When Google decided it was going to look a lot more at authorship and consequently look more closely at people instead of just links, something interesting happened in my inbox. It got fuller, a lot fuller.
The e-mails I am since getting are very much focussed on trying to get a spot on State of Search, not being one of the bloggers, but being a guest poster. Just for once, to get that article out there. And to be honest, the e-mails didn’t get any better. I got targeted for the weirdest things. From search marketing to financial products.
It is a sign of times changing. Because they are after the links, but they are after something else as well: influence. The more your name gets around, the better it is for your status as blogger. Are bloggers the “new” influentials? Maybe they already were and they just got a reboots from Google?
For this reason I was interested in seeing the launch of “Bloggabase” a new initiative of PR guru Andy Barr and his partner in crime Rich Leigh. They are trying to get a grip on the enormous amounts of “shoddy pitching” to bloggers as they put it.
What is it?
Simply set Bloggabase brings marketers and bloggers together in a ‘decent way’. You can sign up as a blogger to get targeted product review opportunities and potentially monetize your blog through this. On the other side the marketers can sign up to find the right, relevant, bloggers to promote their products. With this they are trying to streamline the communication between the bloggers and the marketing people.
See the intro video here:
As a person who is both, this interested me so I decided to ask Andy for some explanation, find the Q&A below.
What are the thoughts behind developing Bloggabase?
Blogger outreach is broken at present, with marketers essentially carpet-bombing bloggers for link exchanges and client mentions. We’ve built bloggabase with bloggers in mind, and unlike other services, every single blogger in our database is opted in. Each blogger has to add information about their own blog or blogs, making it easier than ever for marketers to find bloggers within areas they’re interested in. Our aim is to give marketers an intelligent database platform from which they can ethically contact bloggers, as opposed to the frankly insulting free-for-all, throw-enough-and-some-will-stick methods currently being employed.
Who is behind Bloggabase?
The service was set up by two public relations professionals and blogger, Andy Barr and Rich Leigh. Working within marketing, the pair understand and have seen the benefit of smart blogger relations, but as bloggers, know that good blogger engagement is incredibly rare.
How many sign ups do you have at the moment?
We have more than 2,700 opted in bloggers across a large number of categories – approximately 2,000 of which are from the UK. More than 600 bloggers from the US have so far signed up. Our aim is to be transparent with marketers. Our FAQ has a real time graph that shows you how many bloggers have signed up to the database in categories they care about. We’re saying to marketers, ‘if you’re not impressed now, come back soon – we’re sure it’ll be of more use to you then’.
I’m a blogger, how will this benefit me?
With bloggabase, we hope to make a dent in the way marketers contact bloggers. At present, pitches will generally be sent to a large list of barely-researched bloggers, with little to no thought about relevance. Having worked closely with bloggers in the past, we know that they’re passionate about what they write about and as such, are generally happy to be contacted when the product or service they’re being contacted about is right for them and their readers/community.
We envisage marketers contacting bloggers with products and services having used the search function to research properly. Bloggers can send requests that marketers will be able to search through, receive targeted product and service review opportunities and, if they so wish, can ask marketers for payment. Our stance on paid-for posts is outlined in the blogger FAQ, number 9: http://www.bloggabase.com/faq and we do not facilitate payments.
We’re under no illusion – bad blogger outreach won’t be fixed overnight and poor targeting will still go on, but if it goes on through bloggabase, we’ve built a unique tool to catch it and hopefully, educate around it. With our ‘report a marketer’ feature, if more than 3 bloggers report a marketer in 24 hours for irrelevant pitching, that marketer’s account will be frozen whilst we investigate.
I’m a marketer, how will this benefit me?
1) Bloggabase is the only user-searchable blog database service where EVERY blogger has signed up themselves, which means, they genuinely want to hear what you have to say. As PR people ourselves, we know how beneficial getting client mentions on blogs can be – especially given the fact niche audiences are much more likely to be interested in products and services related to their areas of interest – but, as bloggers also, we were sick of the frankly terrible pitching efforts of the industry as a whole.
2) We take the headache out of finding blogger contact information, which can often take a long time manually, especially as some bloggers choose not to include their contact information on their blogs.
3) Bloggers have to fill out profiles, stating what they do and don’t want to hear about. Our search function is simple, allowing you to find blogs by categories, keywords, demographics and even whether they accept guest blog posts. Depending upon your level of subscription, you can create lists and easily export email addresses. We highlight the SEO (search engine optimisation) benefit of every blog using an algorithm that takes into account a number of key factors and also provide a social media score where bloggers have provided certain social media profile information.
4) We’ve created a unique blogger request service, where bloggers can easily request information for posts, giving you an easy way to see if your clients or brand fit with that particular blog.
How will this improve the bloggers outreach campaigns?
In all the above ways, mainly! It really is about relevance and helping to build a relationship.
Aren’t you afraid that when it becomes successful it will become a target for those looking to find easy access to bloggers without the quality?
Hopefully, our ‘report a marketer’ feature and subscription model will negate this.
When do you consider Bloggabase to be a success?
Although not exactly measurable, we’ll both be pleased to hear from marketers and bloggers who say it’s helped to improve the way they talk to the other party. Although at a very early stage, the response from brands and PR and SEO agencies has been great, keen to reach relevant bloggers in certain areas. We’ll be implementing a free trial for marketers very soon.
Is it industry-driven or can every industry benefit from Bloggabase?
It really does depend upon the blogs we have signed up in each category and although we have a good indication of the sectors that will be popular, this will only get better. Home and lifestyle, health and beauty, lifestyle, fashion, parenting, food and drink, technology and travel are amongst the most popular categories, with hundreds of bloggers signed up in each area. The database, at present, would suit agencies with clients across many categories, as well as brands within the above-mentioned categories. We hope the real time graph and free trial will help potential users identify how useful the service is to them at present.
How good or bad will this be for SEO?
Although primarily to aid marketers who are looking to find relevant bloggers to build relationships with, there are SEO benefits to good blogger outreach. When posts aren’t paid for, bloggers linking to products or services that fit in with their blog and are of interest to their readership will undoubtedly have a good impact upon SEO for the respective businesses.