Blogger Outreach Tips for Community Media Centers
If community media centers haven’t started partnering with bloggers; it should be on their to-do list. Establishing relationships with bloggers will accelerate a media center’s community outreach and engagement strategy.
Consider the following: 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information found in blogs, 21-to-35 year-olds make up 53.3% of the total blogging population, and 80.3% of social media users read blog content written by people they know personally.
This data suggests blogger outreach is an essential strategy for community media centers implementing a blogging strategy in their community engagement campaign. Here are a few tips to help your media center get started.
1. Know who you want to partner with – do your research
I contribute content to several websites, so I receive dozens of partnership requests and pitches daily from PR agencies and other marketers. A lot of these inquiries don’t mean a thing to me because they’re unrelated to the content I develop.
It’s important that community media centers take the time to perform research before sending inquiries to bloggers. Google, Twitter, and even Facebook searches can help you find bloggers who consistently develop and share content aligned with your media center’s mission and vision.
One of the most efficient ways to research bloggers who develop content that meets your media center’s needs is to use social listening tools. These tools monitor topics related to the issues around community media; they also allow you to search for keywords, hashtags, and mentions.
2. Always get permission before adding bloggers to your list
Getting permission to add a blogger to your media center’s email list is the most important step in building a positive relationship. An email that contains an introduction and explanation of your media center’s benefits is a good start.
In the same email, simply do the ask – ask each blogger if you have permission to add them to your list. Remember to tell them how many emails they can expect to receive from you and what you intend to do with their email (will you share it with 3rd party organizations?).
Bloggers who permit you to add them to your media center’s list are more likely to open and read your emails. Once you have added a blogger to your list, don’t abuse the privilege. Pamela Wilson, contributor at Constant Contact says, “[w]hen your email marketing program is based on honesty, you can easily build trust with your customers and prospects.”
3. Use a friendly and “business casual” tone when contacting bloggers
Address bloggers by name when you contact them – even if you contact them via Twitter and there’s no real name attached to their Twitter account. This personalization is where your research comes in handy. I’ve used Google to find email addresses and full names for a lot of people who didn’t have those things posted on their website, Facebook, or Twitter page. It’s entirely possible.
Use a professional and “business casual” tone and always start with a warm-up sentence or two. A partnership request that excludes a greeting is just rude – and it reeks of greed.
Data suggests community media centers would benefit from establishing long-term relationships with bloggers who develop content that aligns with their center’s mission and vision. These three tips can help media centers with their blogger outreach strategy: know the bloggers you want to partner with, get permission before adding bloggers to your email list, and use a friendly tone when contacting bloggers during your outreach campaign.
Genia Stevens is a digital marketer and Forbes columnist. She is owner and managing partner of Belwah Media, an award-winning integrated digital marketing agency with offices in Madison, WI and Chicago, IL. Genia Stevens is passionate about community media, tech tools, podcasting, and everything digital. Connect with Genia on LinkedIn and Twitter.