Do you have an on-going conversation your industry bloggers? Most companies do not. Over the past few years, bloggers have gained stature and authority with their writings. Their influence nowadays puts them on par with the press. Almost all shows offer them a press pass, and some shows treat them as royalty with special events, hospitality, etc.
Capturing the attention of your group of bloggers requires time and personal attention. The blogging community can have its quirks, for sure. However, by reading their blogs, you can identify their personality traits and associated special interests (charities, pets, children, hobbies, etc.).
Let me share with you some ways to get started in 1) finding your blog community and 2) building a relationship with them.
Step 1: Find the answers to these questions. Does your internal public relations person or department know who are the authority bloggers? Do they feel they have a comprehensive list of them?
Step 2: Uncover the bloggers in your industry by searching them out. I would recommend that you start with the website Technorati. Use their search function to hone in on your specific target group, whether it is health care, finance, technology, etc. The have various types of rankings you can view. The example below is from their Top 100 Blogs as ranked by authority. The explanation of “authority” is under this picture.
Technorati ranks all blogs based on a specific criteria of “authority.” Here is their definition:
Authority is calculated based on a site’s linking behavior, categorization and other associated data over a short, finite period of time.
As you can see, the Huffington Post has several categories where they rank #1.
Another research source is Alltop. Using our trade show industry as an example, here is a partial screenshot of the 14 blogs they cover:
Please note, to have a blog show up on either Technorati or Alltop, it must be submitted to those sites. And not all bloggers go through this process of submission.
Step 3: In order for you to know about everyone who is talking about you, including the bloggers, have Google find them for you via their “alerts” system. You can have Google search on almost any topic. Provided is their description:
Hiring Google to search the Internet for you come at a nominal price – just a few minutes of your time to establish the search criteria. The actual cost is: f-r-e-e.
As we know, relationships start one activity at a time, and build upon the interactions. My suggested activities are:
- Place thoughtful, content rich comments on their blog posts. Show them you have understood what they have written and have a comment or an opinion on the topic. DO NOT pitch yourself or company! Bloggers covet comments. Your comment will be well received if it is correctly done. Typically, they will research to see who you are and might email to get to know you better.
- Follow them on Twitter and where appropriate comment or re-tweet their material. If you find a blog post interesting, create a Tweet about it and let them in on it.
- If you find material that they might be interested send it to them. Maybe there is a Wall Street or Fast Company article they might have missed and you can send it to them.
- Reach out via email and introduce yourself. Once again, do not pitch yourself. Comment on their writing and ask if there is anything you might do to help them. In you sphere of contacts, there maybe a person and/or company they have been trying to get into. And you might be able to assist them with a phone call or email.
After all of your efforts, by now you should have the beginnings of a solid relationship. I would not be surprised if they have not asked you for more information about your company and what you do at this point.
Ask them what is the best way for you to share the exciting news which will take place at an upcoming show? Will they be attending a particular show? If they are, invited them to a special hospitality event to get to know you or your senior management. Or there might be a demonstration they would like to see privately and you can arrange that for them.
Influential bloggers are just people. Well maybe… some have a few flamboyant idiosyncrasies and can be prickly at times, while other are straightforward and to the point.
Julius Solaris is “spot on” when he writes the following in his post titled, So You Want Bloggers at Your Next Event?
“Getting in Touch
Communication is key with bloggers. We like to feel as VIPs. Maybe we aren’t but we like to feel like that.
A lot of bloggers started a blog because they were rejected by the journalism world or by an industry ecosystem. Bloggers reputation is earned on the ground with a lot of sweat, posting and coffee. We want recognition of that.
Therefore the only tip I can give is to have a personal approach, get to genuinely know the blog (mentioning the last post doesn’t work) and be nice. Despite this halo of celebrity, real bloggers are approachable and always respond to genuine requests. Try to send an email to Seth Godin, it’s highly likely you’ll get an answer.
Inviting bloggers to your next event is a great idea. It helps your SEO, it increases your social reach and gives you a whole new authoritative image.”
I would like to hear from my blogger colleagues, what else would you add to this post for better communication between you and your the folks who want you to cover them in one of your posts?