As we mapped out our approach, we considered folks who might be “influencers” in the niche we were targeting (for purposes of this post, let’s just assume we’re talking about the music industry).
Who are the music bloggers in town?
Who attends concerts regularly and tweets/records/Instagrams? (Hello Kyle Matteson!)
What media are talking about music?
The basic, run-of-the-mill-type questions (by the way, these women up top here? I have no idea who they are. But, don’t they just look like influencers!).
Then, we stopped and thought: Wait, why are we limiting this to just “music influencers?” After all, just because you don’t have a blog or work in the media, doesn’t mean you’re not an “influencer” of behavior in a certain sector.
So, we widened our search and started thinking about people who were socially active, but also that had shown a solid interest in music. And, those who interacted often with our target audience.
Then we thought–why does it have to be an “A-list” influencer? What about “B-list” influencers (i.e., everyday people)? What about the next level down? Don’t those people still have influence? Just because they have 2,000 Instagram followers instead of 50,000 doesn’t mean they’re not influencing purchase behavior.
And, who’s to say the person with 50,000 followers is influencing the people you want (as a brand) and in the states/country you want (remember these follower counts don’t discriminate)?
We started thinking differently about our list.
We started thinking about approaching those regular people who talked about music from time to time.
Sure, we’ll still go after some of those media and blogger-types. But, maybe not as many.
Maybe we’ll go after these everyday influencers instead?
Why does this make sense? Think about it.
* The everyday influencers aren’t getting pitched as much–if at all. A thoughtful pitch will go a LONG ways.
* Their influence might be even more genuine and lead to more lasting brand relationships.
* Since they’re not getting pitched as often, and not doing hundreds of sponsored posts each month, people may actually trust them! (have you SEEN a lifestyle blogger’s blog lately?)
* If we were to go down the sponsored post/influencer route, we may not have to pay as much as we would to the A-list group (who again, may not have the trust you think because of all the sponsored stuff they’re currently doing). In fact, depending on the “ask”, we may not have to pay anything at all.
Makes too much sense, right?
Yeah, maybe we’ll probably just pay some mom blogger $25,000 to promote our concert instead.
photo credit: LE WEB PARIS 2013 – EVENT – WOMEN INFLUENCERS DINNER via photopin (license)]]>
That was the stat that caught my eye a few weeks ago, when I started hearing more about Niche.
What’s Niche, you ask?
According to its site, Niche is the professional network for social media creators to analyze, grow and monetize their audience.
For brands, it may just be the future of influencer outreach and engagement (good articles from Inc., The New York Times, and Racked here).
At its most basic, for content creators (read: Instagram/Vine “celebrities”), Niche is a place where these people can aggregate all their social accounts in one place. And, more importantly, Niche is a broker for these content creators to work with brands and make, as it turns out, some pretty serious money (you did see the $10,000 per Vine at the top, right?).
For brands, Niche represents a way to collaborate and co-create content with some of the most popular and creative Viners, Instagammers and Tumblrs (those seem to be the big three platforms for Niche) out there.
We’ve seen this model before, right? Software and companies that hook brands up with the right influencers. Izea comes to mind.
And, we’ve certainly heard all about the power of influencer outreach. Mommy bloggers are frequently paid tens of thousands of dollars to promote brand products and services.
So, the concept is not really all that new.
Just the channels it seems–again, the focus seems to be on Instagram, Vine and Tumblr. All more visual platforms, and all more targeted at a younger demo, I might add.
At first I scoffed at this model.
Brands are paying some guy who makes Vines in his basement $10,000 PER VINE?
Did I suddenly wake up in an alternate universe? What year is this?
Brands are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to work with 22-year-old Instagrammers who happen to have a bit of an eye for photography?
Could this really be true? And, more importantly, could it really make sense for brands?
Yep. It could. And, it does.
Why do you think brands hire advertising agencies? Think about Mad Men. Don Draper was the money-maker, not Pete Campbell. Creative has always been a huge demand for brands. Whether the execution is an ad, a billboard, a Facebook post. Whatever. Creative content wins. Brands know it. And they’re willing to pay top dollar for it.
