Bloggers wield enormous influence in many markets and smart marketers strive to get bloggers to write nice things about them.
But outreach to bloggers can be tricky. Many bloggers resist overtures from marketers and other outsiders.
Here are five do’s and four don’ts when approaching bloggers to write about your company, product, or service, from my perspective as a blogger and a marketing consultant who advises clients on social media.
The Right Ways to Approach a Blogger
- Know whom to approach. Select bloggers whose focus and content is directly related to your product, service, or industry.
- Follow first. Follow the bloggers you want to build a relationship with to learn their topics, style, and point of view.
- Comment on their content. Add meaningful comments to their blog posts to show you’re paying attention to what they’re publishing and have an interesting perspective on their subjects.
- Share ideas. If you have a great idea for a blog post that fits the blogger’s editorial focus and isn’t totally self-serving to your interests, suggest it.
- Offer success stories or access to exclusive information. If you have a success story or other exclusive information to share with a blogger (and real data to back up your results), you’ll have better odds of being featured in someone else’s blog.
The Wrong Ways to Approach a Blogger
- Be totally self-promotional. If your only objective is promotion of your company, product, or service, bloggers will give you the cold shoulder.
- Approach bloggers about topics unrelated to their blogs. I’m a marketing consultant in Cleveland, Ohio and I use my blog to share ideas and insights about how to develop a smart marketing strategy. I also write about Cleveland marketers that are creating effective marketing campaigns. I’ve been asked to feature many things in my blog that are totally unrelated to these topics. Unless your idea fits perfectly with the blogger’s main subject area, the answer will be no.
- Ask bloggers to publish your content. Serious bloggers create their own content, so they’re not likely to want to publish yours. Give them an idea that might feature your product or the opportunity to interview an expert from your company, but don’t send them your pre-written content and ask them to post it.
- Ask to be a guest blogger. Unless you already have a well-established business relationship with the blogger or you’re the leading guru in your industry, your request to be a guest blogger is not likely to be granted.
The Bottom Line: Respect the Blogger – and the Boundaries
Bloggers who are committed to creating a meaningful blog see themselves as publishers and take their responsibility to their readers seriously. Respecting their position as authors and content developers – and offering ideas that benefit their readers and don’t just promote your company – can be a smart marketing strategy.