Have you noticed how some bloggers have pretty much reached celebrity status?
Those well-known writers are read almost constantly, have an active social media presence that practically forms its own little community, and have a number of ins with other influential bloggers that have their own network of visibility.
It is no surprise that connecting to these influential bloggers is a primary focus for those looking to promote themselves or their own product or website. Building connections with bloggers can have lasting benefits, including long-term traffic sources, recurring campaign support and reputation management help.
The good news is that this is an area where most bloggers are happy to oblige, as long as you approach them in the right way.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of wrong ways to do it, and messing up once can ruin your chances for all future one-on-one interaction. Here are some tips to effectively connect to influential bloggers, and so be seen in the right way.
Be Prepared To Show That You’re Worth Knowing
No one wants to be used, including influential bloggers. Yes, their brand is their asset — almost their product they often monetize — but they have built it because they were treating it with care avoiding any low-hanging fruit.
Your goal is to build a relationship that is good for both parties, and to do that you have to show the person you are connecting with that you are interesting, engaging, and have the potential to help them in some way, even if that way is mostly by providing an interesting perspective.
If you can establish yourself as a fellow expert, you are going to have the easiest time forming these relationships. So just show that you know your stuff, present it in an interesting way, and be engaging and personable. It will go a long way.
Use Platforms That Connect
Joining niche communities and match-making platforms is where you should usually start. It’s easier to understand and approach niche bloggers when you share the same community.
Stay away from those platforms that connect anonymously and automatically or guarantee coverage by bloggers. No respected blogger will agree to cover your product if they’re forced to provide links and/or positive coverage. That’s a huge red flag that you are putting your brand in a bad neighborhood.
Power bloggers have earned their influence by being true to themselves and only recommending to their readers something they can honestly relate to. Good platforms that connect brands to bloggers do just that: They connect and don’t guarantee anything.
Look for community TOS and guidelines before deciding whether you want to give it a try. For example, Tomoson explicitly mentions that businesses are not allowed to demand or control links:
That’s the kind of disclaimer you, as a brand, are primarily interested in: That’s a good sign influential bloggers are given editorial freedom they are comfortable with.
Share Their Stuff On Twitter … and Tag Them
You can share their content on any social media site. But if they are on Twitter, especially if they are active on Twitter, it is perhaps the best possible platform for making these connections.
An @tag will immediately get their attention every time you share their content, and doing it manually instead of using the retweet function will allow you to personalize what you have to say about that link.
It may also be a way to spark a conversation, as many bloggers will send a thank you tweet. That puts you on their radar and by using it as an ice breaker in a discussion, you will further solidify yourself in their minds.
Send Your Readers To Them
Referring back to the first item on this list, you have to show that you can do something for influential bloggers. Directing traffic their way, even if it is only a small amount in a consistent trickle, is a great way to go about doing that.
There are three basic ways to do this:
- Take advantage of your social media followers list, share them, and @tag them so they see.
- Reference them in a post with a direct link, maybe commenting on something they said, a product they have, their blog, etc.
- Include them in a numbered list post, as a primary feature. You can then either let them see the traffic for themselves, or drop them a note telling them they were included.
Invite Them to Your Site
There are some essential ways your brand can help influential bloggers gain more exposure. You can invite them to contribute to your company blog and/or you can interview them for your company blog, YouTube channel, or podcast series.
Inviting influential bloggers benefits both sides. You get trust signals and sharable content and your guest gets additional personal brand exposure.
Tools and further reading:
- How to find experts to interview on your website (including BuzzSumo and MyBlogU)
- How to create a content brainstorming dashboard (including Trello and Cyfe)
Look For Opportunities To Meet In Person
If a blogger is incredibly influential and well-known, chances are that they will at least occasionally attend an industry event as either a visitor or speaker.
Keep your eyes open for any references to conventions or special events that you might be attending yourself. If you both find yourself going to the same place, suggest a meetup for drinks.
For those who happen to be local, you can also suggest getting lunch sometime. Bloggers are always looking for real world connections that can take things to the next level, or just like-minded people to get to know.
Making connections with influential bloggers is a great way to begin improving your visibility while building solid relationships that can really launch you into the next phase. If you have any tips, leave them in the comments below.
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