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L aunch Your Product With 3rd Party Bloggers: Part 1

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Nick Cotton Dec 12, 2014

Photo by @KristineKisky

It’s time. You’ve spent months in R&D and the product is ready. Finally. After feverishly perfecting the user experience, everyone from shipping to the legal department has signed off. Now your job becomes simple. Tell the world to buy it… as cost effectively as possible.

Enter the blogger. As a mysterious and often derided second cousin to the “journalist,” the blogger offers a host of benefits to new companies looking to make noise on a budget. The process is messy, but follow these 5 steps and the internets will be tweeting with news of your arrival.

Establish Your Calendar
This is a critical step and must come first; ignore at your peril.

The process of blogger outreach is unpredictable. Every site you contact is going to have their own process for content creation. Often, the process amounts to making-it-up-as-they-go. The best defense is to know your deadlines and build in buffer. Make sure that if things go wrong you have time to act on Plan-B. After defining your deadlines, work backwards and assume a minimum of a week between when you provide the requested materials to the date the post goes live.

What Do Your Customers Read?
If you aren’t intimately familiar with your ideal customers’ reading habits, get familiar fast. Making assumptions without data is where most small business go wrong in the launch of new products. There are many clever ways to obtain this information but the easiest is to stalk them. Haunt a selection of hashtags consistent with your customers interests and you’ll quickly see who’s being linked the most. When you have a clear idea who your ideal customer is reading in their precious spare time, you’re ready to reach out.

Spend It If You Got It
If time is money, then this is the moment to spend it on a sponsored post. You pay a fee, and then your customers’ favorite blog will write an article promoting you. Usually this comes with a post/tweet/pin telling their fans the article exists – but don’t assume that’s the case. Make it part of the agreement.

Sidenote: expect them to tell their readers that they received compensation for what they’ve written. That disclaimer is how bloggers maintain their audience’s trust. It’s a good thing. Beware blogs that don’t follow the practice.

Play Small Ball
It’s a pain, but the perfect site you’d love to do a post about your product is probably the most expensive. At $5k for a 600 word post I wouldn’t blame even the deepest pockets to balk. In these instances, you must woo the blogger. But when I say woo, don’t think romance. Think fishing. More specifically, fly fishing. Your product must glitter with the promise of rabid interest from their fans. The launch of your company will have to appear to be mouth watering morsels of important news in the industry they write about.

Your delivery will have to be artful. If they think you might be interested in paying to get the news out, they’ll wait for you to come to them with wallet in hand. You’ll have to maintain a facade of casual disinterest while staying visible. How do you do that? Engage with the people they engage with. Befriend the people they follow. Start conversations with accounts they retweet. There’s no guarantee the fish will bite so keep an eye on your calendar and make sure you pursuing other opportunities. Remember the old Finnish proverb: There are other fish in the blogger-sphere.

Keep Track Of Everything
Get a written confirmation of all deadlines. For the most part, the people you’ll be working with blog in their spare time. Don’t assume they’ll treat the process with professionalism. Some will surprise you. Write their names down. Keep them. Bronze them and tell me who they are, for they are rare gems.

This process requires you to be mentally prepared to deal with people who don’t follow through. But to hold individuals accountable you need records. Don’t misplace the contract stating what was agreed to. Make sure you can produce the email proving you already sent them the information they requested a week ago. And worst of all, be nice. They haven’t published anything about the product at this point so…

1) kindness
2) patience
3) playful kittens.

Happy thoughts and accurate records are your only hope of maintaining sanity when working with bloggers.

Check in with us in the new year when we take you through Part 2 of Launch Your Product With 3rd Party Bloggers.

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