Networking With Bloggers – Advice For SMEs

Bloggers are powerful people, and many are becoming celebrities in their own right. Blogger outreach has now become an important part of the social media mix; getting your product mentioned by a blogger, or inviting them to guest post on your site can increase your audience immensely.

In some ways, they’re the new journalists, and SMEs are the new big brand PR crowd. For as long as the two roles have existed there has been a delicate balance in their relationship. Bloggers want free stuff and affiliation with the top brands, while the top brands want recognition and kind words from the bloggers. If either side gets too pushy, or too complacent, the entire relationship can collapse.

I remember hearing a story from a friend: as the CEO of his company, he was once told off by his PR team for tweeting a joke to a popular blogger in their industry. He was then given a crash course in just how powerful bloggers had become, and how to interact with them. This was his first introduction to the crazy world of blogging.

While this is all important to remember, bloggers are still just people, so manners and basic interaction skills can go a long way. Here are a few tips for SMEs wanting to branch out and interact with influential bloggers.

  • Meet them on their turf. Establish which platform they use to¬†communicate, and then interact with them on that platform, even if you prefer to use Facebook over Twitter, you should be aiming to talk to them in the place they’re most influential.
  • Read their blog for 5 minutes; this is how long it should take to get a feel for their style and what they feature on their blog. The best bloggers are very focussed, so if you’re struggling to figure out their angle, try their about page, or check out their social media profiles. If you’re still unsure about what they do, they may not be the best blogger to work with.
  • Read their comments. This is how you’ll establish who their audience is, and if it’s the kind of audience you’re aiming to interact with. It can also be a great way to find other bloggers to reach out to.
  • When you first make contact don’t ask for anything. Just introduce yourself, explain what your company does, and suggest that you talk further about opportunities. Don’t spend hours agonising over this, a quick 5 minute e-mail will do. Just be human.
  • Keep track. I created a spreadsheet with important information about each blogger I’ve contacted. Website URL, contact details, blog niche, other companies they work with are all things you should be keeping a record of.
  • Keep in touch. Even after you’ve run a promotion with them, and got the publicity you wanted, make sure you keep in touch to keep the lines of communication open. This may be the start of an ongoing relationship!

What methods do you find successful for reaching out to bloggers?