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Blogger Relationship Building

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Have you wanted to get into social media but haven’t had the time or knowledge?  Consider a baby step into the realm. The blogosphere, simply the world of blogs, is a really small community that can work in your favor. Developing some key blogger relationships is key to success in the blogosphere. This is a great way for your business to gain exposure to your target audience and find new customers along the way. It doesn’t take a lot of time and can be beneficial for your business. The basics? You have to research, email and follow up!

The first stop is a search for the key blogs in your industry. Just about every industry has influential bloggers that specialize in what goods or services you produce. Go on Google, Yahoo! or Bing and search your industry for relevant Blogs. This will most definitely produce a list of blogs for you to peruse.  See if the blogger knows about the subject, seems to be reputable, and has posted recently. If the blogger is knowledgeable you’ll see that in the way they write, and you will know this person maybe one you want to work with on an on going basis. Next, does the person seem to be reputable? Do they push products, have tons of advertising for one product, or do they disclose they got products for review and ads for many products and services? You want someone who has some authority on the subject and not out to just sell. Lastly, have they posted recently? If not then you probably don’t want to do business with them.

The important thing is to keep reading the different blogs and you will get a sense of who the players are in that field. You will see them mentioned on other blogs. An example of this is if you see someone quoted often, then check out their blog. While you’re on a blog check out the links there too. Internet searches will only get you so far, but look for links on the side and articles and people linked in posts. This will broaden your scope of understanding. This isn’t a quick process, but good research up front can pay off in the long run.

One thing to remember is that you don’t have to work with the biggest bloggers –  some key mid or smaller bloggers can secure the exposure you need. Once you get noticed in smaller blogs, the bigger bloggers will notice you and may even contact you.

At this point you have read blogs and hopefully narrowed down the blogs you are interested in. Email the blogger and introduce yourself. Tell them about why you contacted them, about your company and if they have an interest in posting about your company. Most bloggers welcome new companies contacting them and will work with you. Don’t expect an instant posting, it’s kind of like dating you don’t ask to get married on the first date. The most important thing is to develop a relationship with the blogger. Once the blogger has posted about your company, follow up with them and thank them for posting. This will let the blogger know you are reading the blog and are interested in what they have to say.

Now that you’ve been posted the work doesn’t stop. Make certain the blogger has your email, phone and any other contact information so they can get in touch with you. Follow up with the blogger when you have new products/services. Let them know what’s going on and give them information and if needed schedule a time to phone chat and make it more personal then just an email. Be available to answer any questions they have about your company. There is nothing worse then wanting a post out before a product/service and the blogger has questions they can’t get answered. It will delay your posting and may come out after your launch.

You have established a relationship, now you have to keep in contact with the blogger. Not just when you have news about your company. Follow up with them to see if you have any contacts that they may benefit from as well. Its kind of like networking, and pay it forward. It will give you a good reputation in the blogging world. The blogger or bloggers you work for will spread the news to their blogging friends. Treat the blogger like you would any other business contact. You wouldn’t take and never give anything to one of your customers, and as well you can’t do that in the blogging world.

As in the business world the most important thing in blogging is to keep your word. If you promise an exclusive to a blogger, you should honor your word , follow through and let them post the story. The consequences of not  following through can be grave to your reputation and could seriously affect your brand in the blogosphere. Other bloggers won’t work with you,. you will get bad posts about your company and then you’ll find yourself in crisis management. Granted, there are times when situations occur and you can’t deliver what you promise. In those instances, be honest and try to make it up to them. I think most bloggers realize things happen and if you are up front and try to make it right then, the blogger relationship won’t suffer.

Lastly, keep researching and start the process all over again. Keep in mind that once a key blog notices you, other bloggers will post about your company. Keep following up with bloggers as much as you can. The blogosphere is huge and you can’t follow everyone, but try your best. The easiest way to do this is set up a Google notice, or Yahoo! Notice about your company and when you are mentioned it will send an email to you.

Blogging relations are an on-going process. You have to start with researching and finding blogs. Next you want to narrow down the list and start contacting a few bloggers. Then when bloggers start posting about you, follow up!

NOTE: The Blogs above are David Berkowitz’s Inside the Markets Studio, Laura Ries – Ries’ Pieces and Search Engine Land

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