3
16
dev

Blogger Relations Made Easy with GroupHigh

By: dev | July 15, 2013 | 
17

Blogger Relations Made Easy with GroupHighBy Jason Konopinski

Blogger relations.

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.

The Checklist

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.

Really 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.

Right?

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
  • Contests
  • 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.

TL;DR

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.

P.S. We’re just a little more than a week away from our free webinar with email marketing genius, DJ Waldow. Join us on Thursday, July 25 at 11 a.m. CT. Register by clicking here.

Thanks to our good friend Jay Dolan for the awesome image!

17 comments
Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

How does this differ from Vocus which I think is similar in cost?

Also they have to change that name. The name has me thinking they are in a circle passing a spleef or bong. Who comes up with these names! lol

Latest blog post: The Three Things: Edition 39!

biggreenpen
biggreenpen

I don't have any expertise to add (honestly I suppose I'm on the other side, hoping to be the blogger to whom a pitch comes) but I do appreciate this insight into the process from the other side and the reminder about making ourselves easy to reach!

HeatherTweedy
HeatherTweedy

I found GroupHigh's lists to be a little spotty.  Too many bounced emails and incomplete blogger profiles for some of our industries.  But it was the best tool we demo'd in its price range.  

The time and effort finding "good" bloggers is a large part of why we have specific verticals.  When you spend all your time in three industries, you start to learn who produces results and who isn't really being read by anyone.  

Totally agree with your advice to bloggers to "make it easy" for brands if they want to work with them. Too many times, I've seen a blogger set up a page soliciting companies that leads to a contact form and it's a huge pet peeve!  

Would love a follow up post talking about blogger relations metrics.  :)  

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

That's pretty expensive - especially when it's essentially limited to just blogs, and you'd need other influence software/CRMs, etc, to manage.

So there's InkyBee from @forthmetrics that's been covered previously on Spin Sucks here. Their pricing is a lot more competitive, especially from an agency angle. 

I'm thinking if InkyBee was combined with a Social CRM like @Nimble then it'd be a fantastic solution at a fraction of the cost, and open blogger outreach up to the types of businesses that could really benefit, but maybe feel GroupHigh is too expensive?

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@HeatherTweedy Sounds like that's more an issue with the blogger's contact info, no? When I was getting the demo, I noticed a bug on my own site --- it was the most recent post....three months ago! GroupHigh was pulling RSS data that was outdated. They made a tweak within hours and the issue disappeared. 

Latest blog post: Poetry Friday: Ezra Pound

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@Danny Brown @forthmetrics @Nimble While I've highlighted the blogger outreach portion, there are some CRM capabilities attached as well, so I don't see the need to tie in additional software (unless I'm missing something). 

I haven't had the opportunity to take Inkybee for a spin yet so I'm afraid I can't really make an honest comparison. Yet. 

Latest blog post: Poetry Friday: Ezra Pound

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@jasonkonopinski See, that's where I'm curious about how much is in-house versus having to use external platforms, as that could make the cost quite prohibitive, if adding something like a HubSpot or a Salesforce is another cost on top of the $7,500, to really get the results from lead gen and ROI you're after. @Howie Goldfarb @forthmetrics @Nimble 

Latest blog post: Media

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

@Howie Goldfarb If only, then I'd be picking the right lottery numbers... The point of suggesting Nimble and InkyBee is cost, as well as true CRM management. Now, given I haven't seen GroupHigh's CRM that Jason mentions, but it's have to do a lot to justify $7.5k for many businesses and agencies. @jasonkonopinski @forthmetrics @Nimble 

Latest blog post: Media