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by David Spinks

"If you still don't think bloggers can change how YOU do PR then YOU need to read this guide!" Shane Mac

"Plenty of gurus know blogs, but nobody gets the relationship between PR and bloggers like David Spinks. His ebook should be the starting point for everybody who pitches bloggers. If people follow the step-by-step advice he gives, we'll have a lot more happy bloggers - and PR clients." MichaelSMARTPR www.michaelsmartpr.com

Wow! If you need help understanding blogger relations and how it works, stop no further than right here. This book is a step-by-step instruction on how to research, how to engage, how to build relationships, and how to pitch the right bloggers for your business that makes something seemingly overwhelming easily manageable. No more taking the traditional PR route to blogger relations. Youll get it right after reading this. Gini Dietrich, chief executive o cer, Arment Dietrich, Inc.; author Spin Sucks

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THE GUIDE TO BLOGGER OUTREACH

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Whats Changing?................................................................................... 5 How Will This Trend Affect Your Business?............................. 5 What Makes Blogger Outreach So Valuable?........................... 6
Targeted............................................................................................................................. 6 Long-term Relationships........................................................................................... 7 Trust......................................................................................................................................7 More Accessible............................................................................................................. 7 The Network Effect ..................................................................................................... 8

The Frept Model For Blogger Outreach......................................9


Step 1: Find....................................................................................................................... 9 Step 2: Research............................................................................................................ 10 Step 3: Engage............................................................................................................... 11 Step 4: Pitch.................................................................................................................... 12 Step 5: Track..................................................................................................................... 16

Now What?!................................................................................................. 17

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The world of news and media is changing and many businesses are still scrambling to keep up. This shift can be scary because it is so unfamiliar. As our control over news and content oats away, we can either ght the trend, or adapt. Not to worryonce you understand the changes, youll feel more comfortable adapting.

Whats changing?
Content is becoming completely niche. Publications that try to be everything to everyone are getting undercut by highly targeted blogs. These niche sites are lling in the gaps. In January 2011, BlogPulse reported that 153,463,247 blogs currently exist on the web, so its not hard to believe that you can nd a blog on anything, from basket weaving to bodybuilding. Now, after years of exponential growth, bloggers and citizen journalists are increasingly regarded as truth-bearing news outlets, while faith in traditional televised news is waning. With technologies like Twitter and RSS, speed is paramount in the eyes of the consumer, and bloggers are always ready to break a story without delay. More information is being pumped out, by millions of people every day than could be read in a lifetime. It has reached the point where content can become old news in a matter of hours.

How will this trend affect your business?


Outreach strategies need to be adapted. Scoring a hit in the New York Times is still great, but the value in reaching out to bloggers and other in uencers online continues to grow. Average people are building a following online, earning the trust of their readers, and looking for targeted opportunities from businesses. Today its important to understand how to reach both traditional, and new media content producers. Many times, by initiating the news cycle with bloggers, the story will gain traction and mainstream news sources will pick it up.

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THE GUIDE TO BLOGGER OUTREACH

Many businesses fail to realize that conducting blogger outreach is not the same as conducting traditional media outreach. Not by a long shot. Bloggers have less tra c than mainstream publications and theyre often focused on a speci c topic. For example, you might have a mainstream music publication, but in the blogosphere, youll nd a punk blog, a jazz blog, country music blogs. They also focus on a speci c geographical location, so you might nd a NYC jazz music blog. Theres a diverse range of bloggers with di erent goals, falling somewhere between professional and recreational. Many bloggers consider themselves hobbyists. Their blogs are very personal to them and they will immediately defend them if they feel someone is trying to take advantage. Some bloggers write for a living, and are looking for ways to make more money. Many bloggers are a combination of the two. Getting to know the speci c person youre pitching and crafting a personalized, targeted message has never been more important. You can waste a lot of time if you dont do blogger outreach the right way. Out of the bloggers involved in the Technorati 2010 State of the Blogosphere study, 34 percent said that they never talk about brands on their blog, and a little over half of those bloggers said that they would never write a review about a product or service. That means you could spend a lot of time pitching bloggers to review your product with no chance of success if you dont do your research.

What Makes Blogger Outreach So Valuable?


TARGETED
Theres a lot of value in having a clear and precise understanding of whom youre reaching with your message. You can target a speci c niche with traditional media, but only to a certain extent. Blogger outreach really allows you to zone in on the speci c interests that youd like to reach. Remember, there is a blog for EVERYTHING (or so it seems). Each one drives a specialized audience.

