are going to talk about that. Then we are going to talk about how to find the right bloggers; what to look for, how to build a list. I am going to talk about how you should make contact; some dos and don’ts. There are a couple of tools you might want to use. Some of them are paid, some of them are free.

And by the end of this episode you will have a very clear path to what you should do to get blogger outreach up and going in your organisation, before we get into the episode, one very quick announcement.

We have an entire library of marketing e-books. All free and available for download at GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/resources; so if you think you would like to learn more about marketing, in particular content marketing, online marketing make sure you go and check out some of those e-books.

So with that said please join me in welcoming Kristen to the show.

Hey Kristen, welcome to the show.

Kristen:
Hi Trent, thanks for having me.

Trent:
No problem at all. So today you and I are going to talk about blogger outreach and everything we can think of to do with blogger outreach. Why it is important, how to do it and so forth. But before we do that I just want to quickly give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to my audience and tell us who you are and what do you do.

Kristen:
Awesome, I am excited. My name is Kristen Matthews and I am the marketing manager over here at GroupHigh So to promote my company, GroupHigh, I do a lot of blogger outreach myself and then I also work with other brands and agencies on their blogger outreach strategy. I do case studies with those three different blogposts and e-books that I’ve published.

And I’ve also worked with all of our top brand clients to give them advice and set up their blogger outreach campaign. So to a lot of people I am what you could call a go to resource when it comes to blogger outreach.

Trent:
And I think that is how I found you as well. Why is blogger outreach such a big deal? And I think you mentioned to me you have some stats on this too that you are going to share.

Kristen:
Yeah definitely I actually recently put a post together called Making the Case for Blogger Outreach. So I will give you that to link to in the comments or what not. And it is full of all of the stats that I am going to reference as well as hyperlinks to my sources because I am a fan of whenever anybody can backup what they are saying with actual studies. My favorite study or the one that I go to the most is Why Blogs Are Not Dead.

And a few take aways from that one. One; 81 percent of the US online population trust information and advice that they get from bloggers, to me that is huge, that means almost everybody is trusting the input, the feedback, the product reviews that bloggers are giving.

Another stat that I really liked from their study is that 61 percent of the online population has made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a blogger.

So I think to brands that is really huge and a good clue to work with bloggers. When it comes to big purchases the average buyer consult eleven product reviews before making a purchase decision; most of these are sought out on different blogs, another good one there.

And then one of my favorite reasons or one of the main reasons why I advocate for working with bloggers is that bloggers are great exposure to you to run a campaign across many different social channels. Bloggers are easiest to search for by really granular contextual criteria.

From there I feel a lot of my clients reach out to the blogger but then work with them to run a campaign across Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook. Obviously the blog may be Instagram, whatever the case may be for that brand or the product that they are promoting. So those are the big reasons that I say yes for blogger outreach.

Trent:
So if I was to boil all that down to one simple sentence, blogger outreach is valuable because bloggers have a collective audience that trusts them.

Kristen:
Exactly, yeah, it is all about word of mouth marketing these days. Obviously friends and family are going to be huge but normally we don’t have the means to reach out to our potential consumer’s friends and family. So bloggers are absolutely the next best thing for sure.

Trent:
So how do you find the right bloggers to do the outreach to?

Kristen:
Yeah, so when it comes to locating the right bloggers something you may have seen me writing about a ton is always going for contextual affinities rather than numbers. So for example, I always build a list of bloggers based on something they write about. Not based on how much traffic that blog gets in a month, not how many twitter followers they have, not what their Moz rank is. I always look for somebody who has a good content thread.

And then I always check out the blog to make sure that it looks nice. We all like visual appealing things. Just to make sure their content is up to par. So a great place to start is with your buyer personas. So take a look at those and think about what type of bloggers those consumers that you are targeting; maybe not even just in general but for your current project.

Your current campaign; what kind of bloggers are those target consumers following or seeking out. If you can narrow that down to a few genres maybe two or three. And definitely don’t stop there, you always want to take your blogger affinities from a genre to more of a niche based criteria. So once you have narrowed down the genre of bloggers that you want to work with. Take a step further and think about different key points that your product or service or brand can solve.

Maybe use those to pick out niches based in those genres and different affinities within genres. So for example I was recently working with a yoga apparel athletic type clothing brand. Their brand is known for being very eco conscious and always promoting sustainability.

