For many organizations, blogger outreach is about two things: placements and impressions. I’m not here to say those are the wrong measures of success. I know all about bottom lines and management’s insatiable hunger for sales and leads.
But, I’m here to tell you there are other business benefits to blogger outreach in addition to the hardcore numbers.
Relationships. What kind of value can you put on an influencer relationship that builds considerable trust with your key audiences? Pretty tough to measure, right? But invaluable to your brand. Now, relationships take time to build. That’s no secret. But, it’s worth the investment. And, like I’ve said before, what if the blogger or influencer you’re “pitching” actually becomes a customer/client? What kind of value does your client put on a single customer?
Improve your product or service. How? What if you gave 10-15 influential bloggers in your vertical exclusive access to your newest product and asked them to help you test it right in your lab? For starters, you’re building a whole new level of trust and loyalty with these bloggers by giving them “velvet rope” (I’m stealing that term from one of Valeria Maltoni’s readers) access. On the other, you’re improving your product by allowing savvy users the opportunity to test it and offer additional ideas on how to incorporate more functionality and useful features.
Crisis communications. There’s usually one spokesperson speaking on behalf of the company during a crisis, right? But many people may or may not trust that spokesperson (see the fluctuations in the Edelman Trust Barometer for more). Wouldn’t it be great if the bloggers you had spent so much time developing relationships with over the last year came to your defense? Credible, third-party voices who are not paid to make legally-approved statements. Can you put a price tag on that value?
Goodwill. You don’t have to ask for something every time you reach out to a blogger. What about just giving something away with no hope of anything in return? Just a goodwill gesture to support the blogger and his or her community. You’re trying to build trust and prove to bloggers that you care about them and their communities, right? Why wouldn’t you take steps to help them, if you could? Besides, isn’t blogger outreach all about developing mutually beneficial relationships anyway? Just like it is with media relations? In a best-case scenario, don’t we hope to give away story leads or ideas to a reporter that don’t necessarily sync up with our client’s best interests to build trust?
Why wouldn’t you do the same with bloggers?
Note: Photo credit of kengo via FlickR Creative Commons.