Published: 22 January 2014

What to consider before starting a blogger outreach programme

andrew and hobbes. Creative Commons

Want to reach new and targeted audiences? Inspire them to take campaign actions, donate to your appeals or engage in conversation? Partnerships with bloggers could be the answer.

Ahead of CharityComms’ PR in the digital age conference I’ve put together five things you should consider when contemplating projects with bloggers.

1. Have compelling opportunities and shareable content

This may seem obvious, but many organisations seeking to partner with bloggers or blogger networks do so without thinking about the opportunities or content they can provide. Simply handing over a PDF of your latest report or press release won’t do. If you haven’t enough resources to provide fresh and tailored content that meets the needs of bloggers, you may not be ready to begin a blog partnership.

2. Know what outcomes you want to achieve

“Some extra visits to our website” is not a reason for collaboration.  Make sure you can define what success would mean. For instance, you may want to achieve a 25% increase in actions taken, funds raised, or comments among a specific demographic. Use your outcomes as the basis of research into which bloggers or networks (and their audiences) would be the best option for you to engage with.

3. Create a social media and blogging advisory board

Setting up an advisory board of external experts, social media users and bloggers gives you not only great advice but also a network of contacts you can reach out to.

4. Involve your staff, volunteers and supporters

Ask your staff and supporters if they blog, which blogs they like to read, if they take part in online discussions and which social media channels they use. Who knows, you may have a blogging superstar at your disposal. You’ll also find out more about the channels your existing supporters use to find and share content.

5. Don’t treat bloggers like second-rate journalists

If a press release or report hasn’t interested any of your mainstream media contacts, why would it interest a blogger? Sadly the attitude of some media and communication staff is that they should be grateful that their organisation is considering sharing content at all.

Most bloggers worth collaborating with spend a great deal of time and effort creating and curating content that appeals to their audiences. Don’t spam them with unsolicited press releases. Build your relationships as you would a new friendship. Get to know them and find out what they’re interested in and what content formats they might like before you ask them to do something for you.

Karina Brisby, director, Core Collaboration UK

Karina co-founded the Voice Blogging Project, and since 2011 has been the director of Blog Action Day. She's the European director for Core Collaboration, an agency dedicated to empowering organisations to achieve their campaign and communication goals, and was previously head of digital campaigns at Oxfam.