With so many journalists leaning on blogs for stories, blogger outreach is more important than ever.

After a shaky entrance to the Communications Professionals cocktail party, bloggers are now willingly invited.  This article will tell us why we care, and list a few tips for great blogger outreach.

The Indirect Pitch Can Be a Strike

Blogs, like social media channels, give PR professionals earned media: if a blogger mentions our brand in a post, we’re gaining exposure to their community.  Where this becomes especially powerful is when part of a blogger’s community is a journalist.  With so many journalists using blogs to research their stories, the cherry on our communications sundae is something we’ll call this the indirect pitch: a blogger interests a journalist in your story, and you end up with more coverage via traditional press coverage.  The communications ecosystem is more interconnected than ever, and engagement between content sources can amplify and carry our message.

So, how do we engage those key bloggers and journalists?

Good Blogger Outreach Takes a Mix of Good Legwork and Good Tools

Finding the right bloggers for your brand takes a little legwork.  If we’re starting from scratch, here are some quick (if manual) blogger outreach program tips:

  • Check out where competitors are featured
  • Find out who competitors and their industry influencers are following on Twitter
  • Research and follow hashtags that pertain to our industry or specialty, on both Twitter and Facebook
  • Check out industry influencers across a variety of social networks: LinkedIn, SlideShare, Twitter, etc

Big Data marketing is an exploration not for the faint-hearted: in a raging sea of information, it’s a lot easier to find what we’re looking for with a really good boat and a really good navigation system.  A good social listening tool will have great data and a great search engine, making the manual labor on blogger outreach (or any messaging campaign) a lot more minimal for us.

Once we have identified these blogs or bloggers to target, we can look at the stories that they’ve written recently.  Are they writing positively about our industry in a specific geography that interests us?  Being able to hyper-target our blogger community (like our journalism community) gives us the best shot at interesting the right journalist: quality, not quantity, is the key to meaningful engagement and impressions that matter.

Blogger Outreach Doesn’t Stop at Coverage

The more we engage with the community around us, the more likely they are to follow us as well — and, as marketers, our community includes bloggers and journalists.  The social dialogue model means that we should keep listening – and participating – in the conversations that matter.  The dialogue marketing model is a cycle that feeds good community marketing, and rewarding the folks talking about us with a share and a high-five is a great way to pay it forward.