It’s an digital influencer economy, this wonderful marketing universe. Or so it seems when you see stories about YouTube millionaires who aren’t much older than your favorite pair of socks.
Even in B2B, there are leading luminaries and segment-specific pundits who have significant followings. By engaging with the right ones, you can shine a spotlight on your brand or product and capture a certain amount of immediate credibility. Even though many of your audience may understand there’s a “pay to play” aspect to the relationship.
Here’s a quick overview of what’s involved in launching a blogger outreach program and using these established bloggers to garner awareness and social media visibility for your B2B brand or business:
- Identify the right bloggers, usually by searching and vetting these blogs yourself, often using an online search resource such as Technorati; this is important because it steers how to individually approach them (Step 4), as that will require a high degree of familiarity on our part with their personality, content, site, etc. While media sources and indexing sites like Technorati can provide an initial list of eligible blogs in any given category, there still needs to be scrupulous review of each individual site to make sure it’s what you want.
- Grade them; are they on active pm LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or within professional-specific channels? How are they viewed and ranked? How many followers? What type? Frequency of postings, and relevancy of content to our goals? These should be compiled in a comparison spreadsheet.
- Review their pitch/submission guidelines: If you’re submitting a pre-written post to them, most of the more established bloggers will provide these, which will usually vary from blog to blog, so it’s crucial to follow each blogger’s guidelines stringently. They absolutely will not respond positively to a blasted PR release…and in some cases this approach disposes them against the marketer.
- Make the pitch by following their submission guidelines, and other basic rules: you must be brief, catchy, personable, show personalized focus on them, show relevancy in the content you’d like to provide, and be prepared to participate – transparently, no trolling! – in their online communities.
- Lastly, follow FTC regulations — there are guidelines that affect how bloggers deal with samples, commercial considerations, etc., that mandate how they disclose any commercial relationship with those who are soliciting their attentions.