3 Tips to Make Your Influencer Outreach Awesome

Social Media Influencer Outreach

Influencers: “Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authorityknowledgeposition, or relationship. “

Social Media Influencer Outreach

Influencers are everywhere. They can be in the form of a 14 year old girl with a Youtube channel about makeup application, or a stay at home mom who blogs about raising her children. Influencers are not necessarily high powered folks with a lot of money, they are just people who have an audience, and something to say.

Influencers sound like the kind of people you want on your team right? Of course. We all know that word of mouth and referral are extremely successful methods in attaining new customers. In conjunction with your marketing plan, Influencer Outreach can be a very effective, and inexpensive way to reach your potential consumers. When we are creating an Influencer Outreach campaign, we go through the following steps to build our plan of attack.

  1. Know your Audience: This is critical to any aspect of marketing, but it is especially important here. If you are going to be doing outreach, you want to make sure that your product is going to end up in the hands of someone you know will love it, and later recommend it. It is important to assess the type of blogger you want to reach out to based on your existing demographics. For instance, if you are a food brand, try compiling a list of Mommy Bloggers and At Home Chef bloggers.
  2. Develop the right Collateral: Influencer Outreach is as much about you as it is about the blogger. It is important to find a way to entice the influencer to want to try, and recommend your product. Are you sending them free samples? Are you allowing them to do a giveaway on their blog? Are you offering free media in return? This is an incredibly important aspect of your plan and the collateral can make or break the entire campaign.
  3. Share the Love: Bloggers are just like us, they want to increase their reach. One of the most important elements to an any outreach campaign is offering some love in return. Ask your bloggers to write a review, or share a recipe, or pictures (depending on the time of product you have). Use their content on your own social media platforms. Not only does this give varying content to your audience, but if gives the bloggers a lot more exposure. Influencer Outreach really needs to be a two way street, so don’t forget to share the love!

These 3 steps are just the beginning of a good Influencer Outreach plan and when you focus on creating the right plan, you might be surprised by how much you get back.  We have had a lot of success with building customer bases using Influencer Outreach for our clients and we continue to broaden our horizons with this type of marketing.



Why blogger outreach is a great resource for food and CPG brands

We’ve already discussed how and why why blogger outreach is a great strategy in a social media marketing campaign. You can check out those posts here and here. It’s a great tool that enhances brand awareness, builds your audience and increases product exposure.

In our own experience, we’ve seen blogger outreach work particularly well for food brands and consumer packaged goods (CPG). Why is that? Well, for one thing, as a food or CPG brand, you’re selling a product. It’s not a service, organization or commodity. It’s something tangible that a blogger can taste, touch, smell, use and review. Food and CPG products also lend themselves more easily to giveaway campaigns. Whether they are full-sized products or miniature samples, people always love receiving free stuff (key word: FREE). Bloggers give an honest review of the product and the fans get free stuff. It’s a win for the blogger and a win for the brand.

For instance, with our client, Better than Bouillon, we conduct routine blogger outreach campaigns to place the food product in the hands of bloggers who enjoy and take pride in their cooking and an audience who is actively looking for new ideas and quick tips to make their meals tastier. The bloggers incorporate the flavor boosting product into their recipes, old and new, give an honest review of the product and then offer their fans a giveaway.

Screen shot 2011-07-11 at 1.33.31 PM

We run a similar campaign for our client, CoralActives Acne Treatment System. It allows us the opportunity to put the acne products in the hands of well-respected beauty and skin care bloggers. The blog audience is typically comprised of fans looking for new beauty and skin care products. This strategy allows us to connect the product with an audience who is actively looking for new products. The blog fans get an honest review of the product and if they’re lucky, some free swag in the end.

BeautyTidbits_Part 1_Dec 24

Approaching bloggers can be tricky. You don’t want to appear over-salesy but you don’t want to be lost in the shuffle of an overflowing email inbox either. Follow our five tips on how to pitch bloggers and you’re sure to land a successful blog placement. After that, it’s all about relationship building and making that blogger and the audience feel special and included in your brand. Blogger outreach is a pretty simple step you can take towards giving your brand more awareness. Just be sure you have a solid strategy to forge your way ahead and have some free swag to give away!

It’s the Little Wins that Count

When you start working with a brand in the very early stages of a marketing campaign, you quickly realize that it’s the little wins that give you the encouragement and motivation to keep you and the campaign going. For those of us who work on the social media side of the campaign, it can be a daunting task to break through the Internet chatter with your brand’s message. Whether you’re reaching out to people on Twitter or through a blogger outreach effort, it’s a super noisy Internet-world out there. But every once in a while, you connect with a member of your audience. Whether it’s through a popular, mainstream website or blog or just an everyday customer who has something nice to say about your brand, every tiny win is a step towards greater success.

Last week, I found out that due to our blogger outreach efforts, a popular beauty blogger was going to feature a review of a client’s product. As I pulled up the blog’s homepage, my heart jumped for joy when I saw the familiar name and logo of my client at the top of that blog. This wasn’t the first blog placement we have secured for this client, but it is still incredibly rewarding to see the results of your efforts working one small placement at a time.

