Relationship Building with BuzzStream for Effective Blogger Outreach [PODCAST]

In this podcast, I speak with Matthew Gratt from BuzzStream about link building, relationship building and blogger outreach for more effective social campaigns.

I work with a lot of start-ups and brands who don’t have a strong social following. They come to me because they need help to increase their reach in order to get the word out about their product or service.

I think that the biggest myth when it comes to social media is “if we build it, they will come”, but in reality, it takes many months to establish a strong community, and some time after that before you gain enough trust to push your message. So how can brands increase their reach and trust, beyond their own social following? I often suggest blogger outreach to build relationships and potentially increase reach through other social channels.

What is blogger outreach?

Blogger outreach is, first and foremost, about building relationships.  You are essentially reaching out to bloggers to create long-term relationships so that you can help each other in the future. You are supporting their community, and in turn, they are supporting yours.

What blogger outreach is not

Many use blogger outreach as an advertising outlet, contacting bloggers to write about their product or service. If you’re all about promotion, you’ll most likely be ignored by many, and it could potentially lead to bad relationships or negative connotations with your brand.

Types of blogger outreach

There are several different types or outcomes for blogger outreach, depending on the campaign you’re running and the terms set out by the blogger.

Sponsored or Paid Posts – Some bloggers will request a fee for them to write about you. In some cases, they may even request a sample of your product to review, for free. Just a note, bloggers may even brand a post as an “advertorial”, notifying their audience that they have been paid to post about you.

Guest Post – Bloggers will sometimes allow for guest posts, whereas you would write a post and publish it on their blog, linking back to your website. Guest posts are a great way to establish relationships with both the blogger and their audience first-hand.

Invitation to Guest Post – Similar to guest posts, you can reverse the situation and request the blogger to blog on your website. They will have the opportunity to push the link out to their social following, or link it direction on their blog. This will help to increase your reach, but also increase your blog’s content.

Using BuzzStream for effective blogger outreach

My favourite tool for blogger outreach is BuzzStream. It’s a seriously simple, yet effective tool that makes link building, relationship building and blogger outreach fast and easy. Starting at only $29/month, it’s also extremely affordable. BuzzStream offers a wealth of tools and education on the subject, all found within the BuzzStream University and via their live webinars.

Step One – Plan your targets

Before you start looking for random bloggers, you’ll want to first set the criteria for the type of blogger you’re looking for. Where are the bloggers located? How many followers do they have? How many social networks are they active on and what is their following? How many comments per post do they have? How many posts do they publish per week?  By setting this type of criteria, you’ll be able to filter the best and most worthy bloggers for your campaign.

Step Two – Find and research bloggers

Finding bloggers can be time consuming. You can Google bloggers in a specific niche, then manually add them to your list, but BuzzStream also offers link prospecting, helping you find viable bloggers quickly and easily. Simply specify keywords relating to your niche, where they should be located, and they’ll do the rest. Check out this handy tutorial for more in-depth link prospecting.  Once you have imported all the bloggers you’ll need, you’ll be able to see who they are and what they’re all about at a glance, including their social networks and following, pagerank, inbound links, recent posts and more.

Buzzstream for blogger outreach

Step Three – Build relationships

Now that you have a good list of bloggers, it’s time to start building those relationships I’ve been talking about. The first thing you’ll want to do is add the bloggers to a RSS feed reader. I suggest my favourite, Feedly. A RSS feed reader will allow you to watch their future blog posts, then comment and share them with your community. Show the bloggers that you really care about their blog and content, and they’ll remember it for the future. You’ll also want to follow them across their social networks. Like, comment, retweet and share their content, and they’ll probably do the same for yours.

All of the relationship building can be documented right inside Buzzstream, allowing you to cater your outreach later on (for example, noting “I really loved your blog post about …” or “Thanks for connecting with me on Twitter in April…”).


Step Four – Time to Start the Outreach

Now that you’ve established connections with qualified bloggers, you can start your outreach. Buzzstream has a fantastic interface that allows you to integrate your email account and create email templates right in the dashboard. With dynamic fields, you can quickly create personalized emails for each of your bloggers. Just a note, I would recommend adding a little something extra to each email to show that you’ve actually taken the time to personalize the email. As Matt mentioned in our podcast, emails should be Positioned, Personalized and Persuasive. Once your emails are sent, BuzzStream will track the responses, and even the links of any blog posts that link back to your URL.

Blogger outreach via Afton Negrea

Step Five – Follow up and maintain relationships

Once your blogger outreach is complete, your job doesn’t end there. Remember, the bloggers have taken the time to connect with you and your brand, and it’s your obligation to follow up and maintain your relationship. Thank them personally for their time, post their links on your social networks, and continue to interact with them via their blog and social media. Bloggers and their audiences are loyal, and you are potentially building a network of brand advocates. Maintain them, and they’ll continue to pay off in the future.

Be sure to check out Matt’s blog post “How to Increase Your Guest Blogging Response Rate” for more great tips.

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What experiences do you have with blogger outreach?