Howie Goldfarb

How the Zutano Blogger Outreach Program Hit Huge Audiences

By: Howie Goldfarb | August 18, 2014 | 
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How Zutano's Blogger Outreach Program Hit Huge AudiencesBy Howie Goldfarb

Do you know Zutano?

Zutano is a Vermont-based baby and toddler clothing brand (as well as toys and furnishings).

They have a small store in Montpelier.

Seriously, it is the size of a walk-in closet.

The clothes are high quality, colorful, and flattering for children three and younger.

They are so well made that hand-me-downs seem brand new.

After our children outgrow them, they are still as good as new.

Not to mention, their styles are fabulous.

So, being a champion of Vermont brands, I discovered a lot of action for the brand, especially on Twitter.

While a lot of shares were for products on their Amazon store, I saw a lot of promotions from mommy blogger sites.

I decided to investigate because everyone knows the ‘Mommy Blogger Legends’ in marketing.

Blogger Outreach Makes Waves

Blogger outreach can be a very powerful marketing tool if done right.

If you have read my Ode to Chobani here on Spin Sucks, you’ll know they became the number one yogurt brand in the U.S.—before they ever did any paid advertising or social media—through blogger outreach.

Zutano not only has a successful blogger outreach program and an Amazon storefront (plus BuyBuyBaby.com and Diapers.com), they also sell through many physical retailers, have a second company store in Manchester, and they opened a store inside FAO Schwartz in NYC.

This is more proof that small brands can stand out with the right distribution channels.

Blogger Outreach is a Natural Fit for Zutano

Betzi Bilodeau, who runs social media for Zutano, was kind enough to let me interview her about their blogger outreach program.

Howie: I discovered your blogger program when I did a simple search for Zutano in Hootsuite. You had so many mentions from people entering $75 giveaways on various mommy blogs. Could you please tell me a bit about the program?

Betzi: We have a very rich blogger network and aim to be working with two to five bloggers at a time in constant rotation. We have a base criteria that we keep in mind when we review requests from blogs to do a product review and conduct a giveaway.

Part of this criteria includes Google rank, pageviews, and social media followers, but each blog is reviewed beyond just the numbers.

Sometimes a blog will have great numbers, but the aesthetic or general topic of the blog isn’t a great fit for our brand.

Sometimes, especially when a blog is just starting out, the numbers aren’t there but we see something special and jump at the chance to start a relationship on the ground floor.

Like much of success in business, blogging is about relationships.

Our PR consultant, Ann Pechaver from Instinct Public Relations, is amazing at fostering relationships with our growing network of engaging bloggers.

Each blogger approaches giveaways differently and most receive thousands of entries.

We ask that the bloggers we work with suggest that their readers look Zutano up in the social media world.

We also ask that, whenever possible, they link back to specific product on Zutano.com so that readers can easily find whichever product piqued their interest.

Howie: Who decided to create this campaign? Is this a first-run or something that has been going on for a while?

Betzi: While we have been working with a core of bloggers for years, our campaign changes.

We’re currently wrapping up a campaign to raise awareness of our Zutano aden by aden + anais line in BuyBuy Baby stores.

Ann identified bloggers in key BuyBuy Baby markets and we asked them to direct readers to BuyBuy Baby or BuyBuyBaby.com to find our great new aden + anais licensed product.

Howie: Do you then follow the Twitter accounts of people who enter? If not, is that something you discussed strategically not to do or have you not thought about it?

Betzi: We do not follow the folks who enter our giveaways. Instead, we’ve focused our following on industry contacts, top bloggers, journalists, and general genre interest.

Howie: What metrics are you using to measure the success of BuyBuy Baby campaign if any?

Betzi: This campaign was about exposure, brand-building, and strengthening our partnership with BuyBuy Baby. Getting positive reviews/feedback and backlinks were our main objectives.

Howie: If you were to give me three points of advice for those looking to set up a blogger outreach program, what would they be?

Betzi:

  1. Build Relationships. Never forget that behind every blog is a person or group of people. Be genuine and honest and friendly and it will get you far.
  2. Make it easy for the blogger you’re working with to find the information they need. Provide relevant links to your company on social media, photos to your product, and relevant background information so your blogger partner doesn’t have to take extra time to search.
  3. Look beyond numbers (Google rank, pageviews, etc.) when evaluating a blog. Who doesn’t want to get in on the ground floor of something great? Look for potential and run with it.

Blogger Outreach Results

If you don’t believe how well the Zutano blogger outreach efforts are doing, just do a search on Twitter.

Zutano2

There have been plenty of posts here on Spin Sucks explaining how to pitch stories to media.

Bloggers are no different.

Take Betzi’s advice to heart as you begin ramping up your blogger outreach program. I have done this for clients with varying success, and it takes a lot of work and a long term view to see a return.

Do you have any other examples of brands with great blogger outreach programs that you could share?

Author’s note: This article is not part of the Zutano blogger outreach program and I have not been paid nor compensated in anyway. Zutano was chosen because they are a great case study and deserve to be showcased for it on one the best public relations and marketing blog in the world—Spin Sucks.

photo credit: The Zutano Instagram page

About Howie Goldfarb


Howie Goldfarb founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands and help them grow and thrive. His degree in finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies give him a CFO’s view of marketing. This brings a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. A native New Yorker and former Angeleno, he is still seeking his first moose sighting.

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