Let me preface this by saying that I am a blogger and I’m also an SEO. I have been blogging ‘professionally’ for years and my blogs easily reach 100,000 unique visitors every month. In fact blogging is what lead me into the SEO field. So if you are around me for a few minutes throughout the day, especially in the search marketing department at LeapFrog Interactive, you will no doubt hear me espouse the benefits of bloggers. This post is going to discuss why SEO’s should build relationships and not one-night-stands with bloggers and will touch on how bloggers can be beneficial to a client or brand’s SEO.
Bloggers are new. They are exciting. They are trendy, but most of all, they are real people. To really blog requires effort and heart. And when I say EFFORT that means writing 1,000 words plus daily. Try writing 1,000 words every day and getting paid almost nothing for the first year as you build your audience; it takes a lot of effort. Bloggers LOVE what they blog about, or at least they better! Good bloggers care. They post constantly and deliver good consistent content to their readers who joyfully read. On top of those thousand word witty posts, they field comments (both positive and negative) from complete strangers, they get, sometimes annoying, emails from marketers and try to put food on the table for their families. It’s not easy. So when PR and SEO professionals send a form letter that says, ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ it gets deleted without a second thought.
So why do I believe in bloggers? Why do I believe that bloggers can transform an online presence for a brand? Why do I believe that bloggers can work effectively with a digital agency? Because I have done it. For years I have worked on campaigns for national brands. I have even painted my face with chocolate pudding and exposed my audience to Cottonelle moist towelets. (Yes they are awesome and yes I used chocolate pudding for a reason!)
Build a relationship
Bloggers can be the gift that keeps on giving. Treat them right, care about their success and they will care about yours. Bloggers are creative people, they will help brainstorm with you, help generate ideas for your client or brand, GOOD ideas. We all know that older SEO’s wanted links. Links will make you popular; links will get you on the first page they cried from the rooftops. Boys and girls it isn’t 2008 anymore. While links are important, building an online relationship that doesn’t involve paying e-harmony can be extremely meaningful. ONE quality link from a good blog or website will have more impact than 1,000 junk links.
So why a relationship? Let’s step back a minute. A blogger isn’t just a link, they are someone with influence, like a pro-athlete. In the real world, pro-athletes promote products. In the online world, bloggers are just like pro-athletes except they usually blog in their pajamas on the couch. They influence people. So instead of begging a blogger for a semi-influential link to your site, take the time and build a relationship with someone influential.
Here is why: when you build a relationship with a blogger, that blogger becomes an advocate with an AUDIENCE. Unlike old school link building where no one cares about audience or influence, we NEED to care. Traffic is important, time on page is important, and blogger advocates are the closest point to your website, a click away. Unlike pro-athletes that promote a product, wear the product etc, the consumer must actively remember to visit your website. While athletes can build brand awareness and brand visibility and have other great benefits, Peyton Manning is unlikely to consistently bring thousands of visits to your brand website, a blogger can. Bloggers I know have more Facebook fans, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram followers than many famous people. So let’s be real, bloggers are online rock-stars. You would never go up to Peyton and say, ‘Hey give me a link man’. So why do that to a blogger?
How to Reach Out to Bloggers?
So now I’ve convinced you that bloggers are important to your brand and it’s time to starting building those relationships. So how do I find them and reach them? Of course there is email, but let me clue you in, I work full time and get a lot of email. But it doesn’t touch the amount of email I get from blogging. Some days I get THOUSANDS of emails. I have form responses I send back to readers but I honestly delete most of the emails. With Gmail I use filters constantly. If you’re a marketer, contacting me about a link or in a non-personal way, it is likely that as soon as you email me you are given a filter and you will never again show up in my email inbox. Don’t be that guy. When I contact bloggers for brands that we work with, I usually get creative. I use Instagram, Twitter, even Facebook to contact them. By being different I stand out. I get noticed, and believe it or not they respond.
I hope my zeal for bloggers persuaded you that bloggers are worth the effort. Happy SEOing.
[Contributed by Nathan Engels, SEO Specialist & Blogger]
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