This week’s topic of discussion dealt with blogger outreach, or, fostering a relationship with, and offering services to, online writers who might prove beneficial to a brand or company in some capacity. From class, we’ve learned that connection is key, but there are definitely right—and wrong—ways for going about it.
1. …Have a goal in mind.
Blogger outreach starts in-house, a point stressed in the ebook, “The Best Practice for Effective Blogger Outreach,” which tells businesses to have objectives lined out. Much in the same way that an army can’t go to battle without a strategy, a business can’t extend itself online without an idea of why. Identifying one’s objectives also means identifying a target audience, effectively narrowing down the wide pool of bloggers on the Web to a relevant selection.
- Research potential target audience first. You should know everything about them going in—not the other way around.
- Social media isn’t the only factor to keep in mind. PR and brand awareness is good and all, but not if they don’t translate into some sort of revenue.
2. …Be creative with your methodology.
According to “12 Ways Strong Social Brands Connect With Their Audience,” Britt Michaelian makes a point of saying that it’s not enough to just have a voice online; it should also be different from anything else online. Easier said than done, yes, but it helps if you’re already in touch with blogger lingo and etiquette, as referenced in “Building Community in Blogger Outreach.” Do what you see other prominent bloggers doing; tap into their interests and make it work to your advantage.
- As in real life, don’t be afraid to have a quirky personality. “Weird” or “eccentric” just means being one step above the white noise of the Internet.
- The Denny’s blog, for instance, benefits from being hosted on Tumblr: They can post topical things they see other Tumblr users responding to and reblogging themselves.
3. …Build loyalty for your brand.
The best way of going about this is offering accessibility. In Britt Michaelian’s “How to Build Fierce Loyalty for Your Brand Community,” she argues for helping audiences feel “wanted and needed within the community.” By creating spaces for discussion and thinking in terms of we than I, brands can maintain conversation that will slowly but surely lead to support from within the community.
- Extend across social media platforms. The more places for discussion, the more loyal customers.
- Lead, but don’t make it apparent. You’re not there to herd people around; you’re there to engage them.
1. …Forget to be human.
This seems to be at the crux of everything we’ve learned this semester, but that’s because it doesn’t become any less true the more we learn about community management. Press releases and cold calling (…blogging), then, are ill-advised ways of reaching out to bloggers. Instead, stay honest and stay personable. Don’t be afraid of humanizing a brand—thinking small-scale also means paying more attention to detail, which works miles on online readers.
Share your thoughts—or any other dos and don’ts—in the comments below!