According to Jenn Pedde’s presentation, blogger outreach is the act of extending services or benefits to the author of an online log, which contains their own observations, experiences, or knowledge relevant to a specific topic. Bloggers are generally considered to be experts in their field and have an established audience relevant to their topic(s). There are various advantages to engaging bloggers to be an active member of your community which include:
- Additional Traffic from Their own Established Fan base
- Potential ad revenue from additional traffic
- Increase in social media exposure
- Targeted audience
As Community Managers, we have a responsibility to represent our established community in a professional and respectful manner. While reaching out to any external parties, especially experienced bloggers, you need to ensure that you understand their goals and audience. Without understanding the author of the blog, you cannot relate to them and it often results in inaccurate communications being sent to them.
I used to run my own blog that centered on IT-related topics, such as software development, IT training, and business process improvement. During the time my blog was online, I received several e-mails from other reps from various online communities. These representatives sent generic e-mails requesting my participation for their .com, which generally involved adding my insights to their customer forums. The problems with these generic solicitations was that they were, in fact, “generic” meaning that they had no idea what I was doing with my own blog.
Why is this a bad thing? This is an easy question to answer… I knew that they had no investment in my blog, nor did they care about my success as a blogger in my field. A generic template being sent to a massive e-mail distribution list doesn’t help my enthusiasm with the Community Manager’s belief in my blog’s purpose. Community Managers must read the blog and know what the author is attempting to achieve, all of which can assist with their “sell” of a bloggers participation in the community.
What should community managers do?
Community Managers need to invest time into researching a blogger’s material. Once the manager knows what a blogger is doing, they can reach out to them personally via e-mail. Making a personal connection with the author can achieve their buy-in to your community therefore enabling you to reap the benefits of the relationship.
Overall, reaching out to bloggers is a great way to further promote a community and can enable you access to a new audience. Relationships with the bloggers themselves are key to ensure their buy-in and active participation in your community.