Every day, brands promote their products to potential buyers via social media, search engines and not to mention, traditional forms of advertising like television and radio. To be honest, many people don’t trust brands telling them to what to buy (ahem…we’re talking about millennials here). People want to hear honest opinions and authentic product reviews before buying something.

So, who do these consumers trust? Social Media Influencers. That’s right. Otherwise known as Brand Ambassadors. As digital marketers, we need to leverage the power of these social influencers to gain the honest, authentic content that our customers not only demand, but deserve. But how you say? The answer is simple – blogger outreach.

There’s a good chance that if you are reading this post you are looking for one of two things:

  1. Reasons to justify spending time and money on blogger outreach
  2. To learn how to start a blogger outreach strategy

If either of those reasons apply, you’ve come to the right blog post. If not, keep reading – you might open your mind to a great tactic you could add to your content and social media marketing strategies. Let’s tackle reason one first.

Reasons why your brand should implement a blogger outreach strategy:

  • Facilitate trustworthy, third-party reviews (did you know 61% of consumers make a purchase based on the recommendation of a blogger? Or, that 71% of online shoppers learn about brands through blog articles?)
  • Gain industry and consumer leads
  • Increase referral traffic to your website
  • Generate earned media
  • Build brand awareness
  • Improve reputation

Now that you can justify blogger outreach, how do you do it?

Make a plan. The first step is to create a blogger outreach strategy. This includes identifying your target audience and appropriate influencers. Establish metrics to qualify social influencers such as blog traffic, size of social following and topics they write about.

Get in touch. The next step is getting in contact with these bloggers. One way to do this is by conducting the research yourself using the metrics you established earlier to qualify them. If your marketing budget permits, you can use automated influencer marketing software to help you find more qualified bloggers. Here are some tools to consider:

Make a personal pitch. Once you get a list going of potential influencers, the next step is to pitch your product. Bloggers understand how this system works. In fact, 90% of bloggers want to do contests and giveaways with their readers. But, you won’t get their attention or help with a boring, generic pitch. Take some time to read their blog and review their social channels in order to make your pitch personal. We’ve found that A/B testing your pitches is also extremely useful. Try sending some soft sells and some hard sells and see what works best.

Not only should you make the pitch personal, but help your bloggers out by providing product and story angles that match their personality and their audience. Showing that you took the time to research them will help you to establish the relationship – while also helping your bloggers to create high quality, relevant content for their readers.

Show them you care. Blogger outreach is essentially building a relationship, and any successful relationship requires reciprocation. The average blog post takes 5 hours to research, write and promote, so you need to make sure your bloggers feel it is worth their time to write about your brand.

When done well, blogger outreach is a great tactic to add to your content and social media strategies. And once you’ve established a network, you can use these relationships to promote new products – keeping your brand top of mind for consumers and at the top of search engine result pages. Check back in a few weeks to learn how to use a blogger outreach strategy to grow your twitter followers.