The next phase is focused on finding and engaging journals, publications, bloggers, and any other influencers that cover your area. In most cases, finding and reaching out to campaign influencers should take you about a week or so to do effectively. However, before contacting influencers, create a clear story idea that their readers will want to hear about. Perhaps you can tie your campaign to an upcoming event they are reporting on. When it comes to working with journals, publications, and blogs, remember that lead times may be long so it is best to reach out to them early.
A friend of mine, Drew Johnson, ran a successful reward-based crowdfunding campaign for TechWears. He said that he underestimated the lead time of journalists and bloggers. Drew spent a lot of time courting journalists and bloggers prior to his campaign but underestimating lead times produced articles that did not coincide with his campaign window. Therefore, these outlets never achieved the desired effect of boosting campaign awareness when people could still make pledges. In fact, according to Drew, most of the stories appeared after his campaign was over, doing him little good with respect to this campaign’s funding goal. Moreover, he stated that some of the journalists and bloggers only became aware of him after he launched his campaign, which didn’t allow them time to produce the article to bring awareness to his campaign. When asked what advice he would share, he stressed trying to find the journalists, bloggers, and publishers early enough in the process so that their articles effectively create precampaign buzz or directly support the campaign fundraising efforts.
To help locate reporters, you can use the HARO website, which is an acronym for “Help A Reporter Out”. This website connects you to reporters with information sources. Other sites to help locate reporters are PressRush, ProfNet, and SourceBottle. Once you have located all of the influencers in your campaign area, you need to make a special effort to personally engage with the most influential of them. Since engaging the right influencers can make or break your campaign, ask your support group to do other campaign outreach activities while you focus on the most influential contacts.
One way to compare the influence of a blog or person’s website is to add either the “Alexa” and/or “Complete” browser extensions to your favorite browser. These extensions measure the popularity of sites. I personally use Alexa. When I go to a particular blog or website, I click the “Alexa” extension and look at their global and US traffic ranking numbers. The lower the number the better their rank. I also look to see if the site is trending up or down in its influence. Additionally, I often search the site’s analytics for more details on their traffic. You should also go to their Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages to see how many followers they have.
A way to find even more influencers is to search your topic area in Google and document the top 10 sites. You can then use a tool like Moz open site explorer to do a deep dive into each site. Incidentally, you can get a free 30-day trial, which will be more than enough time for you to do your research. Enter each of your top 10 URLs. For each search, scroll down to Inbound Links and filter the results by their domain authority (DA). Copy the top 20 or so URLs, leaving you with about 200 URL in total to research. Visit each site and find the author’s email or other contact info. Reach out to them to see if they would be interested in doing a piece about your campaign.
Do you have a plan to locate and engage journalists, bloggers, and other publications to extend your crowdfunding campaign’s reach even more?
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