5 steps to turbocharge your blogger outreach

Blogger outreach is the buzzword on every fashion brand’s lips.  There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation of your products, right? But where do you start, and how can you make it worth your while? We’ve got 5 simple steps to help you turbocharge your blogger relationships.

1. Cast your net wide to find new bloggers

Googling for new blogs is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack, with thousands and thousands of fashion bloggers out there. Here are some better ways to look.

– Selina from Motel Rocks says that they often use lookbook.nu to find new fashion bloggers. This street style site lets you search contributors by location, materials, brands, and clothing categories, and many of the men and women on it have blogs of their own.

– Set up some Google Alerts with phrases relating to your products, and narrow the search category to ‘blogs’. The hardest part of this is choosing relevant keywords, so try and pinpoint what makes your products special.

– Twitter can be a great way to find new bloggers. Look out for relevant Twitter lists and people tweeting about fashion brands that you feel are similar to yours.

– Blogcatalog lists thousands of blogs and can be a good way to browse by blog topic. 

– Remember to pin your own products on Pinterest and keep an eye on who else is pinning from your site. This can be a great way of finding new bloggers.

2. Choose the right blog –  think quality over quantity

“Labels too often contact the bloggers they feel have the most readers, and disregard the fact it might be the wrong fit. So I’d tell labels and brands to really research the blogs they approach. If they select only the blogs where the fit is right, they’ll have more success, and it wastes less time for them and the bloggers.” Michelle from Kingdom of Style.

Okay, so now you have your long-list of blogs. Time to narrow it down in three important steps.

Firstly, make sure you read their blog – and not just the first three posts – to get an idea of their taste and style.

Secondly, have a look to see if they’ve featured similar products before, or if they’re open to being approached by fashion brands.

Thirdly, get an idea of readership and reach. They don’t have to be one of the top ten bloggers in the UK to make an impact, but they do need to have decent readership stats and a good relationship with their followers.

Easy ways to check out blog stats and readership:

  • Check out how many comments their average post gets.
  • See if they’re on Facebook and Twitter, and how many followers they have.
  • Alexa.com gives you an idea of stats and readership demographics.
  • Look them up on Bloglovin and Google Reader to see their follower numbers.
  • Bonus tip: Make sure they post regularly! No point in contacting a long dead blog.

 

3. Tailor your approach like a bespoke suit

Remember that most bloggers have a day job and they do this for fun. They’re not going to respond to a boring mass email. If you send out generic emails, you are spamming them, and that’s not good.

For a great example of what not to do, read this blog post by Social Penguin: ‘The Worst Blogger Outreach email ever?‘.

The minimum that you should include is:

  • The blogger’s first name: usually not difficult to find
  • Something relevant about their blog – not just from their latest post. Dig deeper.
  • Some brief information about your brand, with a link to where they can find out more.
  • A personalised offer that’s specific to the blog.
  • An informal, friendly tone. Imagine emailing a friend, rather than your accountant.

4. Give them something of value

With street-style and fashion bloggers, you’re much more likely to get coverage if you offer to send them one of your products. Let’s face it, everyone likes getting something for free.

You could also send two items – one for the blogger and one for a giveaway. This suits everyone. You get at least two posts covering your products, and the blogger gets something to offer to their readers and hopefully increase their blog traffic.

We know that you can’t always give away free products. But it’s a great way to start a relationship.

If you’re keeping in touch with the blogger and sending through your latest lookbook or product news, keep it short and sweet, and say ‘I thought you might like to see this’ rather than demanding that they give you coverage.

Other interesting ways to involve bloggers:

  • Ask them to do a personal edit of your collection to publish on your website
  • Reach out to get feedback on a new range or product. Have a look at Modcloth’s ‘Be the Buyer‘ programme for inspiration.
  • Name a product after one of your favourite bloggers.
  • Do a styling challenge with a few bloggers, where you send them all the same item to use. You can even do this virtually, using Polyvore or Pinterest.
This was the winning entry in the ‘House of Fraser Blogger Style Challenge’

 

5. Build a long-term relationship

Don’t think of contacting bloggers as a one-off thing – it’s more of a long-term strategy. Try these steps to build real relationships:

  • Create a mailing list of bloggers and add a sign-up page on your website. Motel Rocks send out a weekly update to their blogger database.
  • For bigger brands, always reply to emails from bloggers that approach you, and add them to your mailing list (if they give you permission).
  • Give your bloggers exclusive content – invite them to events, let them have sneak previews of your new products, and send them special discount codes and offers.
  • Be inspired by other retailers. If you’re reading blogs regularly, you can see what strategies other companies are using to approach bloggers. Pick the best approaches and adapt them for your own needs.

So those are our five simple steps to building better blogger relationships. Any tips of your own to share?