By now, many brands have large social communities. They have their own “reach.” But, that doesn’t mean they don’t want bigger numbers. More eyeballs. And, in many cases, different eyeballs (younger eyeballs, in this case). These Instagram/Vine celebs are well-known in younger communities. Scoff all you want, but it’s true. And brands are rushing to take advantage (OK, maybe not RUSHING, but they’re seeking it out).
At the end of the day, many brands are lazy. I don’t really mean that in a negative way. They just want easy solutions. And why shouldn’t they? After all, they have the money to pay for them. And here comes a firm (Niche) who’s offering them great creative, good reach with a premium audience (18-44 year-olds) at a reasonable price (compared with traditional advertising). I mean, if you think about it that way, what’s not to like?
We see this every day–brands tripping over themselves to fill the content vacuum with ridiculously, overly branded content. We’re 6-7 years into the social revolution and many brands still struggle with creative content creation. But, these Instagrammers/Viners don’t. They know how to produce content that’s going to get clicks, likes and shares. And, they’re willing to play nice with brands–for the right price, of course. That gives brands an outlet to creative they just can’t deliver.
So, while you may scoff at the crazy price tags these ‘creators’ are demanding, if you think about it from a brand perspective, it may actually be worth it.
I can’t believe I just said a $10,000 Vine might be “worth it”, but the more I analyze what’s happening here, the more I believe it.
Think about what brands are getting:
* Access to audiences they may not already have access to (younger, millennial demos, in many cases)
* Creative they definitely don’t have access to (agency-level creative, even thought the agencies won’t love me saying that)
* And a turnkey approach that requires very little in the way of resources or time on your end (Niche doing its job here)
That’s a pretty slick package from a marketer’s POV. And I think it’s why Niche is succeeding so far.
Will it continue?
Who knows. I tend to think we’re headed for a bit of a bubble bursting on a few different fronts (and these IG/Vine superstars being one of those areas). But, time will tell, of course.
But for now, I can see this working for brands. And apparently, it has been working for a lot of brands. Look at their client list: Gap, Lyft, and BarkbBox, just for starters.
But the pitches I typically get are far less sexy than those my colleagues on the lifestyle side typically receive (I did some blogger research with my friends at Weber Shandwick earlier this year; if you’re interested, that info is here).
And, they’re off-target in one other key area: They typically treat me the same way they treat mainstream media.
What do I mean?
One pitch I received a few weeks ago asked me to help promote an event by blogging about said event.
Another talked about an upcoming business awards deal. Again, the pitch was to basically promote the awards for the organization.
These are mainstream media pitches–and, I might add, not the best pitch for mainstream media either.
But, for a blogger, they’re not even remotely on point.
Now I fully realize I’m coming across as the whiny, entitled blogger here, but there’s a bigger point at play here: Bloggers are NOT mainstream media.
We’re just bloggers.
Most of us have “day jobs.”
Some of us only write when we have time.
And others don’t even work in the industry.
All reasons to treat your pitch to bloggers a bit differently.
Like I’ve said before on this blog, the key with bloggers it to first think: “What’s in it for them?” Answer that question, and you’re halfway home.
It also pays to think it terms of collaboration when you’re approaching bloggers–instead of pitching them an event or idea to “cover.” Again, that is mainstream media thinking–we’re talking about bloggers here.
In the examples above, if the “pitcher” would have treated things just a bit differently, their odds of success would have been greatly improved.
For example, they could have taken the following approaches:
Instead of asking bloggers to PROMOTE an upcoming event, why not ask them to attend said event and then just get out of the gosh-darn way? After all, that’s really what they want–access and “exclusivity.” In my case, this is something I routinely do (write about events I attend), and if the “pitcher” in this case had done their homework beforehand, they would know this Bonus points for giving the blogger access to content or speakers other bloggers/authors wouldn’t have access to (read: the blogger would have an “exclusive” in mainstream media terms).
