The definition of an influencer is someone who has influence, but how can you tell how much influence a blogger has? Right now I can go and buy 5000 followers for $20, do this a few times and I can present myself as an influencer in a matter of days.
There are many stories of companies getting burnt in this area.
Avoid These Pitfalls When Finding Influencers
1. Double Check Traffic Figures
You need to know that bloggers don’t always disclose the correct figures. This might not be intentional, often it isn’t. There are lots of different analytics tools out there which provide data on a range of different metrics.
Weebly’s analytics, for example, is very generous (I love looking at our Weebly stats!). Weebly says last week (2nd - 8th October) we got 2,000 pageview’s to our site, that’s 8,000 pageviews per month.
However, when I go to my Google Analytics dashboard it tells me we had 180 pageviews in the last week which is around 780 per month.
That is a huge difference.
As much as I would love to believe Weebly, Google Analytics is the industry standard Analytics tool and the most accurate. Not everyone knows that though and bloggers you are speaking with could be basing their stats on a tool which is not presenting the real truth, so always check traffic levels with the tools you have available.
If you are still not sure then ask for a screen shot of the last months analytics to ensure you are both on the same page.
2. Check Engagement
When you speak with a blogger, of course they are going to present themselves in the best possible light. Often you’ll hear about awards that have been won, or that they were the finalist for an award. They might mention high profile newspapers or magazines they have been mentioned in.
This is all useful information, however, what you really need to understand is, do they have an active audience currently listening to them?
If you are specifically looking for influencers who can help you to grow the trust in your brand, or make some sales then you need to know how many people they have the potential to influence.
An award they won a few years ago doesn’t tell you this.
What can give you a very good indication is their engagement levels. How many comments & shares does their content get?
If you notice that they have a lot of blog posts but absolutely no-one is commenting then this is a red flag. If you notice they have a no shares on their posts this is another red flag.
The best influencers are those who have a strong core community. Look through the comments and note, how friendly do they seem? Does it sound like this person is following along with the blog, or are they just leaving a comment to get a backlink? It’s amazing how well this very simple tactic works.
We often get PR Placements with 50+ comments which sends traffic to our clients month after month. The reason is that we always check current engagement so it really does work.
If you prefer to connect with bloggers and influencers easily then check out our tool: Guest Bloggers Wanted and sign up for a free trial.
Or, if you just want to buy a placement safe in the knowledge that someone has pre-vetted it then check out our shop. You’ll find loads of guest post opportunities in a range of different niches.
If you’ve heard that one of the best ways to get your blog noticed is to partner up with other bloggers on guest posts & collaborations then you’d be right!
It’s amazing the kind of leverage you can get just from networking and making connections with other people.
How to approach a blogger is something which a lot of beginners find very daunting. If you are not used to reaching out to and building relationships with people you haven’t met before then it can be intimidating.
It is also a slightly different process depending on whether you are a blogger or a company, so, in this post I’m going to cover both.
You ready? Great!!
How To Approach A Blogger If You Are A Blogger
How to approach a blogger if you are a blogger as well. Well, basically you already have a HUGE advantage. Most bloggers want to support other bloggers - especially bloggers in their field of interest. One of the main reasons most bloggers get into blogging is to meet other people with the same interests as them.
It’s great to meet other people who have similar interests, values, and ambitions - we all love that.
Running a blog is a great way to meet others with similar interests.
So, if you are a blogger it is very likely that other bloggers will be happy to hear from you! Very often you’ll find on the contact us page something about guest posting and that the blogger is very receptive to other bloggers guest posting on their site.
Collaborations and guest posts are beneficial to both of you as you will be both be sharing the post with your audience (I hope).
Start with reaching out to the blogs you already read in your niche.
If you’ve been running your blog for some time there will likely be names that come up again and again in your social media groups, in the comment sections on blog posts you read or the owners of the blogs you read.
