Top Gear! Test-Driving the Best Blogger Outreach Discovery Tools

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Before we compare the market-leading blogger outreach discovery tools, let’s make sure we understand why identifying relevant blogs is so important in modern-day communications. The following excerpt from the 2011 state of the blogosphere report by Technorati ought to do the trick:

Consumers turn to blogs because they ‘outpace other media for inspiration, product information and opinion’ and as a result ‘generate more trust, recommendations and purchases’.

Let’s simplify this even further. If you’re the owner of a Ducati motorbike that was damaged in an accident, which of the following options fills you with more confidence:

1. Joe’s Car, Truck and Bike Garage
2. Mike’s Motorbike Surgery
3. The Ducati Repair Centre

I’d want to go with the Ducati experts – they should know the most about the specific ins and outs of a Ducati and give me the very best advice possible.

(Good) blogs are the same. The expertise shared by a subject-specific blogger (a niche expert) is often much more compelling than a generalised report from a mainstream outlet.

But how do you find these niche experts? Well, you either spend a great deal of time searching for them ‘manually’ or you turn to an enterprise solution. After some testing, here is my mini-report into the best enterprise blogger outreach discovery tools on the market today.

1. Traackr.com

Traackr is a very impressive tool. It’s key feature is the emphasis placed on keywords (and location) in narrowing down your most relevant blogs / bloggers. Key features:

  • Geo-location targeting (North America and UK)
  • Keyword layering (multiple keyword filters permitted and encouraged)
  • The A-List (a clever and simple way of showing you your most influential bloggers by subject)
  • Reach and Resonance ratings provided per blogger (a popularity measure)
  • Relevance rating provided per blogger in relation to your search terms and criteria
  • Both recent posts (blog and Twitter mentions) and keyword ‘clouds’ provided in results table
  • Robust analytics including ‘trending’ keywords and additional location data
  • Nifty ‘monitor’ function which will track keyword mentions of your influencer list
One of the lovely features about Traackr is the way it pulls in all the posts written by that author as opposed to just one blog. So, if a blogger writes on his / her own personal blog but is also a contributor to a multi-author blog, that data is pooled by Traackr.

2. GroupHigh.com

I’ve been a big fan of GroupHigh since it was introduced to me about 12 months ago. Functionality versus Traackr is similar but importantly, geo-location ability isn’t limited to just North America and the UK.

  • Geo-location and keyword layering
  • Depth of blogs in the database is huge, nearly all of them are there
  • If a blog isn’t in the database, you can add it (making it feel like curated community) or adjust a record if something has changed
  • Your key indicators within the results are ‘page rank’ and ‘social’ (out of 10) 
  • You also title / description keyword match versus post keyword match insights
  • GroupHigh provides contact details of that blogger (where publicly available) 
  • Specific blog / blogger metrics are available incl no of inbound links, seo rank etc
  • Bloggers can claim their listings, helping to provide more background around pitch criteria

As already mentioned, GroupHigh and Traackr serve up very similar data and both do great job while they’re at it. The main difference (at the moment) is the directory depth and geo-location spread, which GroupHigh leads.

3. BlogDash.com

Of all the tools being compared here, BlogDash is definitely making a play to be the ‘bloggers’ favourite. It is also the most creative in terms of filters and how you can narrow down your search data. Some of the topline key features include:

  • Things like a ‘radicalness’ rating / filter which can help narrow searches down between mainstream and maverick or ‘content focus’ rating (obscure versus mainstream)
  • ‘In platform’ messaging which allows for pitches to be made and responded to
  • A good selection  functionality is available for free, but additional insights are only available within the premium version
  • It really does tailor your experience based on your need (business or blogger)
Get a great feel for the business side of BlogDash by watching this video.

4. InkyBee

This is still very new but is definitely one to watch over the next few months. At the moment it is in a ‘temporary test environment’ as far as discovery goes but the early results are very encouraging. Upon entering your keywords, you get a response back saying your list of results will be emailed to you upon analysis. I tested a couple and they were back in my inbox in a matter of minutes and were robust to boot.

Other tools and options:

One of the very latest solutions that also looks like it might come in very handy is Bloggabase – the guys behind this one are currently in ‘blog recruitment mode’ and will activate the service one at least 2000 blogs have signed up (it was at about 12% of the total when I last checked).

Another interesting one is Blogger’s Required, which is like a matchmaking site for bloggers and brands.

But that’s not all! You also have CisionPoint as an ‘all-in-one’ traditional and social media contacts database and  BuzzStream which creates blog lists based on people’s blog rolls.

Sadly, I have not arrange to get a commission for any referrals generated by these reviews (the perils of being an impartial observer!) but I do recommend that you try each out before you make a decision. They all have their pros and cons and ultimately, you’ll select something that suits your specific needs best.

One last point. Without sounding like a broken record, these tools shouldn’t be the only part of your blog discovery and outreach repertoire. These are often a great starting point but use them in conjunction with other tools, manual discovery and a huge scoop of common sense for the best results.

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