In a nutshell, “Blogger Outreach” is the act of reaching out to bloggers to collaborate or mention your product or posts. And it’s really simple, you just need to follow a few rules.
PR and Blogger Outreach is as equally important as the product you create, and vital to promoting your product and maintaining a steady flow of traffic to your website. It is very time consuming, but highly rewarding when you do get a press write up, mention, blogger collaboration, or editorial placement. If you are financially able, hiring someone to do PR and Blogger Outreach for you is ideal. This task alone can be a full time job, and if you don’t have the time, you will be missing a very crucial element to success.
So if you can’t hire someone yet, you will need to bite the bullet and DIY it for a while.
At first it can be very intimidating for someone who has never done PR and Blogger Outreach but I assure you, it’s not that hard, you really just need to know a few do’s and don’ts –and be prepared to work your butt off.
Make sure you understand the amount of time it’s going to require to reach out to the right bloggers, editors, etc. It’s an ongoing effort that doesn’t end, and you will need to make a schedule so you can devote time to outreach as well as creating your content (or a product, whichever it is you do).
Create, Research, Write, Send, Follow-up and Repeat.
I think I must have sent 30 emails out before I got an interview and write up with Fast Company about my bicycle bag project. Be diligent and don’t give up! It WILL pay off.
If you plan to do your own PR, make sure you are currently creating or have created some kind of social media rapport before pitching your product to an influencer or editor, even if it’s just to Comment, Share or Re-Tweet an interesting news article they have written.
Make sure you are targeting the right blogs, magazines, etc.
Know Thy Writer. You can send email after email, but unless you research and “get to know” the writer and learn exactly what they cover, you’re wasting your time. For example, if you’re marketing a yoga wear product, don’t just reach out to general fashion bloggers, find those that focus on healthy living, yoga lifestyle, sustainable clothing, etc.
You can find and conduct research by going through sites such as Bloglovin’, and searching for relevant bloggers, reading their posts and then taking notes of their content that map to your product. Make a spreadsheet to keep track.
You can also contact bloggers in a more “automated” way, by using tools such as BuzzStream or HARO that save the time it takes to do influencer outreach. Another option is to outsource your PR / Blogger outreach by contacting one of many independent, professional Social Media Managers (freelancers) or agencies that represent bloggers who can manage the outreach campaigning on your behalf.
Once you know your target influencers, make a list of the contacts you’d like to reach out to. Emails are the best way to reach influencers, bloggers, editors. Make the emails concise and personal. Sending canned, lengthy, impersonal, copy-and-paste templates are a big ‘no-no’. We know when an email is a copy-and-paste and it’s not only offensive but it just feels like SPAM. If you need a guideline, I have provided one for you to use as a reference point.
This first email here can be used for blogger outreach if you are wanting to do a collaboration:
Hey/Dear/Hello _________, (use first names, never write ‘Dear Editor’)
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m the Social Media Community Manager at [YOUR BLOG NAME]. I came across your site and couldn’t help but appreciate a number of your posts. Feel free to add the title of a particular post here that you enjoyed.
[The pitch: With winter upon us it can be difficult to maintain clear and healthy looking skin. The frigid air takes its toll making our exposed skin dry, cracked, itchy and irritated. It’s this time of year, more than ever, when we need to take extra measures to battle back against the cruel cold.] You will want to write your own copy here, based on the subject or project you’re working on.
We’d love the chance to hear about you and your thoughts on [subject (i.e. winter skin care]. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in and I’ll happily provide you with some more information!
Looking forward to hearing from you soon 🙂
Basic guidelines for this initial email:
- The first email you send should be quick and to the point.
- Include relevant, supporting links.
- Be enthusiastic about what you’re presenting, but don’t feel as though you need to write everything all at once.
- Make it easy for them to send a quick yes response by ending the email with a “Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in and I’ll happily provide you with some more information!” or a quick, “Is this something you would be interested in?”
If they are interested, they will write back. Remember, keep it concise. If you don’t get to your point within the second or third sentence, you’ve probably lost her. Many of us use Gmail, so what grabs us or loses us is in the main subject line of the email. So make sure your subject line reads like a catchy headline to grab attention.
If and when you hear back from the editor or blogger, have your follow-up email prepared which outlines the details of your collaboration post, product, project, etc.
Again, keep it simple and to the point. Your message needs to be as concise as possible. Everyone is fighting for enough hours and minutes in the day. Don’t write your emails like I write blog posts. 🙂 Follow the KISS rules: ‘Keep it Simple, Stupid’.
