How to launch a successful blogger-outreach program in one day
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
For any company that is looking to leverage the blogosphere in its marketing communications efforts, here's all you need to do:
9:00 am - 11:00 am: Go to Technorati and Google Blog Search and search for bloggers that are talking about your company. Make a list of at least 20 bloggers that have blogged about your company within the last 2 weeks. Concentrate on bloggers that appear to be evangelizing your company, but also add some bloggers that are critical of your efforts.
11:00 am - 2:00 pm: After you have your list of at least 20 bloggers that are talking about your company, go back to every blog and respond to the blog post where your company is mentioned. Clearly identify yourself, and your position with the company. Address only the topics presented, and any relevant information. Invite replies from readers. Thank the blogger for the comment, and then go back and email them thanking them for their comments, and let them know that you are available for a short phone discussion or interview, if they are interested.
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm: Subscribe to the feeds from all the blogs you commented on, as well as their comment feeds, if available. If your company has a blog, add links to any bloggers that are evangelizing your company on your company blog's sidebar.
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm: Visit your list of blogs again, and read any new posts, and also reply to any comments that were addressed to you, or relevant comments that other readers have left.
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm: Answer any emails from bloggers, and if possible, schedule times to discuss topics raised with blogger on the phone, or via interview.
This will get your blogger-outreach program off the ground. From this point, every day you should read the blogs via your feedreader. Also, at least twice a week, you should again check Technorati and Google Blog Search for new mentions about your company, and repeat the process.
Why this will benefit your company:
1 - It will get you noticed in the blogosphere. This is a coordinated effort to reach out to bloggers and to engage them in their space. What you are basically saying is that 'I respect you enough to take the time to respond.' That's HUGE!
2 - It will show bloggers that you are serious about starting a conversation with them. This is why you can't do this once, you have to make it a habit to read blogs from your evangelists (and even detractors). This wins even more respect among bloggers.
3 - It will get bloggers talking about your company. It is still rare for companies to make a sincere effort to monitor and respond to bloggers as part of a marketing strategy. It also encourages bloggers to evangelize your company, AND, just as importantly, it encourages OTHER bloggers to evangelize your company. As we saw with Saturn replying to Chris, the story became Kyle taking the time to respond to Chris. That led several other blogs to link to Saturn and applaud their efforts, that otherwise would have never mentioned the company. You are literally creating a network of bloggers that will be more likely to promote and evangelize your company.
4 - It will greatly improve your social media and marketing efforts. Simply talking to your customers and potential customers in their space in the blogosphere is a wonderful way to better understand them, but also to better understand how social media works. It's one thing to hear about how quickly ideas spread in the blogosphere, it's quite another to spend a few hours talking to bloggers on their blogs, and then to see how quickly other bloggers link to your actions.
5 - It means you stop wasting time on lame-ass mass email pitches to bloggers. These almost never work, and frequently backfire. Actually taking the time to talk to us in OUR space is MUCH more effective.
6 - It shows bloggers that 'you get it'. This makes bloggers much more likely to pay attention to your company, and blog about you, your products, and marketing efforts. Which means the network of bloggers that are talking about your company is further expanded. Which doesn't hurt your company's Google Juice either.
Again, this program can be launched in a day, for free. Why not give it a whirl tomorrow?
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing
posted by Mack Collier @ 1:01 PM,
- At 3:35 PM, Marianne said...
Great list and concept! Really gets to the point.
- At 5:16 PM, Suzanne Obermire said...
It seems so obvious, doesn't it? Such an easy (and interesting) exercise. Heads of large companies should stay up at night wondering what bloggers and other customers are saying about their firm/products/services. I, personally, couldn't stand NOT knowing. If I agreed (good criticism), I would thank the blogger and take that opportunity to bring up more interesting facts about my stuff. If I disagreed, I would definitely take the opportunity to make my own point (without looking defensive, or being pithy).
What a great, and inexpensive way to build good press and engage with customers at the same time.
- At 3:54 AM, CK said...
Thanks for this great how-to...and to echo others, shows that those who aren't doing this are missing some simple ways to connect with their devoted customers.