So obviously they work really well with yoga bloggers, climbing bloggers and even different fashion bloggers. But I encourage them to boil that down just a little more to make sure the contextual set was a little more snug than what they had. And what we found was that they had a lot of luck seeking out maybe fashion bloggers who had written about vegan before or just vegan bloggers in any genre in fact.

Because that vegan affinity matches up really well with this clothing brand’s passion and focus on sustainability and eco conscious fashion. So that is one example of diving in a little bit further when you can.

Trent:
So obviously your software makes finding these bloggers really easy because it is a great search engine for bloggers and you can put in all sorts of different search criteria in there. Are there other tools that are available, obviously they are not going to be as good, that people might want to try to find bloggers?

Kristen:
Yeah, definitely, I am always a fan of people checking out different tools because based on price range or what your project is, different tools may be a good or better fit for you. Inkybee is a popular one for sure

Trent:
What is that, say that again?

Kristen:
Inkybee, they are based out in the UK. They are another blogger outreach software. If you are new to blogger outreach and you are getting your feet wet so to speak and seeing if it is a strategy you want to implement, there are definitely free ways to start that strategy and see if it is a good fit. You don’t have to necessarily buy a tool, especially if you are not going to be doing a ton of blogger outreach.

Trent:
Okay.

Kristen:
Obviously Google is a great option for blogs in any genre. You definitely have to do the research though. A tool like GroupHigh or Inkybee streamlines the research part for sure because we automatically pull the blogger’s entire digital footprint.

Their social presence, all of their recent posts or the bloggers located contact information. That is not to say it can’t be done on Google and I am talking to people who are searching around on their own for blogs in a different vertical I recommend googling for blogrolls.

A blogroll is simply just a list of blogs that a person puts together, usually another blogger of fellow bloggers in a vertical. So it is kind of like they have already done the research for you and made that recommendation.

Trent:
So what would you type into Google? Give me an example of how you would do that.

Kristen:
Yeah so I would just type in blogroll and “XYZ” affinity. Maybe going back to the example I just faced you were looking for vegan bloggers. You could type in blogroll and vegan bloggers and quite a few blogrolls should come up in your search.

Trent:
So blogroll, one word or two words?

Kristen:
One word.

Trent:
And do I need quotes or colons or anything or just type in blogrolls vegan bloggers?

Kristen:
I would put quotes around vegan bloggers.

Trent:
Okay. I am actually doing this as you are talking me through just to see what kind of results we get.

Kristen:
Nice, I have people do that for definitely a lot of different verticals. For example, I was actually talking to a client who was looking for mommy bloggers who wrote about having kids with allergies.

I think they were promoting a cold medicine and they had really good luck typing in mom bloggers with kids with allergies or something along those lines. And they actually found three different blogrolls to help them with their project.

So I definitely recommend checking out the whole blogroll thing when that applies. No matter how you do it, after you located your bloggers by context I always put narrow it down by numbers is okay once you have a good solid list of bloggers by context.

It is always best to think about what numbers or which social presence will be best for the social campaign that you’re running. A lot of people will narrow down their bloggers by their presence on certain social channels. For example fashion and food companies all of their marketing and social outreach is very visually driven.

I see them almost always requiring their bloggers to be on Pinterest and or Instagram. So that is always a good way to get that list down and make sure the blogger has at least some reach. If you use blogger outreach software like my company’s or a few others that are out there, you have access to the blogger’s traffic data.

Obviously that is a good one to look at. I see some people still look at Moz rank too once in a while.

Trent:
So once you have decided, “Okay, I need to get a hold of this blog, that one and the other one,” what are some dos and don’ts for making contact? Because I would imagine that is bloggers are dying to hear from you.

Kristen:
Honestly I think pitching is the most important part of any blogger outreach campaign or strategy, because everything is done online these days. Our first impression was virtual right? So that first impression comes with that initial email that you send out to the blogger. Also keep in mind bloggers are getting overwhelmed with pitches. Brands are seeing the value of blogger outreach and especially the bigger bloggers.

They are getting pitched over a hundred times a day so you need to think about what is going to make your pitch stand out and what is going to make that blogger want to work with you.

