Bloggers receive hundreds of pitches every day by public relations firms and brands. They get e-mails and comments, likes and pins, on a daily basis, and are being asked to participate in campaigns all the time. As Heather Whaling writes, “Even bloggers with less traffic to their site are still being pitched on a regular basis.”
So what do you do? How do you and your company shine when
committing to a blogger outreach program or blogger relations campaign?
The key to blogger relations is the “relations” part. Like curation, the human touch is needed to make blogger relations successful. You must engage, pursue and cultivate connections with bloggers because, ultimately, you are working together.
Here are the three “ships” you must keep in mind when pursuing blogger relations:
Before you engage in blogger relations, you should get to know the blogger first. It makes no sense to invite a gluten free blogger into a scrapbooking community, or a computer programmer to be an advocate on a gardening campaign. You should invest time in forming and growing a relationship with the blogger before pitching an idea. Find out what they write about, what they like, how they work, what commonalities you share, and so on. Nurturing relationships is not a new idea; that’s why brands and companies engage with a blogger by initiating a conversation through the blogger’s social platforms, such as tweeting, liking and pinning with their Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest profiles. People trust people they know, and bloggers trust brands and companies they are familiar with.
It is not uncommon for a blogger to ask for compensation for a review or an article. In fact, this is how some bloggers make a living. It is not just a hobby, it is a business. Thus, if you work with a blogger on a campaign, then you are entering a partnership. A partnership requires all parties to be mutually beneficial for the others, and this means that you must provide the blogger with compensation just as they are providing you a service: review, article, etc. Depending on the blogger, you can provide monetary compensation, traffic, products, special offers or discounts for their services. Most bloggers will have their expectations written on their blog, usually on a separate page or off to the side. If you are unsure, it never hurts to e-mail them and ask.
Once a blogger decides to join your campaign, the relationship and partnership are even more important than before. You and the blogger now have a membership in your community or campaign, and you both expect to work hard for the other’s benefit, whether that be website traffic in exchange for an article. Remember to communicate and be specific of what you want from the blogger: a guest post, a product review, an interview, etc. Be polite and respectful because bloggers are busy outside of their blogs, and remember that you must engage with your community as a whole.
Relationship, partnership, membership: these are very simple things to remember. It’s about being human, being humble, and being approachable when engaging in blogger relations campaigns. You want bloggers on board with your marketing plans and they want to be on board, but you have to make it worth their time. No one wants to help strangers, and everyone wants friends.
Remember, be ethical when approaching bloggers. Like journalists, there is a code to be abided by. Please refer to WOMMA standards of conduct (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) for more information.
Are these three “ships” the only approaches to blogger relations? If you have any additional ideas, please share them below. Remember to visit us on Google+!