Social media marketing has evolved substantially since it first became mainstream. As social media has achieved a critical mass, a lot of what was done before — such as broadcasting the same message to your entire audience — has become less effective. Now more than ever, your social media marketing strategy should focus on building on relationships.
The fundamental idea that “social influence affects the links to your website” has never changed. Links are the currency of the web. The only thing that has changed is the landscape that surrounds this social influence.
The Rise Of Blogging And Social Media
As social media took the world by storm, many things changed. Link exchanges fell by the wayside, and these shills who used to send out mass link exchange emails without any targeting in mind became “social media experts” instead.
Many would shift their focus to buying fans and followers and creating underground groups where people would beg others to tweet or vote upon their content for visibility purposes because “maybe someone will link to me.” Over time, that, too, became less practical, because networks figured out the same people were often scratching each other’s backs, and search engines weren’t that stupid, either.
Social media marketing is not truly dead, but social influence must be diversified if you’re to be successful. That means not getting the same three people to retweet your content, and not getting the same 10 people to Like your post time and time again.
Blogger Outreach Campaigns
The idea behind a blogger outreach campaign is that a company, in seeking exposure for a product or service, leverages influencers who have established a substantial following, asking them to write about it in exchange for free access to the product or service. (Sometimes, money would need to exchange hands as well. It all depends on the relationship the company has with the blogger and what the blogger commands.)
Blogger Outreach Best Practices
Study The Writer. You can ask and ask and ask, but unless you research the writer and know exactly what it is that they cover, you’re wasting your time. For example, if you’re marketing a healthy food product, don’t just reach out to food bloggers in general, but find those that focus on healthy food, home cooking, cooking healthy for kids, etc.
You can do something like this by going through blog sites, reading all of their writings, and then summarizing the aspects of their content that map to your product. You could also contact bloggers in a more automated fashion, by using tools that save you some of the time it takes to do influencer outreach. You could also outsource by contacting one of many agencies that represent bloggers and can manage the campaign on your behalf.
Simplify. Your messaging needs to be as succinct as possible. Don’t write your emails like I write my posts. Keep it simple, stupid.
Show Passion. Be passionate about what you’re pitching, and make sure that enthusiasm comes through in your outreach emails. You can’t outsource passion, so keeping the work in-house would be a better choice.
Be Creative. Creativity is important. If you’ve got a breakthrough product, that’s great. Explain how your brand is different, or surround it with a creative and useful content initiative.
Build Trust. It’s all about relationships and trust! Either you have an existing relationship with someone who is able to reach out to the influencer on your behalf, or you need to work really hard to become their friend. Follow them on Twitter, comment on their blog, wine and dine them, etc.
Remember, you could kill a relationship as quickly as you start it if you waste people’s time and don’t follow the aforementioned prescriptions.
With that said, the best practice to follow when contacting bloggers, whether you’re a PR person or an in-house marketer at a company in need of publicity, is to work hard for their attention, and keep at it.