Blogs are bigger than most people know and their influence on our society keeps growing. According to Universal McCann’s Wave 4 social media tracker, 66 percent of active internet users read blogs. Consumers turn to blogs to learn, for inspiration and to get advice about anything from business to homeownership to parenting. These blogs also have a highly targeted readership that is perfect for marketing. In most cases, there are advertising opportunities on blogs, but their real benefits are seen when a business is featured in the content of the blog itself. Below is a look at what to expect when your product, service or content is featured on a blog, how to create a blogger relations strategy and a few tips on creating great content.
Short- and Long-Term Effects
In the short term, expect a sudden burst of traffic when you (your content, company or product) are first featured. It may last a day or two or it may last for a few weeks. It’s important to remember that bloggers read blogs, too. If your product or service sparks the interest of another blogger, they may choose to cover it as well. Although the traffic from a single blog post may quickly decrease, traffic from each blog can trickle in for several months. In most cases, even after a year, blogs still send a handful of visitors every day. Once featured, there is also a permanent, inbound link pointing back to your Web site that will help build authority and help with search rankings.
The Blogger Relations Strategy—Step by Step:
Getting featured on a popular blog can be a great way to help promote your business by bringing a lot of traffic to your Web site in a short period of time, but it needs to be done carefully. Here are a few steps to take to get featured on a blog:
- Do the Research: To figure out which blogs might be best to reach out to first, use tools like Technorati (technorati.com) and Google’s Blog Search (blogsearch.google.com) to create a list of relevant blogs related to your business. Then, use Hubspot’s Blog Grader, which will collect ranking data from Alexa, Compete.com, Google and other resources.
- Be Active: Follow the blogs on your list closely by spending time on them. Reading the blog posts and creating valuable comments with real feedback and opinions will let the author know you are interested and gives him the chance to recognize you. Don’t just tell the author you loved it, but let him know what you agreed with and why. Stay active on the blog for at least two weeks to gain a sense of how each individual blogger writes, what they write about and why. Think about how your product or service would fit best in this blog content.
- Develop Your Content Strategy: It’s a fact: online, content is king. If you are looking to have a product covered, make sure you have professional photos, well-written descriptions the bloggers can copy and videos on YouTube that can easily be embedded. Businesses may also want to consider providing an e-book related to their services. The key is to give the bloggers top-notch material that is easy to share. We have a few tips below to help you create effective content.
- Reaching Out: Blogs are different from newspapers or magazines, and as a result, the people writing them don’t want press releases. Contact each blogger individually and compose each email message uniquely, keeping in mind the information you gathered in Step 2. Each blogger may have preferences posted about how to submit material for blogs—what they want to read about and what they don’t. Depending on the blog, some bloggers might want to write about how you started your business or developed a product, while others may be more interested in the product or service itself.
- Take It Slow: Start by contacting one blogger a week. Although the idea of being covered by numerous blogs at once sounds like a good idea, the bloggers will quickly get the idea that their content wasn’t as unique as they thought. Also, your business may not be ready to handle such a sudden increase of traffic. It’s best to start slow and keep an even pace.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but here it is again: Odds are, nobody cares about your product. Step 3 happens to be one of the most important steps in the process—and it’s also one of the most difficult. Developing content that people want to share takes creative thinking. Here are a few quick tips for creating your content:
- Focus your content specifically to your target audience.
- Everybody wants to learn and laugh. Give away a story or advice that helps your target audience or make them laugh.
- Your content should be short and simple.
- Keep creating new content. Don’t push the content until it gets old. Try something new and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Getting the Most from Your Visitors
If a new visitor comes to your website, what is going to make them stay? Or better yet, what is going to make them come back? Can they join your mailing list? Can they follow you on Twitter? Can they easily share your content on social networks? Think about adding a call-to-action on your website that entices each visitor to take the experience further or share your content with others.
To see what some experienced bloggers have to say, check out The Secrets of Successful Blogging, and stay tuned for more blogging and social media tips and tricks!