This is a guest post by Erin Everhart. Erin is the marketing associate for web design company 352 Media Group, a certified Microsoft Surface developer and leader in web marketing. She specializes in social media marketing, search engine optimization and content management, developing web marketing and blogger outreach campaigns. She’s a frequent blogger across multiple sites and holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Florida. She has an unhealthy addiction to salt, EM dashes and the Gators. Follow her on Twitter: @erinever.
Traditional advertising is so 2010. It shows too: People just aren’t trusting and are learning to tune out those banner and video ads that pop up. So why spend your money on something that may or may not get you results, especially when there are ample substitutes that likely cost less and absolutely get you better results. Enter the blogger outreach campaign.
A few weeks back, I showed the basics to building a blogger outreach campaign for your business. If this is your first visit, you’ll want to go back and read steps 1-4: You wouldn’t be seeking inbound links if you haven’t done your keyword research first. Here, we’ll run down what you do once you’ve selected and signed on your blogs, what to expect, and how to measure if it was successful.
5. Do What You Said You Would
While you should have determined what it is you want bloggers to write about before you reach out to gauge their interest, now is the time to put it in action. And now is the time to follow up on any promises that you made during your pitch.
If you’re offering them an exclusive sneak peak of your product, make sure that product works. If you’re bringing them to a location for an experience, like Caesars Entertainment did, make sure you’ve done your part to ensure all the pieces fit together. When they actually get there, your job has switched from marketing to customer service. Unexpected things will happen, and it’s your job to make sure your resolve any issue that rears its ugly face in the middle of your campaign.
6. This Isn’t Public Relations
The difference? In PR, they’re getting paid to do nothing but spew over-the-top praise for your product or service, even if it’s not something they’d personally use. Bloggers (the good ones) are honest. Open. That’s what makes them good and reliable to their readers. Bloggers get to say what they think; that might not necessarily be the case with PR folks. That also what might be stemming from the recent PR agency vs. bloggers battle.
A blogger outreach campaign should be about getting honest feedback, so you have to be willing to accept whatever feedback you get. Even if you’re sponsoring a post, giveaway or passing on products/services for them to review. Even if they fully disclose this information (and the good ones will). If you truly have a good product or service and execute the campaign properly, then you’re not going to have to worry so much about this.
7. Don’t Think in Terms of ROI
ROI needs to be banished from the digital marketer’s vocabulary. It’s a dirty little acronym that’s almost as antiquated as the people who still use it. Like with social media, how successful your blogger outreach campaign was should be in terms of engagement and involvement. But like any marketing push, clearly set your goals and objectives prior so you know what to look for.
Mark an annotation in your Google Analytics when the blog posts go live so you can measure your site’s traffic before and after. See how many additional inbound links you got pointing to your website. Follow up with your bloggers to see how many impressions their site got the day of and week after your campaign went live. Keep track of how many and what people are commenting on with each post and what the conversation is like on Twitter and Facebook. Finally, keep an eye on your sales and leads after your campaign has launched. To further track it, add the top blogs where your content was posted to your “How did you hear about us?” question on your lead form.
What do you think are other successful elements to a blogger outreach campaign? What else is holding you back from implementing one for your business? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments.
(Follow the Debate: Measuring the ROI of Social Media)