Might also see if they want to sit on your Customer Advisory Board ;-).
PS: I really like this because it's an "outreach" vs. an "influencer" program, which I prefer and advocate.
- At 9:34 AM, Michael Rubin, Arment Dietrich said...
Terrific post! I couldn't agree with you more. Much of what I explain to clients as "blogger relations" and "engagement" is outlined in what you've discussed here. It's really about showing that you want to be a part of the conversation.
Point #3 is probably my favorite. There is such a low expectation of companies to respond that the ones who do get an incredible load of positivity in return. It's so simple, too. All you have to do is say, "We hear you" (more or less).
Michael E. Rubin
Call me -- 312-787-7249 x212
Tell a friend -- fight destructive spin! http:///www.spinsucks.com
See what I’m up to -- http://twitter.com/merubin
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- At 1:45 PM, giL said...
Mack, your article actually does magic by condensing this complicated subject into so few words and still get a 100% piece. I know how easy it is to say "make a long story short" and how hard it actually is trying to do so when you really love your subject. This article is fabulous.
Just my humble two cents if I may:
You say "at least twice a week, you should again check Technorati and Google Blog Search for new mentions about your company, and repeat the process".
Both of these services provide rss feeds for this purpose so you can stay updated in almost real time. There is no real need to go looking, even though I agree this kind of digging can always bring up a few surprises.
Again its an A article on my scale. I bookmarked it in my Digg.
- At 8:16 PM, Mack Collier said...
Marianne, Suzanne, CK and Michael, thanks for the kind words! This was one of those posts that I believe we bloggers completely 'get', but I thought it could benefit companies for them to see it spelled out exactly how easy it is to reach out to bloggers. And that it's completely free! All it requires is giving us a little respect, actually LISTENING to us, and in return, your company will gain a boatload of blogging evangelists! A win-win proposition!
Gil, thanks for your comments. You are exactly right about being able to track company mentions from sources such as Technorati and Google Blog Search via RSS. I didn't mention that because I was aiming this article more at companies that aren't used to monitoring the blogosphere, so I wanted them to 'get their feet wet' and actually tinker with these search tools a bit first. But your point is very valid.
Thanks for adding the post to Digg!
- At 3:27 AM, giL said...
Understood and certainly makes sense Mac. Companies that aren't used to monitoring the blogosphere should get to know the search functions first. I agree. Feed monitoring tends to reduce our exploring instincts.
- At 10:13 AM, Robert said...
I went right to Google Blog Search and entered my company, "AIMS Education Foundation." Most of the blogs that came up were nothing but garbage - a series of unrelated words, among which was our company name. Excuse my ignorance, but what are these?
- At 12:30 PM, Mack Collier said...
Robert if I was looking at the same results you did, it appears that you found some spam blogs, or splogs. But I also noticed several bloggers talking about your company. Those are the bloggers you should be reading, and trying to talk to.
Feel free to leave a comment here or email me if you have further questions!
- At 2:39 PM, tinku said...
As someone new to blogging and also reaching out to bloggers, this article was easy to understand and gave some good tips to just get started. The very first thing for me was to just read and observe. I was always wary of scaring people away because I am a marketing person but there are many blogs that I already genuinely read and like and hopefully my comments will come across that way.
- At 11:31 AM, Liz said...
As a marketer, I can see why you'd want to do this. But as a blogger, it seems really, really creepy.
They are supposed to be independent voices not corporate shills.
- At 12:21 PM, Brennan said...
Not to continue the love fest but...
This is almost exactly what I tell all of my clients they should be doing BEFORE they begin to work with us. Most of them don't understand and I begin to wonder if we're the only ones doing this.
Thanks for confirming my sanity.
Great post as always,
- At 1:45 PM, William Uranga: said...
Make it easy by creating manageable steps. Whether done in 1 day or 3, the benefits are obvious. 'Great post, Mac, way to raise the tide.
- At 3:08 PM, Maryann Devine said...
Mark, this is great advice for companies that are already visible. What would you suggest for small companies or new companies? To keep up with the small nonprofits I work with, I have technorati feeds for them, and Google alerts, but truly, bloggers are barely talking about them. What would you suggest for small companies or organizations like these? Same advice, but start small?
