Blogdash review: I hoped for more
Having managed high-tech B2B blogger outreach programs for over three years now, I’m always excited to hear about new tools to make outreach easier and more effective. So when a colleague mentioned BlogDash, I dropped what I was doing and headed to the site to check it out. Unfortunately, what initially seemed a promising concept and tool has fallen short for me.
- Laudable concept: If there’s one thing experience has taught me, it’s that traditional press and bloggers are different. A successful engagement requires a different approach than the good ole days of traditional PR. For anyone serious about conducting blogger outreach this is no surprise. Still, I hear and read regularly about outreach missteps because that simple reality escapes a brand or agency. In their videos for businesses, they stress that crafting a relevant pitch is important (yes!) and that engaging prior to outreach is important (yes!). There’s a “but” here, see the Cons section.
- Easy to use interface: The tabs, form fields, and search filters are well laid out and aesthetically pleasing. The three-step engagement (Find, Engage, Pitch) structure is obvious and easy to navigate.
- Multiple filters: When you’re searching for bloggers to engage, you can filter by category and subcategory, influence rankings, gender, presence of children, location, language, most likely smartphone users, and interests and behaviors.
- Multiple ranking systems: Instead of relying on a single ranking system, you can filter by Scribnia rating, Google PageRank, and Klout scores. I don’t think it’s a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, so I appreciate the ability to view a candidate blogger’s standing in different contexts.
- Pitch focus: This is the “but” from above. Even with the company’s stated purpose to engage with bloggers in the right way, there’s so much typical PR lingo and focus that it turns me off a bit. “Pitch” is so over- and misused that it’s a four-letter word in my book. The FAQs and demo video examples are all about selling your product. Depending on your business and standing in the community, you may undermine your outreach with selling as your primary purpose. Sure, they tell you to engage before pitching but the tool, in a functional sense, just seems to gloss over that step. An emotional reaction, perhaps.
- No search function: I work with bloggers who write about IT (cloud, infrastructure, data center management, security, storage, etc.). There is no corresponding category and subcategory on BlogDash, so my first user instinct is to search. But I can’t. Argh. A keyword search would make this SO much more useful.
- Limited topic coverage for my space: The current database seems to center around consumer, social, and lifestyle blogs, so my focus on B2B high-tech targets are largely missing (or unfound due to lack of search function).
- No help or support links: There’s a FAQ and a Contact Us link, but no help. No user community. It’s a relatively new platform still, so this isn’t terribly surprising. Still, when I encountered the cons mentioned previously, I wished I had Help or community to read through just to make sure I’m not missing something.
- Account structure: Call me crazy, but I intensely dislike this whole “freemium” concept. Any company that expects me to tweet or post to Facebook in order to access it for the first time is asking me to essentially endorse something I’ve never even seen. That’s seriously annoying. It wouldn’t have been so annoying if I could actually change the text of their tweets, but their form would undo any changes I made. Since I really wanted to interact with the tool I went ahead and sent their tweet (and it’s still rankling me a bit). I would’ve opted for a paid trial, instead, but their $20 monthly fee is billed annually. Since I’m paying out of my own pocket, and I don’t have a Help or Community to visit for more details, but I want to give it a shot, a $240 investment just ain’t gonna happen.
- If you’re thinking about engaging with bloggers, focus on building a relationship before you pitch anything. That said,
- If you’re looking for B2B or high-tech targets, I don’t think BlogDash is ready for you (yet, I hope).
- If you need a relatively affordable solution to help you begin your outreach, especially in a consumer or lifestyle context, BlogDash could be helpful to you.
Until a few things, namely depth of the database and search functionality, are addressed, I’m not recommending BlogDash for my fellow B2B marketers.