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The best of micro-influencer marketing and long tail blogger outreach articles

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Today is one of those best-of Chris Abraham’s blog posts on blogger outreach, long tail blogger outreach, influencer marketing, and micro-influencer marketing. I hope you enjoy this historical perspective via all the posts that I’ve written since way back in 2012. They’re all pretty evergreen so this surely won’t waste your time to dig around.

“The reason why blogger outreach is way harder than it needs to be is because most of you are doing sales instead of doing PR, you’re being a pitch artist instead of a publicist. 99% of every message model I get from clients (and I am sure that Richard Laermer gets on his Bad Pitch Blog) must really come from their salesmen. Too many of them read like something a used car salesman might tell you as you walk onto the hot dusty lot along the lines of the false-charming “book of jokes” that you might deliver at Toastmasters. Groan.”

“I’ve been doing earned media blogger outreach as a profession since 2006 and a lot has changed. To be frank, there are a lot of bloggers with their hands out looking for pay to play these days that it can feel a little daunting. The secret to my success has been to be a lot more selective in the clients I’m willing to work with. It’s not because I’m a snob but because some things work with earned media — bloggers blogging about things that are relevant enough to the blogger that she is willing to not only engage with me but also to carry my client’s message through to their social circles on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and even on their blogs and Tumblrs.”

“When it came to the tools being offered for prospecting, managing, and tracking online engagement and outreach, the quality had been dubious, the licensing too expensive, and of limited value. In many cases, it came down to whether the cost, learning curve, and value of each particular product actually made sense to the process and bottom line of my agency.”

“In this free 30-minute Biznology® webinar, Chris talks about earned media marketing: how to get off your duff and get out there online.”

“The current catch-all these days for what I do is social media; unfortunately, when what you do is described as social media, people tend to think Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and maybe Google+. My expertise, however, is online community outreach and engagement. Back in 2006 I developed a strategy of blogger outreach that allowed my to reach out to more than just 25 top-tier bloggers by hand over time, but to 2,500-5,000 bloggers.”

Bloggers, in fact, are the victims and we digital and PR agencies are the perps.”

“My definition of blogger outreach has always been about acquiring earned media coverage from bloggers and online influencers. My definition–and my assumption–has always been that blogger outreach is public relations and not paid media. I may well be mistaken.”

“My long tail blogger outreach strategy is periodically challenged or criticized as being too aggressive. The argument generally goes as follows: if you send thousands of email pitches to topically- and demographically-relevant bloggers and online influencers in one go, you’re spamming. The real way to do it right is to reach out blogger by blogger, with each pitch being lovingly and relevantly written in series over time after investing months of time, previous to actually initiating a pitch, becoming best friends. In my opinion, it is virtually impossible to resource enough time, talent and treasure to engage meaningfully with enough people, enough influencers, enough bloggers, to result in the sort of impact required to move the needle with any level of immediacy or timeliness.”

“There will always be blogs that are out of your league and your target audience. Instead of hitting your head against the wall by trying to make it onto TechCrunch and Mashable, learn to segment your blogger list, target more precisely while expanding your pool of bloggers past the top most blogs that tend also to be the most exclusive and difficult to break into–out of your league–to blogs and bloggers who are just starting out, who blog more from passion than ad revenue, and who are naturally more receptive to your content and your message based on a natural affinity.”

“Realistically, unless you’re the quarterback of your high school football team, you’re being unrealistic if you limit your options for prom to just the captain of the cheerleaders. There are so many appealing dates for prom everywhere in school. If you’re only applying to Harvard and Yale, you had better also be not only at the top of your class but also a legacy, score a perfect score on your SAT, letter on a sport, and have a well-developed set of extra curricular activities.”

“I had breakfast with John Bell of Ogilvy a number of years ago. He didn’t see the value of investing limited budget, time, and resources on the long tail when those treasures would better be used to woo the high-fliers, professionals, top-cows, and A-listers. That’s fair enough, and surely a common question, and a question we must address close to the beginning of every sales call we make at Gerris digital, when we propose blogger outreach to a prospective client.”

“Unlike a few years ago, today everyone at least pays lip service to reaching out to bloggers, the same way that PR people have always reached out to mainstream media. That’s what my company, Gerris digtial, does and lots of other companies try to do it, too. But I am still surprised that many companies don’t do blogger outreach, even today. My conclusion is that what is holding them back is fear. Simply put, blogger outreach is scary.”

