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?
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Content Marketing Freelancer @ Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)
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