How To Target Top Consumer Bloggers

One of my co-workers is looking for some top bloggers on health products, health supplements, fitness, etc. The plan is to send free product to bloggers to talk about the product…  have any tips?

Director of Operations, Canadian health supplements business

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By Kayleigh Fitch, Guest Blogger

Assuming the health products are being targeted at consumers and that blogger relations is just one element of a bigger, broader strategy, start by developing a blogger list or database of bloggers you want to target – bloggers who write about health products, supplements, fitness, etc.

1. Start by running a general Google search for fitness and health bloggers.

2. Take time to visit and read the blogs that come up as top results.  Get a feel for topics each blogger is interested in writing about.

3. Identify the blogs that appear to be the best fit – based on content – for the products you want to promote.

4. Most influential bloggers host lists of related blogs on their own web sites called blog rolls.  Use the blog rolls of the first bloggers you identify as starting points to learn about other influential blogs in the health and fitness industry.  You can simply click on the name of a blog, and it will link directly to the home page.  Now you can scan these newly identified blogs to see if their content is relevant to your product.

5. When you identify a relevant blog you want to include on your list, use free measurement tools to measure the influence of that blog.  At www.compete.com, you can track how many unique visitors the blog reaches each month. Using the search function at www.technorati.com, you will learn how many other sites link back to the blog (Authority) as well as the blog’s rank among all other blogs (the lower the number the better).

Keep track of these numbers, and only include blogs on your list that have the highest unique visitors per month, or authority rankings greater than 10.

If the blog isn’t very influential based on these statistics, but the blogger is an active participant in other social media endeavors such as Twitter, consider including the blog on your list.

As you research blogs you will notice certain bloggers are routinely linked to or referenced by other blogs and web sites in the industry, indicating the more popular and/or credible sources. Popular bloggers are often referenced and sourced by the traditional media as well.

6. In addition to measuring the influence of each blog, it is important to ensure blogs are not spam blogs or “splogs”, artificial blogs using unoriginal content created to promote or increase search engine rankings of affiliated web sites.  Splogs often lack contact information for the author or a simple blogger profile and are missing a human voice.

Ultimately, you should visit and become familiar with every blog in your database. It is a lot of work, but worth the effort in order to establish a quality database.

That, of course, is the easy part. Now, to run a campaign…

1. Determine the primary goal of your campaign: Do you want to promote product trial and positive reviews? Do you want the campaign to drive traffic to your web site? Do you simply want to build brand awareness and create impressions?

2. Based on your goals, decide whether you would like the blogger to simply review your product, conduct a giveaway for blog readers, or participate in a more involved challenge.

3. Craft an email to send to the bloggers introducing and describing your company, why it would be beneficial to test/review your product and share results with their readers, and what specifically you would like to offer.  Be honest and upfront in your email about what you will provide to the blogger and what you expect in return. Bloggers prefer a more conversational tone when communicating as opposed to business speak.   Your information should be more like an invitation than a news release.

4. Send the email and wait to see who responds. Be prepared to modify your offering for an influential blogger with a specific request (i.e. more products to giveaway or a greater sample size).  Most bloggers do not post their telephone numbers, so follow-up is generally limited to a second email.  If you do not get the response you desire, you may need to improve your offer or send an email indicating the deadline for participation is approaching.

5. Once you have a final list of bloggers who have confirmed they will participate in your campaign, ship/mail products and immediately confirm by email when bloggers should expect the product samples.  Be sure to include a personal letter to each blogger, information about the product, and tips for product usage in the package to ensure the blogger understands the key messages to communicate with readers about your product.

6. Monitor blogs for reviews.

7. If a blogger has accepted a free sample, but has not posted a review, follow up to ensure they received the product and discover if they liked/disliked the product.

8. If the blogger has an issue with the product, do your best to address it quickly.  To provide the best information, refer back to proper use instructions and chemists or product engineers when possible.

Ultimately, if the blogger just does not like the product, he or she may choose not to post a review at all.

9. Finally, track campaign results (coverage and web site traffic) using Google alerts and analytics.

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