Instead of asking the blogger to PROMOTE a local award, why not see if I’d be interested in interviewing and profiling a few of the winners? Again, in my case, if the “pitcher” took just a few moments to flip through my blog, they would have noticed that I do this ALL THE TIME! And, I LOVE to do it! It’s easy content for me and I get to highlight some really smart and great people. This would be a home run pitch for me. And again, all it would have taken, is a few minutes of homework. But, the overall key here is exclusivity. Think of ways you can give bloggers “exclusive” content they can’t get anywhere else. They will gobble that up.
So, to recap, are we all on the same page? Bloggers are NOT mainstream media.
Let’s repeat that: Bloggers are NOT mainstream media.
So let’s stop treating them that way.
They don’t exist to “cover” events for your client.
They don’t exist to help promote your organization.
And they certainly don’t exist to help you.
Bloggers are actually a pretty easy group to figure out. Much like you, they are out for themselves. They are content-hungry. They want unique opportunities.
Think of your blogger outreach in those terms, and I can virtually guarantee you’ll be successful.]]>
It’s not all on PR folks, of course. Part of the reason we see so many horrible blogger pitches is because PR people aren’t always involved.
Many of the bad pitches I hear from bloggers comes from start-ups. Those companies typically don’t have the resources to hire a PR firm or consultant. Which means, they’re doing the pitching. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
Other companies have general marketing staff who try to pull this off. But that strategy often backfires as well because marketers typically don’t understand the intracies of PR–much less how to work with bloggers (which is a bit different from the media).
That leaves us with PR agencies and consultants–who, in fact, do a lot of the pitching. PR fims aren’t off the hook here. I’ve seen a lot of off-base pitches from agencies–both on my blog and others. So, late last year I formed a partnership with the Minneapolis Weber Shandwick office to study bloggers a bit more so we can understand who motivates them and how we can work better with them, on behalf of the brands we represent.
I’m working with friend and colleague Lauren Melcher at Shandwick, who’s the perfect partner because she (like me) is one part blogger, one part PR/digital counselor. We see blogger outreach campaigns from both sides.
So, a few weeks ago, we held our first blogger focus group with five Minnesota “lifestyle” bloggers via Google Hangout. We spent half hour on the Hangout asking them questions about how they like to be pitched, what kinds of pitches work/what kinds don’t, and if/how they participate in blogger networks.
As we reviewed the focus group and sifted through the data, a few key themes emerged:
Most pitches lifestyle/mom bloggers receive from PR folks are off-topic. In fact, one blogger said “out of 500 emails I receive, I only reply to maybe 5. The rest are completely irrelevant to my blog.” Another blogger said the following when asked to rank PR people on a sliding scale in terms of performance in blogger outreach: “80 percent are about a 2; 20% are about a 9 or 10.” Clearly, there is room for PRs who understand blogger outreach to reach these highly influential people online–it just takes time, smarts and perseverance.
Many bloggers lamented how they routinely receive longer pitches from PR people. Bloggers are busy–with kids at home, with work, and with hobbies and other interests. They don’t have time to read lengthy pitches. Another tip: Don’t copy and paste a press release into your pitch–bloggers don’t care (and they said as much in the focus group). Instead, get to the point quickly. And tell them why your idea is relevant to them and their audience. My general rule of thumb: Try to keep email pitches to three short paragraphs or less.
We heard this theme from the bloggers loud and clear. One blogger started working with one brand because she knew the PR person from online interactions and knew she had credibility. Another blogger noted that a PR person mentioned a child by his nickname in the post–showing that the PR person had done their research and read the blog. So all that time spent researching and interacting with bloggers in advance of the pitch–bloggers are saying that pays off. The lesson for brands? Invest more time (and budget, by the way) getting to know bloggers you’re pitching and developing relationships–it’ll pay big dividends in the end.