“No matter what the tech savviness is of anyone you reach out to, even the most techie appreciates it when you make things as easy as possible for her. If you’re doing things right, you really should be aiming at doing 80%-90% of all the work for each and every blogger.”

“When I pitch my influencer marketing services these days on behalf of my digital agency Gerris, I find that I am not competing against humans at other agencies, I am fighting it out with Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Bing Ads and even Pinterest Ads.”

“If you have enough budget to do PPC campaigns, spend money on inbound links, or are willing to pay bloggers for their reviews, then you have enough budget to take the bloggers and social media influencers out for a drink. Think about it: these are the people you dream of sharing your content, announcing your news, talking about your brand and reviewing your products. Isn’t it worthwhile to reach out to your ideal bloggers and influencers individually when you find yourself in their town, and take them out? Breakfast, coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner, nightcap — you decide what’s appropriate.”

“Mizuno USA hired me to join their AOR, McKinney, to help them leverage the power of online influencers and social media to help introduce an online runner’s community they were launching called the Mezamashii Project. The Japanese word “mezamashii” means “brilliant” and Mizuno wanted to let runners know what it was like to have a brilliant run. Since Mizununo might not be top-of-mind when American runners think of buying shoes, the job that I was given was to make sure the Mezamashii Project was launched in a big way.”

“No matter how obscure your product, service, book, business, or project, there are surely thousands and thousands of online denizens who may not yet know of you but who would be as pleased as punch if you were to reach out. Outreach marketing, formerly known as blogger outreach, is a powerful tool with almost zero barrier to entry — just your time and attention.”

“Over the last five years that Gerris digital has been pitching bloggers on behalf of clients, we have learned a thing or two about how best to reach bloggers, how to engage them, how to get them to carry our client’s message to their readership. Whether we’re doing an outreach to the bloggers of mainstream media and celebrity blogs or to someone who has just set up a blog for the first time, it all begins with the message model.”

“For each outreach, there are hundreds and often thousands of bloggers that are not well-known, but have influence on the very people that your PR campaign is trying to reach. I’ve written in the past about how to put bloggers first when you reach out to them, but today I want to make sure that you don’t see blogger outreach as a one-time, campaign-oriented approach, but rather a relationship that lasts for years between you and each blogger. For blogger outreach to work, over and over, you need to be endlessly generous and endlessly appreciative. And the main way that you show your appreciation is to do as much of the work for them as possible.”

“I always like to say, when I am speaking at conferences and on panels, that my online team never knows what they’re walking into but that responses like rage and frustration are almost never the direct result of our simple, minimal, friendly email pitch. In a majority of the cases, we’re walking into a drama that is already in progress. Sort of like when a beat cop responds to a domestic 911 call.”

“Bloggers did not fall off a turnip truck. If they don’t see the value in the pitch, they won’t post; if they fancy that you’re just asking them to post because you want to vampire bat on their Google juice, then you’re likely to be in a whole lot of #fail and possibly a whole lot of pain. The white-hat link-farm organic SEO pwn effect is only secondary if you are, the entire way along, a total Mensch and have amazing assets, viral-quality video, a great pitch, an accurate target, and a gentle, kind, and generous follow-through.”

“Companies, brands, associations, and organizations are not separating out social media from influencer engagement. One almost never thrives without the other. Rarely, if ever, does engagement happen purely organically without the help of some olly olly oxen free! If you build it, they won’t come—especially in 2018 when the blogosphere, vlogosphere, and social mediasphere is noisy and crowded. It’s virtually impossible to compete on your own from pure talent, beauty, and poise.”

“In my humble opinion, modern influencer marketing is traditional public relations pitching corrupted by huge Madison Avenue advertising money. Big celebrities and even bigger bucks. It used to be thousands of dollars-per-post, but now brands and agencies are signing partner contracts with digital, social media, and online influencers. These partnerships can include multi-year contracts, which are getting tighter and more exclusive the more these same influencers are being dropped by advertisers such as YouTube, Google AdWords, and Instagram.”

“Instead of swinging for the fences and spending thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars on only a handful of A-D-list celebrities with high Q-Scores, micro-influencer marketing is much more egalitarian. Prices are much more affordable at this level, from $50-$250-$2,500/post. If you’re bold and go into the very deep pool of influencers, then you not only find some amazing values on some very dark horse influencers but you might even be their very first! Their very first brand or agency! So many very influential people are just deep enough in the pool that they’ve never been kissed and are days, minutes, or hours away from calling it quits. They’re tired of blogging and tweeting and instagramming for only their grandparents, sisters, brother, sisters, and greater influence squad. One giant smooch from one agency or from one brand, can reset their very own Doomsday Clock.”