How To Find The Right Bloggers To Connect With
True connections and relationships are founded on authenticity, so reach out to people you genuinely admire & want to connect with.
If you are a new blogger and don’t really know anyone else yet then it’s time to start looking for other bloggers to draw inspiration from! No-one creates anything great whilst sitting inside a vacuum.
It is always advisable to be signed up to the email lists of some bloggers you admire in your space. Ideally, you should sign up to their email and also follow them on twitter.
Twitter is still a great way to connect with someone on a more personal level.
If emails go unanswered it’s amazing how a quick tweet can get a fast response!
How To Approach Bloggers
Either send them a quick email or a tweet - it is not rocket science. The internet has opened up many ways for us to communicate with each other it’s just a case of taking full advantage of it.
If you send them a tweet keep it informal - hey how are you - I’ve got a collab idea can I send you an email?
When you send through an email make sure that you are specific about what your collab idea is. Don’t expect the person you’re emailing to have the time to decode your email to try and figure out what you want.
Just be very clear about your idea and what you believe you can both get out of it. Introduce yourself and your blog but only AFTER you’ve introduced your collab idea & the benefits.
Make it as easy as possible for the person you are emailing to say yes or no - don’t make them work any more than they have to - we are all busy.
How To Approach A Blogger If You Represent A Company
It is a little more tricky if you are a company who wants to approach a blogger in order to build links back to your site or sell some of your stuff. Different bloggers view their blog in very different ways.
Some are very commercial orientated and will only ever deal with companies if they are going to be paid a large amount of money.
Others will work with companies if they are going to get some great content & exposure from it.
Others will work with companies if they are going to get a free product or service out of it or a small amount of money to pay for their time publishing or writing content.
If you are approaching bloggers as a company then you need to understand the blogger's motivations which can be pretty tricky to do, and kind of needle in a haystack.
How To Find The Right Bloggers To Connect With
Before even moving into the stage of finding bloggers you need to establish what it is you are offering them.
Why would they want to work with you?
What are you giving to them?
Without a very clear idea on this, your campaign is doomed to failure.
Are you able to provide them with high-quality content and exposure for example? Are you able to offer a monetary incentive or are you able to give them a product or a service? Define what it is you can give them.
Basically, the better you do at this stage the better your campaign is going to run. It is always a balancing act - you need to work out how much you can give away and for what return you would expect back.
Lets break that down with an example !!
If you are a jewelry company who creates bracelets with your customer's name on it for example.
You might work out how much it costs you to create one of these bracelets (cost of material and cost of labor). Say it costs you £65 in total to make each bracelet if you were to give away one bracelet to a blogger you’d expect more than £65 in value back, ideally at least 50% more.
You might provide a money off voucher for their audience or a special deal for customers who spend over a certain amount.
Once you’ve worked out what it is you are offering to bloggers you then need to find the right bloggers to work with. This comes down to understanding your own audience and who you want to connect with.
Your goal is then to find bloggers with a similar audience.
For example, as a jewelry company who sells personalized bracelets, you might know that most of your customers buy these bracelets as gifts.
Usually, it is mums buying them as gifts for their 12 - 16-year-old daughters.
So, you need to find bloggers who have an audience of mums with older children. You might also be looking for bloggers who have audiences interested in creativity and crafts. Buying a personalized bracelet is different to buying a branded tiffany's bracelet.
Based on these assumptions you would start searching for “parent bloggers with older children” or maybe “craft bloggers”. Always start with your audience and then identify groups of bloggers who have a similar audience to you.
How To Approach Bloggers
Not understanding what the blogger wants out of it is the reason why most outreach campaigns run by companies run at a 5% success rate. i.e. send out 100 emails and you can expect 5 replies and not all of them will be positive.
As you can imagine, going about it the traditional way of collecting a ton of emails and then just cold emailing a ton of bloggers is not really a cost-effective way of running an outreach campaign.
At this stage, you should know what it is you are offering the blogger and also have a very niche list of bloggers with an audience you want to reach with your offering.