Almost every blogger to a woman noted that compensation was required when working with brands. Their time is simply too valuable, and their communities too lucrative for brands. However, what was interesting is that compensation doesn’t always have to translate to dollars, according to lifestyle bloggers. In fact, one blogger mentioned she prefers to do more “pay in product” situations than “pay in money.” Another noted that compensation doesn’t always need to be made in cash–it could be something different, like a stay in a nice hotel. The lesson for brands? Compensation always needs to be a part of the equation when working with lifestyle bloggers–but you might want to think creatively about what that compensation entails.
Almost every blogger we talked to mentioned they were part of a blog network (like BlogHer). The reason? Networking. These bloggers are looking to chat and commiserate with other bloggers like them. To learn best practices. To build skills. And to, well, network. Brands should think about how they might work with these blog networks creatively. Whether that means finding a way to activate your brand at a blog network event like BlogHer, or figuring out ways to interact with bloggers in these networks effectively and efficiently.
Note: We provided the five bloggers who participated in this focus group with $25 Mall of America gift cards for their valuable time. Thank you to Mall of America for being a great partner!]]>
Apparently, Bulldog Reporter thought it would be a good idea to sell mommy blogger contact information to PR folks across the country. Not the end of the world, except for the fact that said information contained personal phone numbers, emails and home addresses without (alledgedly) their permission.
Let me repeat that: WITHOUT their permission.
That, on its own, would have been bad enough. But, after digging into this a bit more last night, I discovered a few more reasons Bulldog completely missed the boat with this “Mommy Blogger Contact Guide” (take a look at the complete one-pager if you have time). Let’s have a look:
When in the heck are we going to learn? When you’re dealing with bloggers, it’s not about “placements.” These people aren’t mainstream media outlets. They’re not paid to report on your news or event. Well, you might pay them, but they’re not reporters, folks. They have topics they like to talk about, sure. But, they’re often not aligned with your clients narratives. So, why do we continue to think in terms of “placements”? It’s about PARTNERSHIPS. I recently completed a small focus group with my partners at Weber Shandwick here in Minneapolis–I’m excited to share the results next week, but lets just say the bloggers we talked to (which were all mommy bloggers, by the way) weren’t interested in “placements”, they were interested in working WITH brands TOGETHER to develop content that benefitted them both.
Another mantra we need to beat through our thick skulls. The Bulldog promo note highlights “290 of the most popular and influential mommy blogging outlets” (again, outlets? Really? They’re blogs, not mainstream media outlets!). But, not all brands want to (or SHOULD want to) work with the “most popular” bloggers. Smart brands want to work with the RIGHT bloggers. Bloggers who are aligned with their values. Bloggers who have an engaged community–not just a big follower count. Bigger isn’t always better. Repeat after me.
Maybe it’s just the language the Bulldog folks used in the promo one-pager, but I think it’s indicative of how a lot of people still think about bloggers. Let’s look at a few lines: “Learn exactly what kind of hooks and stories they’re looking for, best times to call and pet peeves…”. Really? Hooks and stories? Bloggers don’t look for “hooks.” They look for ideas for posts (remember, bloggers don’t have to sell their story ideas in an editorial meeting each morning). There is a difference. Also, best times to call? WHAT? The media don’t even want calls at this stage. You think people who BLOG want to use the phone? I can’t even believe that was actually in print. Or, what about this statement in the promo note: “Obviously a single placement in one of these blogs can be worth thousands of dollars in visibility to your products and brands…” OK, we covered the “placement” beef, right? The problem with this statement is it makes no point of talking about the benefit to the blogger. Again, these bloggers don’t exist to help your brand (even if you are paying them–for many bloggers, money isn’t the primary motivator). So, they don’t blog to make your company or client money. Treat them like real people and they will treat you and your clients the same way. Not too tough.
I have a general rule of thumb–when in doubt, disclose when it comes to online communication. On a similar note, when in doubt, seek permission when it comes to information online–whether that be sharing email addresses, photos, or even home addresses (why did Bulldog think it was even relevant to share home addresses? Doesn’t obtaining that information come much later in the pitch process?). Bulldog failed miserably here–and worse yet, with the intent of making a buck. They apologized (kind of), and did take the home addresses off the list (according to a Facebook post yesterday), but what about the phone numbers? And what about the fact that they’re still trying to sell something that they clearly did not clear with the bloggers? Now, I understand bloggers put information out there, and with that they need to be open to other people and organizations using that information–mommy bloggers aren’t completely off the hook here. But, I just think Bulldog could have went about this a much different way. Why not just ask the bloggers for permission? That just doesn’t make sense to me.
