May 10

The One Thing Every Blogger Outreach Campaign Needs

So last week I asked you to look at a picture and then tell me What’s Missing From Your Blogger Outreach Strategy? So many of you responded, none correctly (at least as to what I thought was missing) so I wanted to share what I thought was missing from these two blogger outreach campaigns.

But before I do, let’s cover what WAS in these two blogger outreach campaign efforts.

  • Both firms reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in receiving the books.
  • Both firms sent personlized letters and back up information
  • I was offered an opportunity to talk with Chuck Martin, author of The Third Screen. I just needed to reach out via the PR firm to arrange something. I wasn’t offered that same option with Howard Schultz, but then, I’m not surprised by that… are you?

Additionally, The Third Screen had a QR code on the back of the book that took me to a mobile site full of additional information, etc. While well done, I don’t think it made it any easier to write a post but it was interesting. I wish they had pointed out the QR code in my cover letter… I missed it completely until it was pointed out to me on Twitter after my post went live.


So, What Was The Missing Blogger Outreach Campaign Item?

Can you see it? That little black USB drive? To me, that was the missing ingredient. Everything we as bloggers do is digital. So while the personalized letters and pages of copy points, interviews with the authors, etc. are great… we’re busy and we don’t get paid to do this so we’re looking for shortcuts — digital files are great shortcuts.

In fact, I’d recommend to any publisher or PR person doing blogger campaign outreach, please include a USB drive with all the relevant information a blogger might need. Include key photos that YOU want the blogger to use vs what the blogger might find on Google or Flickr. You might even go one step further and give the blogger those images in sizes that match what they tend to use on their blog. If you’ve researched each blogger you’re sending a packet to, you can use an excel spreadsheet to make a list of the photo sizes they tend to use. Yes, bloggers do tend to have certain sizes their template favors or in some cases autoformats for each post.

Instead of sending a blogger the transript of the interview with the author, maybe send a video and link to a YouTube video of the author being interviewed. Wanna get really interesting? Have the author do one question that is just for each blogger and his/her blog. And of course, tell them about that… now you’ve created a piece of content that is unique to their blog. That’s incentive to blog about your book, especially if that one question the author answers is something the blogger writes about often. Hint, you probably want to try and disagree with the blogger’s stated opinion on something… again, it gives the blogger a REASON to write about your book or at least the author’s interview.

One book that had a great blogger outreach campaign recently was Jay Baer and Amber Naslund’s The Now Revolution. They sent an email with links to all kinds of digital assets. The only bummer for me was that I was on a plane at 30,000 feet when I was trying to write a post about their book. With no wifi, I couldn’t get to any of those juicy digital assets.

Why USB?
Hence why I think a USB drive is the best format — because it’s going to work wherever I am and whether or not I have internet access or not. Lastly, USB is ubiquitous… it’s the one port every PC has… even DVD/CD can’t make that claim anymore.

So that was the missing link… and while none of you answered correctly, I am giving away the Howard Schultz book to the PR agent of The Third Screen who displayed enormous class last week by NOT getting all hot and bothered that I used her effort to make this point. Quite the contrary, she took the opportunity to engage both in Twitter and even here via a comment. She didn’t get defensive and in fact, I quite enjoyed the chat. So as soon as I’m done with it, the copy of Onward is on it’s way to her.

But on to more important things… one of the great things about writing a quick post like last week’s and inviting folks like you to chime in with your thoughts is that I get to see your thoughts, which if you didn’t read them, were spectacular. Some of my favorites inlcluded:

  • Jason Keathcash payment. Yes he offered this in jest but stop for a minute and think about it… why not offer to pay a blogger for two or three hours of their time without requirement of a review? The big research houses do this to entice folks to fill out their surveys… why not offer some kind of honorarium?
  • David Spinkssend a Cliff Notes version. I LOVE this idea. It makes a lot of sense. Chances are you’re sending this book to a blogger who is well versed in the space. Thus, they probably don’t need to read it cover to cover because they get most of it already. Why not give them a Cliff Notes version that has all they key info but maybe skips some of the case studies, etc? Again, it’s a very respectful offering and shows the blogger you know they are busy. David also suggested the creation of a “hashtag” for use in social media.
  • Suzanne Varaa digital (Kindle or iPad) version of the book. Another of those ideas I LOVE. Not only would it seem less expensive (no shipping costs for instance) but it makes it a lot easier for me to carry your book with me, say when I travel, and may have a bit of free time to read it. I can easily make notes to reference later when I blog AND BEST OF ALL – I could share especially good points via my Twitter/Facebook in real-time. Combine this with David’s idea of a hastag and now you’re got a real viral marketing opportunity that benefits both the blogger and the author.
  • Deb Brownan envelope. Now Deb’s reason was so that she could send it back if she either couldn’t or wouldn’t review the book. But what if each outreach included a postage paid envelope and encouragement for the blogger to pass the book along to a friend or reader when they finished it? You could even include a little library checkout card to make it more fun and keep the pass along going beyond just the first “send to a friend.” How many bloggers would take the opportunity to give the book away on their blog?

So what do you think? Is the inclusion of a USB device with digital assets a must have in today’s book publishing blogger outreach campaign? And tell me what YOU think of the other ideas included here. I’m sure David, Suzanne, Deb and Jason would be interested to hear your thoughts.

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