Always connect with these bloggers first via Twitter.
Ideally, connect with them and follow them for a few weeks. No doubt you will find something that they tweet about really interesting, if so then engage in a natural conversation. This is all about quality over quantity. At this stage, you should be interacting with around 15 - 20 bloggers in this way.
Then, reach out to each one via email with the subject RE: Twitter - potential collab idea (or something similar)
This immediately helps the blogger to remember you and your conversations on twitter so that you are not just sending a cold email and hoping for the best. It is all about psychology, how comfortable does this blogger feel speaking with you. Relationships take time to form so don’t rush it.
You can absolutely introduce yourself and your collab idea in the first email. Always lead with what you are offering them and then introduce yourself second. Don’t write an essay when a few paragraphs will do.
Respect the bloggers time & get to the point.
If you’ve completed the stages up to this point then it is very likely that this blogger will be more than happy to work with you!
---- don't forget
If you are looking for high quality guest post placements then check out our shop. We have great opportunities available to you right now with bloggers & influencers with a range of audiences.
Not sure what you need? Get in touch and we can advise on the best fit for your audience.
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Guest posting can take a lot of time to execute so it might make sense to hire a guest posting company.
If you are considering going down that route, but have never hired one before, you might be wondering what the best questions to ask might be.
How can you tell between a company who uses dodgy tactics and will be likely to build low quality, risky links, or a company who focuses on quality content & high-quality bloggers?
Before hiring a Guest Posting company you need to understand exactly what the company you work for is going to deliver, how long it will take and how they track success. It's important your expectations are cleary set before you put any money down.
Let's look at some questions you should ask a Guest Posting Company before you hire them.
1. What Is Included In Your Guest Posting Service?
This might sound like a really obvious question but you would be surprised how many small business owners don't ask this! Make sure you get a breakdown of what is included in the service.
Do they include content creative & content writing, for example?
You will need to know if you need to supply the content angles and campaign ideas or, if they will come up with these. Creative can take a lot of time and energy, make sure you understand how much you creative input you will need to deliver, before you hire.
If the company provides content then make sure you ask about their writing team.
Are they in-house or freelance? Do they have experience writing for your industry?
You should also make sure you understand how long the content is and whether it includes graphics. Ideally content should be above 600 words, ideally 700 - 800. It should be fully optimised and include high res images - visual posts do better!
Finally, make sure you know what quality of placement you can expect. Many companies split up their placements and price according to the stats of the website. Cheaper is not always better, if someone is offering very, very cheap Guest Post Placements this should be a red flag.
Ask to see some example placements and then analyze the websites traffic and backlink profile yourself. Also, make checks for engagement - and ask yourself, does this website have a real audience?
2. Which Placements Do You Suggest For My Company?
You can ask the Guest Posting company to send through some suggested placements. Make sure you ask why they are sending these particular placements through to you. Their answers will give you a big clue about whether they are a high-quality guest posting company or not.
A company which focuses on matching your core audience with the blogger's core audience is a good sign. They should ask you who your core audience is and if you don't know they might be able to give some ideas about how you could find that out.
A good guest posting company will know marketing. They will be focused on delivering quality content to the right audience.
Analyse the placements that come through. If you don't know how to do this yourself you could ask a third party or pay a third party to give you an analysis. This should be very cheap and will save you a lot of hassle in the future. It is important you are only building high-quality links back to your website.
3. How Do You Track Success?
Tracking the success of a Guest Post can be a little bit of a challenge for a guest posting company. The reason is that they don't have access to the blogger's analytics, and many companies don't ask for access to their client's analytics either.
Bit.ly tracking links cannot be used because for link building purposes it is best to use a straight link through to the website and not alter it in anyway.
It can also be difficult to track success by checking the rank in Google because the company will not have responsibility for your entire SEO Strategy.
At Ginger Marketing, we track success by the amount of engagement on a post. Engagement to us means social shares and comments. This forces us to focus on the quality of the content & the content - blogger fit.