Don’t want to completely throw Bulldog under the bus here (whoops, too late), but this is such a blunder. And, for a long-standing and widely followed organization/publisher like Bulldog, quite frankly, I’d expect more. I’d expect them to *understand* blogger outreach before they go around selling a list like this. I’d expect them to act ethically. And, I’d expect them to show some integrity (again, they did kind of apologize–although “sorry” was never uttered).
Maybe I’m just a little disappointed…you?]]>
As the conversation continued, we inevitably started brainstorming potential approaches to these bloggers. How would we approach them? What would the angle be? What’s in it for them? Would what we’re offering resonate with these bloggers?
All valid questions, right? But all questions that had no answers. Just “educated” guesses from our team.
But it occurred to me–what if we weren’t making educated guesses? What if we were making decisions about this kind of blogger outreach based on answers and input from bloggers themselves?
My thought: What if brands created “blogger focus groups”, for lack of a better term?
The idea: Get a handful of bloggers together a couple times of year and sound them out on potential approaches, offers and programs to see what resonates, and what doesn’t, from their perspective.
The brand would have to compensate these bloggers, obviously. Cash, product, that kind of thing. That would be the brand’s call. But, that would be fair, right? It’s what we do with other focus groups. And in return, the brand would get valuable intelligence–not just about what might work and what wouldn’t from a blogger outreach approach. But, they’d get a firsthand look at how bloggers think (which would REALLY help a lot of brands). In fact, maybe these blogger focus groups could mesh with the “regular” focus groups for economies of scale on the brand side.
So, what do you think? Crazy idea–or a great way for brands to better understand what makes bloggers tick? I’d love to hear thoughts on this…
Note: Photo courtesy of Adam Tinworth via FlickR Creative Commons.]]>
I’ve received far too many pitches like this to keep ignoring them. And if I’m fed up, I can only imagine what lifestyle and ‘mommy’ bloggers feel like who get pitched many more times a day than I do.
This is just lazy pitching. Pure and simple. And it’s RAMPANT in our industry. Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not doing our jobs near well enough. And it needs to stop.
What can we do? A few simple things.
First, be realistic about what you can promise your client/organization. Blogger outreach is not easy. It’s time intensive. And there are few promises you can make. Sound familiar media relations folks?
Second, read the blogs you’re pitching. I’m begging you. If this person would have taken just take FIVE MINUTES to read my blog they would have realized I’m not a mommy blogger and I have no interest in blogging about your client’s food product. Please don’t be lazy. Please put forth effort. Someone is paying you good money to do this.
Finally, customize your pitches. After you spend five minutes reading the blog (and believe me, you can learn A LOT about a blogger, if you know where to look, in five minutes), write a pitch that’s is just for them. Include personal details. Mention a recent post. Whatever. It’s really not that hard, and I promise it’ll take less than 15 minutes.
So,are we all set? If we all take these simple steps, this garbage will stop. Eventually. For now, I guess I’ll have to live with the kind of crap pitches you see below.
Comments: Hi Arik!
Summer is coming to a close, the kids are heading back to school, and once again you are faced with packing school lunches. We know packing a healthy lunch that your kids will eat is important. With that in mind, we hope you will join (CLIENT NAME HERE) and registered dietitian, (SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT HERE), for an exclusive blogger event focused on how to pack the perfect school lunch.
(CLIENT NAME HERE) new snack-packs, available at (LOCAL GROCER HERE), are an easy way to keep portable, delicious snack bars on hand for school lunches or snacks. (CLIENT NAME HERE) bars are all-natural, gluten free and baked with real fruit and non-genetically modified ground whole soybeans—offering a perfect combination of carbohydrates, protein and fiber. It is an easy, tasty and wholesome snack for any time of day.
