When I’m not working on content marketing campaigns for our clients at Run2, I spend a lot of my spare time blogging. Although I do it for fun, having my own blog has taught me so much about the world of social media and digital marketing. For example, it’s given me a fantastic insight into the type of emails bloggers get from marketers looking for promotional opportunities. When it comes to outreach emails, I’ve seen everything from the good to the bad to the downright ugly.
One thing I’ve noticed is that so many marketers expect bloggers to write about their products or services for nothing whatsoever in return. For some reason, they seem to think bloggers owe them a favour. But contrary to popular belief, writing articles about unfamiliar companies is unlikely to be a blogger’s top priority. If every blogger had a Favourite Things To Do list, promoting such businesses would probably be way down at the bottom. So if you want bloggers to write about you, you need to give them a reason.
I’m going to be straight with you. Nine times out of ten, this reason needs to be money. The very best influencers out there simply won’t work for free. As soon as you say you don’t have a budget, they’ll delete your email and move onto a brand who’s willing to show them the money.
Besides, having a budget set aside specifically for bloggers can work wonders for your campaign. Effective outreach can be extremely time-consuming and therefore expensive. By paying bloggers cold hard cash, not only will you benefit from exposure to that influencer’s precious audience, you’ll also save your Outreach Executive many hours of stress, rejection and frustration. Why spend weeks asking hundreds of bloggers to work for free when you could offer to pay a handful, hear back within minutes, get the very results you’re after, and boost sales?
If the above plea to pay bloggers for the time has failed to convinced you, read on my stubborn friend. Buckle your seat belt cos you’re going to need the following advice…
Create quality content for them
The average blogger is bombarded with emails on a daily basis from companies looking to place guest posts on their site. More often than not, the content these companies offer is badly written, poorly researched, unhelpful for readers, and created for only one reason – to gain a link back to the company’s website.
To prove you’re not one of these unscrupulous spammers, send bloggers links to high quality and genuinely helpful articles you’ve already published. Prove how good you are and give bloggers a reason to accept your creations. You never know, they might be grateful of some high quality content that they don’t have to write themselves.
But don’t pretend you’re doing them a favour
At the end of the day, a link from an influencer will benefit you far more than the free content will benefit them. So don’t bang on about how you’ll offer them an amazing infographic that’s absolutely free to publish. It’s not like they would ever have paid you for it, so free isn’t really an incentive.
Some marketers advocate ‘building a relationship’ with bloggers before mentioning a collaboration. They’ll send a blogger an email praising their amazing work and only on the second or third email will they ask to work together. Personally, I’m not a fan of this approach.
Remember when you were seven and you wanted your mum to buy you a Furby? You’d give her a hug and say something along the lines of: “You’re the best mum in the world!” Your mum, wise lass that she was, would instantly reply: “What do you want this time?”
This is no different.
Bloggers can see right through your act so cut to the chase.
What do you want? What do you want them to do? Tell them straight.
Flatter their egos
I know I just told you to cut to the chase and forget the email fluffiness but sometimes, flattering bloggers’ egos can actually work. You’ll need to go to greater lengths than simply saying: “I like you” in an email though. Here are a few suggestions:
- Write a blog post and mention how amazing the blogger is
- Create a helpful infographic and include the blogger within it
- Give them a ‘best blogger’ award – write about their achievements on your blog and send them a bottle of Prosecco/box of chocolates/a Lambo
Although email can be an effective method of communication, it’s worth sparking a conversation via social media too. Share bloggers’ content, reply to their tweets, ask questions.
From my experience, if I tweet about how difficult it is to save a deposit for a house and a company replies with a helpful resource they’ve created for first time buyers, I’m far more likely to share it than if they were to email me. Maybe that’s just me! Personally, I feel as though this approach is more authentic. It feels like they’re adding to the conversation and actually trying to help rather than asking me to work for them for free.
Make stuff that’s too good not to share
If you’re a regular LinkedIn user, you might have stumbled across content created by Laura Chetcuti from job site Only Marketing Jobs. Some of her greatest posts include titles such as: “6 Reasons Why Jon Snow Would Be A Really Irritating Candidate” and “15 Walking Dead Moments Every Recruiter Can Relate To.”
Her content is so good that she doesn’t need to ask people to share it – people just do it automatically. And considering how much stick recruiters tend to get on LinkedIn, it’s interesting to see how popular her pieces are with those outside the industry.