Every blog placement, Twitter interaction and Facebook conversation, while they may seem small, are little wins that intertwine your word of mouth efforts to increase brand awareness and help propel your client to the next level. Even the big brands that boast million-dollar advertising budgets started out with a tiny budget and small campaigns. Growing a brand takes time, hard work, dedication (and a lot of coffee). Cherish the little wins and remember them once you make it big because it’s the little wins that make you and your brand who you are.

Blogger Outreach Done Right: Round 2

How to reach out to bloggers

How to reach out to bloggersA few members of our Push-n-Pull team went to Social Fresh Baltimore – a social media conference – this week. Between networking and hearing some experts speak, the conference was a success. It also helped reinforce what we do here at The Cyphers Agency (and that we’re doing it right).

Specifically, Chris Barger spoke in depth about how to work with influencers (and more importantly, how to not piss them off), and since blogger outreach is something we implement on a regular basis, it was good to see we were following all of his rules. It also reminded us of how important it is to really build and sustain relationships with bloggers or influencers. It’s amazingly easy to be lazy (and bad) at communicating with this group of people, but really taking the time to invest in a long term relationship can be returned many times over. So while we’ve written about blogger outreach before, we thought we’d give you a little more insight into how we continue to do it successfully.

1. Do the “leg work” yourself. 

We rely only on ourselves to find the perfect bloggers. Sure, there are some tools that can help, but it didn’t take us very long to realize that we had to do the work ourselves to create a database of the types of bloggers we wanted. When we are ready to start communicating, we take our time to get to know them. After all, nothing turns a blogger off quicker than an impersonal pitch.

So how can you do this? Avoid form emails and take time to research the person you’re pitching. Read their blog beyond the first couple posts. Read their “about” section. Do they have kids? Are they married? Are they more formal or hang loose? Build a little profile of the person and use that to guide your communication. Pay attention to the details. Write the blog name how the blogger does, even if the spelling/capitalization/spacing is odd or technically incorrect. Make sure to pick little specific things out of a post to include in the email as a way of subtly demonstrating that you do, in fact, actually read their blog. This may sound like a lot of initial leg work, but in our experience it makes bloggers feel appreciated and catered to. It also helps us cut through all of the other clutter (or other pitch emails) they might be getting.

2. Don’t be overly promotional, for God’s sake!

Once you’ve gone through this initial step of communication, it’s important to establish and grow the relationship. One way to not do this is to ask for something right off the bat. Build the blogger up. Give them something that will benefit them. Provide information that will be important to their readers. Don’t just do this once, do this twice. Thrice even. Become a reliable acquaintance. They’ll be more willing to help you, when the time comes.

When you do ask for that help that you might need, or that article you want written, ask nicely. They’ll be much more willing to provide you with something of value if you’ve already been in communication a dozen times. Don’t just stop after you receive what you want, either. Be sure to say “thanks” – it goes a LONG way. Positively call them out on your social networks to give them a little more visibility. Follow up every few days or months, too. Shoot over more valuable information as you see fit. Really think of each communication as a step towards a long term relationship.

3. Don’t get too big for your britches (and know the consequences of your actions).

A lot of folks get stuck in the old-school mentality of public relations when approaching bloggers, and that’s a big mistake. While traditional media often relies on their established relationships with PR pros and marketers for both timely content and advertising dollars, bloggers don’t. As Chris Barger said, they built their audience without you. While we think our clients have plenty of value to offer bloggers and their audience, we keep a healthy sense of humility and realize that bloggers hold plenty of cards in this game. Like we said earlier, showing some respect for a blogger and their work can go a long way. And you don’t need to go far to find examples of just how wrong it can go when you don’t take a blogger and their power seriously – like this example [beware, there’s some salty language!].

Blogger outreach can do so many things for a company or brand, but it’s bigger than just a pitch email. Know your bloggers, help them out, and realize their importance (they have the Internet as their soapbox, after all). Once you do realize these things, you can start to patch together a strong blogger outreach program.

It’s All In How You Say It: Blogger Outreach Edition

Blogger Outreach

Blogger OutreachToday we had a blogger outreach success story. Our team pitched a client’s product to an influential blogger in hopes that they might want to try the free sample we wanted to send. Ideally, the blogger would accept our offer, try the sample, fall in love with it, and tell their readers (and random people on the streets) how much they simply loved the product. But that wasn’t the case.

The blogger, although friendly, declined our offer. She was honest in saying that it wasn’t up her alley and she only accepted a small niche of products. Fair enough – sometimes we are just thankful for a response. But it didn’t stop there. She shared the names of two of her blogger friends who were more likely to be interested. She thanked us for our kind words about her blog, thanked us for our pitch, and wished us luck.

