Experts Blog

How To Create A Successful Blogger Outreach Program—And Why It Matters

By Shelly Kramer on Jan 05, 2012 - 02:34 PM

Building a blogger outreach program isn't only a priority for those in PR. If your business or brand has news and/or products to share, maintaining an updated blogger database—as well as active relationships—is a vital component of your outreach and information-sharing strategy.

Yet before you blast a pitch or press release to a group of randomly selected bloggers, stop! There's far more to implementing successful blogger outreach than the occasional email blast, which, let's face it—is downright spammy. Instead, let's look at some steps to building your blog network—and subsequently creating relationships that will make your sharing exponentially more effective. After that, we'll examine why blogger outreach is so important. If bloggers aren't already on your media and PR radar, I guarantee that your mindset will change once you've finished this post!

Creating A Successful Blogger Outreach Program

Not sure where to start in terms of finding a target blogger audience? Good news—there are a slew of tools that can help. Several of them, including Vocus, Cision, BlogDash and Traackr, are paid tools. If you're looking for a free service, try Technorati, Klout or PeerIndex. And don't forget Google Blogsearch – yet another free (and amazing) source.

Once you've decided on a tool (or are sampling a few), you'll want to create your blogger list based on a specific topic. Maybe it's your target industry, or a type of product. Regardless of your niche, it's important to define it—and pursue a relevant audience. Many bloggers complain of receiving impersonal pitches that have nothing to do with what they write—and that's one of the fastest ways to not only burn a blogger bridge, but also run the risk of sparking negative word-of-mouth.

Now that you've identified a group of bloggers, it's time to do a little research. Use sites like Klout and PeerIndex to note each blogger's influence. You can also experiment with Kred , Twitalyzer or TweetLevel, some other interesting tools. You will definitely want to make a note of their scores so that you can keep track of if and how those scores change over time. Keep in mind that these sorts of ranking tools aren't the be all, end all of online influence. They can be easy to manipulate and don't reflect the entire range of a person's digital experience. Yet as a basic, baseline guide, they work—and more importantly, you can put them to work for you.

At this point in the process, it's time to buckle down because you've got some work ahead. Divide your blogger list into easy-to-manage segments and spend time reading each blogger's site. Often. Every day, in fact. In addition to reading, you'll want to frequently comment. Your goal is to begin to build a relationship with each blogger. So many people (and PR companies) make the mistake of firing off a generic pitch to a blogger they've never talked to, thereby decreasing the blogger's incentive to take further action. Think about it this way: would you be more likely to promote a good friend or a random stranger?

This is the part of blogger outreach that becomes daunting because it's no doubt time-consuming—and difficult to fit into your busy schedule. Yet if blogger outreach is a priority for you (and it very well should be), this initial investment of your time will pay off down the road. Just as it takes time to build a business, a Facebook fan page or a Twitter following, it takes time to build a blogger outreach network. But once you have that network in place, it becomes an invaluable part of your digital outreach strategy.

After you've established relationships with some of your target bloggers, feel free to reach out with a blog pitch. Before you send it, take time to ensure your pitch is thoughtfully written. Also, be strategic. Tailor your pitch to the blogger you're reaching out to and you'll be amazed at the results you can see.

I love the example cited by Danny Brown, who was approached by Alexandra Kirsch, Social Media Coordinator for Planned Television Arts, as part of a blogger outreach to promote an upcoming book.

Danny received Alexandra's pitch, which was specificall tailored to Danny's experience. Part of Alexandra's strategy was to encourage individual chapter reviews and, based on a particular blogger's expertise, would send a chapter that aligned with their interest and preferred subject matter. It's a brilliant strategy that immediately showed Danny that Alexandra had done her homework. She didn't send a blanket book pitch, or a form letter requesting a book review. Instead, she focused on easier-to-digest chapters and matched those chapters with each blogger's experience, giving the blogger a greater incentive to complete the review.

Regardless of whether you're pitching a book or anything else, follow Alexandra's lead and customize your pitch to each blogger. Mention why that person is at the top of your list and why you think the information you're sharing is a good fit not just for the blog, but for the blogger's audience, too. Taking the time to individually craft each pitch will greatly increase your chances for coverage, and it also establishes a positive precedent between you and the blogger, further developing your relationship.

Why Is Blogger Outreach Important?

According to, BlogPulse there are close to 180 million blogs on the Internet. And although the vast majority of these are hobby blogs, the power and reach of the blogosphere as a whole has become undeniable.

Consider large corporations like Ford, Lowe's and Delta Faucet, all of whom have made significant investments in implementing and maintaining blogger outreach. Bloggers are now seen as powerful and influential sources of information, some rivaling even the largest media companies.

Imagine tapping into a fraction of this reach to help broadcast your company's message. Sure, blogger outreach is time-consuming, but when you consider that the largest investment is your time, you can likely reap more significant results than you would through more traditional channels of marketing or advertising.

After all, that's one of the greatest advantages of social media and digital marketing—the ability to expand your network and exponentially enlarge your reach, whether you're thinking regionally or globally. Tapping into the powerful and active blogosphere is an ideal way with which to not only utilize prime channels of communication, but also a smart strategy when it comes to creating and maintaining relationships that could be fruitful for years to come.

If you've already created a blogger outreach program, I'd love to hear any success stories you have. And if you're just getting started, let me know how that goes, too!