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Hannah Butcher

How to Find the Right Bloggers for Your PR Campaign

Hannah Butcher
How to Find the Right Bloggers for Your PR Campaign

With the ever-increasing influence of PR in wider digital marketing campaigns, it might be the right time for you to consider how you can achieve better results with these forms of activity in mind.

Blogger outreach is a specific avenue of PR that I’ve been involved in over the past six years, with experience in all aspects from researcher to event host. As a food blogger myself, I have seen outreach efforts from both sides, something which has given me a bit of an insider’s view on how things are done.

There are many reasons you might want to work with a blogger, whether to let them know about some exciting news (maybe a new product launch for a brand or range they love), invite them to attend an event or review a product/service or ask them to share something with their readers which would benefit them (a content marketing piece).

Of course there is no one “right” strategy, and many will utilise elements of all or some of the examples I’ve demonstrated here. However you choose to work with bloggers, you’ll need to know how to find them in the first place, and I’m here to share some of my secrets with you.

So, how do you find the right bloggers for your campaign?

Blogger Databases and Popular Blog Lists

There are companies around that specialize in blogger databases, and they will give you access to one in exchange for a small investment. This can be money well spent if you have ample budget and have daily needs for this information, but this isn’t often the case for smaller brands and agencies who have clients that cover a wide range of sectors.

If your budget is limited, you might want to look towards to some free or lower cost databases. I recently discovered the Foodies100 index of top food bloggers – something I’d love to end up on in the near future – and any person can currently have access to the top 100 list. For free.

Right now I know that Tinned Tomatoes was the number one food blog in June, so it tells me that the timing would be pretty ideal for a collaboration with plenty of visibility.

Foodies 100 Blog List

There is also Tots100, HIBS100 and Trips100. So if you’re looking for food, parent, home/interior or travel bloggers, you’re probably going to want to head to those sites pretty swiftly. Now if only you had a scraper tool installed on your web browser…

For a more ethical approach to using these types of lists, you can pay a subscription fee to gain access to the full database of bloggers rather than only the top 100. Many other sites such as the Professional Travel Bloggers Association allow you to have a no-commitment trial of their blogger search engine.

Twitter Stalking (AKA Chats)

If time allows, take to Twitter and figure out when groups of bloggers come together to talk about topics that interest them. You might have seen people tweeting “A1….”, “A2…” and the like – these are in response to numbered questioned that form the wider chat. Helpfully, most Twitter chats by bloggers have associated hashtags so they can all keep up with each other’s responses.

Some of the chats that I take part in include the #fdbloggers chat on a Thursday evening (8pm GMT) and #pantrychat on Tuesday evening (9pm GMT). There are many, many more across loads of different topics and sectors.

#twitterchat

Whether you observe these chats or want to actively take part, you should try and take note of who is getting involved on a regular basis so you can learn names and faces. If you want to discover a bulk of bloggers in one go, this can be a great strategy.

Influencer Tools

Followerwonk is an excellent Moz app – for the most part it is used to make observations about your own Twitter successes and opportunities, but it something that I use for blogger outreach research too. You can gain access through a free 30 day trial, or you can link your existing Moz account if you have one.

The ‘compare users’ feature is especially helpful so you can gain wider insights from your Twitter chat observations. Once you’ve found up to three bloggers who you think are ideal influencers on a topic, you can compare users they follow and compare their followers. If you see overlaps in the people they follow, you can start to judge who these influencers see to be their influencers too.

Followerwonk

Linkdex has an Entity Search tool which can also be quite handy. If you enter a few keywords, it will show you authors who write on those topics; when you click on each author, a small amount of information will be shown on the right hand of the page including a bio, their domains and social media profiles.

Backlink Tools

Don’t forget that you can use backlink tools like those on SEMrush and Ahrefs to help you with finding the right bloggers for your campaign. My recommendation is to enter the URLs of influencers you have already found to generate reports that show you referring domains to those sites.

With any luck, these reports will include some other blogs within the results. And if they do, you’ll also see the number of backlinks from one blogger to another which could give you some indication into their relationship; perhaps they attend events together or regard them highly enough to mention them regularly.

SEMrush

On SEMrush, you can click on the number of backlinks in the report to see a breakdown of the exact source and target URLs, useful if you want to do a bit further digging to see how the bloggers have worked together previously.

Blog Analysis

It’s important to remember that you are going to need to do some manual work to review blogs if you want to do the best possible job. There are some definite benefits of this though, including if you stumble across a write up of a blogger meet-up or event.

Other brands have found me through these types of posts in the past, which have opened up a number of doors to me as a blogger (think some pretty delicious review opportunities). All it takes is for one blogger to reference other people who attended, and you’re onto a winner.

Whilst you’re doing these manual reviews, make sure to write down key information such as contact details and any available blog statistics to add to your records.

