Knowing how to identify bloggers for blogger outreach isn’t as easy as you might think. For many business owners, bloggers are overlooked as self-entitled millennials who just want free stuff. However, while stories about #bloggerblackmail make for good headlines, the reality is much more nuanced.
Depending on who you listen to, social media influences 74% of our marketing decisions and 70% of consumers said that they actively consulted social media before making a purchasing decision. As such, it should come as no surprise that the right post from the right blogger at the right time can have a measurable impact on sales.
Yes, certain posts from certain bloggers will be worse than useless, but that’s why knowing how to identify bloggers for your particular niche is so important. Like anything else in business, it’s only a waste of money if you get it wrong. Get it right, though, and you will easily see a return on your investment.
How to identify bloggers to work with: 11 top tips
1. Remember that biggest is not always best
It’s no use just finding the biggest influencers in your industry and hoping for the best. Firstly, you’ll probably have to pay a premium to get a product reviewed or featured. Secondly, their readers might not line up with your target audience.
Finding relevant bloggers with an engaged audience is the trick to this form of content marketing outreach. Blogs with a lower Domain Authority and super-relevant readership are usually better than mega-blogs with an irrelevant audience.
If you’re an accountant looking to build click-through traffic, it’s best to steer clear of Zoella. Your content marketing strategy should be laser-focused, not a shot in the dark.
2. Use Google to find bloggers
We’ve recommended it before and we’ll recommend it again: Google. A simple Google search for your keyword plus “blogs” help you to identify a list of bloggers — and no doubt some “Top 10 [keyword] bloggers” posts. These lists are handy for gathering lots of potential blogs at once, but you’ll probably find that most are repeating the same titles.
3. Learn how to find bloggers by location using Google
You can also use search functions — such as “intext:lifestyle blog inurl:co.uk” — to further narrow your search. As you would have probably guessed, “intext:” allows you to identify what should be in the text of the website and “inurl:” allows you to identify what should be in the URL.
By searching for “inurl:co.uk”, you limit your searches to British bloggers using that particular top-level domain. Yes, some British bloggers might use other domains, but no blogger from any other country is going to use that domain.
If you’re looking for French, Indian, Canadian, Australian, South Korean, or any other nationality of blogger, you can use “inurl:” and the top-level domain for that country to find blogger by location.
4. Discover the power of industry hashtags and #PRrequest
It’s likely that your industry has a number of popular Twitter hashtags. A quick search for fashion hashtags reveals #WIWT (What I Wore Today), #OOTD (Outfit of the Day) and many others. Follow these tags to their source and you’ll find a treasure trove of relevant bloggers.
Just as we used #journorequest to make our way into the world of newspapers and magazines, check out #PRrequest to find bloggers looking to work with brands. If you want to filter out low-end bloggers, use “#PRrequest filter:verified”.
However, by far the best thing that you can do is to make the call-out yourself. If you say that you’re looking for bloggers to help promote your brand using #bloggerswanted #bloggersrequired #bloggerrequest or any other blogger-related hashtag, you might well be inundated with replies.
Be sure to specify which kind of bloggers you’re looking for and maybe top the whole thing off with a relevant gif (seriously, people love gifs). It’s worked for us before, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work for your business.
5. Expand your niche
When looking for bloggers, don’t feel constrained by your industry. Many businesses might be determined to find bloggers by topic and to keep things exactly related to what they do. However, you don’t need to be so rigid.
For example, if you’re looking to do content marketing outreach for a new tea brand, you’ve got a number of different options. Food and drink bloggers would be a good start, but you could also contact fitness bloggers who might be interested in the health benefits of tea. Is the tea is organic and vegan? Congratulations! You’ve got another two extra niches to target.
As long as the blog is of good quality and the readership is similar to yours, you can afford to experiment a little.
6. Hone the power of Facebook
In a move described by content marketing agencies as “really rather handy”, Facebook has a number of industry-specific blogger groups. The best-known of these is the Blogger Opportunities group. This one aims to pair brands and bloggers together for PR opportunities. Some of these groups are available to bloggers only, but you can still check the members and search for them on Google.
