When was the last time you woke up in the morning and felt truly inspired by the content initiatives your brand is sharing with the world?  Take that thought one step further – can you recall a moment in recent weeks when you felt deep down that you had a genuine sense, with the data to back it up, that your content marketing strategies are pushing the needle in your favor?

If you find yourself answer these questions with less desirable answers, today’s article will give you hope and actionable steps to take to make positive changes for your business.

Bloggers as Influencers

Bloggers are an OG breed of digital influencers.  Hailing from every corner of the world wide web you might imagine, and some you would never dream, bloggers have been writing unique content in topics which fuel a passion (most often) for decades.  As the rest of the virtual world caught on to the value of advertising on the web, bloggers became more valuable.

Once the digital age, brands began to notice the golden web a blogger could spin with words.  Sharing articles about the topic of their choice, most often one particular topic in a niche genre, to a narrow audience, these wordsmiths had captured the attention of millions of readers.  Companies started to hire some of them to write about their product, and low and behold, the blogger influencer was born.

How to Make the Most of Bloggers’ Influence

1. Know your brand 

So many companies are eager to jump into the influencer game, but they are naive when it comes to their own brand identity.  These organizations cannot identify their target demographics, product features and benefits, what their customer avatar might look like, and so on.  No company will run a successful influencer marketing campaign without a solid brand identiy and understanding of their own company’s vision before reaching out to others to help spread the word.

2. Determine your goal

Do not reach out to a ton of bloggers without a specific purpose in mind.  Your efforts will be lost and none of them will care to hear from you again (well, probably not).  You can leverage bloggers for a variety of objectives.  A few ideas that might work.

  • Launching a new product line
  • Reaching a new customer base
  • Boosting website traffic
  • Improving online sales
  • Increased ROI on content marketing initiatives
  • Social media gains
  • Brand awareness and exposure
  • And more!

3. Define your audience

Although I mentioned target audience above as part of a company’s branding, this step in the process is worth elaborating.  Determining who you want to reach for one particular blogger outreach is different than knowledge of your company’s general niche audience.  For example, you might sell Brazilian bikinis to yogis in Bali, but for this particular blogger influencer, campaign you are hoping to grab the attention of the Australian yogis as well.

4.  Work your angle – what type of blogger campaign will you run?

  • Sponsored post

If you are hoping to share a new or current product with a niche-relevant audience via bloggers, collaborating on a sponsored post is a phenomenal play.  The idea is that a blogger will write a post about one of your products or services, which they have tried because as part of the agreement of the campaign you have provided it to them.  As per FTC regulations, the post must be marked as “sponsored” somewhere on the article, but other than that it is phenomenal publicity.

  • Vloggers

Vloggers are a great option in the blogsphere right now, since video content is becoming more popular.  In fact, 76.5% of marketers and small business owners in an Animoto survey who have used video marketing say it had a direct impact on their business. (Source).

  • Roundup post

If you need to get some serious reach out of a blogger outreach campaign, consider doing what is called a roundup post.  This is where you would corral about ten or more bloggers for a single influencer-packed punch.  What is the process and what will it look like?

  1. Decide what the content will be.  Do you want the roundup to answer a problem for your target audience, will it be quote-focused, will it be entertaining, image-based, or have a different purpose?  Be sure to have a compelling reason bloggers would take time out of their busy schedules to help you.  That reason might include social media exposure, brand exposure, and/ or payment.
  2. Reach out to two-to-three times more bloggers than you want to include in your post.
  3. Let them know what you are planning to do, and include all of the necessary information in your initial contact email including the timeline.
  4. Send all correspondence with enough time to allow a follow-up email after the first set of emails.  Expect that you will not hear from most of the bloggers.  They are very busy people who receive hundreds to thousands of emails daily and are usually behind responding.
  5. Once you have a streamlined list of blogger influencers to include in your roundup post, write it up and share it with your audience as well as everyone you included in the article.
  • Cross-channel promotion on social media

Regardless of the other blogger content you enlist, it’s a great idea to ask all influencers to share their blog article in post form to their social channels.

5. Outreach

  • Create a list of influencers you want to reach out to, similar to the process used in the blogger roundup
  • Research their backgrounds – everything from the blog to their social media
  • Send personalized emails based on your research
  • Follow up on your emails.  Every blogger is drowning in email content.
  • Based on those who email you back interested in your proposal for a blogger campaign, be picky!

Voilà!  Here your organization has the makings of a strong content marketing strategy based on reaching out to bloggers and leveraging the influence they have with their audience.  They are looking to collaborate with brands just like you, so there is no time like the present to make your moves.

If you are looking for support with influencer campaigns, whether blogger focused or otherwise, contact us – we have been experts in the industry working with Fortune 1,000 brands since 2011.