You’ve been tasked with finding bloggers for your clients’ or your own next blogger campaign. What you thought was going to be an easy Google search for “DIY Blog” suddenly turned into an overwhelming sea of editorially curated blogger lists and reupholstered chairs. In fact, a recent report from Fashion & Beauty Monitor in partnership with E-consultancy cited that 73% of marketers say that identifying the right influencer is the greatest challenge to influencer marketing. What you need to complete your task are good blogger outreach tools or other ways to do it.
Influencer marketing is one of the top marketing tips that has developed quite recently. There’s no avoiding it no matter how specific your niche is. This is a natural occurrence following the growth of social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. And how effective they can be in the promotion process. For a successful influencer marketing campaign, you need to be strategic and creative with how you go about discovering quality bloggers that align with your brand and deliver results.
Yes, there are outreach tools and tips you can use. Some commonly used tools like Buzzsumo, GroupHigh, and more which can help through the discovery and outreach process. Using paid tools can be time effective and help scale your efforts. But as this post will go, you will see, there are slightly more manual yet effective ways to find the right blogger. Bigger companies reach out to actual agencies who take care of any type of marketing and the follow up process for them. However, this is not useful for startups as it’s considerably more expensive than the help you will get from online tools.
Of course, there’s not one correct way to go about blogger outreach. The five-step method below can be especially helpful if you have limited access to resources. Or if you are finding that the above tools aren’t yielding the bloggers and the results you were hoping for. In any case, if you need somewhere to start the below mentioned platforms can be useful.
Pinterest can be a great channel to begin your prospecting process. By searching on Pinterest, you will be able to find relevant content, more often than not, from bloggers who produce high-quality photos and engaging content. Both of which are important factors when finding the right blogger for your next campaign.
In order to choose the right search terms, put yourself in the shoes of your ideal bloggers’ audience. And thus, your target audience as well. For example, If you’re a brand like Ziploc and you’re targeting busy young moms, try searching “quick kids lunch ideas” or “kids snack ideas”. This search will result in content created for and by mom bloggers or food bloggers.
In general, when browsing through the results on a Pinterest land page, you’ll find that the majority of pins are from bloggers. This is just the kind of platform Pinterest is. Click through a few posts and see what kinds of blogs you stumble upon. But if you’re not finding the kind of content you’re looking for, try altering your search. For instance, try searching “kids craft ideas” instead. Do this to yield less content from food bloggers and more from mom bloggers).
Not only are social media platforms a great blogger outreach tools when used strategically, but they’re also useful for a couple of other reasons.
First, finding great bloggers through Pinterest can serve as a starting ground for your blogger-discovery process. We will go more in-depth about this a bit later.
Second, bloggers who consistently make it to the top of Pinterest search likely have the right Pinterest strategy. Whether that includes using relevant keywords and Rich Pins. Or having a killer “pinnable” photo. Good bloggers know how to work Pinterest, and that can be beneficial for your campaign. You can learn from them. Especially if you strike a collaboration.
Visual Social Media Platforms Are Where You Need To Shift Your Focus
Pinterest is a visual focused social media platform. There’s not much chit chat or sharing daily news. No space like Facebook groups (which can be beneficial in its own way) and not that much interaction with your followers. However, it’s the second most used visual media site for bloggers who operate in fashion, beauty and fitness. Basically, everything that concerns art, food and creativity oriented businesses.
Depending on the type of blogger you’re looking for, Instagram or Twitter can also be great search tools. If you’re looking for tech bloggers for example, you may find it easier to follow popular tech Twitter chats. You can schedule relevant, upcoming Twitter chats, or use special online tools to find influential people in the space. Twitter is arguably the best social media platform for a tech oriented businesses. The great thing about it is that it’s a perfect combination of visual and textual media. And you can utilize both.
As for the Instagram, just like Pinterest, it’s mainly visual focused. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that “Influencer” as a job exists because of Instagram. The absolute majority of now successful and well known bloggers have either started on the platform or definitely established themselves on it later on.
Having Instagram is a must have for any blogger. And there’s no questioning why. Instagram is modeled to yield to visual appeal. It has useful features that any business can use for a promotion campaign. Posting aside, which can be done in various ways: images, short or long videos, lives. You can use Story and archive it so that anyone can see them when they need to.
If you’re looking for fashion, food or beauty bloggers, Pinterest or Instagram is where you may want to begin.
Searching commonly used hashtags and browsing through the “Top Posts” section can be a quick and easy way to find bloggers on Instagram. By doing a search using the #fashionblogger hashtag and browsing through the top posts, you’re able to quickly find fashion bloggers, like Thrift and Threads.
What’s more, hashtags and geotags are necessary for making your business either local or global audience oriented. The advice would be to focus on the local first. Strengthen your brand as a considerable name within the industry and only then work on expanding to the worldwide audiences.
Qualify The First Set of Bloggers
Once you’ve found your first set of bloggers by using the strategy above, we recommend using a couple of free online tools. This is to make sure each blog aligns with the KPIs of a given campaign.
For example, if your client is focused on increasing their search engine rankings, the Domain Authority of a blog will be the most important part of the process. However, if the primary goal of the campaign is to drive traffic to your site, Monthly Unique Users and overall blog engagement should be at the top of your checklist.
The biggest names and the most successful bloggers don’t always deliver the right results. Take some time to read through a blog to ensure they are fit for what you are trying to accomplish. This can be done by looking at their past sponsored posts. Their social channels, the quality and frequency in which they write (or post) can be relevant too. And most importantly, see how their readers engage with their content.
