Many Hats Mommy

live the Power of One

>Wednesday’s Woman–Nikki Stephan, PR Expert

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>One of the things I enjoy as a jewelry lady is networking. I have met a lot of amazing people this way. You often meet someone that you refer to someone else. Such is the case with today’s Wednesday’s Woman. Greg was networking and sent this lady my way. I recommend you grab your favorite beverage, a paper, and a pen! She shares an incredible amount of valuable information. And now, here is Nikki Stephan in her own words…

I was first introduced to the Many Hats Mommy when Jenny’s husband, Greg, reached out to me on LinkedIn. We exchanged a few messages related to PR and marketing, and Greg suggested that I would be a good fit for the weekly Wednesday’s Woman feature. I checked out the feature and loved the idea of highlighting a woman each week who shares who they are/what they do and teaches readers something new. So, here I am!

I’m a native Michigander who is passionate about my community and doing what I can to help others. My day job is at Identity Marketing & Public Relations, a fully integrated public relations agency that helps clients with PR, marketing, digital/social media, graphic design and website service. As a social media strategist with a background in traditional public relations and marketing, I focus on integrating social strategy with traditional communications efforts to help companies build brand awareness, create new customer relationships, monitor relevant online dialogue and engage in direct conversation with online audiences. It’s a fun gig.

Aside from my role at Identity, I’m involved in various organizations, most of which relate to PR and social media in some capacity. I won’t bore you with all the details here, but you can check out the About Me page on my blog to learn more (and please reach out if you’d like to get involved with any of those organizations!).

You’re probably hoping that my life doesn’t only revolve around social media and PR…and it definitely doesn’t! I love playing tennis, singing karaoke (duets only – no solos!) and shopping. I’m currently planning a wedding, which definitely adds to the fun/stress of everyday life. My fiancé and I are getting married August 27, 2011 in Birmingham, and I couldn’t be more excited for the big day.

My newest adventure is participating in a Chevy-sponsored road trip challenge. On March 8, I will embark on a three-day journey from Michigan to Austin, TX for the South by Southwest Interactive conference. My three other teammates and I will have to complete missions and challenges and compete against another Detroit team and other teams around the country. Chevy started this initiative last year, and our Detroit team won, so the pressure is on to carry on the legacy! You can follow our shenanigans on our Team Motown SXSW website and Facebook page.

Now, on to the good part where I inject you with a dose of my expertise. I thought long and hard about what I could share that would be relevant and interesting to people who may not do the same type of PR and social strategy work that I do. Then I realized this: Most Many Hats Mommy readers are probably bloggers themselves. Blogger relations is one of the many services I provide to our clients, and I’ve learned quite a bit along the way on blogger outreach best practices. So, I thought I would share some insight with you on how best to reach out to and work with bloggers. Whether you want to reach out to bloggers on behalf of your business or in hopes of securing guest post opportunities, this advice will come in handy.

1. Do research to compile your initial list of bloggers. The size of your list will depend on your resources, but always think in terms of quality versus quantity (it’s better to connect with five very relevant bloggers than 50 somewhat relevant bloggers). Options available to help you build your list include Technorati (this is no longer considered the Holy Grail of blog tools, so don’t rely solely on this platform to find relevant blogs), Alltop, IceRocket, Google blog search and blogrolls. This is a paid service that recently launched, but BlogDash is creating a lot of buzz as the next big blogger research and engagement tool.

2. Once you compile your initial list, you have to qualify each blog to weed out the ones that aren’t relevant. You can create your own qualifying terms, but here are some suggestions:

• Use Compete to view traffic stats and history (traffic isn’t available for all blogs).
• Use Alexa to obtain more site statistics.
• Check out the blog’s authority on Technorati.
• Read at least the last 10 posts to make sure the content is relevant to your outreach goal.
• Determine how often the blogger posts.
• Find out if/where the blogger has a presence on social networks. If so, see which networks he/she uses to share blog content.
• See if blog posts include social sharing components that encourage readers to amplify the content.
• Review the number and quality of comments on the past 10-15 posts. Is anyone commenting? If so, are they saying something more than “Great post!” Determining activity of a blog’s community and readership is important.
• If you’re reaching out to a blogger to educate him/her on your company, product or service, use the blog’s search tool to see if the blogger has written previous posts about your industry and industry competitors. Also, check to see if he/she writes reviews and has established review guidelines.
• If you’re doing outreach for guest post opportunities, see if the blogger features guest posts and how often.
• Check out the blogger’s Klout score to get a sense of his/her influence. Influence is a highly debated concept. There is no one site or tool that will tell you how influential a person is, but Klout is a good starting point (and it’s free!).

3. Once you’ve culled your final list, consider starting to build a relationship with the bloggers before you ask for something (product review, guest post, etc.). It’s not realistic to expect you to develop strong relationships with every blogger before reaching out. I’ve had several successes with bloggers who I spent a lot of time researching and reading their content, but not actively engaging with them before I reached out. I had those successes because what I shared was relevant to them and their readers. That’s the important part! However, the engagement part will definitely help if you’re pursuing guest post opportunities. If the blogger recognizes you as someone who frequently comments, shares his/her posts on social networks or reaches out regularly on Twitter, you’ve got an advantage.

I hope this advice was helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or if you would ever like to chat about PR and social strategy work. You can stay in touch by reading my blog, Essential Elements, and Identity’s blog, id tags, as well as connecting with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Stop by tomorrow (click here) for the rest of my tips!

A HUGE thank you to Jenny for the Wednesday’s Woman feature opportunity!

From Jenny:
Wasn’t that amazing? I know as a blogger I will return to this post to refresh my memory of what I need to improve! What are you going to do first?

Author: Jenny Herman

Jenny Herman is not anyone special or a hero. She's just a working special needs homeschool mom who uses the Power of One to "just keep swimming". Visit her blog to learn more.

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