Blogger outreach for charities
Have you ever wondered to share your voice and your message with the masses? Here we discuss how bloggers can help you spread the word.
No matter how good your campaign or your cause, it may never get off the ground unless you have an effective content strategy at the ready. Sadly, you can’t just share it with the world and sit back and wait for donations or reactions to flood in.
There are many parts that combine into a successful strategy – and we’ll be sharing them as we go along on this blog (so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter) – but this post is going to focus on one of the arrows to that strategy bow of yours, and that’s influencers.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. They may be the people local to you, they may be figureheads, celebrities, or people that are affected by your cause. Sometimes they are simply people who have been touched and inspired to help.
And they count. They are the domino effect that enables you to meet your aims and objectives.
One of the biggest influencers in the digital game are bloggers. So big, in fact, that they are now the third most-popular influencer online when it comes to people parting with their money. That’s an impressive statistic, but it’s warranted. Think about the amount of times you have searched for a review of a product before buying it?
And the same applies to charities. People listen to their peers – they sponsor people who do marathons in memory of loved ones, and they gravitate towards subjects that matter to them.
So how do you contact a blogger and encourage them to help you?
Do your research
It sounds like a simple question, but it’s often overlooked. Think about your cause – if you are raising money for a children’s charity it makes sense that you think about contacting mummy bloggers. If you are trying to raise awareness about women and body images, then perhaps fashion and beauty bloggers will be better suited.
If you’re unsure of where to look first, try Google Blog Search, or visit sites like Bloglovin’ and check out its categories, or simply do it the old-fashioned way and attack your search engine, scour social media and find the people who might fit your cause.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once you have identified the bloggers that you would like to work with, research them too. Are they open to being contacted? Do they fit with your message and ideals?
Build a relationship
Much like any relationship, these things take time. Sending a blogger a cold, generic email asking for something is the courting equivalent of walking up to someone in a club and sticking your tongue down their throat. It’s not cool. And it won’t work.
Address the blogger personally, ask them about their day, how their children are if they have them. Show that you actually have read their blog by mentioning a favourite post of yours and how it’s relevant to your organisation or your supporters. Give them some credit for their hard work.
Some of the more established bloggers receive hundreds of emails a day, and it may be that they blog professionally, or part-time, or just for fun, but either way, they are going to be busy people. And if people are busy and they don’t know you, they’re hardly going to offer their time and experience to people who haven’t taken the time to do their research and build a relationship.
Work with them
Once you have established that key relationship, now is the time to get them involved with your campaign. But don’t tell them what to do and when, have a brief outline of your aims and bring some ideas to the table, but ask them for their input. Their role in this has to fit with their blog and their ideals too – and they know their audience much better than you do.
Take the Royal Hospital of Neuro-disability’s #iGaze campaign during Brain Awareness Week, which we worked on. We arranged for several bloggers to visit the RHN to experience first-hand what it feels like to have Locked-in Syndrome and only be able to communicate with your eyes. Each blogger produced their own content as a result of the visit, in a way that was personal to them, and, as a result, helped the RHN meet their target of over £20,000 raised to provide assistive technology for people at the RHN living with severe neurological disabilities.
The trick is not to be too demanding or too vague – it’s not an easy balance, but it’s worth taking the time to perfect in order to get the best result.
Don't expect something for nothing
Thankfully the world is still full of brilliant people, who will gladly give their time to support charitable causes. But sometimes, you have to consider what you are asking of your bloggers too.
What if your blogger lives on the other side of the country and would have to take a day’s annual leave from work, pay extra for childcare and plead with their mother-in-law to walk the dog that evening? Most of the time, bloggers will do their best to get to you and help you for free. But time costs money, and travel costs money too. So even if you reimburse their travel costs, or put on a lovely meal for them, they’ll appreciate your support in return.
All of the research, conversations, editing, emails and producing that goes into a blog post or a vlog takes up a lot more time than you think. So try and think about what you could do for them as a thank you.
While it’s not always easy to explain to the public, overheads are just as important as the money and donations invested into the work that you do. Overheads keep things running and influencers are a cost-effective investment – understand their value.
Make it mutual
If they have worked with you, written a post, or produced a video, shared on social media and done a few backflips to boot – the least you could do is return the favour.
Social support means a lot to bloggers – so don’t just let them do all the hard work and sit back. Share the blog posts, show your support, include your blogger’s link on your website – because those things matter to bloggers and you’re not only raising awareness for yourselves, your building on that relationship and your helping that blogger to become better too. And that can only be a mutually beneficial thing!
Be a nice human
It might sound like a simple one to round this post off with, but please don’t forget your manners. They are doing you a favour, so treat bloggers with the respect that they deserve.
Always follow through on your promises, don’t let people down, don’t be rude and don’t forget to say thank you for a job well done.
Bloggers support each other, and you don’t want to be that charity on the end of many a cold shoulder because you upset one of their community. Remember, these people are brilliant influencers, and that is something you do not want to be on the wrong side of.
And please trust me on all of these tips – I speak from an experience, I’m a blogger myself. So if you need help planning a content strategy, or getting your cause in front of the right influencers, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.