Keep an eye out for bloggers who have a “cult following”. They may not have hundreds of thousands of followers, but their niche community trusts them, and will follow them to the grave. Those are the kinds of bloggers you want on board with your brand.
Why is that? Simply because their audience is bound to become yours. You have no other reason to collaborate with the blogger if this is not the end goal. The way they engage with the content the blogger offers, is the way your promotion campaign needs to adopt or adapt to. You need to be able to do preliminary adjustments, so it’s important to carefully observe who you’re going to hire before reaching out to them.
It’s important to qualify your first set of bloggers before moving on to the next step. You may stumble upon a piece of evergreen content on Pinterest, but when you click through to the blog, their influence and reach may be quite small in comparison. The next steps are dependent upon finding a great first set of bloggers, so invest the time in building a strong first set. You need the ones with the right content and enough following or engagements. Being qualified in only one option is not enough and you should filter them out if this is the case.
Investigating Link Parties
Now that you’ve qualified your first set of bloggers, utilize their blogs to gain insight into organic networks of bloggers and their communities. Meaning, the relationships bloggers form with one another, and the circles that are formed around those relationships.
Here’s a thing: a particular blogger’s audience does not start and end with their followers. It also includes other bloggers. Which, can be used to your benefit without even having to reach out to them. This can be done subtly through the blogger you actually hire.
Okay so, how do you do that?
There are a few different ways to tap into the organic networks of bloggers. Favorite tactic is investigating link parties. If you’re new to the Blogosphere, a link party (also referred to as a linky or link up) is when a host or a group of hosts invite others to link up to a post on their blogs weekly at a given time.
Link parties are a way for bloggers to network with other bloggers. Basically, to get their content in front of more eyes, and ideally, all parties receive some traffic. They are helping each other out, and you can use this to help yourself, without alerting more people than needed.
Since there are often multiple hosts for each link party, and bloggers typically collaborate with other bloggers who are of around the same size and who they highly regard, targeting the hosts of link parties can be a valuable strategy for quickly discovering similar blogs. Since you’ve already qualified the first set of bloggers, seeing which link parties they host and identifying co-hosts from those link parties can prove to be very successful.
If you find that a blogger from your first set isn’t a host, check to see if they link up on any other blogs and analyze the hosts of those link parties. Most bloggers have badges or a section on their blog where they list all of the link parties they participate in to give credit back to the hosts. Use those pages to easily navigate through various link parties.
Use Backlink Tools When Selecting Bloggers
You can also use backlink tools like Majestic or SimilarWeb PRO to run a report on each blogger during the selection process. Such tools show you the referring domains to the site. The report will likely pull up other similar blogs, and by looking at the number of backlinks, you can get an idea of the relationship different bloggers have. For example, they may host a blog event together, be a part of a link party, or simply value the content and enjoy sharing it with their readers.
This is one of the fastest methods you can utilize to select the bunch you need. Make sure to still check out their content and visit similar pages. Only by comparing and going through lots of content can you choose the best option.
Qualify Bloggers Again To Build Your Initial Outreach List
Your last step in the selection process is to qualify the final bunch of bloggers by using the methods discussed earlier. You can then compile an initial outreach list with the ones that made it. This is the target list of bloggers you will be collaborating with for the upcoming influencer marketing campaign.
In addition to using online tools, social media platforms and the above tactics, don’t be afraid to ask for media kits. Most bloggers have a media kit which serves as their online portfolio showcasing their blog statistics, social following, sponsorship and advertising rates, as well as past brand collaborations. Some bloggers make their media kit available on their blog (usually under the ‘Contact me’ or ‘Advertising’ section), but if it’s not listed, don’t be afraid to send a friendly email introducing yourself and asking for their media kit to review.
Media kits can be a great way to get insight into what the blogger is able to offer, and what your brand could expect to receive in return. This is also one of the crucial steps in finalizing your target list and filtering those out that might have seen like a good choice.
Blogger Outreach Tools and Tips for Your Campaign:
Influencer marketing is something you can’t skip over, if you want to successfully promote your product. That means, at one point, you have to reach out to bloggers and influencers for a collaboration or a promo campaign feature. However, finding the right blogger(s) for the job can seem like a daunting task. Given the situation today, no matter how unique your business is, there’s a chance there are at least hundred relevant bloggers on different platforms. Not saying anything about non-niche industries. And your job is to choose the selected few among them.
By utilizing Pinterest, Instagram and other social media platforms the task of selecting who truly fits your criteria can be solved quickly and effectively. In addition, you should investigate link parties and take advantage of backlink tools. By doing so you will get to know the circle your selected blogger(s) operate in and use that information to your benefit.
Qualifying your findings is a two step process and needs to be checked several times. This can be easily done using online tools. But you still have to review their content yourself. The point of online tools is to avoid aimlessly surfing the web not knowing where to start and who to search for.
While each blogger outreach specialist has their own approach and process, the tactics discussed above are the basics that can’t be overlooked. This five step influencer/blogger selection model creates a general framework which you should follow and adjust according to your specific needs. You can even leave out some if you think it’s a waste of time. For instance, in case of a tight deadline, you can skip over social media and jump right into digital tools to find the right person for your campaign. That depends on your niche, experience and the deadlines.
Hopefully this article has provided you with some valuable insight into tried or lesser known ways to navigate the Blogosphere and finding the right bloggers for your next influencer marketing campaign.
What are your favorite methods for blogger discovery? Have you tried using any of the tactics mentioned above? Or have you tried implementing the entire model? Leave a comment to share your experience or any questions you might have down below!