How to get bloggers to promote and market your stuff

Blogger outreach and PR is difficult - I've read a lot of How to articles and guides that say stuff like "Get bloggers to review your site or product", or, "Get as many backlinks from other bloggers as possible".

So everyone knows what to do, but no-one's talking about how to do it. In fact, gathering backlinks is often time consuming, ineffective and infuriating.

Hands up anyone who has spent several hours emailing other bloggers asking them to take a second to look over your new [blog/site/product/service/article/video] and gotten almost no response. It happens all the time.

While no-one can guarantee coverage in the notoriously fickle world of blogging, there are a number of things that can be done to drastically improve your chances:

Be realistic

Most top, influential bloggers pride themselves on finding the latest and most exciting developments in their field. In reality, that's not what they do. Instead they cover new and interesting stories from other big players or people with connections and influence (admittedly this is a generalization, but it is accurate by and large).

You could have the best idea in the world and it will most likely be overlooked if no-one knows who you are already.

If you are not already rich and famous, it may well be more efficient to forget about the famous bloggers (even though the temptation to get yourself in front of their audience is huge), and approach lesser known, but high quality bloggers instead.

The idea being that some coverage is better than no coverage, and if your site or product is truly inspiring it will eventually bubble up into the big leagues.

Offer something in return

If someone you have never met or spoken to before comes up to you in the street and asks you to give them something - say, your business card. It's unlikely you'll do it.

It's the same on the Internet. First, show them a link to an article you wrote about them, or, where you commented in their blog, or how you loved the last tweet they made... and so on.

You could even offer to talk about them in an upcoming interview, blog post or article - but doing something first is better than promising something later.

Show interest

Show bloggers that you're not a complete stranger. That you have an interest in what they do.

Lead with a line like "Your last article on affiliate marketing actually helped me to increase sales by 3%". But only if it's true. Make sure you don't come across as one of those comment spammers who try to add comments that sound related to a blog post in order to fool the moderator.

Connect via social media

Hand in hand with the previous point, you should also make an effort to engage with bloggers socially via Twitter, Facebook and Google+. People appreciate good feedback and comments on their tweets and shares. This puts you on their radar. They will at least recognize your name if, as and when you do decide to approach them directly.

In particular, if you can get bloggers to follow you first, you can message them directly. A social message is far more effective than cold calling via email (which is not effective at all).

Be clear and concise

A lot of bloggers are busy people. They already get a lot of emails. They try their best to read all of them, looking for the best ones that are interesting and offer opportunities for creating content.

Don't waste their time with long winded background info or explanations. Link to articles and resources instead. Be friendly, but don't beat around the bush- if they're interested, they'll ask for any information they need.

Be sensible

Remember you are approaching an individual human being; not some faceless corporate entity. You don't have to hype up what your doing, like some marketing extravaganza. You want to make friends. As if you are chatting face to face.

Pumped up sales pitches get flagged by bloggers' BS radar and summarily ignored.

Stay in your niche

Don't approach a blogger because they have a nice looking blog. Only expend effort approaching bloggers who know something about what you do. Bloggers tend to know what their audience likes to read.

They might find your ideas on fluid mechanics interesting, but they're not going to discuss it in their world famous blog on pancakes.

Be direct, but not pushy

Often your first email may go un-noticed. If you receive no reply after a couple of weeks, follow it up. Don't simply resend the email. Say, "Hi X. I wanted to follow up on my previous email with...".

Don't keep sending emails. If you don't get a response to your follow up, move on to greener pastures.

Make genuine connections

Once you have a blogger who is willing to give coverage, make sure you cultivate that relationship. Connect with them on Facebook or LinkedIn and ensure that you have an equitable relationship. So that when the time comes to launch your next big thing you have a pool of bloggers who should be willing to help you out without having to go cold calling again.

What others techniques do you use to get favorable coverage and PR from leading bloggers? Share your blogger outreach tips and advice in the comments.

I'm sure there's plenty more. Let's hear your suggestions for what works for you.

Proof that business blogging works. Pic by nicoleec

The vast majority (in the region of 95%) of all sites and blogs ever created fail to make any money at all - let alone a profit. Against this backdrop it's quite easy to lose faith in blogging as a viable tool for online marketing.

But all is not lost. There are plenty of businesses out there quietly creating great articles and content to share and promote around their networks. Many of them have had great success in driving new leads, customers, sign-ups, traffic and direct revenue.