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LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS
When you work with a blogger, youre getting more than just a blog post. Its a relationship that you can turn to time and time again. If the bloggers rst experience with your company was a positive one, there is a greater chance that theyll want to work together again. They may mention you in multiple blog posts, or refer others to their blog post about you when asked for product recommendations. You get more than media coverage; you get a vocal supporter of your work.

TRUST
Bloggers tend to develop loyal readerships of people who trust them and their opinions. Trust is transferable. If a reader trusts a blogger, and that blogger trusts your product, the reader in turn will trust your product. When a blogger shares a positive opinion about your product, their readers will be inclined to adopt the same opinion. Traditional journalists will rarely share an opinion of a company or product. Their job is simply to inform objectively, and let the reader make their own decision. Its still valuable, but it doesnt transfer that level of trust. Of course, it works both ways. If a blogger is being honest and they dont like your product, they can convince their readers to dislike it as well.

MORE ACCESSIBLE
It will be much easier to get an email in front of an average blogger, than a big publication in many cases. Of course, there are bloggers out there who receive hundreds of pitches every week. Thats why its often smart to target the middle range of bloggers. Public relations blogger Brian Solis calls this the magic middle. Theyll be the ones who will be excited to nd targeted opportunities while still being able to make an impact for your business.

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THE GUIDE TO BLOGGER OUTREACH

Bloggers and journalists are ocking to twitter these days. It can make them more accessible, however mainstream journalists and high tra c bloggers still arent too responsive. The middle range bloggers are the ones that will respond to you, and interact on social networks.

THE NETWORK EFFECT


Bloggers are usually connected to other bloggers. They share each others content, read each others posts and comment on each others blogs. So when one of them writes about you, chances are, the other bloggers in their network will write about you too.

Blogger outreach is relatively new. It can be scary and it can seem like a lot of complicated and tedious work. So lets get to work on breaking down the process. This e-book lays out a very simple approach to performing a successful blogger outreach campaign.

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THE GUIDE TO BLOGGER OUTREACH

FIND

The FREPT model for blogger outreach


2. Re se arc 3. En h ga ge 4. Pi tc h 5. Tra ck
THE GUIDE TO BLOGGER OUTREACH

Step 1: Find
The rst step in blogger outreach is to nd the bloggers you might want to reach. All of the bloggers that you nd now may not be the ones you ultimately pitch, but rather a starting point for whom you might want to reach out to later. Find as many bloggers as possible in that industry. In some niches, you may not be able to nd as many. Either way, this step will allow you to get the big picture of the bloggers in the space, which you can narrow down in the following steps. Where can you nd those bloggers? Its not always easy. Here are some resources that have been used: Blog Databases Technorati BlogCatalog Alltop Twitter Directories WeFollow Twellow Twitter chats Organized, scheduled chats on twitter that focus on a speci c topic. You can nd twitter chats by searching for their hashtag, and joining in the scheduled chat. Blogchat Journchat pr20chat These are all great tools, but none of them were made for blogger outreach. Theyre just

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1.

Fin d

FIND RESEARCH

what exist, so it can be tough to nd the bloggers youll want to include. Another option is to buy a list of bloggers. This is a lazy shortcut as the list wont be very targeted and youll probably still have to do most of the research. Lists also tend to be very expensive for the value youre getting out of it. The lack of e ective tools is a large part of why we started Blogdash. It provides a new solution for nding the bloggers that match your brand or product. You can lter through thousands of bloggers by keyword, category, klout (online in uence) score, Google page rank, location and much more.

Step 2: Research
This is the most important step in your entire campaign. The quality of your research will determine whether youll be successful in your outreach. Its important to learn everything you can about the blogger for two reasons: 1 It helps to identify the right bloggers for your campaignthe bloggers who will actually appreciate your story. 2 You can make your pitch as personalized as possible. So what information should you look up? You dont necessarily need ALL the following information, but the more you can learn the better. Here are some questions you want to be able to answer: 1 What does the blogger write about? Also, what kinds of posts do they write? Reviews? Opinion? Lists? 2 How professional is the blogger? Do they make money? Do they have ads? Have they worked with businesses in the past? (Usually, if the blogger has a more professional approach, theyll be more receptive to pitches.) 3 Who is the bloggers audience? What are their demographics? (ie. Age, location, sex etc_) 4 Are they in uential on other social networks? What is their total reach? So now you need to get the answers. Heres some information you might want to nd about the blogger: 1. Recent posts 2. Geographical location 3. Social accounts a. Twitter