So A, you need to make sure what you are proposing to this blogger is a mutually beneficial relationship. You are going to get some awesome word of mouth marketing from these bloggers, so in your pitch you need to let them know exactly what you are offering them.

It can be a variety of different things, it can be access to exclusive information, it can be products for product reviews or just for their own personal use. Obviously sponsored posts happen a lot so it can be monetary compensation. Whatever it is going to be though, make sure you say that in your initial pitch.

One thing that is so important to me and I tell all my clients to do is to make sure your pitches are personalised. Don’t use Mail Chimp; don’t send out a mail merge. I know that it takes a lot of time to personalise the pitches to all of the bloggers that you are reaching out to but it is the only way to get decent response rates.

There is a couple of ways that you can streamline that process a little bit. Obviously if you personalise these pitches you are going to reference something from the blog, right? You want the blogger to know that you actually took a look at their content.

One way to do that is to go directly to their About Me page, this is where they introduce themselves, this is where they talk about how they want to work with marketers and brands. And sometimes you can get a fun titbit of information about them to then use in your pitch. Another way is to always reference the post that made you want to reach out to them.

And you can reference that post as being the reason why you think that the two of you are such a perfect fit to work together. That is a way to personalise that pitch. When it comes to the meat of the pitch and the content, keep it short and friendly but make sure it contains all of the necessary information that they need.

So what exactly you are asking of them; what you are offering them; any deadlines and schedules and stuff like that. Include plenty of hyperlinks to your site and any information that you think that they would need. In your first email, don’t attach anything, people in general don’t want to open an attachment from someone that they’ve never had contact with before. Just keep that in mind.

Another pitching tip that I give out a lot that I have seen a lot of success with; in that pitch wrap it up by saying that you like to work with bloggers on an ongoing level and you are always a fan of fostering an ongoing relationship. Bloggers really like to feel part of a network or part of a brand as opposed to just someone you are just using as a onetime mention or a onetime campaign.

So if that can fit into your strategy, mention that to the blogger because they will love that. So I think that covers my pitching tips for short. If you just follow those I think you could practice to get a killer pitch.

Trent:
So before we wrap up are there any other benefits we haven’t talked about with respect to working with bloggers?

Kristen:
Yeah, definitely, when it comes to blogger outreach I am a big fan of using bloggers to establish a network. So like I mentioned before, bloggers prefer to be part of a network or part of your brand instead of a onetime campaign usage kind of deal. I always use Char-Broil as my go to example for this.

They have built a network of bloggers. I believe that consists of about twenty bloggers so it goes to show that blogger outreach does not need to be done in massive quantities. Rather the quality of those relationships is what counts.

So they have worked with their network of twenty bloggers on an ongoing basis so these bloggers get two or three free grills a year. They email these bloggers every month to give them exclusive information about the brand Char-Broil before the rest of the world gets it.

They’re really good at fostering those relationships. They are keeping in touch with the bloggers, they ask them for feedback and for input when they change different components of their brand and their brand’s products. So when you can, definitely picture using blogger outreach to build a network as opposed to looking at it as kind of a camp cheap strategy.

Other brands have seen a lot of success working with bloggers in affiliate type programs. I actually just worked with Bulu Box. If you have not heard of them they send out health supplements and products once a month. It is a monthly subscription for this box.

They get sent out to their consumers once a month. They work with bloggers as affiliates. So they reach out to bloggers, offer them a free subscription to Blue Box and then if they like it the bloggers can then sign up for their affiliate program.

And then they get commission based on the number of new consumers they send to Bulu Box.

Trent:
Never heard of them before (asks how you spell it).

Kristen:
Yeah they are cool. I can link to that case study in the comments as well so that everybody has access to that. I think they implement a cool strategy over there for sure.

Trent:
Yeah, I would definitely like to see that case study.

Kristen:
Yeah and then I also want to give the example of one of our clients, Lorna Jane over here at GroupHigh. If you are not familiar with Lorna Jane, they are a yoga apparel brand and their head of digital over there, Sam; I think he is absolutely killing it with his blogger outreach strategy.

He actually told me that he had about 90 percent response rates when he reached out to bloggers which is almost unheard of. So he was actually nice enough to work with me on a few posts with a case study, he is really open about this strategy which I love. And he had some great tips that I want to share real quick.