Whether we are dealing with a newer blogger or a more experience influencer, engagement is always the metric we use to track our success.
Make sure you know how the company you work with tracks success.
We hope you have found this useful! If you are thinking about hiring a Guest Posting Company make sure you use these questions to figure out how high quality they are.
As usual please leave your comments below. Did you learn something new? Do you have another important question to add which will help our readers?
There are some important practices you must adopt when conducting your blogger outreach.
Too many people fail to do the basics and the result of that is poor results and a poor outlook on outreach as a core marketing activity. I think that is a shame.
At the heart of blogger outreach is making connections with other people and collaborating in a way which brings benefits to both parties.
Blogger outreach needs to be done no matter what campaign you are running whether it’s a competition, an affiliate relationship or a guest post.
Let’s go through 5 important blogger outreach practices for you to implement in your next campaign for better results.
1. Pin down your offer before emailing
Make sure you know specifically what you are offering the blogger you are reaching out to. Don’t expect them to come up with a way they can work with you.
You are emailing them because you want to work with them and think that collaborating in some way will provide benefit to you both.
Notice how I say both here. Do not email a blogger with some vague opportunity just to try and land a free link from them.
Be respectful, this is a person who has spent a lot of time and energy growing an established audience of followers. They are a business person as much as they are a writer, graphic designer and creative.
2. Only cold email if desperate!
If you absolutely must then cold email is a method to get in touch with bloggers, the response rate is between 5 - 20% depending on your offer and how well written it is.
Unless you have a way to source a huge amount of high quality leads to funnel into your cold email campaign then it might not be economical for you to do this at scale.
I wouldn’t rely on cold email as a primary source of growing relationships with bloggers.
3. Follow them on twitter
Twitter is still a really great networking tool. Follow the bloggers you want to reach out to on twitter and put them on a private list. Log onto this list every day and scan through, it’s amazing how much you learn about the niche you are working in just from doing this.
You’ll also get to know something about the personality of the bloggers you want to connect with, as well as what they are up to at the moment and what they enjoy.
If you find yourself wanting to reply to something they have tweeted feel free to do that. Entering into a natural conversation is a great way to get you on their radar.
After a few twitter chats you can DM them or send them an email to take the relationship to the next level and see if they’d be interested in a collab opportunity. A really good place to start is a guest post as you both get the benefit and it is quite a low effort activity on both sides.
4. Sell your offer not yourself (first)
When you do reach out to a blogger make sure in the first lines you sell your offer, not yourself. There is nothing that turns someone off more, than reading an email which starts with a brag >>
I am an award-winning Entrepreneur and I won 3 prizes last year for my startup which is taking my market by storm.
Lead with what you are offering the blogger first
I’m writing to see if you’d be interested in a guest post for your blog.
I am an award-winning Entrepreneur and I won 3 prizes last year for my startup which is taking my market by storm.
As you can see, you are still able to sell yourself and the value you can offer but you lead with your offer, not with your brag. Always remember your audience wants to know what they can get out of it , your brag seals the deal.
5. Be Respectful
Unfortunately, I feel like I have to include this point - it is sad that this is not just a given. However, there are a lot of PR & Outreach Agencies which don’t treat bloggers with respect.
I believe every one of them should be forced to try and build a blog and grow an audience themselves, and see just how much effort goes into doing it.
Always be respectful in your communication and remember that there are two sides to the story. You AND the person you are speaking with.
If you are looking for high-quality blogger placements we have plenty available in our store! Check them out. Or sign up for a free trial of our blogger outreach tool Guest Bloggers Wanted which helps you connect with bloggers & influencers quickly to produce PR standard guest posts.
GBW saves us email & relationship management headaches
As a small Content Marketing Agency the most time consuming aspect of producing guest posts for clients has to be blogger outreach.
Specifically, relationship management.
