Search Engine Optimization or SEO is something every blogger need to be able to attract visitors to their site through search. For most of us today, that's synonymous with optimizing for Google but there are many other search engines that are critical for attracting opportunities and brands. No, I'm not talking about BING or Yahoo - I'm talking about CISION, IZEA, TapInfluence, Intellifluence and the dozens of other networks that marketers use to find us.
The reality is that each of these blogger networks has hundreds if not THOUSANDS of bloggers in their directories. While it is always important to have personal relationships with brands, often times you will have a recruiter go to the database and search for "men's interest" or "cars". That makes it critical that we think about how our profiles are written and what information is contained in them so that we pop to the top and have the opportunity to be considered. Here's some tips that I use to improve my odds at being found by optimizing my blog profiles.
Understand Why Someone Is Searching
This is ultimately the most critical step. When someone searches a blogger database, they are either looking for something specific to fill a gap or they are looking for a broad pool of people to pull for research. It might be counter-intuitive, but you should try and optimize for both scenarios. This includes looking at ways to be found for broad categories like "food" as well as smaller ones like "recipes" or "gluten free".
Know What You Want Them to Find About You
Once you have an idea of why someone is using an influencer database then you can make sure your blogger profile reflects what you want to share. This includes making sure your brand aestetic is correctly presented with writing style, sample photography, clips shared, media mentions, awards, profile graphic etc.
Now that you've polished your presentation, it's time to optimize content so you can be found when they search for people like you!
Fill Out the Profile Completely
This should be obvious but I find that many bloggers simply get lazy and never complete the profile. This is becoming even more of a factor since it seems like every day I get invited to check out a new blogger network or influencer database. Even worse is that it can be a challenge since some blogger networks are complicated and you see a note saying "90% complete" and you have no idea what represents that other 10%. However, you should always add photos, press links, stories you are proud of, and a complete biography. Never miss an opportunity for people to find out how great you are.
For instance - I've been a member of Influence Central for several years (and never received a campaign). Some of you would bitch about them "not giving you work" but often times the answer is more simple. Compare the profile above vs the one below.
Which male blogger would you want to work with? The one that didn't bother to fill his profile out or the one that shows that he can do good photography, has a history of working with diverse brands, and is excited to work with the network?
The reality is there are hundreds (100's of thousands really!) bloggers out there that they could choose to work with. Your goal is to make sure that you present everything needed so they pick YOU!
Create a Keyword Rich Bio That Tells Brands Who You Are
This is one of the key areas that many bloggers ignore but can be the difference between being found and being ignored. There are three things you need to consider here: Be Different, Be Descriptive, and Be Keyword Rich.
Be Different - Make sure to show the person searching how you will be able to provide a unique value for the campaign that others can't. While many brands simply want "numbers", others are looking for personality and good quality content. I suspect that as we move forward into a world where organic reach is less important that content creation ability that having a unique voice will become even more critical. So, tell us why you are special and why people love to read your blog and engage with your content.
Be Descriptive - Don't just say, "I'm a stay at home dad who blogs about family meals". Make sure to add important details such as the fact that you were a CPA who now is a stay at home dad and you use those accounting skills to help other dads manage the family budgets better. Similarly, don't just share that you write about cars ... make sure to include that you are a mechanic who loves to restore classic automobiles with your son. You might not realize it, but EVERY DAY there are people searching for super specific niches. I get requests here at least once a week asking for super specific requests, so I'm sure that the larger blogger networks get exponentially more. In fact, from purely a practical perspective, a search for "car bloggers" might turn up thousands of choices but "mechanic" will only turn up a dozen or less. This allows the brand to find people who will work for the campaign faster and easier. Your job is to make sure you are included in that pool!
Be Keyword Rich - This is the opposite strategy of being specific but it is just as important. Make sure you have all of the important keywords that describe content areas that you cover regularly or have covered. To optimize here, you'll want to not just list that you are a "dad blogger" but that your site features, "content areas including: Healthy Cooking, Gluten Free, Easy Family Meals, and unique Recipes". If you don't mention "Gluten Free" then it is unlikely that that next Udi's campaign will ever find you!
Select All Relevant Blog Categories
While some consider this spamming, just like with the keywords in your profile the categories should include everything you cover and your community would be interested in. This might make it harder for brands since they ultimately find 10 instead of 2 choices ... but if you are one of those 8 that weren't considered before then that doesn't do you any good.
Just make sure to only include categories that you actually cover and never lie.
Ask The Network or PR Database for a Copy of Your Profile To Confirm Details
Each network is different. Some show you pretty much what the brands can see, while others hide certain elements from you. Others such as Cision are a closed box where you don't have any idea what's being written about you. In fact, with blogger databases like that, it's often written by someone on your behalf instead of you having control at all. I've found that generally the pre-written blurb is always out of date and inaccurate. Simply put, there are millions of listings world wide that they manage and none of us reading this are "that important". Luckily, you can always change that though. Most media databases that I work with are amenable to working with you to ensure that their information is accurate. That's your chance to improve your position in their database - use it!
Media / PR Databases Where You Can Update (or create!) Your Blogger Profiles:
Cision (formerly Vocus) - Update Outlet Profile
Agility from PR Newswire - You must contact firstname.lastname@example.org as outlined in their "Journalist Privacy Notice"
Gorkana - Update Your Media / Blogger Profile
ResponseSource - Register Journalist Profile
Journalisted - primarily UK based but you can create a profile here
TrendKite - NA - appears to pull from social media bios
Muck Rack - pulls profiles from social media bios but allows you to create a portfolio
Check Your Profile For Updates Periodically
I'm terrible about this, but every year or so I try to do an audit of the key blog networks and media databases. Realistically, I should do this more frequently since stuff changes and so does my site. For instance - my Cision profile for ManTripping still focused on the site as a "travel blog" until I updated it this week. It also listed the inaccurate information that I was a "San Diego" blog and not a national one.
You will never know that people didn't find you, so it's up to you to make sure that your information is accurate, current, and optimized so that it is easy to find. While that is no replacement for creating great content and building relationships, it is a great way to increase inbound opportunities.