- At 4:20 PM, catherine said...
Absolutely. As a blogger, nothing irks me more than being unacknowledged whenever I evangelize a company. As with Al Gore's "we" campaign. I have written numerous posts about them, and my blog appears pretty fast when you Google them. I have answered their bloggers' sollicitations. I have written to their ad agency. Still no response. On the other hand, my one post on the recently launched "Together" campaign got me several comments back from their Director of External Affairs, and generated more than twenty comments from my readers. He also sent me several followup emails.
Guess which campaign has my vote and unconditional support? Guess how much goodwill has been generated through my writing about "Together", and the following threads?
The "we" people on the other hand have turned me into a vocal opponent of their effort.
Summary: we bloggers are willing to give a lot. We just ask for a few things in return. To be respected and heard, and acknowledged.
- At 5:50 PM, Mack Collier said...
Liz you said this:
"As a marketer, I can see why you'd want to do this. But as a blogger, it seems really, really creepy.
They are supposed to be independent voices not corporate shills."
Liz I'm not talking about companies trying to change what bloggers are saying. I'm talking about companies being smart enough to RESPOND to bloggers.
If you're a blogger that says that Company A kicks ass, then Company A should be smart enough to reach out to you and simply say 'Thank you'.
If you're a blogger that says that Company A sucks, then Company A should be smart enough to reach out to you and try to change your opinion of them.
- At 5:53 PM, Mack Collier said...
"What would you suggest for small companies or new companies? To keep up with the small nonprofits I work with, I have technorati feeds for them, and Google alerts, but truly, bloggers are barely talking about them. What would you suggest for small companies or organizations like these? Same advice, but start small?"
If there's no bloggers talking about you (and SMBs and non-profits will definitely be in this category more often than not), then it's a sign that you have an awareness problem. Which, thankfully, can be corrected with a structured and focused social media strategy.
Not having any chatter out there about you is a GREAT sign, because it means you can get involved in the conversation on the ground-floor! When you start using social sites and tools, then people will realize that you exist, and then the chatter starts!
- At 5:55 PM, Mack Collier said...
"Summary: we bloggers are willing to give a lot. We just ask for a few things in return. To be respected and heard, and acknowledged."
Thank you Catherine, you just nailed the entire point behind this post!
- At 3:39 PM, ideasandangles said...
What if there are not any current bloggers blogging about your company? Sure this is great for big companies, but what about us small companies that want to make it big. Love the post. Any additional info you send my way is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
- At 10:32 PM, Linda Smith said...
I'm new to blogging and have been looking for "how-to's" all over the place; your's was very helpful. Thanks for sharing your expertise. - Linda
- At 12:54 AM, Steve said...
Good Job! :)
- At 11:41 AM, Kevin said...
Hey Mack, Thanks for this post! I am just getting into blogging and there is much to learn. Understanding what makes the community popular was beyond me but you are helping me with what you are posting on this blog, I will keep coming back, and yes I am now hooked into your RSS.
thanks again for helping us all.
- At 12:30 PM, Mack Collier said...
Ideajangles, most smaller businesses will NOT have anyone blogging about them. Which can actually be a GOOD thing, because it means you can help CREATE the conversations about your company, instead of having to join existing ones.
Linda, Steve and Kevin, thanks so much for the kind comments!
- At 11:55 AM, JESS3 said...
- At 3:14 PM, Phyllis said...
The beauty of your approach is that it's honest, open and real. It won't work otherwise.
Even with the internet, our success has always been attributed to "one customer at a time"
Phyllis Augustine Sprout
co-founder Epicurean Foods International Inc.,
- At 12:08 AM, Shadab Malik said...
Thanks for such an insightful and processed format. Very clearly described. However, in order to know what the bloggers are talking about you instead of Technorati, there are specific tools available. One such service is offered by http://www.vibemetrix.com. How do you find such a service?
- At 10:12 AM, Reagan said...
How can this be tailored for publishing sites where someone is not mentioning a product, but an article?
- At 12:54 PM, Clive said...
Which do you prefer, Google or Technorati?