One of the many awesome things about working at GroupHigh is the fact that I get to chat with PR and marketing pros about all things blogger outreach. All day.

From what works to what doesn’t, I’ve picked up some pretty cool tid bits over the past year.

Ask Bloggers to Recommend Other Bloggers

Until talking to some of our user base I had never considered asking bloggers to recommend other bloggers for a campaign because I assumed blogs were a little competitive. What I have learned, though is that bloggers actually don’t tend to be competitive as much as they tend to be collaborative.

So when one of my clients told me that every time they form a close relationship with a blogger they ask for contact information of other bloggers who would be interested in the campaign, I was surprised. But the client explained the bloggers are friends and a tight knit network and always glad to help each other out.

Personalized Pitches and Mail Merges

Oh what a hot topic a mail merge versus a personalized pitch is. And anyone who has talked to me or read my content knows that I am in love with the personalized pitch approach. But…

I talk to clients every day who say blogger outreach works for them with mail merges.

Here is one of the catches I’ve noticed. Segment your bloggers in to an “a list” or a list of bloggers that you’re dying to work with. And don’t you dare put them on a mail merge. Read through their blog. Read through their “about me” page and tailor a pitch just for them.

However, it’s a bit much to do this for hundreds of blogs, right? For the bloggers who don’t fall on to your “must work with” list you might consider a mail merge.

No Matter How You Send the Pitch…

Whether it’s in a mail merge or a personalized pitch, make sure the focus of the pitch is what the bloggers get out of working with you.

Recognize the hard work and talent they put in to their online space. Don’t hesitate to offer due compliments or even ask questions about a topic they write often about.

Add a human, conversational element to your pitch. Blogger pitches are so different than pitches to traditional journalists and this is where I’ve seen many PR pros get hung up. If you think this may be you, I’ve already written a post on the topic, read it here.

The Power of Relationship Maintenance

From what I’ve been told, having a network of “go to” bloggers is extremely valuable. Not only does it cut down the time it takes to find and reach out to new bloggers but an ongoing mention is true advocacy.

This isn’t just for brands doing blogger outreach but for agencies as well. Many agencies have a list of “fashion bloggers” or “mom bloggers” that they can reuse for different clients.

Contextual Choices

Of course bloggers with a far reach are very effective. But when choice are made contextually versus numerically, you can partake in the “long tail approach.” This means that when you are simply looking for niche fitting bloggers with good content that of course you’ll reach out to the ones with a far reach but you’ll also reach out to the ones with a smaller but loyal audience as well.

Not to mention that baby bloggers grow up to be big bloggers and they’ll appreciate the investment in their blog and attention that you paid them when they were still small. Which leads to long term and passionate brand mentions.

I had a client tell me that she was the first person to reach out to a blogger once (and this was a big brand). The blogger was so excited that she continuously wrote about the brand and has grown over the years but still advocates for this brand. What a good investment!

Be Creative with Verticals but Don’t Stray From Affinity

Have a specific topic you want your bloggers to actively write on. Meaning they’ve posted about it more than once. But think of different genres of blogs that someone may write about this topic within.

For example, a client was looking for bloggers who wrote about running. Instead of only reaching out to “running bloggers” the client was creative with the verticals and reached out to the blogger as long as they incorporated running in to the blog.

Examples include a beer blogger who writes about running to justify the beer calories, a mom blogger who was running to lose baby weight, and of course a bunch of athlete bloggers who wrote about all things running.

Recognize the Blogger’s Audience

Bloggers are super loyal to their audiences and vice versa. The blogger’s recognize that they couldn’t be where they are without their audience and the audience takes a blogger’s recommendation as they would one from their peers.

Many of my clients give bloggers something exclusive that they can pass on to their audience. And when you offer this, truly make it exclusive….

An Entire Brand Experience

Get creative in your campaign so that the blogger can have an entire brand experience to write about.

For example, host events in cities for local bloggers where they can experience your brand whether it’s a retail location or you host a catered event where bloggers can interact with representatives from your brand.

Instead of sending a blogger a pair of jeans send them a gift card so they can experience your store and try on a few pairs of jeans.

This human touch that you give your campaign transcends through the blogger’s post and to their audience members, making a brand stand out.

Clients have told me that by far their best campaign results were always from in person events.

Engagement before Pitching

Sometimes time doesn’t allow this one and that’s okay. But, if you have the luxury of time before reaching out to bloggers—engage with them before sending your pitch email.

I’ve heard from many clients that they’ll find bloggers they want to reach out to and put these bloggers in a list. But, instead of pitching them right away they find them on Twitter and like them on Facebook and engage on their digital channels. They’ll also read a blog post and comment.

In both social media engagement and post commenting, I’ve heard that asking the blogger a question works better than a simple typed out compliment. It leads to an actual discussion. Which makes the blogger retain your name.

I’ve even heard of clients sending their pitch to bloggers via Twitter and have seen good responses. Maybe because Twitter doesn’t have a spam filter?

Have you learned any tips or tricks about blogger outreach that you would like to share in the comments below? Sharing an experience leads to good blogger outreach karma, you know…