Blogger Outreach for Haiti

One of the things that Abraham Harrison does as a digital public relations agency is blogger outreach on behalf of clients.  So what does that mean?  Well, rather than reinventing the wheel, here is an abridged description taken from AH’s blog Marketing Conversation:

With each new client, and each new outreach, we identify a target demographic and identify bloggers who are leading and influencing that demographic. We call these groups of relevant bloggers the “universe”.

The universes are built using existing lists of bloggers AH maintains in combination with brand new lists (since each client has a different set of demographics they want to reach).

We then reach out to these bloggers in a 4-6 week campaign which includes an initial semi-personalized outreach email, followed up by 2-4 follow-up emails. The emails are terse and the majority of the messaging is “outsourced” to a social media news release (SMNR – a one-page simple HTML microsite) that is a “steal me” sheet for the bloggers to add pictures, content and widgets. Here is an example of a SMNR:

Each one of these outreach cycles generally leads to 100-300 social media mentions in blogs and on Twitter (depending on how intriguing the client’s message and offering are), invariably reaching millions of people.

After last month’s earthquake in Haiti, I had the privilege of working on a pro-bono outreach AH developed on behalf of former client International Medical Corps.  We emailed almost 10,000 bloggers and asked for their help to spread the word about donating via text message or online to support IMC’s efforts in Haiti.  My job was to respond to bloggers who wrote back with questions, log any mentions on blogs or Twitter and thank bloggers for their help. We ended up with 171 blog and Twitter mentions that could be directly correlated with the outreach.

Granted this outreach was for a noble and timely cause, but pretty much all the feedback I received from the bloggers was overwhelmingly positive.  Sometimes bloggers respond negatively and may think our efforts are “spammy,” but most of the time they are happy to oblige and impressed that there is a real person behind the emails they are getting.

It was a great learning experience for me, and I’m definitely looking forward to working on more campaigns.