Some of the most respected influencers on the Internet today were viewed as illegitimate sources just a few years ago. You know them as “bloggers.” In a recent Technorati poll, more than 40 percent of those surveyed stated that their views closely align with those of bloggers, while their trust in mainstream media continues to wane.
For those who seek to market a product or service online, this is the perfect moment—many of the top industry influencers are also the most accessible. A single relationship with the right blogger could lead to thousands of instant relationships with targeted readers who fully trust that particular source; not to mention the back links. Unfortunately, the hunt for the right blogger can be a taxing job. Here are five tips to help make the hunt for the perfect blogger a bit easier.
1. Look right under your nose
Simply scouring the Web in search of the right blog can result in an overabundance of bloggers ill-matched to your business. Why search aimlessly when some bloggers have done a lot of the work for you? Review your site for comments, revisit old e-mails and check for Twitter mentions where a blogger may have already reached out to you. Bloggers who have made the effort to engage you have proven they are diligent marketers and will help get your brand seen and heard once you collaborate.
2. Reference blog directories
Browse Technorati, review Alltop, crawl BlogCatalog and search Alexa to determine who is the big blog in your field. Find the top influencers in your industry, research them and move in for the kill. If there is a blogger you wish would highlight your business, but you feel they are too big to conquer, search the content of their blog for mentions of smaller, yet related blogs that you can successfully connect with. Once you have built relationships with these smaller blogs, you can return to the once-unapproachable site with some posts under your belt that are worthy of mention.
3. Help a Reporter Out
Join HARO, a service that compiles lists of queries from reporters and bloggers who are seeking experts willing to share their experience, tell their story or sell their product. HARO sends out thousands of daily requests directly to your inbox and can often be better than the best of leads. Since 2008, HARO has published more than 750,000 journalist listings, including many from The Huffington Post and Lifehacker, all of whom need someone like you to complete their post. This tip is a must—it’s free and extremely useful.
4. Utilize a "blogger dating" Tool
The rise in popularity of blogger outreach prompts the emergence of sites based entirely on this concept. There are now a number of services to help you find, research, contact and track your outreach effort. Much like dating sites for bloggers and marketers, services like BlogDash, eCarin and GroupHigh help you find relevant influencers and allow you to rate them, group them, contact them and follow up.
5. Utilize good ol’ fashion Google
With all the Google products in existence, it’s no wonder that more than one can aid with blogger outreach. The obvious choice, Google Blog Search, is where you can search keywords relevant to your business as well as your business name. This allows you to locate and contact those who may already be an evangelist of your product (see Tip No. 1 above). Similarly, Google Analytics can reveal your product preachers through reports of blogs that have linked back to your site. Need just a simple blog suggestion tool? Google Reader suggests blogs that address the topics you care about and never seems to run out of recommendations.
Follow these five tips and you will find many relevant bloggers, but unless you properly organize your findings, you will end up overwhelmed and discouraged. From the very beginning of your hunt, list all possible candidates in spreadsheet that includes columns for contact e-mail addresses, dates of interaction or engagement, page rank, Web statistics and, once a post is uploaded, back links. Implement these tactics in an organized manner and you will be well on your way to a successful and pleasant blogger outreach effort.
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