And no matter how hard we tried we never felt like we were doing it well despite the time spent. We are good at content, not at email, relationship management & negotiating & we were stuck focusing on an area we didn’t excel in which was causing our consultant a lot of headaches!
Using GBW (Guest Bloggers Wanted) meant our consultant could break down our guest post campaigns to a content level, it is then sent to a database of bloggers who pitch for content which fits their audience.
We can produce PR standard guest posts for clients at a fraction of the cost using this tool & we can shift our focus onto content creative and away from relationship management.
GBW gets me out of a spreadsheet & focusing on content creative
High quality blogger outreach is very tough to scale and is time consuming. Not only did we have to sift through bloggers, we then had to make connections with them, figure
out if there was a content fit and then negotiate and check if they fit into our campaign budget.
Managing campaigns with 10 - 15 bloggers in one go for one campaign, and then
managing more than one is a lot of work for one consultant and we were finding it difficult to execute and turn around the guest posts to a high level, within 30 days.
We wanted to spend the most amount of time possible on producing high quality & relevant content so we wanted a tool which could help us quickly find
high quality bloggers with an engaged audience.
We would not have been able to scale our business and continue to take on new clients without Guest Bloggers Wanted. The outreach process takes too much time and it would have
created a bottleneck in our business, and no doubt lose us some of our top clients.
When bloggers pitch for content it produces a better blog fit
Since using this tool we have reduced the cost of our outreach, both in time spent finding and negotiating with bloggers, and with the cost of publishing content.
We have greater flexibility & can easily mix up our content strategy between guest posts or PR pieces where the blogger will write about an experience using high quality and original photos - these PR pieces always do very well and get fantastic engagement which our clients love.
Our consultant is able to put up content and have bids from interested bloggers within 24 hours with no extra effort or time needed from her side. It takes roughly 10 - 15 minutes to go
through the bids for each piece of content and choose which blogger is the best fit based on the the SEO tools she already has access too.
When bloggers pitch for content it produces a better blog fit & reduces time spent in negotiation and following false leads.
We’ve cut our people costs by 50% using GBW
Since using Guest Bloggers Wanted we regularly have content in our campaigns which achieve over 50 comments. The blogger featured in our head image for example, Vivian was a connection we were able to make via GBW for an article about best spots in London to have tea.
She is a Japanese fashion & lifestyle blogger with a loyal following, using traditional methods of outreach we would never have known she was about to hop on a plane to London to cover this topic! We connected with her & were able to collaborate for a very low cost because it was a great fit for the type of content she was already producing.
The end result was PR quality content with very high engagement metrics & a happy client!
Engagement is a core metric for us and is something our clients are very interested in seeing as it proves that real people are on the other side reading and engaging with it and have now been introduced to their product or service.
It is no longer enough to deliver a guest post with good domain authority and traffic metrics - we always aim to deliver high engagement as well and Guest Bloggers Wanted helps us to do that.
The time spent conducting outreach, negotiating and managing the whole process has been cut by more than 50%.
*Disclaimer, Guest Bloggers Wanted is a tool which has been produced by Ginger Marketing however this Case Study accurately represents the results Ginger Marketing has achieved for their clients using it and they warmly welcome other SEO Consultants to try it out for free & see what the think! CHECK IT OUT
All it takes is a slip of the fingers to accidentally transpose a few letters, and voila, you’ve got yourself into a situation involving an egregious spelling error.
You might think the featured picture is a little bit too dramatic for this topic... well... it is no lie that this add on literally makes me feel like this girl pictured !! Every time the tool corrects my spelling of definitely I sing a little song of joy (can never get my head round that word!!).
I'm sure you have words you misspell all of the time as well.
Then there’s the dreaded grammatical debate. Some people follow the rules of Strunk and White and read ‘The Elements of Style’ every night before going to bed.
Others believe that the internet has changed the rules of grammar forever.
Neither school of thought is completely right, but both undoubtedly make grammar errors that can be avoided. You don’t need to have perfect grammar or be an expert in spelling to improve the quality of your writing.