In addition to sampling (CLIENT NAME HERE) (and taking plenty home for you and your readers!), (SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT HERE) will take you on an aisle-by-aisle tour of (LOCAL GROCER HERE) to learn how to shop healthier. You’ll leave with expert advice (CLIENT NAME HERE) is not only a nutrition expert, he’s also a father of two), tips and tricks on how to pack a perfect school lunch, ideas on how to throw together quick weeknight dinners, and easy ways to ensure that no one skips that all-important breakfast just because they’re late for the bus.
(DELETING TO PROTECT THE CLIENT)
Please RSVP via our Eventbrite invitation: (DELETING TO PROTECT THE CLIENT)
Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. If you’d like to learn more about (CLIENT NAME HERE), please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Facebook and tweet with us on Twitter, (CLIENT NAME HERE). We look forward to seeing you!
(NAME OF PR PERSON HERE)
(NAME OF AD/PR FIRM HERE)]]>
Basically what they’re asking is this: What criteria should I use to rank bloggers against other bloggers?
I know, I know, there are tools you can use to do this. Agencies have designed proprietary systems around how to measure the influence of bloggers.
But, those tools are typically reserved for organizations with larger PR/marketing budgets. What about the legion of small businesses who don’t have that pot of money. Who don’t employ reputable firms like Edelman Digital, Golin Harris and Fleishman Hillard?
What tools and resources do they have?
Answer: Not much. They’re often left to fend for themselves, actually. So, I thought I’d share a few questions I usually suggest clients start with in evaluating bloggers when they reach out to the company. Below are 15 questions to ask before saying “yes” to that blogger.
Note: Photo courtesy of Oberazzi via FlickR Creative Commons.]]>
And you’d be dead wrong.
In fact, many of the pitches I receive are what I’d call “SEO plays.” Companies merely looking for links. And, in some cases, they’re willing to pay for them. Which leads us to my experiment.
I was pitched by a company a couple weeks ago about a “sponsored post”–here’s the initial email (without names):
You have an amazing blog!! Congratulations.
Do you offer any sponsored posts? We run promotion campaigns for companies and we have expert bloggers in our Ambassador program who we invite to write reviews for us. We offer reimbursement or an SEO package at no cost in return.
We have several clients who I believe are relevant to your area of expertise. Please let me know if you provide sponsored reviews or any other opportunities for reviewing.
Fair enough, right? I have absolutely no doubt that this person didn’t read my blog though. That first sentence tells me a lot. But, I wanted to play along. And, they were asking for a sponsored post, so payment would obviously be involved–a bit different than a straight, organic pitch. So, I wrote a short note back asking her to tell me more. Here was the follow up email.
I think your blog is a great fit for us. Currently we are running a promotion for Conferencegroup.com. If you can review the site and its services, that would be great.
All we ask that you:
-use at least one of their keywords and link to their site: http://www.conferencegroup.com and use a keyword in your title (keywords to choose from are before- no more than 3 for a post)
-you send us the url and your paypal email address and we send you payment. We don’t do interfere with your work as the blogger and appreciate any opportunity you can help us with.
We pay $50 to $300 depending on authority and other quality rankings of your blog- you are at about $200/post. Let me know if you have questions or want some examples, and I hope you come on board as an Ambassador:)
First of all, I get more evidence that she didn’t read my blog in that first sentence. If she did, she would have known what I blog about–and that it has little to nothing to do with audio and video-conferencing services. But again, we’re talking paid posts here, so that changes things a bit.
What’s much more concerning than the laziness of this pitch is the *reason* for the pitch–links. As you read this, doesn’t it seem like they’re more interested in the links than the actual review/content? And again, why would I review a audio/video-conferencing solution? I mean, it’s somewhat relevant as a solo counselor/small business owner, but you’ll note there’s not one mention of that in the back-and-forth.
Is this really the best way for companies to go about getting “link juice” online? Is this really how you want your brand represented? Is this really the way you want to win?
