Tim Ferriss' relationships with bloggers helped him reach the New York Times bestseller list with his book, The Four Hour Work Week. I recently called Tim to ask him how to market to bloggers. Here's what he taught me:
Start before you need something
"I reached out to certain bloggers as far as a year in advance of the book being published," Tim told me. By building his connections ahead of time, he never had to start a relationship with a blogger by asking for a favor.
Meet bloggers in person
Tim started building his relationships face to face. "The least crowded channel for meeting high profile bloggers is in person," Tim said. "Email is the most difficult, the most crowded… I'm a top 1,000 blogger, not a top 100 blogger, and I get hundreds of pitches by email every week. Most of them I don't even see because my assistant declines them."
Don't be a promoter
Nobody wants to get to know a guy who does nothing but promote himself. "Your job is to convince them of the messenger, not the message," he told me. "Don't try to push your message until you establish yourself as someone they're willing to listen to."
Don't join the crowd
Top bloggers can be mobbed at events. Instead of joining the crowds, Tim got to know the people behind the top bloggers. The first time he met Robert Scoble, Tim said, "You know what man, everyone wants to talk to you. I don't have a really good question for you, so I'm not going to hassle you." And he got to know Robert's wife and coworkers instead.
Be part of something bigger
Instead of pitching his book, Tim talked to bloggers about a trend that his book related to: outsourcing as a way to save time. When he called them, he'd say, "Here's a concept or phenomenon that I think would be fun to talk about with your readers." He told me that bloggers would often give him credit for the idea, and when they mentioned the name Tim Ferriss, they "inevitably linked to my page or my Amazon book page."