I have just read an insightful article on Marketing magazine's website on how to woo bloggers. It makes some really good points about selecting and influencing bloggers. It includes 6 tips and I have paraphrased them below (if you follow the link in the previous sentence you can read the article in full):
1) Prioritise who to influence (you could use criteria like where they are in Google, how influential they are in social media and their scores in Klout, Kred and Peer index for example)
2) Be clear about your intent - Do you want them to help you with SEO rankings? Then offer to help them too by linking from your site for example. Do you want them to mention you to their social media followers? Bear in mind that they have to declare if they are being sponsored. Do you want sales leads? Then ask them to include a call to action or feature a competition...
3) Integrity is key - Bloggers value this more than anything else. So, don't ask them to compromise their integrity and impartiality for a free trip or gift.
4) Be socially aware - Always seek to get a mention in their twitter or facebook posts with every blog post, if they will do that. Make sure you do the same for them.
5) Nurture the relationship - Try to meet face to face. Top bloggers may get 300 press releases a day. How can you build that relationship with them to ensure that you stay top of mind. Let them experience your product personally as they are more likely to write about actual personal experiences.
6) Track and measure success - What goal did you have in mind - awareness, leads, SEO, social mentions, positive coverage? Whatever that goal is, see how the blogger can help you to measure it. Ask them if you can have access to data on traffic, hits, clicks etc if they are prepared to do that for you.
I have paraphrased and added my interpretations onto their 6 points. Read the article in full to get their full descriptions of each stage.
In addition, I would add a couple of points:
1) Be sure to develop a long list of possible bloggers and then narrow them down by scoring each blogger against your criteria. Do they have a social influence? Are they high up in Google? Do they allow sponsored / partner / branded posts? Will they contribute content for you? Do they have integrity and influence etc?
2) Be a lurket for a while. A lurker is a blogging voyeur. Once you have identified the bloggers you wish to influence, then just read and follow their blogs for a while before approaching them. Take time to check that they are appropriate and also to understand their style and tone of content. That will help you to know how to approach them and to identify what you want from then before you make contact.
If anyone wants to influence my blog. Feel free to get in touch and I will evaluate how we can help each other. Nick@navigateconsulting.co.uk