Blogger outreach: securing the right relationships

Over the last few years, blogger outreach has become immensely important in many industries. Successful bloggers usually have a loyal readership, which forms a valuable and interesting target group for many companies and brands. If you’re successful in building long-term positive relationships with bloggers, they will make ideal brand ambassadors for your product or service.

But getting bloggers on board to help your company isn’t easy. No credible and integral writer is going to be won over by a few gifts and kind words. The blogger business has become a highly professional field, so taking the time and effort to build and maintain relationships with bloggers can prove quite the challenge for many companies.

How companies profit from blogger collaborations

Those that have made a name for themselves in the blogosphere can be incredibly interesting and valuable contacts for businesses and brands. But why should companies rely on private writers when they have more-than-capable staff in their editorial department?

The reason is simple: successful bloggers possess something that corporate company blogs often lack: authenticity and reach.

Authenticity: bloggers are mostly all for authentic, credible, and transparent reporting. Readers trust this type of content more than other marketing and advertising measures. If a blogger writes about a product, their opinion is sincere, whereas if a corporate blog writes about one, it’s usually quite obvious that it’s for self-promotion.

Reach: well-known and successful bloggers are mainly characterized by a loyal readership and their corresponding reach. A company can use this for their own gain, as well as the successful social media presence that bloggers have built up. Bloggers are also usually well connected and are sometimes even quoted in the media, so their reach is continuously expanding.

Blogs are an ideal marketing tool thanks to their reputation, authenticity, and reach on specific topics. Blogger relations help businesses in more ways than one: in addition to linking the brand with their own social media and content publications, companies can gain valuable access to the blogger's readership.

The challenges of blogger outreach: 5 tips for building contact

Bloggers are highly sought after as brand ambassadors and influencers due to the abovementioned reasons, giving way to many companies wanting to add blog collaborations into their communication strategy. But contacting and building up a rapport with bloggers isn’t that easy, since communicating with them doesn’t follow the usual PR guidelines. We have gathered 5 helpful tips to bear in mind when carrying out the task of blogger outreach:

Tip 1: Blogger outreach vs. traditional PR

Press releases, informational material, brochures – these are some of the classic tools that many PR departments rely on. While this unloading of (business) information might create brand awareness e.g. via a press mailing list, it can appear one-sided and doesn’t have much to do with blogger outreach. This is because bloggers aren’t journalists: they don’t have to wait for the next press release. Writers of successful blogs are independent, opinionated, and have entire free rein when it comes to their choice of topics and who they collaborate with. They write passionately about their favorite topics, meaning they want their collaborators to understand and share their passion. So if you want to work with bloggers, you have to convince them of your case and win them over

Tip 2: Blogging professionally is a full-time job

Companies want to target the more professional and wide-reaching blogs, which are usually more than just hobby projects. These bloggers work on their websites full-time, meaning that they often aren’t interested in sharing press releases or testing products – especially not for free. It takes a lot of time and resources for a blog to develop from a simple hobby to a full-time job. From technical implementation to creating content to maintaining social media: if you partner up with a blogger, you get the whole package! Still, many businesses don’t think that they actually have to pay bloggers. The bigger the reach the better: as a result, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to have rates between $200 and $500 per post.

Tip 3: Offer creative content to stand out from the crowd

A successful blogger will receive more than one request per day. If the reach and the target group fit, businesses are lining up to contact bloggers in the hopes of starting a blog cooperation. But with so many partners to choose from, this also means that bloggers can afford to be picky - sometimes even turning down large companies. So if you are acting as a business, you have to stand out from the crowd.

This is best achieved by winning the blogger over with your content. Through extensive texts and new, creative content ideas, you can emphasize your expert status and show them you’re on the same level. If the first e-mail you send to the blogger is customized to them and adapted to what they’re offering, you have a higher chance of a successful cooperation. Instead of offering press releases, you should be offering bloggers exclusive content and information that offer value to the readers.

Tip 4: Individual approach instead of mass e-mails

You should address bloggers in a personal and individual way from the outset. Many PR departments make the mistake of thinking 'the more, the better', and attempt to contact as many bloggers as possible in order to receive positive replies. This method can often backfire, since these e-mails can come across as impersonal. What’s more, it’s obvious that each blogger is receiving the same generic message. When contacting bloggers, it helps to use a more individual approach and reference the specific topics they have on their blog.

Company representatives should also be aware of how tight-knit the blogging network can be: if you send a badly-written, impersonal message to a blogger, the worst-case scenario isn’t that it could end up in the spam folder, but that it could go so far as to damage your brand’s reputation in the network.

Tip 5: Appropriate blogs and content relevance

To be able to customize your blogger contact approach, you need to carry out thorough research. Ideally, you want to identify blogs where the content fits perfectly with what your company offers. Finding topic-related blogs is only half the battle; it’s also important to offer the right fit of content. You should remember that blogs aren’t advertising platforms, so avoid obvious advertising tactics and PR messages in the proposed topics. Bloggers weren’t born yesterday: they will notice such marketing attempts and turn them down so as to preserve their authenticity.

But which subject areas are best for blogger outreach? Ideally, you should deliver topics that highlight competences in certain areas without overdoing it. If your aim is to strengthen your brand positioning, publishing high-quality content with bloggers is the ideal way to show you’re an expert in what you do. Transparency and credibility play an equally important role for brands: being able to openly handle criticism is crucial. Bloggers are free to express themselves on their platform, which includes relaying criticism when mentioning products or services.

Conclusion: it’s definitely worth the effort

Businesses can get a lot out of blog collaborations when they have the right strategy and choose suitable partners. At the same time, companies should also be aware that reaching out to bloggers and maintaining relationships is a time-consuming and challenging task. It requires a lot of engagement from both sides, but once you’ve managed to overcome the first hurdle, both parties can enjoy a lucrative, long-term partnership. Blogger collaborations can prove challenging, but they are an integral part of a company’s influencer strategy and shouldn’t be neglected.