For most companies, I would hope the answer is “no” here, but like I said, I’ve seen an increasing number of these types of pitches lately that leads me to believe otherwise. And that makes me a little sad.
But, since this is an experiment, and I promised to review The Conference Center (and it is somewhat relevant as a solo consultant), here’s my two cents.
As a solo consultant, I do have audio and web conferencing needs from time to time. And, I find more conference call solutions to be too expensive. But, in glancing at the Conference Center site, I see an option called “Together Talk” that seems fairly appealing. For only 2.5 cents per minute, I can get access to reservation-free con call capabilities. That’s actually a pretty good deal for someone like me. I may look into that.
So, was that worth $200? Was it worth completely exploiting people who would read this blog? I’d say pretty strongly, “no.” And, more importantly, did the post itself impact your decision to use or not use The Conference Center? Or, is this merely a link play, as I claimed above?
Curious to hear your thoughts.
Note: I’m putting the $200 I receive (given I actually do receive it, which may be a long shot), toward my HAPPO efforts.
Photo courtesy of Matti Mattila via FlickR Creative Commons.]]>
There are numerous ways to use these handy little graphics, but that’s a different topic for a different day. Today, I want to talk specifically about how you “pitch” them (for lack of a better term) as part of your blogger/infuencer outreach efforts.
I received a great “pitch” from Joe Chernov, vice president of content marketing for Eloqua a few weeks ago around their popular “Blog Tree” infographic. Joe’s pitch highlighted for me a number of best practices when making infographics a centerpiece of your outreach efforts:
Believe it or not, this isn’t a given. In this case, Joe was pitching me because my blog, Communications Conversations, was highlighted in the 2011 version of the Blog Tree. Here was the first line of his pitch:
“I am writing to let you know that Eloqua & JESS3 have featured the Communications Conversations blog in a new infographic, which we will publish on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. ET. I am giving all of the featured bloggers a little head’s up now.”
Pretty relevant, right? Just make sure there’s an angle between your infographic and the blogger/influencer you’re pitching.
This is the one tip Joe actually didn’t demonstrate in his pitch (not that he really needed to, in this case). But, it’a a key one. Throw out a few ideas to the blogger. Yes, you want them to brainstorm and use their own words in their posts, but it never hurts to help with the brainstorming process. Just be sure not to make it overly-self-promotional. I might suggest a handful of bullets with thought starters, for instance.
If you’re going to pitch an infographic, making it easy for blogger to plug into their own posts is absolutely key. After all, isn’t that the whole idea? So, attaching a PDF of the infographic isn’t the best idea. I can’t use that (at least not easily) in a post. Instead, make sure to include a link to the image, as Joe did in his post (see below) after you post it to your blog. Another option: Include a stand-alone jpg or gif of the infographic. By including the link though, you’re driving traffic to YOUR site, which is optimal. Bottom line: Just make it easy for bloggers–remember you want them to blog about the graphic and use it in their posts.
You can preview the infographic here: http://blog.eloqua.com/wp-
Make it about them–not you
Common blogger outreach best practice, but definitely not one that’s not always used. Start the pitch by talking about the blogger/influencer a bit more casually (a post you recently read, an event you heard them speak at, etc.). Then, start talking about how the infographic is relevant to the topics they talk about on their blog. You want to establish relevance early on.
Critical step in order to make your infographic a “shareable asset” for those influencers without publishing platforms (i.e., blogs) online. I’d suggest creating the post with the graphic at the same time as you starting reaching out to influencers. That way, you/they have options. Want to write a post and include the graphic? Great, here’s the embed code and/or a jpg. Want to merely share our post via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Excellent, here’s a link to that post. Again, driving traffic to YOUR blog. You win either way–great third-party credibility if the blogger posts using the graphic. Great traffic to your blog if they share your post. Jon simply shared a link to his post in his pitch, and even provided guidance on a specific time the post would be live (see below).
“For linking purposes, my article on the story behind the infographic will be posted here: http://blog.eloqua.com/the-
Those are my thoughts. What about you? Do you have experience pitching infographics? If so, I’d love to hear your learnings/advice.]]>