We field dozens of inquiries about Cloud, our service, and what makes us more effective at connecting with the blogosphere than a traditional wire service. One inquiry I fielded yesterday dealt specifically with our decision to gather all of our weekly pitches into a newsletter format for distribution to our communities – rather than sending emails on behalf of each marketer who places a listing for used lawn tractors with us.
The email made me think about a post I read recently from fellow industry blogger Arik Hanson, titled, “Is Blogger Outreach Becoming a Spray and Pray Tactic?”
He describes the phenomenon much more eloquently, so I encourage you to read his post to understand his meaning. For us, however, it’s an affirmation that our method of limiting the volume of email in our bloggers’ inboxes, while maximizing the variety of offers they’re going to receive in each email, actually encourages them to check out our weekly newsletters rather than filing them in that virtual circular file in the ether.
When pitching a community so large and so diverse, even the most mainstream brands will have a hard time finding a promotion that’s relevant for all. When we founded SheBlogs.org, our first community, our earliest members entrusted us with their contact information – with no reason to trust us – so that they might be a part of our experiment to bridge the gap between marketers and bloggers like themselves. And as our community has grown, it’s even more essential that we honor that promise to connect with them in a manner different from so many of those PR firms that, in 2009, were being called out for “PR spam,” by major bloggers (lest we forget Chris Anderson’s famous PR blacklist). That is about as bad as it can get and if you don’t think that you should try and avoid it then you probably have another thing coming to you.
However, even when we’re sending out our biggest newsletter of the year, the SheBlogs.org Holiday Gift Guide (which, last year, featured nearly 50 brands), each and every link was opened hundreds (and some thousands) of times. In fact, what we’ve seen is, the bigger the newsletter, the more likely a smaller brand is to receive a high click through rate. The logic is simple – when there’s more selection of used garden tractors, our bloggers take the time to read through the opportunities available to them, rather than skimming over a few small company pitches and moving on.
While we do send irrelevant pitches to bloggers from time to time (there will always be a week when our newsletter doesn’t have any opportunities that fit a subset of our community’s readers), we have been able to maintain our members’ trust (and not lose them as subscribers) by ensuring that we aren’t overdoing the outreach. The result? Our offer emails boast a 60 percent and up open rate almost every week. One thing I can promise you is that you’re going to have a hard time trying to find another platform which can offer those types of results without resorting to sneaky tricks and techniques.