Bloggers have become the voice of the internet, in some cases boasting readership that may go beyond the reach of traditional media. And, they’re often a more trusted source of information too – one survey puts them third, behind friends and family, and well above journalists. So if you have a product or service you want to sell, reaching out to bloggers can be a great way to spread the word.
Types of blog
There are many different types of bloggers and you’ll need to adapt your approach depending on which ones you want to approach. Broadly however, they fall into two main categories.
News aggregators (like Huffington Post)
Online news aggregators behave very much like traditional media. They’re always on the lookout for news and attention-grabbing headlines. If you can do their job for them, it becomes easier to get noticed.
- Write ‘Blog pitch’ in the subject line of your email with a very brief (try to keep it to five words) summary
- Keep your opening paragraph short – don’t go into detail, just give a brief summary of your blog post
- Don’t attach your blog post – include it in the body text of your email
- Write on a subject you know about and try to give it a topical spin based on what’s in the news
- And, keep the blog audience in mind, the more you tailor your message, the greater the likelihood your content will be picked up.
Keep trying – your brilliant first attempt will be just that, a first attempt. Refine your approach, and keep trying.
Some of the most successful bloggers and vloggers have huge readerships, but they may expect to be paid for any coverage. Their rates can vary, depending on how successful they are and if they have a manager. They’ll want to maintain their tone of voice with anything that you’ve submitted.
- Make it personal, and take your cue from their previous content – it will need to resonate with them
- Use strong research or make your submission funny – it all helps to make it stand out
- Include great images if possible – in the blogging world, a good picture really is worth a thousand words
How to approach bloggers
Make a list of your favourite bloggers
Draw up a shortlist of the blogs you want to approach and focus on the ones that best fit what you want to achieve. For example, do you want a personal recommendation or a mention in a news story? Do you want a blog that you can write for, or one that’s more likely to write about you?
Keep your pitch relevant
Wherever possible, keep your hooks and headlines newsworthy, or at least topical. Research previous posts with high readership and take some cues for your own writing. Once you’ve had a few posts published, you can include these highlights in your future pitches.
A good blog submission should catch the eye with a snappy headline, and if you can, include excellent (free) images.
Post comments on their blog
One of the most straightforward ways to reach out to bloggers is by posting comments on their blogs. Every professional blogger makes a point of reading their comments, so your name will be familiar even before you approach them. And if your comments add value to their posts and help to increase their stickiness (hint: just saying ‘Love your post’ probably won’t cut it), they’ll soon get to know you and respect your input.
Try to comment on each of their posts so your name becomes familiar. This will be easier if they don’t tend to get a large number of comments. If they do get lots of comments it will be harder to make your mark, but persevere.
If you’ve got a lot to say about their post, it might be worth considering a response on your own blog, which you could then link to theirs. If they like what you’re saying, they may even update their blog to include a link to your response.
Link to their blog
Links are the lifeblood of blogs, and all bloggers love them. So be sure to link to your favourite blogs when you can. Don’t force it though, or you’ll come across as a desperate wannabe. Keep it relevant and on-topic and you’ll help to build up your profile and goodwill at the same time. They may get a pingback to alert them to your link, but just in case, email them with a thankyou and a link to your post so they can find it easily.
Start a relationship – with no sales pitch
Get in touch with bloggers to compliment them on their latest post. Or you can offer to help them with introductions to experts you may know. Or suggestions for follow-up stories, especially if the subjects don’t include any reference to your business.
They’ll be more likely to consider your own offering later on if you’ve already got a relationship with them. You could offer to interview them for your blog – most bloggers aren’t averse to a bit of self-promotion – and you can do it by email, over the phone, in person, or even on video or podcast.
Keep your online presence fresh
Any blogger considering an approach from a manufacturer or supplier will Google them to see what they’re about. So make sure your website is up to date, along with your social profiles, your own blog if you have one (and you know you should) and any photography.