How to Reach Out to Bloggers for Your Online Community - dummies

How to Reach Out to Bloggers for Your Online Community

By Deborah Ng

Bloggers are online community managers too — and they have the ability to drive traffic to your brand. Today’s bloggers are web-savvy, tech-savvy, and generally savvy about a variety of topics.

Bloggers cover a variety of genres and niches. They enjoying sharing tips, news, and even reviews. When you invite bloggers to participate in your community, there’s a good chance that they’ll recommend the community to their own network. If they become productive members of your community, you can share traffic both ways — a win–win situation.

Be careful with your outreach. There’s nothing bloggers like less than receiving an obvious pitch, especially if it’s not relevant to their niche.

Remember, bloggers work hard. It’s one thing to make them aware of your community and invite them to participate. It’s something else to expect them to evangelize you and do a bunch of work for nothing. If you’re looking for bloggers to write about you and bring in new members, you’re going to have to give them something in return.

Public relations professionals make a lot of money to promote brands, and too many brands look upon bloggers as some sort of cheap labor. If you want bloggers to pimp your brand on a regular basis, think about how they’re going to benefit as well.

Research the blogs that are relevant to your niche. If you’re with a sour cream brand, you can consider parent bloggers, food bloggers, recipe bloggers, and nutrition bloggers, to name only a few types.

Read their blogs as far back as you can to determine whether they’re a good fit for your own brand. Also make sure that they’re the types of bloggers who share news and information about brands like yours with their readers.

When you have the ideal bloggers on your radar, reach out to them:

  • Send an invitation that isn’t spammy and doesn’t read like a sales pitch. Let the bloggers know a little about your community and why they might enjoy participation.

    If they do share links to your community or invite other people to join, see how you can reciprocate. Perhaps you can share their blogs and communities with your own.

  • Rather than invite bloggers to participate in discussions, do interviews with them. Have them share their expertise with your community. Bloggers often promote their interviews, and this may help you to bring in new members as members of the blogger’s own community come by to read the interview.

  • Let it be known that you or some interesting members of your brand are open to doing blog interviews. During the interviews, you can mention the online community and invite people to join.

  • Find blogs that are relevant to your brand and offer to write guest posts. A guest post has to be an informative article or fun topic; it shouldn’t be promotional. At the end of your post, you’ll have room to share details about your brand and issue an invitation to join your community.

  • Attend blogging conferences and network with the other attendees. Don’t assault them with handouts and other paraphernalia, but do take the time to get to know as many bloggers as possible, and talk to them about how you can help one another.

Nothing makes bloggers angrier than to receive a request to do work with no compensation. It’s one thing to ask for an interview or invite them to stop by your community. It’s a whole other deal to send them a letter with a long laundry list of ways they can promote your community with no benefit to them at all.

If you’re going to ask bloggers to promote your brand, offer some form of compensation. Bloggers aren’t free labor.