Inbound Marketers can utilize blogger outreach to help achieve a number of objectives. Want to position your company’s CEO as an industry thought leader? Contact a mainstream media blog and offer him as an expert source on emerging industry news. Want to increase sales of a particular product? Offer relevant bloggers a free product sample to review.
It sounds easy enough, but many professionals still get it wrong. (Don’t believe me? Check out Bad Pitch Blog—an entire blog dedicated to poor pitches!) That’s why we did our research and want to share with you a few blogger outreach best practices all inbound marketers should follow.
- Do Your Research – Before crafting your outreach email, discover which bloggers would actually be interested in your pitch. Search company keywords on Technorati to find top, relevant blogs within your industry. Then, take the time to get to know the bloggers and their work before pitching. Read their “About Me” pages, dive into older posts, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their RSS feeds.
- Write a Descriptive Subject Line – Never underestimate the power of a strong subject line. Keep your subject line clear, descriptive and to-the-point. (It shouldn't be too difficult; Twitter’s been teaching us to write more succinctly for years!) Also, if you’re offering the blogger a free product, keep your subject line from seeming too spammy. I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to open an email with the subject line “Complimentary XYZ Product to Feature on Your Blog” than “FREE XYZ Product for Your Blog!”
- Personalize – As an inbound marketer, you know nearly everything nowadays is tailored to our specific, personal preferences: cover letters and resumes, news and RSS feeds, even copy on webpages. Enterprise Inbound Marketers wouldn’t add a web developer to a social media workflow, thereby bombarding her with irrelevant content; blogger outreach pitches shouldn’t be any different. Nearly everything relating to your pitch should be customized, including the timing of your outreach. Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t any elements of your pitch that can’t be the same. Your call to action, for example, should remain the same for each pitch.
- Be Concise and Specific – Much like the subject line, the main body of your pitch should be concise and specific. Give the blogger a clear description of your idea, insight or offering, prove you’ve done your research and thought this contact through, and don’t be vague. Remember, you’re asking the blogger for something; don’t make him go out of his way to discover what it is.
- Include a Call to Action (CTA) – You wouldn’t send marketing emails without a call to action (CTA), nor would you end a blog post without one. Don’t forget to tell the blogger what you want her to do with the information you’ve provided. It may be as simple as “Please reply to this email with your interest.” I also always note that I will follow up (usually within two weeks) to confirm pitch receipt.
- Follow Up – There are some who advise against following up with the blogger post-pitch, but I’ve always found it to be a good practice. As Maddie pointed out, our inboxes are usually flooded with various marketing emails, coupons and news from friends and family, so chances are good your pitch slipped through the cracks. When you do follow up, do it at what is likely a good time and by the blogger’s preferred contact method, two preferences you should have discovered in your research.
- Nurture Your Relationship – Sometimes in blogger outreach, the stars align: The blogger responds to your pitch and completes the action you requested! And while this is absolutely wonderful, your work is hardly finished. Blogger outreach is not a one-and-done tactic. Thank the blogger for his time and action, and continue to build your relationship. After all, he was of use of you now, who’s to say he won’t be of use to you in the future? And next time, you won’t have to do all of that pesky research!
Following blogger outreach best practices takes time, but your return on investment will likely be significant. Are you an inbound marketer ready to delve into blogger outreach? Share your tips or concerns in the comment section!
Photo Credit: Heimlich_el_centroamericano
Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist in researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.