Trent:
Sure.

Kristen:
He has a huge focus on authentic relationships so when he reaches out to bloggers he gives them a link to try something from Lorna Jane for free so the blogger gets to log on and pick anything they want and try it. He doesn’t require a post because he wants the bloggers mention or review of the product so to speak to be used in their content organically and authentically. So I thought that was really cool.

He also sent me a copy of one of his pitches. He always does personalised pitches and in his pitch he always talks about working with the blogger on an ongoing basis, only writing about the product if they like it or if they feel moved to, yeah he never requires a post. So I thought that was really cool and I always like to share that example and he has seen so much success for his brand with blogger outreach. He’s been implementing that strategy for a couple of years now.

Trent:
Do you think blogger outreach works better for B2C than it does for B2B?

Kristen:
I do, I absolutely do. The majority of my clients are B2C but that is not to say that it can’t be done for B2B. For example, GroupHigh, the company that I market for and work for is B2B. So I use our software to find bloggers who write about digital marketing and digital PR and blogger outreach. And I’ve earned a lot of really cool posts through them. So it works, it is just not as a popular of a tactic as when it comes to B2C marketing.

But if your blogger is on LinkedIn or other platforms that have proven to work well for your company that will amplify the results a lot for sure.

Trent:
So when you are doing an outreach for yourself what do you give them? Obviously you can’t send them a free pair of shorts or a shirt or something like that. So what do you give?

Kristen:
Yeah, so I give them access to our software, so I’ll give them a demo and access to GroupHigh so that they can run their own campaign. So obviously those old posts took a couple of months but once I scored those it is so worth it. The other bloggers say, “Hey I use GroupHigh for this campaign that I ran this is what I thought about it…”Those have always been the best traffic drivers to our site.

Trent:
Well sign me up because I want to try it.

Kristen:
Yeah you can absolutely try it I am your blogger outreach go to girl. I can help you with that.

Trent:
Alright cool. Before we wrap up Kristen is there anything that we haven’t talked about that we should that would make this interview a little richer.

Kristen:
Yes I can share my final piece of advice that I give to all the clients I work with. I really emphasize the value of thinking outside of the box when you work with bloggers so instead of just sending them a product to review or some awesome piece of information, spend some time thinking, what can you add to that campaign that will give a blogger’s posts a little bit more value.

What would round it out a little bit? A lot of people see success doing blogger events for example, “let’s try some reach allocations.”

Pretty much always do blogger events where a group of bloggers will come eat at the restaurant or shop at the store. This really gives the blogger a lot more to write about. And in turn is always way more interesting to their audience which is then going to cause more action as opposed to awareness from that post.

I recently worked with Florida Marriot on how they worked with bloggers to promote their hotels in Florida. They work with, I think it was five bloggers, and designed a Florida vacation for those bloggers. It is very personalised and so the blogger got to write about a whole trip instead of. “Oh I went to Florida Marriot for the day.” So anything that you can think of to add a little bit more value to that post and the bloggers audience, definitely implement that.

Equip the blogger with the right resources, high res images, logos, a hashtag, anything that would round out that campaign. I think the best posts always encompass an experience as opposed to a simple take or their opinion on a product. If you can keep that in mind then I think your strategy could be epic.

Trent:
Alright Kristen, thank you so very much for making some time to come and talk to me and my audience about blogger outreach.

Kristen:
Thanks for chatting.

Trent:
It’s been a pleasure to have you on the show.

Kristen:
No problem. Thank you Trent.

Trent:
So that is it for this episode. To get to the show notes go to GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/19. And if you enjoyed this episode please take a moment, fire up iTunes and go ahead and leave us a five star rating in the iTunes store.

I can’t thank you enough for taking a moment to do that because it really does help to bring more exposure for the show in the iTunes search engine. So with that said, that is it for this episode. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are looking for help with content marketing please do get in touch because that is what Groove Digital Marketing does. I look forward to having you back in another episode soon. Take care. Bye-bye

About Kristen Matthews

kristin-matthews on blogger outreachKristen Matthews is the marketing manager at GroupHigh and loves the collaborative elements of modern marketing so you should reach out to her for questions or to work with her! Contact her at kristen@grouphigh.com or follow her @KristenWords and @GroupHigh.

 

 

 

 

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