The Five Stages of Blogger Outreach: Stage Three – Commitment

Welcome back to my book review of Tuesdays with Morrie.

Just kidding, just kidding. Sorry, we’re just reaching a new level in our relationship and I’m starting to get all nervous and awkward.

So far in my Five Stages of Blogger Outreach series – which is based on a super reliable, “completely accurate” article about the five stages of dating – I’ve discussed Stage One – Attraction and Stage Two – Ambivalence. So at this point, bloggers are interested in us. We’ve caught their eye and shown them that we’re worth their time. And although things were seemingly peachy-keen, they weren’t completely convinced that we were the right match for them. Yet. But we pushed through and came out on the better side of uncertainty. And now we’re here. It’s time for commitment. Let’s do this.

Your Desire for Them

Depending on who you ask, there are somewhere close to 500 million active English-language blogs in existence. That’s a lot of $@#&! noise. If you’re choosing to contact one of these blog owners specifically, they’ve got to assume that you feel some sort of genuine interest in them. Sure, this interest may be based on superficial factors like site metrics or great online PR, but that’s really no different than being interested in a guy with “swag” or a girl with a nice set of formal dining ware.

Their Desire for You

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: quality attracts quality. If you’re going after a lower-level blog, you probably won’t have to put as much time and work into your Outreach efforts than you would with a “Mashable.” Some blogs just want content, no matter where it comes from. These blogs are kind of like the guy or girl at the bar who will take home the sloppy drunk because they know that it’s a “guarantee.” It doesn’t matter if they’re articulate and composed; they’re just there, and that’s all that matters. I’m not saying that this type of person is better or worse than the person who takes home “Tech Crunch” because it’s all relative to what you consider a “score.” But, you know, you still may wanna get yourself Copyscape’d.

Make sure your efforts are on par with what the site you’re pursuing deserves, and you’ll have a much better chance of waking up next to “Gizmodo”.

Exclusivity Agreement

If you’ve done the work to make the blogger/site of your choice feel special, and if they’re feeling the mutual love for you, then it’s time to make it official. This is normally the time when the site owner agrees to review your content for possible publishing.

Once you send your content to a site owner, you’re basically making a grand gesture to them. You’re telling them that they are the one you choose. You’re opening yourself up for critique, or worse, rejection. This is a very vulnerable time for you.

In order to make the decision (and subsequent agreement) as easy as possible for all parties involved, make sure your content is working with you, not against you. Here are some tips for not being an idiot:

  • Make sure that your content is formatted in an organized and eye-pleasing way; this includes taking advantage of headers, subheaders, bullet points, etc.
  • SPELL WORDS CORRECTLY. USE PROPER GRAMMAR. I cannot stress this enough.
  • Include relevant images. Take your own photos or create your own graphics where possible.
  • When including links within content, make sure the anchor texts are correct and relevant, and any additional “resource” links are actually resourceful – I try to stay away from general links like Wikipedia or About.com.
  • Place a link for the site you’re courting within your content. Remember, this is romance we’re talking about.

Monogamy

The foundation of any successful relationship is trust. Your significant other – the blogger – needs to feel secure about his or her decision to pursue this relationship with you. If you’re out spreading your content all over town, you’re going to get a reputation. Allow the blogger to decide whether or not they’d like to post your content before you go offering your metaphorical milkshake to all the sites in the yard.

Pampering & Pleasing

Remember in my last post when I told you not to be that needy, annoying person? This still applies. Once you’ve sent your content, give the blogger a chance to digest it. If you haven’t heard from him/her/them in a week or so, go ahead and follow-up about it, but don’t threaten them or give them any type of ultimatum. That’s the quickest way to lose their interest before you even have it completely.

You can still woo them without being overbearing. Follow them on Twitter and tweet something @ them that will catch their eye (know your audience!). “Like” their Facebook Page and post something equally charming on their Wall. Smart social media executions will benefit you in two ways: first, by keeping you on the blogger’s radar and promoting him/her/them in your own feed; and second, by demonstrating your ability to use your networks in a resourceful way.

Commitment is scary for a lot of people. Often, the transition between ambivalence and intimacy takes some time. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort – and ‘mance (trying to make “fetch” happen again? Whatever.) – then you’ll likely end up with the desired result.

You think I’m nervous and awkward now? Just wait ‘til next time when we reach true intimacy. Does this mean I can stop shaving my legs?

Excited for the next step? Moving on to True intimacy.

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