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Building Community in Blogger Outreach

Community management is very much about uniting people. It can face inward amongst employees at a company, it can be customer facing as most are known for doing, but it can also be outward facing to bloggers & businesses in your industry. Blogger outreach traditionally is a public relations task, however it is something that community managers are increasingly finding themselves doing for the nuanced relationship building skills it requires.

In essence, instead of blasting 1000s of people on a list as most public relations companies are known to do, community managers take maybe half of that and build quality relationships for a variety of reasons and find major successes.

Not too long after this chat took place I spoke at BlogWorld NY on “Building Community in Blogger Outreach.”  If you’re interested, the slides are available on Slideshare. But don’t take my word on how community can be built in blogger outreach tactics…look at what a few seasoned CMs have to say:

Q1: Is blogger outreach relevant for every brand/organization? (Why or Why Not?)

CourtneyCormier  Absolutely! If your company has a blog you should be involving surrounding communities. It’s all about engagement people

Shananigans5 That’s like saying is word of mouth relevant for every brand. Yes of course it is, when done properly.

_Danicia_ Absolutely. It’s essential in our industry. We have subscribers, so support our communities we host and for our players.

mhandy1 umm easy… YES it helps foster community, and improves SEO

djfanco  Blogger outreach is relevant for every brand since you want to control your message to build your brand. Even B2B.

momnonstop  It helps any organization/brand spread links and content to other sites. I can’t think of a case where a blog is not a benefit

LoisMarketing Yes, it’s the easiest, fastest, most practical SEO! Involve communities and cross polinate.

sarahfudin Blogger outreach is relevant for every brand/org that wants to connect w/ others in their industry… unless their are none…

joshkocurek Depends on how much control you are willing to give up with your brand messaging.

Q2: What are the pros & cons for building a community of bloggers?

BeckyBol A2 Pro: You get to have an insightful, influential group of people give you (hopefully) honest feedback on your brand

DigitalKaitlyn A2Pro: Creating a community of bloggers that you work well with help offer a relatable trusted person as a face of your brand

DigitalKaitlyn A2Pro: Bloggers also reach an audience in a way that you can’t do by advertising, they promote your products as a real user

OneIMS A2Pro: SEO. More incoming links. That’s why so many companies do “giveaways.”

CourtneyCormier A2Pro: Instant addition of the bloggers established community A2Con: You have no control over what they say

JPedde A2Pro: Getting to know those in your industry who readily think of you & your business when writing

writingquirky A2Pro: trustworthy brand advocates A2Con: impossible to control key messaging

sarahfudin A2Con: Cons? There are only cons if your outreach is not appropriate… or if it distracts you from higher priority community mgt

BeckyBol A2 Con: It requires an ongoing commitment – not all companies are truly ready to take that step

DavidSpinks  Blogger outreach takes a lot of time and relationship management. If you rush it, you’ll probably fail

JPedde A2Con: Time, Cost, Size, quality

DigitalKaitlyn A2Con: Bloggers are honest & usually have strict policies about reviewing items & running advertorials,be prepared for all feedback

Q3: What approaches are most effective when pitching your target bloggers?

jrmoreau  Personal email outreach. Prompt sample/demo sending. Personal notes and follow up afterwards.

clickflickca Build a relationship first and get to know the blogger first before pitching. IMHO

ilovegarick Be honest, be real. Find out what THEIR #business is like & how you can help them first always. Provide value.

MichaelDeLongSF  The same as in any good PR: tailored, personalized pitch paired with clear information worth writing about

MaddieRuud Actually *read* their blogs, and personalize your pitches based on that. (Surprising how many people pitch w/out reading.

corecorina No curve balls, no knuckle balls, just straight up the middle pitches with easy-to-hit homeruns for your bloggers

CourtneyCormier find out how your product/service/company can benefit that blogger and their community.

Q4: To build community, you build relationships. How can you keep your bloggers engaged continuously over time?

Shananigans5 Remember the little things, I tweet from the brand account happy birthdays and congratulations. A little effort goes a long way.

DigitalKaitlyn Once a relationship is established,offer bloggers 1st dibs on PRs,host some events for them,or offer discounts to their readers

djfanco Traditional answers include exclusive stories and preferred communication lines.

ericajmoss Check in just because. Instead of always coming to them with a pitch, ask them what they need or want.

CourtneyCormier follow up- even a simple retweet every once in awhile just to let them know you’re there

Hoovers Has your company published a great piece of relevant research? Give your star blogger an exclusive peek prior to publication.

Q5: What metrics do you place around blogger outreach?

mhandy1 Total reach, comments per post, response rate, link back growth, etc

DavidSpinks  Some things to look at are: Traffic, Goal conversions (signups), social mentions, trackbacks…

djfanco  We measure Twitter sharing of the coverage, positive comments, web traffic uptick, impact on registration

sarahfudin  Besides hard metrics, I also share “big wins” — ie. relationships w/ important organizations in the industry

Q6: Do you have any guest blogging opportunities? Share them here with a link!

CourtneyCormier  if any tech bloggers want a place to write tweet at me

TheCMgr  Remember, we’re always looking for quality guest posts about the #Cmgr world! http://t.co/xXfOLltN

This digest was taken from the “Building Community in Blogger Outreach” #cmgrchat on Wednesday May 2nd, 2012. If you ever have a suggestion for topics, please leave a comment below or send us an email!

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.

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