There will be times when bloggers will accept our products and tell their readers. That is all great, but sometimes its the last of the communication. But here, we’ve made a meaningful connection with a real person. And although she might not use our product this time, the exposure will bring our client’s name to mind when she is out shopping. She also shared with us two blogger friends of hers, and when we contact them, we can mention her as a reference. Trust will then be automatically built in and our chances of success are better. Hopefully it will be two for the price of one, and that is where the success kicks in.

Getting results like these isn’t always easy. It is time consuming and back end heavy. We work to reach out to bloggers in a genuine and authentic way. We don’t “research” them, we get to know them. We read their posts, look at their pictures, and laugh at their jokes. We follow what their readers enjoy. We learn what type of posts they create. We learn what their lifestyle is like so that when can be sure to provide them with products or brands that they will actually use. And after all this, when it comes time to talk to them, we can speak open and honestly about how we feel about their blog and make a real connection. Then they’re more likely to trust our messages and our suggestions because they’ll feel like we know them. Because we do know them.

So when you are trying to reach out to influencers, don’t just worry about your end of it. Bopping them over the head with an offer, even if its a great one, without first taking the time to get to know them probably won’t be successful. Be truthful, genuine, give real compliments, and try to find ways that your products can serve the blogger in a meaningful way. It isn’t about what you say, it’s all in how you say it.

5 Tips on How to Pitch Bloggers

Our clients hire us because they want advertising. They have a message that they want to get out to their target audience. Blogs are an excellent tool to use, because they attract specific audiences. The only problem is that we don’t have control over what is posted on a blog, because blogs are completely controlled by their creator, the blogger.

This is why the act of pitching bloggers can be so vital to some of our word of mouth campaigns. In this blog post we will show you 5 tips on how to pitch bloggers so that they are most likely to write about you in a favorable light. This will increase your website search engine optimization, and more importantly get your message out to your target audience.

Tip 1: Create an outreach plan.

We never talk to bloggers without a lot of planning. First, we make sure that we are reaching out with bloggers that make sense with our client and our campaign. Just because our client is a chain of restaurants doesn’t mean that all food bloggers are appropriate. If our client’s restaurants are high-end, then we might reach out to foodie bloggers. If the restaurants were low-end we might reach out to blogs that focus on saving money. It all relates back to the overall campaign and how we are positioning the client. Our blogger outreach has to sync with our creative work so that the messaging is consistent.

After we’ve created a database of bloggers and their contact information, we get creative with our pitches…

Tip 2: Think about the blogger and the blogger’s audience. What’s in it for them?

Bloggers only want to post things that their audience will find valuable. However, that doesn’t mean that every blogger outreach has to involve some sort of contest or giveaway. Sometimes we offer an exclusive discount on our clients product. Sometimes there is such a good match between what our client does and what the blog audience wants that simply hearing about our client is value enough. It can even be as simple as offering a link exchange or writing/featuring a guest post for the blog.

In short, you need to be creative and strategic in what you are offering bloggers. Make sure that there is something of value for  both the blogger and the blogger’s audience. For example, offer the blogger a free trial product and have them run a contest on their blog for their readers. You get exposure, the blogger gets free product and a cool blog post, and the blogger’s audience gets gets a message and giveaway tailored to their interests.

Tip 3: Make your email personable

We never mass email our bloggers, for several reasons:

1. Bloggers get pitched all the time. They can sense a spam email from a mile away.

2. We want to create a relationship with this person. We treat them as more than just a name and an email address on a list.

3. We offer each blogger a unique incentive or discount. An “exclusive discount code” doesn’t do much good if the same code is posted on about 10 other blogs.

Tip 4: Can’t find their email? Do some research!

Bloggers often refrain from posting their email address on their blogs because of spam or other reasons. This can make it difficult to contact the blogger, but it’s not necessarily impossible. Worst case scenario, you can always leave a comment on their blog. But often there are other ways to contact bloggers. Try their facebook page, twitter page, linkedin profile, or even try googling them. We’ve had success by interacting with them on other social networking platforms, and they appreciate being contacted in a new or different way.

Tip 5: “Blogger” is a loosely defined term

You don’t need to have a blog for us to want to reach you. We like bloggers because they have specific audiences that pay attention to them, but with the advent of social networks, they don’t necessarily need a blog to have an audience. For example, Ashton Kutcher doesn’t have a blog, but he does have over 5 MILLION Twitter followers. We never pass up an opportunity to reach out to influencers, whether they have a blog or not.

BONUS TIP: Bloggers have a strong sense of loyalty to their readers. If they don’t think that your product/service/event is up to their standards, they may not post about it, or even worse – they could write an extremely negative review. This just emphasizes how you need to ensure that the bloggers you are reaching out to are a good fit. You also need to be confident in your product. If you think there is a chance a blogger might not like your product, you might want to think twice before sending it to a highly influential individual.

Now that you understand some of the issues surrounding blogger outreach, you are better prepared to get some visibility for your company. But be careful, you don’t want to start something like this without a plan, or without considering the risks. What are your overall goals? Is this the best way to achieve them? Are there other marketing tactics that would compliment this outreach? If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to help.