How to Connect with Bloggers

6 April 2010 2,463 views 7 Comments

Your business has content, bloggers need topics

A Rose in Hand

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An interesting thought was brought up in the Hunting Business Marketing Forum about connecting with bloggers. I started responding to the question in the forum, but felt that the topic was big enough to promote to a full blog post on the main blog.

Connecting With Bloggers

In another forum post, Generating Buzz

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, Mark of Wired to Hunt
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discussed a job he had with a marketing agency where he would help to connect businesses and bloggers by using the content the business would create and organize so it was valuable to bloggers.

Mark discusses that he would create a list of bloggers that were active and willing to accept relevant information from companies. These bloggers were then prioritized by traffic, quality of content, interaction of readers in the comments, among other criteria. From there the organization would craft the content so the bloggers could then use it for their blog posts.

It’s important to note that Mark says that each blogger received a unique email that was personalized. The communication was honest and up front in goal.

I think connecting with bloggers really begins by becoming involved in the online communities where your targeted bloggers are spending time.

A reason Twitter has become popular is because it allowed folks to connect with people and businesses they looked up to and wanted to connect with. Businesses can seek out connections with prominent bloggers in their niches and bloggers can seek out businesses that may have potentially useful information that can lead to quality blog posts.

Starting Relationships With Bloggers

As mentioned above, starting the relationships can start with a simple direct message or email that is personalized. The communication can originate from the blogger or the business.

A common experience some have is that after a few messages back and forth the blogger and the business contact lose interest with each and the relationship dies. This may happen because the blogger and the business didn’t find any common ground for a relationship where they share content and work with each other to produce blog posts for their target audience. It could happen because there just wasn’t a relevant way to connect the goals of each party.

It’s important to remember that not all bloggers will take content and turn it into blog post gold. Early on in your efforts this will be even less likely. The truth is that it will take one or two bloggers here and there over time that consistently take content and share it with their audience. Slowly, over time others will join in and eventually a critical mass will be tuning in to your stream of communication to absorb the content you’re sharing about your company.

Maintaining Relationships With Bloggers

Since it was mentioned that business and blogger relationships are often lost or that one of the parties loses interest over time I thought I’d brainstorm a few ideas to keep the conversation active as the life of the relationship ages.

Here are a few I can think off the top of my head:

  • Newsletter
  • Email Thread
  • Forum
  • Google Spreadsheet
  • HARO
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    (Help A Reporter Out) for Hunting – HAHBO (Help a Hunting Blogger Out)

All of these are ways to keep the conversation active with your friends and followers. Not all of the bloggers you form relationships with will become actively involved with your brand by picking up your stories, but a few will become dedicated and over time those dedicated few will grow an audience around the content you’re sharing on the communication channel you’ve created for them.

The reality of interacting with bloggers is that you (the business) will have to take most of the initiative to continue the relationship where your provide ideas for blog posts to bloggers. Some will take the content and run with it and create amazing, unique content while others will ignore it. Some will need you to keep feeding them content while working to improve the content by making it more appealing to their interest.

Gaining permission to share your content with bloggers is the important part of the business-blogger equation. Forming relationships that are mutually beneficial is the way to find success with connecting with bloggers.

Summary

Connecting with bloggers is something most businesses want to be able to do, but sometimes don’t know how or don’t have the resources needed to connect and maintain relationships.

It takes time to first connect with bloggers – a few messages back and forth to get familiar with each other. After this initial conversation it takes even more effort on the part of the business to keep up the flow of communication while providing appealing content and topics of discussion for the blogger to take and use as inspiration for their own content.

It’s a process that builds over time, but when a business can commit and understand the importance of the blogging community there can be real benefit to both of the parties involved.

What are your thoughts on connecting with bloggers?

Businesses: What relationships do you have with bloggers?

Bloggers: What relationships do you have with businesses?

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Image courtesy of Hamed Saber

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7 Comments »
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  • Mark - Wired To Hunt
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    said:

    Thanks for the shout-out Dayne! I’m glad my thoughts were helpful. I would definitely encourage anyone interested in trying this strategy. We found it to be very successful for many of my clients.

    Now, as a blogger, I have received the benefits of this on the other end. I get frequent emails from companies that have news, press releases or new products that they would like shared with my readership. I can’t always write about or review their products, but I definitely appreciate it when I get a thoughtful email with quality content to share. When I am able to write something up, its a win win for both the company and my readers. My readers get some interesting news or a review of a product they might want, and the company gets some great publicity and some buzz.

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Thanks for stopping by, Mark. I was hoping you’d have a chance to comment.

    It’s encouraging that you’ve had success on both sides of these relationships. Your insight is great for businesses and bloggers looking to form connections.

    Thanks.

  • Ben G.
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    said:

    Dayne, it is great to have companies contact you about product or an article especially when you are looking for content all the time. Personally I think it is very fun to build these relationships I get to learn about a company, and help provide them with publicity.

    If I find a company or product I am interested in I will try my best to make a connection with them. Most of the companies I have worked with I have been the one to initiate the first conversation, it’s like selling your writing for free. I’m not sure why some don’t respond, but I feel they are missing free marketing.

    Any way I have forged quite a few great relationships through blogging. I every so often I will send an e-mail to the companies to see if they have any thing new they would like an article about.

    Oh I almost forgot. Being I have been making lots of connections on twitter I changed my landing page from twitter to a page that says what I provide to my readers and what I can provide to a company.

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Ben.

    It’s interesting that some companies wouldn’t respond. I’m sure a few are receiving spam and sometimes miss out on relevant emails when they delete.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  • msmnpr
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    said:

    Ben – you aren’t the first blogger I’ve heard this from and I don’t understand those companies. Here’s someone offering to write about YOU! I think bloggers have some hurdles to jump in our industry:

    1. Most of the outdoor companies don’t understand the value of bloggers (good for me b/c that means I have less competition when reaching out to you guys)
    2. Let’s say they understand social media – so they look you up on Technorati. You aren’t there, or you have a low score. Why? B/c our industry doesn’t really pop on the radar in the social media space. But the company thinks you have low value. WRONG!
    3. Finding you guys is literally like finding a needle in a haystack. For me, sometimes the PR I need is more regionalized. Like right now, I am looking for an outdoor blogger in Houston. Yeah, try googling that.

    Dayne- Thanks for writing this blog post! Like anything worthwhile, building a relationship with a blogger takes time. I’ve found Twitter helps a great deal. I am always open to listening to a blogger or meeting up with them at events etc. I am @ladysportsman on Twitter. Looking forward to constructive conversations! – Michelle

  • Ben G.
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    said:

    Dayne- I agree that maybe this happens to a few but, I don’t think the majority are getting my e-mails in their spam b/c I try and contact them through their web site and on sites like camo space. I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s my approach.

    Michelle- I think you have it right most don’t understand the value of bloggers.

    It does seem as though outdoor blogging doesn’t get you very high ratings on any site like Technorati. Our audience just isn’t as big as the rest of the world. I think this has to do with the fact that most of the older hunters are not into technology as much as older people in other industries. For example I told my uncle about my blog and this is his response “a what, a bog”, me “no a blog”. My Uncle “What the hell is a blog” Then I explain it to him and he says “OK whatever, have fun with your bog”.

    Good luck finding an outdoor blogger in Houston I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

  • Hunting Companies Show a Willingness to Connect With Bloggers
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    said:

    [...] writing How to Connect with Bloggers, I realized that it might be valuable to list hunting companies I’ve come across that have [...]