“Sam Fiorella, Partner at Sensei Marketing, recently wrote “Community Management: The 90-9-1 Rule is Dead,” about how the old concept that 90% of all your followers are just lurking, 9% are engaged, and that only 1% of the community actively produces content. Sam believes this is dead and that it’s closer to 70%/20%/10%, according to some research by Paul Schneider (from back in August of 2011).”

“I tell anyone who will listen to me that the current crop of advertisement methods is too short-lived. Advertising works only as long as you write checks.”

“Here’s the content from the presentation. For context, I am using six books I have promoted over the last couple years on behalf of their authors: Glock and Law of the Jungle by Paul M. Barrett; Search Engine Marketing, Inc., by Mike Moran and Bill Hunt; Mindful Work by David Gelles; and The Creator’s Code by Amy Wilkinson.”

“In this 30-minute Biznology webinar, we’ll cover online influencer marketing, from research to prospecting, outreach to engagement, incentives to activation. We’ll cover A-list and long-tail outreach, bloggers, journalists, and social media influencers across different platforms, and discuss what does and doesn’t work in earned media and how to pay-to-play if you’re not getting results.”

“Off to the races! Dan Krueger and I just launched a new influencer marketing campaign on behalf of the best pure, extra virgin, raw cold pressed, and alkaline coconut oil, Skinny Coconut Oil. So, since blogger outreach is at the top of mind, I thought I would talk a little bit about the tools of the trade — what we use to stoke excitement about our clients! Step one: make sure you have an awesome client with a special, unique, delicious, and superior product, an amazing origin story, industry-leading values, and is willing to be super-generous with not only the A-list but with the long tail, too.† Check, check, check, check, and check! OK, now on to tools.”

“I’ll be honest with you, relatively few companies can conduct a successful earned media influencer marketing campaign. Earned media (or free media) refers to publicity gained through promotional efforts other than advertising, as opposed to paid media, which refers to publicity gained through advertising. Once you pay an influencer in any way outside of providing them with free and unencumbered access to your product, you’re advertising: product placement, advertisement, shilling, etc. Once the influencer loses editorial control by virtue of receiving pay-per-post compensation, the campaign is no longer public relations or even marketing, it becomes advertising. That’s cool.”

“A third of my practice at Gerris Corp is devoted to earned media influencer marketing (which I naïvely still call blogger outreach) and guess what I’ve discovered over the past linear decade? While everyone might lead with being an asshole online, the very act of pursuing the life of a blogger, an influencer, a writer, a reviewer, an entertainer, or a storyteller suggests that you’re probably both an optimist (what’re the chances of actually becoming an internet sensation?) and attention-seeking. You want to be loved and appreciated. Kindness in the form of love and appreciation are the only keys to your heart, they’re the only things that can truly make you bloom!”

“I had the honor of dusting off my trusty old long tail earned media blogger outreach deck and updating it for the new world of earned media influencer marketing for the lovely Brigitte Winter and her Georgetown School of Continuing Studies students.”

“I have been doing long-tail blogger outreach since 2006. Ten years later, I am still at it in earnest. Even more, I play so far down the long tail of influence that I can still create micro-influencer marketing campaigns that are earned media campaigns. What this means is that I can go so far down the long tail that I can find absolutely perfect matches for just about any client’s products and services. I’m talking upwards to three-, four-, five-thousand online influencers at a time.”

“In order for a pitch to result in a post or earned media mention, one needed to overcome a dozen technological and communications hurdles, intimidating just about everyone, especially all the communications and PR professionals who where, heretofore, used to engaging only with other communications professionals known as journalists, reporters, anchormen, editors, and critics.”

Feel free to own the yacht but hire a crew if you’re not yet seaworthy. If you get my drift and want to adopt the yachting lifestyle yourself but either don’t have the mad sailing skills yourself, don’t yet posses a world-class crew, and don’t know yet where to go, then you should give me a call or reach out me by email — so I can help you pilot your vessel now, in the tranquil blue-green shallows of the Caribbean, as well as in the roughest seas and into — as well as out of — the storm.

If you’d like to chat more, call me at +1 (202) 869-3210 Ext 0001  email me, or feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me.

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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