Coverage on the most influential blogs for your niche can change your fortunes overnight.
One positive post on the likes of Techcrunch or Mashable can drive tens of thousands of people to your site.
But reaching these bloggers is not easy... unless you know how to do it.
Here are 12 top tips to help you get coverage:
1. Don’t Approach the Traffic Leaders, Approach the Thought Leaders
This was a top tip from Tim Ferriss, the author of the bestselling book The 4-Hour Work Week. Most people want to get talked about on the blogs with the highest traffic so they approach them directly. Trouble is there are hundreds or thousands of people trying the same thing. These top bloggers rarely respond to these unsolicited emails.
However the top bloggers regularly read other blogs to source their stories. The blogs they follow are usually listed on their site under Blogroll. The blogs are usually run by industry thought leaders or 'authorities', but they may not be as well known or have very high traffic. If you target your story to getting published on the blogs where the uber bloggers do their research you are much more likely to get coverage.
2. Face-to-Face Contact is the Least Crowded Channel
Email, social media and Twitter has broken down the barriers between ordinary people and the ‘elite’. Nothing stops me from sending a tweet to President Obama or Oprah or Stephen Fry. But will they read them. Of course not. These people get a tsunami of information and requests everyday, which rushes past their eyes like a fast flowing river.
Ironically the proliferation of all these direct communication channels has made contact much, much harder.
But, one of the upshots of social media is that face-to-face contact has become an under-utilized channel. If you can find out which events the bloggers you want to meet are attending, there is good chance you will get the opportunity to speak with them. Preferably pick small events where they are attendees, not speakers.
3. Talk to the People Associated With the Leading Blogs, Not to the Lead Guy or Girl
The top blogs tend to be led by an individual, but run by a team. Spend time identifying the team members and build a relationship with them. They may be full-time employees, guest writers or even service providers, such as the website designer. These people are part of the inner circle who can cut through the noise to get you introduced.
4. Prepare a Story Which is Relevant to their Audience
Most big bloggers don’t care about your product, service or website. Get over it.
They want to give their readers valuable, relevant and preferably exclusive information.
If your pitch is just a description of your product, you are unlikely to get much of their time.
If your pitch is about changes in the market, emerging trends, interesting research, a case study with numbers or industry gossip you stand a much better chance of being listened to.
5. Prepare an FAQ
Assuming you get to speak with the main man and you have had a good chat about the story you prepared, then what? They may ask you about your product or service, but probably not, so you should have something ready to give them which provides background information, some interesting facts and the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
This should be provided in a format which can be easily cut and pasted to create a good story.
6. Position Yourself as Part of a Big Trend
The lead bloggers like reporting on big trends, so position yourself as being part of a big trend to grab their attention.
For example, when I talk to industry bloggers about SubHub (we provide a platform for publishing paid content), I always start with a discussion about the way the newspaper and magazine industries are in freefall. Bloggers love this conversation because they see themselves as being part of the evolution of publishing.
7. Ask for an Interview
Asking one of the top bloggers for an interview probably won’t work. They are inundated with requests.
However, asking to interview one of the tier two bloggers, as per Tip 1, is likely to get a positive response. It's always very flattering to be asked.
There are two reasons to do this. First it helps build a relationship with the blogger. Second when you publish the interview on your site, the blogger will probably write about it and add a link from their site. Again, this will increase the chance of other bloggers following the link to find your site.
8. Leave Comments or be Active in their Forum
The best bloggers actively read and respond to comments made about their posts and on their forum. Become an active and valuable contributor and you are likely to get spotted. Always leave constructive and helpful comments.
9. Regularly Link to their Articles
The best bloggers are very good internet marketers. They keep a close eye on who is linking to their site and driving traffic to their content. If you regularly provide good quality links to their posts they will eventually find your site and thank you for your support. You’ll reap what you sow!
10. Nominate Them for an Award (and Tell Them About it!)
If you spot an award that a blogger could compete for, nominate them and then drop them an email to let them know. To ensure you are spotted run a campaign via Twitter and Facebook to get votes for them. It’s a bit of a creepy thing to do, but who cares if it gets you noticed.
11. Offer to Write Some Articles for Free
Most of the top blogs have regular guest writers.
Once you have broken the ice and started to build a relationship with the blogger, offer to write for their site for free. This will greatly strengthen the relationship.
12. Send Free Stuff
If you are launching a book, product or service, send one to the main bloggers for free.
Even if it's not something that they want or need, it is a natural human reaction to feel indebted and, at the very least, to contact you to say thank you.
Being mentioned on a top blog can have a greater and longer term impact on your success than being on TV or radio.
A mention on a blog is there forever; it will be linked to by other sites, re-reported and indexed by the search engines.
It is so important that it should be a key strategy in your marketing plan and you should devote time every week to building these key relationships.
Once you have broken into the inner circle of bloggers for your niche, you will be amazed at the traffic and spin-off benefits that result.