I’m obviously pretty biased, but if you’re running your own business and not harnessing the power of working with bloggers then you’re missing a seriously big trick! With thousands (or for some of us hundreds of thousands) of loyal monthly readers, getting your product or service in front of all those eager eyeballs has got to be a no-brainer. But bloggers are overrun with submissions so just how do you go about getting them to not only notice your pitch but actually want to write about you too?
1. Contact them correctly
The “Dear Blogger” email is probably the bane of every blogger’s life. Not addressing someone by name when you email them is not only lazy, it’s darn right rude. Why would someone then want to go on to promote or help you if you can’t even be bothered to find out their name or personalise your email?
It’s pretty easy to decipher what a working relationship might be like with a brand through that very first email. When you write to a blogger without using their name (or using someone else’s name – whoops!) what you’re really saying is “I want to work with a blogger… any blogger… I actually don’t really care who they are or what they do, I just want to get featured on some blogs”. First impressions are of the utmost importance, and if you’re sending out these kinds of emails, it will just appear that your strategy is nothing more than ‘spray and pray’… spray everyone you can and pray that someone is bored enough to want to write about you.
2. Get to know them
It’s important to get to know the bloggers before you contact them. Follow their blogs, read what they publish and interact with them on social media. Reply to their tweets and leave (non spammy) comments on their blog. Get to know them and try and get them to know you. That way, when it comes to pitching something to them you’re not just hitting them with a cold call, they might recognise your name or feel like they already know who you are. If they do they’re much less likely to just delete your email.
Similarly, if you’re actually reading and engaging with their blogs before you contact them, you can make your pitch much more personal and effective. Keep an eye on what they like, what they don’t like and the kind of things they’re already writing about. It would be a pretty embarrassing to pitch an idea to someone who’d just written about the very same thing last week wouldn’t it?!
It’s also vital that you’re pitching ideas that suit each blogger’s niche. There’s absolutely no point sending someone that loves alternative weddings and innovative ideas a pitch about your new line of off-white chair covers for example.
3. Don’t expect them to work for free
What?! You mean bloggers don’t just survive on freebies and the promise of ‘exposure’? I know, right, crazy – bloggers actually expect to earn money from doing their job, who would have thunk it?!
This seems to be a sticking point for a lot of brands and the amount of compensation many of them offer bloggers is laughable and often borderline offensive. Each blogger will have their own set of rules as to when a post or collaboration is paid for or not, but don’t start the proceedings by assuming that they’re going to want to write about you for free… or for a voucher… or a free gift. Some will, but most of the bigger and more established bloggers will not. You’ll be getting something out of an association with them so it’s only right and fair that they get something for their time and the exposure they can provide your brand too.
4. Don’t disregard newer or smaller blogs
A lot of brands or businesses will instinctively go for the bigger, higher trafficked blogs for their promotional efforts, but don’t disregard the smaller ones. In many cases it’s actually