Problems Spelling and Grammar Errors Can Cause
Have you ever been reading a blog post, an article, or even a book and run across a spelling error that changed the context and concept of message completely? Accidentally type ‘massage’ instead of ‘message’ and - well - you see what I mean.
If you write something that is grammatically incorrect, you can also inadvertently change the meaning of the sentence, leaving readers very confused.
Common Spelling Mistakes
Even with auto correct you can make spelling errors if you go too quickly and fail to proofread your words. Typing out the word ‘that’ instead of ‘than’ may make a sentence unclear and clunky. If you’re talking about ‘typos’ and you write down ‘types’ instead, you’ll also cause your audience to miss the point.
Spelling mistakes aren’t always errors, meaning that a word can be spelled correctly, but you accidentally typed out a closely related but misspelled word.
Common Grammar Mistakes
Grammar mistakes are even more common than spelling errors. From comma splices to subject-verb agreement, if your sentences aren’t typed out tightly and concisely there is likely a grammatical error present.
Do you know how to use semicolons in the correct manner?
How about em dashes?
When you’re typing a piece that needs to adhere to Chicago style or MLA format, how do you know if you’ve followed all of the rules?
Grammarly is both a software and add-on that writers can use to check over their work for spelling and grammatical errors. In addition, Grammarly can actually make suggestions that will make your writing clearer and more succinct.
If you have ever struggled to get your point across while writing a research paper or a scholarly article, Grammarly is a tool that you need to have in your arsenal.
What Is Grammarly?
Grammarly is a program that you can use in conjunction with word processing software, your blog, and even on the web to ensure that your writing is always on the mark.
It’s a standalone tool that you can use to manually check your writing, and it is also an add-on extension that works with dozens of existing pieces of software.
How you use Grammarly depends on whether you’re a professional business owner, a student, or a budding master of words.
How to Add Grammarly to Your Blog
Just download the Grammarly extension for your preferred web browser and you will be able to ensure that all of your blog posts are grammatical error free. As you type out new blog posts Grammarly will highlight all potential spelling and grammar errors, enabling you to make changes before you hit the publish button. Grammarly has been the secret tool of professional and novice bloggers alike for years.
While you should always read over your writing to see if you missed any spelling or grammar errors, using tools like Grammarly will make your writing more precise. Make sure that all of your published works are polished and finely tuned. Grammarly can improve your writing as well as make spelling errors a thing of the past.
Companies Using Grammarly
Stan, Digital Marketing Manager at Selby's
"I use the Google Chrome extension of Grammarly. Right now as I'm typing this Grammarly is behind the scenes checking every word and sentence that I typed out so I don't look bad.
There was a case study done on spelling errors. Charles Duncombe, CEO of a $20 million-per-year online retail group, wondered why his online hosiery site was underperforming. He discovered a spelling mistake in a prominent line on a product page, where the word ‘Tights’ was spelt ‘Tihgts’. When the mistake was fixed conversion rates jumped 80%."
Daniel, Owner of Heavenly Hammocks
We use Grammarly to avoid making mistakes in emails and product descriptions. We would lose credibility if people were noticing spelling and grammar mistakes in our writing. I feel like it reduces my mistakes by about 80%, and the remaining 20% are probably when I forget to check the suggestions.
Nicole, Digital Marketing Exec from Wall Sauce
Wallsauce.com is an e-retailer so digital marketing is at the forefront of its strategy. The Grammarly plug-in enables me to quality control blog posts in Word, statuses created directly on social media before they’re posted and emails sent from Outlook. It gives me a great deal of confidence in my work and as one of the brand representatives of Wallsauce.com!
As usual let us know in the comments below! Have you used Grammarly before or are you going to use it now? Has this tool helped improve your writing?
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This post was proofread by Grammarly*
* This symbol indicates an affiliate link, we only recommend products & services that we personally use ourselves & deem to be of high value.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)