This post originally appeared on the Grouphigh blog and is reprinted here with permission from the awesome Kristen Matthews.
Now that 2014 has taken over with a bang, everyone is scrambling to put goals, strategies and innovative campaigns in place so that they can look back and call it a good year.
One thing that is certain is the effectiveness of working with targeted influential bloggers to promote any aspect of your brand. From a new product to an infographic to a DIY YouTube video to a product giveaway, bloggers are helping brands score actionable mentions.
Because blogger outreach has proved itself effective, 2014 is about no longer testing out the waters of blogger outreach but putting solid strategies in to place to do the best blogger outreach possible.
Here are 5 ways that you can take your relationships with bloggers from decent to awesome.
Cultivate Long Term Relationships
Long term relationships with your network of bloggers leads to true advocacy. When a blogger sincerely likes your brand they mention it on an ongoing basis which makes their mentions come across as sincere.
You can cultivate these relationships by simply keeping up communication with the bloggers. So many brands reach out and score their one time campaign mention and move on. Instead, thank the bloggers for the post, send them product from your brand, send out a monthly newsletter to keep bloggers in the loop and provide them with exclusive information and content concerning your brand.
Part of cultivating strong and ongoing relationships is understanding that bloggers are requiring more compensation. They understand how much value their mentions can bring to a brand so be prepared to start compensating more monetarily if you’re not already.
Include the Bloggers in Your Brand
Jumping off the fact that long term relationships are extremely valuable, part of cultivating these relationships is realizing that bloggers are no longer an outside strategy but an extension of your brand. (Tweet this)
Treating bloggers as part of the brand leads to more advocacy and stronger relationships and who doesn’t want that?
You can do this by sending them new products that your brand puts out before it’s released to the rest of the world and asking for their opinion on things pertaining to your brand. Some brands have bloggers write for their website to keep them engaged.
Lay a Solid Foundation
We’ve discussed in excruciating detail how to pitch bloggers. The value and importance of a personalized pitch is more important than ever if you want bloggers to respond.
Not only should your pitches be personalized and “mail merge” should no longer part of your vocabulary, but, social engagement with bloggers is very important for a solid relationship as well. Follow them on all of their social channels, engage, share their work on your own digital channels and comment on their posts. Keep your name in their head so that when you do send a pitch email they already know you.
Enlist the Help of Your Creative Juices
From the way in which you reach out to the bloggers to the actual post and campaign tactics used, quite simply, creative campaigns make for better posts.
Blogger events are a popular way to sprinkle creativity in to blogger outreach while gathering a bunch of bloggers in one place to learn about and experience your brand first hand. Check out these uber creative blogger events in this post for inspiration.
Or check out this campaign by a laundry detergent company. They sent bloggers high end fashion items that were so covered in stains the clothes were unrecognizable. Of course the items were sent with the detergent so the bloggers could wash the clothes and reveal a brand new (and expensive) shirt.
I could go on all day with a list of creative blogger outreach campaigns so here is the link to an ebook I created on the topic so you can read more.
Time to Set Real Goals
Because blogger outreach has been a bit of an informal process in the past, many companies haven’t set goals before setting out on campaigns and relationship building.
A strategy without goals is just a bad idea. Because blogger outreach should be an ongoing process, set goals before you begin reaching out. Some goals include:
- How many bloggers do you want to work with?
- Do you want more social followers and/or leads as a result of your efforts?
- Maybe you want to increase traffic to your site?
- Do you want to see an increase in online purchases made from blog referrals?
- Is there a new product or brand message that you would like to push?
- What is your compensation budget? How are you going to calculate ROI on this budget?