Look for the cumulative power of the long tail
My long tail blogger outreach strategy is periodically challenged or criticized as being too aggressive.
The argument generally goes as follows: If you send thousands of email pitches to topically and demographically relevant bloggers and online influencers in one go, you’re spamming. The real way to do it right is to reach out blogger by blogger, with each pitch being lovingly and relevantly written in series over time after investing months of time, previous to actually initiating a pitch, becoming best friends.
In my opinion, it is virtually impossible to resource enough time, talent and treasure to engage meaningfully with enough people, enough influencers, enough bloggers, to result in the sort of impact required to move the needle with any level of immediacy or timeliness.
To activate every single potentially viable blog and blogger, it’s essential to create efficiencies of engagement, especially when your goal is to pitch further down the long tail of influentials than is practically possible by hand.
Identify accessible & relevant bloggers who are open to a pitch
So, what my version of long-tail blogger outreach does is identifies as many bloggers as possible who are accessible by email and who have a blog germane to the campaign at hand and sends them a quick pitch all at once to quickly discover who is truly interested posting about my client or learning more about what the campaign is about. All at once. 100% discovery, discernment, inquiry, engagement, and response, all within days of the launch of the campaign. With the ultimate goal of as many quality, thoughtful, and topical earned media mentions as possible.
It reminds me of the promise quantum computing has for the world of encryption and code breaking. The best example I can think of that illustrates this is the code-breaking efficiencies of the quantum computer compared to the a brute force attack from a conventional computer.
While even the most advanced computing systems still take millions of years to crack military grade public-key encryption, the promise of the quantum computer is that it will crack even the most inscrutable private diplomatic cable instantaneously no matter the rock hardness of military-grade encryption used.
Why? Because while a conventional computer must iterate through every possible variation in series until it hits upon the correct permutation, a quantum computer uses a theoretical concept called superposition to spawn every permutation of the private key simultaneously. The funny thing about quantum states is that all iterations, no matter how many required to break the sort of key modern spies use, are not separate or different, they’re all manifestations of one over millions of instances. When the correct password is discovered, all the failed instances fall away and only the successful instance remains.
So, let me break this down to a popular illustration: a Las Vegas hotel with thousands of rooms. One missing engagement ring. Traditional computers needs to check each room individually. A quantum search isn’t just hiring a thousand gamblers to each look in a room individually instantaneously, it’s much cooler than that. In this instance, this quantum bridegroom would create a thousand instances of himself, all him and not copies or clones, in a thousand rooms all at once. Cool, right? When our quantum bridegroom discovers the ring, in one of the thousand rooms, all other concurrent manifestations of him go poof and he stands in room number 1063, holding the ring.
In my experience, one of the reasons why folks are loathe to engage in blogger outreach is because it is a little like going door to door looking for the ring. Or, more aptly, going door to door selling Bibles, vacuums, or Girl Scout cookies. No matter how many salesmen (or Girl Scouts) you have knocking on doors, it’s nothing compared to creating a Girl Scout in quantum superposition, allowing her to sell Thin Mints to all possible houses in the entire neighborhood simultaneously by being in all possible states simultaneously, selling cookies to all the houses that want cookies while not selling cookies to all the carb-free households.
The quantum method of reaching out to bloggers
So, pitching all available bloggers simultaneously allows one to quickly — immediately — discern which bloggers are interesting in carrying the story and which aren’t, allowing my team to decommission all unsuccessful instances, releasing valuable resources, in favor of all instances that result in bona fide social media mentions.
This is not to say this sort of quantum blogger outreach is easy. While there are many efficiencies in this method, the huge number of bloggers one is able to simultaneously engage means that instead of reaching out to a couple-few A-list bloggers-a-day over the course of the year, you are likely to get thousands of responses from bloggers with hundreds of earned social media mentions, none of which can benefit from my mad quantum methods of engagement. Once the connection is made and the relationship is initiated, every next step of the way is completely conventional, completely in-series, person by person, blogger by blogger, conversion by conversion.
Reaching out en masse to thousands of bloggers simultaneously isn’t appropriate for all campaigns or all engagements — bespoke A-list outreach still has a real place in social media and blogger relations — but it can be an essential competitive advantage when launching a book or opening a new movie; activating advocates and allies on a political issue, or to push out information about an event or time-sensitive news. In these scenarios, one cannot invest months and months culling through a media list, failure-by-failure, hoping for success. One needs to quickly separate the chaff from the wheat and then lavish all the resources that would have been spent on all those failures on all that wheat, all those successes.Chris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.