How to Get Bloggers Promote Your Small Business
Web 2.0: It’s a Jungle Out There
As much as social media experts advise business owners to “be themselves” when they go online, especially within their social networks, the reality is that much of the activity- the vast majority of the followers, the likes, the tweets, the friends, and even the circles- is on autopilot. For anyone who spends a significant amount of time online, sometimes it can feel like the Internet is virtually overrun with spammers and those too focused on the sale (or the potential link juice) to care about how they are coming across or even if what they have to offer is of anything of real value.
Now of course there are many out there who are trying to be “trust agents” in the fullest sense and to offer things of real value. But if we were to take out all the fakers, spammers, and those who are just going through the proverbial motions due to lack of time or interest, then we’d see that sincerity on the Internet is a rare commodity indeed.
There is also an ever increasing hoard of people, sites, and services all clamoring for our attention, and it’s creating a great deal of noise. The result: our eyes almost instinctively tend to avoid the advertising on a website, and those annoying pop up ads have evolved into a quick, impromptu game of “Find Close x.” Most of the information in our social “streams” and “walls” goes unheeded, and just because an email isn’t doomed to the Spam folder, doesn’t mean it will even be opened, let alone thoroughly read and considered in a jam packed in-box.
And finally, the most basic Internet and social media marketing tactics seem to be getting more numerous (and time consuming) by the day- even as they claim to be saving us time and extending our reach. You can pretty much assume that the vast majority of successful bloggers out there are juggling a an impressive load of social networking accounts, profiles, alerts, comments, etc as they continue to develop their sites, businesses, and brands. Even if they have outsourced some of these tasks, any responsible blogger will nevertheless still be on top of it all.
A Popular Blogger is a Busy Blogger
Given all of the above, any small business owner looking for a blog endorsement needs to be in touch with the fact that the more popular the blog, the more its owners are getting inundated by individuals and businesses who are all crying out: “we are looking forward to working with you!” And this is happening as the tasks involved in successfully keeping a blog accessible and relevant are getting overwhelmingly abundant.
So the bottom line to all of this is that there’s going to be a lot of competition for the blogger’s time and attention, and you will need to do what you can to make your requests stand out-especially if you don’t have a significant amount of money to offer. While I’ve heard some people suggest using gimmicky approaches to get a blogger’s attention, pretty soon even these gimmicks will be ignored as everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
In the end, best approach to getting bloggers’ attention is to sincerely make an effort to build up a relationship them. They’ll promote you or your business because they will genuinely want to mention it, and that’s a frugal business strategy- making a concerted effort to do things which will bring you some real return and not throwing your efforts into the wind by spamming the blogosphere.
Offer a Personal Touch
But how do you go about building a relationship with a blogger? Here are some points to keep in mind:
First realize that it’s OK to go into the effort wanting something in return- that’s a relationship. It’s give and take. You want their endorsement, and they know it. The problem is when you come in only looking for what you can take, without recognizing the true value of the person or entity you are taking it from, and at best only offering some token peanuts in return. Any serious bloggers will tell you how annoying it is to receive a solicitation for a “free” link to their site.
Just like any face-to-face relationship, you need to get to know the other person and allow him or her some way of getting to know you. With bloggers that means spending some time (usually a month or two) actually reading the content on their site. It means consistently making meaningful comments and sharing their content within your own social networks. It means remembering that there is a person (or a group of people) behind all those posts, ebooks, likes, and shares.
And when you do eventually approach a blogger for a possible endorsement be sincere, be direct. It may just be a welcomed bit of fresh air in an otherwise fishy smelling sea of solicitations, and you may not only end up getting the endorsement, but you’ll also walk away with a strategic relationship. And that is even more valuable.
About the Author: Adam Gottlieb is a small business owner, freelance writer, and small business consultant who has spent over a decade helping small and home-based businesses improve their image, increase sales and better manage their resources (both the animate and inanimate ones). He is currently the owner and senior editor of The Frugal Entrepreneur Small Business Blog that offers money-saving business tips, tools, and resources to small and home-based business owners.