Here is a good example of a follow up email I received a while back from a prominent company:
So nice to hear from you! Thanks for taking a minute to get back to me and letting us know that you’re interested. 😀
We’ve been talking a lot about [subject currently being pitched and discussed for blog submission]. To inform the public about [current subject], we created this helpful article but we also want to know what ideas, tips and techniques you might have in mind.
We’d love for you to join in on the conversation and share a post on your blog that highlights [subject of blog post]. For example: [Provide subject examples, headline suggestions, etc.]
In order to further spread awareness, we’re going to be promoting a number of these posts via social media and putting together a fun Pinterest Board and Instagram posts to go along with the initiative.
If you have any questions about this please let me know. I’d be more than happy to help where I can.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
This is just one example of a follow up email you can draw inspiration from if you’re seeking collaboration with a blogger or social media manager. If you are doing PR outreach to gain attention for your product or service, you may want to hire someone or spend a little more time crafting a pitch that grabs attention.
Give it time for a response (up to 2 days), don’t stalk. Follow up with a quick, polite email if you haven’t heard anything back. But don’t stalk. It’s creepy and annoying and won’t earn any kind of brownie points.
Generally, if a blogger is interested and you have given him/her a way to respond quickly with a quick “yes, I’m interested tell me more” email, she will write back soon.
Note when contacting magazine editors: If the email addresses are not available online, you can call and ask for the specific editors’ email address if it is a magazine like Conde Nast or Hearst Publications.
Here’s an example of WHAT NOT TO DO:
(Error #1: She didn’t even know my name. I have made my contact info really easy to find)
My name is Name Omitted and I am a fashion student at University Name Omitted. Recently I started a fashion blog (Where’s the link?) and I have been gaining a fair amount of interest in it (How much?). At the moment my followers are still quite low (How low are we talking about here?) however I hope that you can help me! (um.) I would love to collaborate with your brand! (Why?) This could be in a number of different ways.
I have listed some ideas.
1. -Exchange of clothing for posts on my social media and blog. (This would normally be a good idea for a business that produces products, if you have a large following or audience. It’s a win-win for everyone. Clothing costs a lot of money to give away. If you are a blogger without a following, asking for goods in exchange for promoting to a crowd of crickets is not attractive to a company. Build up your following before requesting free goods in exchange for promotional posts)
2. -A discount code that I can share with my followers. (This is a better idea)
3. -I could model a look book for your brand and post this on my social media. (This might be OK. I still need your website, blog and social media links)
4. -You could provide me with a small discount so I could buy a few of your clothes and post on social media. (Not a bad idea)
Or if you have your own suggestion feel free to share that with me! If you are interested I would love to have a chance to speak with you.
I hope to hear from you soon,
Her email wasn’t offensive and she was sweet and polite. But I immediately saw where she could improve. (I did write her back, btw, and we did collaborate)
Let’s look at an example of how she could have approached a product exchange collaboration with a well-researched and well-crafted email that would have given her immediate, positive results:
Subj.: Let’s Collaborate!
My name is [ NAME ] and I am a fashion blogger and a student at [UNIVERSITY/SCHOOL] studying Fashion Design. I recently discovered your brand on Instagram and I love your colorful collection as well as your brand statement. Although I am new to blogging, I would really love to collaborate with you on an Instagram project. I currently have XXX Followers on Instagram and XXX Subscribers on my blog, with XXX visits per day. You can check out my blog at: Insert title and blog link here and my Instagram account: @instagramnamehere
I would love to discuss various ways in which we can collaborate. (i.e. A discount code for my Followers or a discount on your products in exchange for my blog posting and Instagram “look of the day”). If this is something you would be interested in, I look forward to hearing from you!
Example of a good PR Product Pitch:
I wanted to reach out to you because I have a brand new bicycle bag collection that would be an excellent fit for your audience of fashion-savvy professionals. The brand is Carmichael Bike Bags and we are scheduled to launch on 2/12 with an estimated global reach of over 250,000 viewers per week.
We have just recently received a write-up in Fast Company and VeloJoy, and the momentum is growing. In exchange for your mention, we would be happy to add your post link and logo to our website.
If you are interested, please let me know and I can provide hi-res photos and any other info you need. Thank you!
[Provide links and contact info]
I am interested to hear what has worked for you?