50% of professional bloggers and 25% of hobbyist bloggers say that they’ve been approached by at least one company to write about a brand or product, according to Technorati.

Even though content marketers have published thousands of articles with tips for blogger outreach, 64% of bloggers believe they are treated less professionally by brand representatives than they are by traditional media, and only 20% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brand representatives as positive.

The most influential bloggers receive requests every day. Gone are the days when bloggers starved for attention from brands or big media. As a result, brands can feel challenged to effectively engage influential writers and tweeters. Here are four tips for success:

  1. Identify the right bloggers: Start by identifying the writers who are influential in your particular sector, and with your target audiences. As Andrew Chen explained in 2008, not everyone needs to target the early adopters. Some specialized products produce only a handful of online influencers. Know your audience, and know their influencers.
  2. Use the right incentives: Understand the incentive that will pique the interest of their target blog most. For some, it’s pure compensation. They may already be earning steady income through paid placement or affiliate or performance based marketing. Others may want to increase readership. They may be willing to sponsor a giveaway or contest at no cost, just to keep their readers excited. Others want complete control and will allow you to submit a product for review – with no promises or editorial control.
  3. Know each blogger’s value: Most bloggers know exactly what the real estate on their site is worth. They know what their readers want. They know the value of their site and the value of access to their readers.
  4. Comply with FTC guides: 55% of bloggers and 70% of professional bloggers are aware of FTC disclosure requirements, and bloggers tend to say that they are offended by brands asking them to cross the line.

People often trust bloggers more than advertisements, so a product review or recommendation from a notable blogger can be more valuable than traditional online media placement. To be sure, blogger outreach can be an effective and measurable strategy for increasing awareness and driving traffic, but it can also tarnish your brand if not conducted professionally, intelligently and with integrity.

Know your goals, know your audience, and know their influencers.