3 Tips to Make Bloggers Love You and Write About Your Startup
July 14, 2012 by Eric Taubert
“The best time to make friends with a blogger is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” - Ancient American Proverb
What are you doing?
You’re launching a startup. You’re unleashing a new product on the world. You’re adding functionality. You’re quitting your job and attempting to crowdfund some idea you have into a new life for yourself.
Wouldn’t any one of these activities, and countless others, be a little bit easier if you just had a few blogger friends who happened to write about your industry?
Of course it would.
Blogger outreach has become an essential part of marketing strategies for just about all products, services, crowdsourcing projects, non-profit fundraisers and almost everything else that makes worlds turn these days.
Bloggers well-established in their niches have passionate audiences who trust them. The coverage they offer generally happens quickly. And the content they create sometimes spreads like wildfire - building and demolishing empires in mere moments.
What are you waiting for - why aren’t you already friends with these superhuman entities with the power to move promotional mountains with just a few graceful clicks and keystrokes?
Here are “3 Tips to Make Bloggers Love You and Write About Your Startup”:
Tip 1 - Do Your Research
Image by J. Money under Creative Commons license.
If you want to meet people and form new relationships - you need to spend time where those other people are.
If we’re talking about bloggers, that means you should be spending more time online.
You need to constantly be on the lookout for quality blogs and blog writers who speak to your targeted audience. Keep a running Google Doc spreadsheet and get into the habit of updating it every time you discover a new voice.
These are directories of bloggers broken down by topic and/or accessible via free-form search. They will give you a sense as to who is out there, who some of the really big players are and how often people abandon their blogs - never to be heard from again.
You can also check Quora to see if anyone has already asked for, and received, a list of popular blogs covering your specific niche.
What are you looking for?
Not the big dogs - who get so much email and so many requests for coverage that they will likely never respond to you. Not the lethargic bloggers who haven’t posted an update since December 8th, 2010.
You want the hard working bloggers right in the middle. Consistent with their updates. Engaging their commenters. With active social media accounts and people tweeting their content.
When you find contenders, keep track of them on your spreadsheet. Blog names. Blog URLs. Email addresses (if listed). Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+ accounts.
To continue your search, head over to Twitter. This is where you’re more likely to hit some paydirt. Search for phrases related to your industry.
Are you looking to network with crowdsourcing bloggers? Search for “crowdsourcing”, “crowdfunding”, “kickstarter”, “Indiegogo”. Click through to the blog posts that come up - and keep track of the good ones.
Do you see some blog posts being retweeted more than others? These were written by bloggers who have engaged audiences who are passionate about your niche. These are the bloggers you want to form relationships with.
Once you have a solid list built - take some time and narrow it down to the top 10 or 20 bloggers worthy of making an effort to build relationships with.
Tip 2 - Build Relationships Through Engagement
Although content moves quickly through the blog world - building relationships takes as long as it ever has. So, don’t come charging out of the gate, foaming at the mouth, rabidly begging for blog coverage.
Image by chefjancris under Creative Commons license.
Nothing will get you ignored faster.
Instead, earn your respect.
These bloggers are creating content about the industry you work in. Follow their blogs. Retweet or reply to the links they post. Contribute value by commenting on blog posts. Help the blogger build community by responding to others who have commented.
Don’t market yourself. Use these initial interactions to create value and establish a sense of your fluency about the topics at hand.
Do you have a company/personal blog? If not, you should. One of the best way to meet bloggers is by becoming one yourself.
Once the blogger you’re interacting with begins to get a sense of who you are (and trust me, if you keep showing up and helping amplify their content, they will notice you) - then reach out to them on Twitter: “@blogger - Have a quick question for you, is it alright if I email?”
Follow up quickly with a short and personalized email - asking them for a quote you can use in one of your blog posts about the industry (not about your product - keep it clean).
Write the post, make sure to include a link to their blog - and then send them a very quick follow-up email letting them know where it’s published. They may even decide to share it with their followers.
Congratulations, you now have a relationship with this blogger.
Tip 3 - Make The Pitch
I’m sure you think your product or service is something everyone should stop what they’re doing immediately and tell the whole world about. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way. You need to build relationships and slowly educate your new friends along the way.
Once you have several relationships with influential bloggers in place, and you’ve been continually adding value to their activities - you’ve now earned the right to pitch them.
Image by Frank Hebbert under Creative Commons license.
The most important part of the pitch - try to create a win/win scenario. You know what’s in it for you - good publicity. You need to brainstorm about how can you create value for the blogger.
- Present your idea with a unique angle that will appeal to their audience
- Offer them a free product sample or membership
- Offer extra samples, discounts or promo codes to be used as giveaways on their blog
- Offer early access or a sneak peek
- Influential Blogger - give them an exclusive head start on the story
- Promise reciprocal traffic sharing - send some social media juice back in their direction
The pitch should come in the form of an engaging email. It should be highly personalized, quickly remind the blogger of a previous interaction you shared with them - then get right to the point. Make it concise.
Make writing the story easy for them. Make sure they have simple access to the assets they need to write the story.
Do you have a “press resources section” on your website? You should. Include company history and overview information. Key players and their short bios. Approved logos/images/videos for use in blog posts and articles.
Keep your expectations realistic. Not every story works for every blogger. If you pitch 15, expect 2 to say they’re interested. Don’t take it personal. Thank everyone, and let them know you’ll stay in touch with other important developments. Persistence also helps build relationships - but only pitch when you have noteworthy news to promulgate. Cry wolf a couple times with boring pitches, and your emails will never be opened again.
When bloggers do publish posts as a result of your pitches - make sure you help spread them around on social media platforms. Monitor comments, and respond to all of them personally and professionally.
Send the blogger a thank you letter - and continue nurturing the relationship. That day will come, not too far into the future, when you might require their assistance again.
Written By Eric Taubert - @erictaubert