Be Nice

My final tip for finding great bloggers is to build a positive reputation for yourself online. If you annoy one blogger, a handful more could be dissuaded from working with you. You’ll know when you’re on the right track when bloggers actually start referring other people to you, something amazingly helpful for reducing the time you spend doing research.

Hopefully by using a combination of these tips, but always the last, you will start to generate a better list of bloggers to contact for your future outreach campaigns.

I’d love to hear about your own tips and whether you’ve found mine helpful, so please leave me a comment below or get in touch with me on Twitter @HannahFButcher.

Hannah Butcher is Senior Digital Marketing Specialist at White.net.

Comments

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Richard Lucas
Richard Lucas
hi this article is useful- thanks - it would be even better if there were links to the payable databases of bloggers that you recommend thanks ~
Rob Wilson
Wow, I only wish I needed bloggers about food. My Yelp Elite brethren could knock that out for me in short order :)

All of your suggestions are good ones, and gave me new ideas on how to approach the situation. Sadly however, as far as sourcing full time writers for content, PR, or most any other task, budget severely limits my options in the digital marketing department. I am primarily stuck with recent graduates at the local Chicago area universities who majored in journalism or a related field. I have several interns now as well that came to us via universities.

The diversity of our client portfolio makes it difficult to source for specific products or services. They can send me all the writing samples and professor recommendations in the world, but until they are on the job for a month, there is no telling how they are going to work out. This is a very timely post for me, as I sit down with the other department heads next week to discuss this very issue.
Hannah Butcher
Hannah Butcher
Rob Wilson
My first job out of university was as an SEO copywriter, a role that certainly isn't suited to every person to has done a degree in journalism (which I did too). Instead of writing in a journalists voice, you suddenly have to speak as a brand - or a whole heap of different brands.

So I understand your struggle with this! I hope that you manage to find some solutions to your issues with your writing resource
Daniel Slomka
Hannah, fantastic article! I just have to share it :)

At Boost the News, I work mainly with bloggers, and can concur that the methods you have stated here are useful. From my personal perspective, out of the ones you mentioned, social media (Twitter, but increasingly also Instagram and Pinterest, for some types of blogging) is the most effective one. It works amazingly! I'd suggest to create twitter lists of the bloggers you follow, see what they are talking about, and enter the conversations. They almost always respond, and you get a lot of visibility (plus they started getting interested in you and what you do). Plus, you can also see other bloggers and readers who take part in the conversation, and find new contacts.
Make sure you also follow hashtags related to your field. They are a great source of new contacts.

One more tool I would add that I find super important for blogger outreach is BuzzSumo. It has a free trial.

BuzzSumo has two main features that are the most suitable for those wanting to "haunt down" bloggers: first, an influencer tool that is amazingly simple and friendly. You write a keyword or topic, and get a list of 400 influencers (ordered by number of twitter followers or by other parameters as you wish), which you can directly contact, or download the whole list as a csv file. It is a work of weeks done automatically in 3 minutes!

Second step with BuzzSumo is to check the virality of the blogger's posts through the content analysis: enter their url in the content analysis tool, and you can see the most shared articles and posts. It helps me a lot when I need to decide whether a blogger can help me or not.

To this I would add also a short check on Alexa.com and the free Moz-bar: both check the strength of the blog/website in matters of SEO. They're not perfect, but can help understanding if the blog is good.

A third tool that I use are content alerts, you can get them for free from Mention or Google Alerts. Set a content alert for your keywords and see who is talking the most about them. Find all the articles related to your field, and get in contact with those who wrote them. Hehe, that's exactly how I found this article here :)

If I may be so bold, I'd also suggest Boost the News as an important tool for blogger outreach. If you're working with a blogger and have, for example, a sponsored article, it is not enough that the blogger wrote the article, and that's it. With Boost the News you can turn the blogger's article into a powerful online ad, increasing visibility and traffic both for you and for the blogger!

Oh, and yes - be nice is definitely the no. 1 rule :)

All the best!!
Hannah Butcher
Hannah Butcher
Daniel Slomka
Wow what a comprehensive comment for me to read today, thank you for contributing. You've provided some excellent ideas here which I think will be really helpful for people who read this blog post, so I hope everyone takes the time to look into these a bit further :)
Kathleen Garvin
Kathleen Garvin
Daniel Slomka
Thanks for your comment, Daniel!

Excellent additional suggestions. (Who doesn't love BuzzSumo, by the way? Seems like everyone gets instantly hooked after they do a free trial.) If you'd like to write about more pitching tips for the blog, I'm all ears. :)

And yes, being nice is #1 in my book as well. The world needs more niceness!
Daniel Slomka
Kathleen Garvin
Hi Kathleen, thanks a lot! I just came back from one of the biggest bloggers' conferences in Europe, and heard A LOT of interesting insights from bloggers about their experiences with brands. How about I share them on SEMRush?

I'd be happy to write a special article for this purpose. Feel more than welcome to hit me on daniel[at]boostthenews[dot]com if you think this can be interesting :)
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