It’s a critical part of digital marketing, particularly in the business-to-consumer space, but identifying bloggers of interest and cultivating the right kind of relationships with them is, well, time and resource expensive.
Let’s pretend you’ve just been handed a creative brief and marketing plan that includes blogger relations for a consumer product. We’ll call it the Woofie.
The problem? You only have two weeks to identify the right bloggers, lay the groundwork for developing a meaningful relationship, toss them your pitch, and get ready to ride the wave of positive reviews.
Sounds pretty daunting, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is.
Lots of blogger outreach campaigns simply fall short of expectations because the initial discovery can be complicated, time-consuming, and difficult to manage properly. Running a basic keyword query through a social scoring engine like Klout, Kred, or PeerIndex might give you a potential hit list of influencers, but you still need to apply the human touch and suss out what those numbers really mean.
If you’re building a pitch list as part of blogger outreach campaign, the steps might look something like this:
- Fire up Google and do some keyword searches relevant to your product niche.
- Locate and record contact information. Bloggers, if you want to work with brands, make it easy. Don’t obscure your email address behind a contact form.
- Customize pitch emails to each blogger
- Track send dates, replies, and follow-ups via a spreadsheet such as GoogleDocs or Excel
- Update that spreadsheet religiously.
Here’s the unpleasant truth: Your pitch can fall on deaf ears. You might get unpleasant responses. You might even be tempted to mass-send a generic pitch in hopes of getting a few nibbles.
Don’t do that.
As communications professionals, we have a lot of monitoring and intelligence tools at our disposal, and the list keeps growing. We have a gazillion different dashboards, metrics, and data points to sift through.
Measurement is important.
But the majority of these tools miss out on discovery, the linchpin of every successful blogger relations and outreach campaign. After all, you can’t launch an effective campaign without doing your due diligence.
Blogger Relations Simplified
A few weeks ago, I had a guided demo of GroupHigh, blogger outreach software that “finds influential bloggers, automate research, and track the engagement of your outreach campaigns.”
Identifying the influential bloggers in a niche category, evaluating the strength and engagement level of their readers, and getting your finger on the pulse of their social media activity takes time — and a lot of it.
Start with the List
Like many tools in this space, GroupHigh uses list categorization to help you organize your data, by importing URLS of the bloggers you’re attempting to target for outreach. For most users, this will begin with a simple keyword search related to the product category or niche.
In this example, I’ve chosen one of my favorite leisurely pursuits as a keyword search “trout flyfishing.” You’ll notice you can add (or remove) keywords at any time to further refine or expand your search.
Beyond the standard social media data of follower and fan counts, GroupHigh also displays the most recent posts, related blog categories, and MOZ rankings.
Now that you have your list of results, it’s time to start segmenting them out by getting more granular by tactic
For instance, I can target blogs that accept or use:
- Guest posts
- Sponsored (paid) posts
- Product reviews
- Display advertising
Product reviews seem to be the most commonly used form of blogger outreach, but guest posts and display advertising can be quite effective as well, in the right niche.
Have List, Will Contact
Once you have your list built, it’s time to start tracking pitches and responses. Here’s where the rubber really meets the road. Building the list is a straightforward process, but now you have to actually do something with that list.
The addition of monitoring and tracking services to GroupHigh really sets this product apart — from here, you can monitor specific blog posts for brand mentions and keywords, track contact from pitch to publication, and package this data into an easily-digestible report for clients. All this makes GroupHigh a robust competive analysis tool.
In other words, it’s not just a blogger outreach software. It’s part CRM, part monitoring dashboard, and part discovery tool.
The platform takes the pain out of blogger outreach by automating key functions and processes. The result: You can use your time (and the time of your team) productively and efficiently.
But it is an enterprise level tool — with a price tag to match. Right now, it runs about $7,500 per year with no limits on the app, lists, or searches. If you want to use it, get in on it now because – as a young company – it’s pretty likely their pricing will increase in the next few months.
It’s clearly designed with the PR firm and content agency in mind, but some big brands are using the tool to manage their blogger outreach. If you want to make the most of your blogger outreach, take GroupHigh for a spin around the block and kick the tires.
Thanks to our good friend Jay Dolan for the awesome image!