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RESEARCH

b. LinkedIn c. Facebook 4. Other publications they write for 5. Frequency of posts 6. Klout score (Klout is a measurement of someones online in uence.) 7. Networkother bloggers they are connected to 8. Site analyticsget an idea of their tra c. a. Google page rank b. Compete score c. Alexa ranking Once youve gathered all this information, you should know which bloggers you need to focus on. Narrow it down to around 10-20 bloggers. Its enough that you can really make an impact in the space, without having to disperse your focus across too many bloggers. If you choose the right ones at the tipping point, when they write about you, the rest of the bloggers will follow.

ENGAGE

Step 3: Engage
So youve searched and researched. Now, if you want to increase your chances of nding success in your campaign, you should begin to engage with the bloggers. How much and how long you should actually engage with a blogger depends on the blogger. The more professional bloggers are comparable to traditional journalists. Theyre on the lookout for great stories and opportunities, so they will be receptive to a pitch assuming its targeted and personalized. In this instance, engaging is less important. Many bloggers arent so professionally minded. Their blog is personalits their baby and theyll only let certain people in if they know and trust them. Engaging rst is most important with these kinds of bloggers. How can you engage with them?

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ENGAGE

Comment on their blog posts.


Especially posts that are relevant to your story, without coming across as pitchy. Make sure youre contributing sincere, comfortable and valuable comments. You want them to remember your name more than your company, so that they recognize you when you pitch them.

Reply to their tweets, and ReTweet their links.


Replying is the most important action on twitter. Same as in blog comments, you want them to remember your name so that when you reach out to them, they recognize you. Replying is more important than retweeting. Bloggers, especially popular ones, tend to glaze over ReTweets. If you comment on a post and then share the link with their twitter name in there, youll stand a better chance of getting their attention.

Email them.
You dont have to wait until you pitch to make the rst email contact. Send them a message to share your thoughts on their latest blog post. Ask them a question. Email can be a great way to build an initial relationship. Then, when you actually want to pitch them, you have the option of replying to the existing email thread.

Involve them in your project from the start.


If youre building a new tool, conduct market research by interviewing bloggers. Get them involved in the building process so they feel like they own a part of it. You can also ask them for a quote that you want to include in a blog post. Or even do a full interview with them on your blog. Most bloggers are really receptive to doing interviews. This will help you get their support early on, without asking for too much. With BlogDash, you can create lists of bloggers, and respond to their tweets and blog posts right there. Tracking your engagement with bloggers is really important so you know where you stand before pitching them.
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PITCH

Step 4: Pitch
Now, the part youve all been waiting for the pitch. All your hard work to this point can go down the drain if you dont do this part correctly. But hey, heres the good news. If youve already done all the hard work to research and engage the bloggers, the pitch becomes easy. It becomes a soft sell. There are several components to remember when pitching a blogger: 1) Write captivating email subject lines. As media relations trainer Michael Smart reminds us, The sole purpose of the subject line is to get the blogger to open the email. Dont get too cute or sensational with your subject. Just get them to open it. That doesnt mean you can say whatever you want in the subject line just to get them to open the email. If its not honest, and consistent with the message, youll fail fast once they open it. 2) You must ALWAYS personalize the email message. At the very least, use their rst name. Sometimes, it helps to start the pitch with a reference to one of their blog posts and share a quick thought on it. The point here is to make it very clear that this message was written for them, and only them. Want a sure way to show that a message was personalized for that speci c blogger? Send them the pitch in video format. Just you, in front of a camera, talking to the blogger. 3) Remind them of previous connections. If youve connected with them before, you could remind them. If you contacted them by email once before and they replied, you may even want to just reply to that last email thread when you pitch them. It will remind them that you spoke before. If they dont respond to your initial contact, its okay to send them another email in a

