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What do Agencies (and Brands) Look for in a Blogger?


If you are gearing up for this January’s New Media Expo/BlogWorld event then you’re probably interested in promoting your brand and blog. Since hundreds of agencies and large brands use our product (GroupHigh) to identify bloggers, research analytics, and manage blogger outreach campaigns, I thought it would be great to share what our clients think makes a great partner blogger.

In the past, outreach lists were built using an Excel spreadsheet, Google Blog Search, and a good amount of manual labor. The arduous task of finding and qualifying blogs for a campaign stood in the way of efficiently reaching out to bloggers. More importantly, this process didn’t help decipher which blog outlets were a proper fit for a given campaign. Today, there are many shortcuts and knowing how agencies and brands look for blogs is critical if you want to be included.

Searching Twitter Bios

There are many tools that make searching Twitter bios quick and easy, but Follower Wonk is probably the best. There is still a lot of hunting and pecking for bloggers, but Twitter specific metrics such as follower count help focus research on higher-quality outlets.

What this means for bloggers:  A Twitter Profile That Links to Your Blog Is A Must!

If agencies and brands are finding blogs by searching on Twitter it only makes sense that you ensure that your or your blog’s Twitter identity is clearly linked to your blog’s homepage. It is also a good idea to build your follower count, as followers is quickly becoming a leading factor in blog selection for outreach.

Blog Marketing Platforms

Tools like GroupHigh allow firms to search for and filter bloggers by almost any metric and content imaginable. Firms can easily find blogs by the content they write about most often, as well as how open they are to common marketing tactics such as guest posting, sponsored posting, contests, and product reviews.

What this means for bloggers:  Ensure that your blog’s content reflects your ambition!

If you are open to running contests on your blog, start today! Grab the PunchTab Giveaway App and run a small contest. If you are an aspiring fashion blogger, make sure that the title of your blog post denotes that you are reviewing a product. For example:

  • Product Review: Levi’s 501 Demin Jeans
  • First Thoughts: Levi’s 501 Demin Jeans
  • Just Purchased: Levi’s 501 Demin Jeans

Being obvious about what your content contains will help brands and agencies find you and pitch you more accurately.

Extra Tip: Many firms are beginning to target bloggers via Pinterest and Instagram. This is especially true for campaigns that involve rich media elements such as pictures and video. If you want to be considered for these campaigns make sure you have Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube channels clearly listed on your blog. Less than 2% of active bloggers list these modern social networks, but they are increasingly being used to target bloggers. It also won’t hurt to have followers and subscribers, as most firms seek blogs with over 1,000 followers/subscribers.

Blogger Networks

While blog networks initially existed to consolidate advertising across blogs of similar topics, they are also a common resource for firms that don’t want to spend a lot of time researching and building personal relationships. Firms that use a blog network typically pay for access and are guaranteed a certain reach, similar to the way banner ads are sold. Though this saves the firm time, the downside to this approach is that the authentic relationship between the firm and blogger is immediately compromised. It is then based on pay-to-play rather than a mutually beneficial relationship.

What this means for bloggers:  Join a network? Maybe?

There are many pros and cons to joining a blogger network. If you want to get involved with blogger networks that deal in sponsored posts, check out IZEA or BlogFrog. Additional information on blog networks can be found below:

In addition to looking for blogs in the aforementioned locations, firms also review a variety of metrics when deciding which blogs to build relationships with. Based on several of our highest-quality users, here is what we’ve seen over the past three months.

Firms are looking for:

  1. The ability to amplify a message socially. So make sure to list social profiles prominently on your site.
  2. A solid base of traffic and pageviews. While never completely accurate, most firms rely on Compete.com traffic data to make decisions. Once you begin building a relationship, don’t be offended if they ask for proof of your traffic from Google Analytics, this is commonplace especially among larger brands and agencies.
  3. Twitter Followers. The more the better. While 10 years ago firms would use Google’s PageRank as a quick barometer of your blog’s quality, today Twitter followers is the number one quality metric we see firms using to select blogs.  Most firms look for bloggers with a minimum of 500-1,000 followers.
  4. Google PageRank. Despite its aging status, many firms still rely on this statistic to include/exclude blogs from campaigns.
  5. Facebook Likes. While not as widely used as Twitter followers, Likes is often included in a custom score.

How are these numbers used?

Rather than rely on a debatable ranking or score, most firms take some combination of the above key metrics and create a custom metric in Excel. This could be something termed Social Reach, which could be a combination of Twitter followers and Facebook Likes. Other times it could be a total campaign reach, which would include followers, Likes, and traffic numbers. The highest rated blogs get included based on metrics like this very often.

In any event, I hope this post sheds a bit of insight into what the best agencies and brands are looking for in bloggers. Best of luck building your brand and I look forward to seeing you at NMX/BlogWorld in January.

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