So you’re blogging. Congratulations. But no blog is an island. Neither should it be.
Unless you’re Hugh Grant in About a Boy.
Or one of those weird islands that no one visits.
To make your blog an island that people want to visit, stick around and even buy from the gift shop then you need to build your name.
The first important step of building you name is to woo other bloggers.
By having your site mentioned on other people’s blogs you create all important back links to your blog. As well as helping to raise your profile, Google likes back links as it says ‘hey, this guy is worth listening to’ – helping to improve your site ranking.
So how do you go about building relationships with other bloggers?
Here are some important Dos:
Make a list – First things first. Make a shopping list of blogs you would like to be mentioned on. More than 10, less than 50.
Before you jump in and send any kind of pitch as to why a blogger should feature your product/mention your venue/plug your blog subscribe to their blog and follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Listen – would you butt into a three way conversation about best children's DVDs by suggesting the new Paranormal Activity film? No.
The next step is to listen.
Listen to each blogger’s conversations individually. What topics does this blogger specialise in? What do they get excited about? Who have they previously featured as guest bloggers? Do they include a list of requirements for submissions on their site? (lots of bloggers do - if so, take note).
Get to know the blogger and their themes so you can align your pitch to their exact needs.
Follow – when you have a good idea of a blogger’s niche then it is time to act - but not with your pitch. A simple 'Hi there', a constructive comment on their latest post or a retweet saying why this post is useful should get you noticed. Don't do it too much, you're following, not stalking. It just means that when you do pitch you’re not cold calling.
Engage – Once you know about your blogger and I mean really know only then it’s time to pitch. Firstly, make sure the story that you are pitching is newsworthy – so you've decked out your new reception? You've added an oojamaflip to the whats-it, so now your thingy goes really fast? Sorry but save it for your newsletter.
Bloggers want fresh, new, exclusive (ideally) content, after all that’s how they tantalise and increase their subscribers.
Once you have your story, keep your email short, keep it punchy and outline clearly why the blogger’s readership needs your story.
Yes, you may be contacting 20 other bloggers with the same pitch but, if it matters then take the time to personalise each email, including the blogger’s name.
Follow up. Yes it is ok to follow up. Once. A week later. But never pester.
If the blogger isn't interested don't be disheartened, if it is a very popular blog then they will receive hundreds of pitches a month. Wait a few weeks, have a re-think and try again with another fresh angle.
Next time I will cover the Don'ts of wooing bloggers. If you want to make friends with bloggers to increase your coverage I am an award-winning copywriter and blogger in Buckinghamshire. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org