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PITCH

couple weeks. Sometimes they dont see it. 4) Beauty in brevity. Keep it short. No more than four paragraphs. 5) Be a knowledgeable and helpful resource. How can you provide as much information and multimedia as possible while still keeping it brief? You can attach separate les to the email message. If you insist on adding a press release, its best to add it as an attachment. Dont paste it in the email message. It may be smart to use a service like Pitchengine where you can package and share all of your PR assets with bloggers without including it in your email. This way, you can keep the email short while providing all the additional information and multimedia (videos, pictures, etc.) on your Pitchengine page. Pitchengine will also allow your content to be found on Google. That means that coverage opportunities may come to you. 6) There are more channels than email. According to Technorati, around 80% of bloggers reported using Twitter. The most popular reason for using Twitter was to promote their blog. 56% of bloggers link their Twitter account with their blog. 87% of bloggers use Facebook but only 34% of bloggers have a Facebook page dedicated to the promotion of the blog If youve done a good job of connecting with the blogger on Twitter or Facebook, it can be e ective to initiate the pitch in a private message. Send them a quick direct message saying Hey, wanted to run a story by you. Mind if I email? This way theyre expecting the email and will be more receptive to it. LinkedIn could also be a good place to message the blogger. If you message them on these platforms, and they use them regularly, chances are theyll at least see the message. "Some bloggers prefer receiving pitches through these platforms because it ensures that theyve connected with you before. Others hate it. Do your research rst. 7) Give First. Remember to make the pitch about the blogger and his/her readers. Sometimes, a good story is enough. Other times, a blogger may need more.

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PITCH

One way to provide value is to literally give them something either to use, or to give away to their readers. You could give them the product you want them to review, or a free account to the site youd like them to cover. Another option is to send tra c to their blog. Can you link to their blog from your site? Perhaps you can add a section to feature bloggers that write about you. Sometimes, a blogger may just want payment. The point is, the more clear value you o er them, the more receptive theyll be to working with you. Remember though, if you give them anything, they have to disclose the relationship. Its the law. There is no single solution for all your pitching needs. The value in personalizing your message cannot be stressed enough. That said, it can help to see an example of how you can set up a pitch in a speci c situation. Here is a hypothetical sample:

Bob the Gamer


In this situation, Im reaching out to Bob, a gaming blogger that I interviewed on our blog a few weeks ago. Were doing a private test of our new site, Gaming Goggles. Wed like Bob to try the site out and invite his readers to join. Subject: Re: Blog Interview Hey Bob, Thanks again for doing that interview with us a few weeks ago. It was a hit with our readers. I wanted to run a quick story by you. We just launched our new site called Gaming Goggles and wed love for you to check it out. Its a new way to record your videos, scores and other content from the video games you play. I know you wrote about the growing video game community online last week, so I thought you might appreciate what were trying to accomplish. Wed be happy to provide more invitations for you to give away to your readers as well. Heres your invite code: BobsCode

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PITCH TRACK

If youd be willing to write about it, and need any more information, you should be able to nd it here [link to news page] or just email me. Thanks for your time. Kind regards, David Spinks Co-Founder Its important not to sound too salesy. No one likes being sold to. Assuming I took the time to comment on Bobs blog, connect with him on twitter and built that relationship, theres a strong chance Bob will at least check out the site and decide if its newsworthy.

Step 5: Track
You thought that was it didnt you? Once you pitch, your job is done, right? Wrong! This is where you start tracking the conversation and following up. To be sure you know when the blogger writes about you, use Google Alerts, Tweetbeep (Twitter alert) or other tracking tools so that youll know as soon as that post goes up. Then you should join in the discussions and content sharing. Help them spread the post across social platforms. Respond to any comments they get personally. Even after its all said and done, theyve written about you and you reported the results to your boss or client, stay involved! You never know when you might want to reach out to the blogger again. Blogdash will help you track and report on your blogger outreach campaign as well.

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Now what?!
So now you have a basic game plan for your next blogger outreach campaign. Easy right? When you approach it the right way, it can be easy. True, its still time consuming, but thats where we hope to help with BlogDash. BlogDash is built to help you go through each of these steps easily and e ciently. It helps to do blogger outreach the right way. Bloggers will even provide pitch preferences, letting you know up front what theyre open to being pitched about, and how they expect to be pitched. You wont have to fumble around with excel spreadsheets anymore. Our list management tools help you keep everything nice and organized throughout your campaign. Whether you use BlogDash or not, we want you to feel comfortable with blogger outreach. If you have any questions at all about blogger outreach in general, or about BlogDash speci cally, email David@BlogDash.com any time and Ill respond personally. Happy outreaching!

To learn more about BlogDash and how it can help you do blogger outreach the right way, visit http://www.blogdash.com

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THE GUIDE TO BLOGGER OUTREACH