Blogger and Influencer Outreach
If you sell a product that people love talking about, blogger and influencer outreach can be a great way to get attention and links.
For the relaunch of a previously popular beer, we were brought on board to build awareness of the brand and the rebirth, whilst bringing it to the attention of a younger audience and making it a bit ‘cooler’ than it had previously been seen. There was also a large stock on Amazon that was slowly going out of date and this needed shifting, so we had a very tangible goal too! We thought this was a great opportunity to kill two birds with one beer bottle, so we planned a blogger and influencer campaign to do both.
In the run up to Christmas, we contacted lots of mummy bloggers to let them know that we had something which would be perfect for their Christmas gift guides (even if they didn’t plan to run a Christmas gift guide yet.). We offered to send them some beer so that they or their husbands could try it out and see if it’d be a suitable inclusion in their gift guide. It usually was, so they wrote about the beer in their Christmas gift guides, which tended to be some of the most popular posts amongst their blog readers. The links in their posts directed visitors to the brand’s website for more information and to Amazon to buy online immediately.
By doing this, the beer brand appeared in front of their target audience in a way that was far more authoritative than, for example, running magazine or radio ads. The blogger was someone who their readers really respected and they were just giving an honest review of a product that they loved, then sending visitors straight onto Amazon to buy it. According to a Hubspot study, 75% of people don’t accept advertising as ‘the truth’ but 71% say they are more likely to buy something if they’re referred to it from social media.
We didn’t limit our outreach to mummy bloggers, though. We also targeted vegan bloggers, foodie bloggers and male bloggers (the beer brand’s target audience was predominantly male). In most cases, we offered some free products if they wanted to write a review. As a result of this strategy, we sold out of the Amazon stock before Christmas and had to stop the promotions.
Is this strategy right for every business? Absolutely not. If you’re selling radiator valves, for example, it could be tricky to find influential bloggers eager to write long, passionate reviews and add your products to gift guides. That’s okay, because digital PR outreach to industry publications would be much more effective for you. Each of these techniques are all just different flavours of content marketing, and you’ll find the particular strings that work best for your business and your audience.
Let’s assume for now, though, that influencers are likely to want to talk about what you sell. Let’s look at how to run a campaign.
Creating a list of bloggers
First, you’ll start by creating a list of bloggers and/or influencers who are likely to have a target audience which matches your ideal customer. For example, if you sell children’s clothing, then you’ll want to target mummy bloggers, since readers of mummy blogs are often other parents. If you sell fitness products, then fitness influencers and personal trainers will obviously be a good fit for you.
We’ve written extensively about how to find influencers that will make tectonic movements for your brand in our book The Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing & Digital PR. That goes beyond the scope of this book, but you can find influencers through Google searches and on social media platforms.
At this point, if you’re not already on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, reading blogs and spending time consuming influencer content in your market, it’s a good idea to start. Without understanding how your subculture works online, you risk coming across like an outsider or missing the mark with your outreach and targeting. Spend time getting to know your influencer landscape, understanding who the ‘super influencers’ with huge followings are and who have smaller audiences but perhaps greater engagement. Also, notice how often these bloggers and influencers are posting about products.
This is a great time to address one of the most common misconceptions about influencer outreach. That is, in order to be an ‘influencer’, you must be a Kendall Jenner level social monster, with millions of fans on every platform and each post getting tens of thousands of comments.
Not only are these guys almost always out of reach and super overpriced (a Mediakix study claims that Beyonce commands up to $1 million per Instagram post), they’re unlikely to blog (and link) to you and their audience is so wide that the percentage of followers that are likely to be a good fit for your products is super small. The term ‘micro influencer’ is usually used to describe people with 10,000 to 100,000 followers and who, according to Markerly, generate significantly more interactions per follower than the Beyonce and Kardashian-level influencers.
For the purposes of SEO, you really want to focus on targeting influencers that have their own blogs, as this will be how you get the links to increase your website’s authority. So, aside from reader numbers and looking at the number of comments each post gets, the other metric that you can track when you’re choosing influencers is the Domain Authority of their blog. As we said earlier, Domain Authority isn’t a perfect metric, but it will give you an indication of how valuable a link from this person’s website might be.