7. Use blog Indexes
These are lists of the top bloggers in certain niches. Not every niche has a blog index, but a quick Google search should reveal if there’s one in yours. If you do get lucky, blog indexes are great for acquiring tons of content marketing outreach opportunities in a short space of time.
8. Trawl Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon
Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon are content aggregator sites. Their content is user-powered and the most popular stuff — as voted by users — gets highlighted for all to see. These are awesome for finding viral content from niche blogs.
9. Do blogger outreach on Bloglovin’
This is another content aggregator, but it’s a little more polished than the previous three. Bloglovin’ is most useful for finding fashion, beauty, and lifestyle bloggers, but there are a bunch of other niches on there, too. Whether it’s design, photography, or even sewing, Bloglovin’ has it covered.
There are bajillions of bloggers out there, so there’s definitely enough for you to work with. For even more tips on finding influencers in your niche, check out our best-selling book on content marketing and content marketing strategy. You won’t regret it — it’s awesome.
10. Make a decision with data
Finding a list of bloggers is one thing, but knowing how to identify which one will best promote your brand is quite another. So, once you’ve compiled a list of influencers in your niche, you need to give each blog a once over. First things first, check out their content. Is it well-written, engaging, and free from spelling mistakes? Get into the minds of your target audience and ask yourself “Would I enjoy reading this?” The answer should be yes!
Secondly, do a bit of digging on their digital footprint. Head over to Moz and use its Open Site Explorer to check their Domain Authority (DA), spam score, and a list of their backlinks.
You can also use other data to identify which bloggers will work best for you. Majestic’s Trust Flow/Citation Flow ratio allows you to figure out whether or not a website has a trustworthy backlink profile. Ideally, both the Trust Flow and Citation Flow should be high numbers. However, the more important thing is that the Trust Flow is not significantly lower than the Citation Flow.
If they’re the same, that’s great! Though, it’s also quite rare. It’s more likely that it’ll be around half (i.e. Trust Flow 15 and Citation Flow 30). If it’s much lower than half (i.e Trust Flow 3 and Citation Flow 20), maybe consider looking elsewhere.
As well as all this, there’s also SimilarWeb and LRT Power Trust. The former can give you an idea of how many monthly page views a particular blog gets, though it’s only able to do this for bigger blogs. The latter will give you a score from 1/100 like Moz does, though — because the scoring system is so different to Moz — it’s not always easy to get your head around.
Some more experienced bloggers might even have a “media kit” section on their website, with details such as their monthly blog views, social media followers and brands they’ve worked with. These should be taken with a pinch of salt, but are useful for getting the general idea of a blog’s reach. Be sure to compare it with your own independent research.
The most important thing is that you use this data to compare opportunities. It might be that all of the bloggers most relevant to your audience and your industry are similarly strong or weak. Or, there could be huge differences between them. By using the data, you can get an objective, data-driven idea of which blogs are better — more trustworthy, more popular, or more influential — than others.
11. Finally, keep a list of bloggers you’ve worked with
The best bloggers are worth revisiting from time to time, so keep a list of who you’ve worked with. It’s always best to mix it up when it comes to content marketing outreach, but nurturing blogger relationships can pay off in the long run. If a blog you’ve worked with goes stratospheric overnight, backlinks and referral traffic could suddenly be a lot more valuable. Even if that doesn’t happen, you could ask bloggers you’ve worked with if they have influential friends who’d be up for a PR opportunity.
Now you know how to identify bloggers, here are the three next steps…
Pitching sponsored content to bloggers and pitching a guest post or sponsored content to a publication are two completely different things. For one, bloggers don’t expect the same level of formality as the editor of a small business publication or local newspaper might. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t expect professionalism.
Product reviews and giveaways are the sorts of collaboration which bloggers love to work on and which only bloggers can do. Publications do product reviews in their own time and of their own accord, but bloggers are approachable. Reach out for a review and you might just have a few hundred more sales to deal with.
Giveaways are much more overtly promotional. As such, they are more expensive to run. This involves using your product as a prize in a competition which the blogger will run. As such, it will mean giving out a lot of your products for free. Because it involves such a big investment, it’s even more important to measure what returns your getting from it.
By far the biggest and most ambitious blogger collaboration you can work on is a blogger event. These are tough beasts to master but — if mastered correctly — you could get an enormous return on your investment.