Please note, this post is being sponsored by Diamond Bloggers. All opinions are my own. Thank you.
Most of us remember the days when journalists held the key to a company’s earned publicity. Companies hired PR personnel to cultivate relationships with journalists and land coveted print and communication placements.
Today that landscape has changed by leaps and bounds. With bloggers and digital influencers replacing traditional media relationships and working to build strong ties with traditional media outlets.
Because with influencers growing purchasing behavior, they have become the gatekeepers to your audience. Which is why build strong relationships with online influencers are key.
As a blogger myself I know this first-hand how intricate the working blogger to PR relationship can be. If you too are looking for 5 ways your PR agency or company can reach out and better work with bloggers this year:
Bloggers know your audience: Bloggers understand the age, gender, location, interests, hobbies, and desires of your audience. These are the people you want to target your audience. They are the pulse of current social trends. Make sure to do your homework and work with bloggers who they themselves fit the dynamic you are looking for in a potential online customer.
A great way to ensure a perfect blogger fit is by asking to see their media kit. Their working tally of their readership’s demographic data, reach, analytics, and post sponsored work. Bloggers love sharing their portfolios and many even list them directly in their about me or disclosure section of their blogs. Never be afraid to ask to see their kits before working together!
You need to know what your offering to bloggers: Before reaching out to bloggers its best to have already determined what it is that you want to offer the blogger in exchange for them to do a blog post on your company or what shared information you are looking for on their social channels.
You may be thinking that a compelling interview, interesting infographic, an entertaining video would be enough. This is not the case. Bloggers should be provided with a sample of your product or service, a giveaway that they can share with their readers, and monetary compensation. Or a mix of all three. You’re looking for a total figure equal a blogger’s current rate of promotion.
Also making sure to never ask bloggers to recommend services and products they themselves have never experienced, sampled, or used in their homes or businesses. It’s disingenuous. To your business and our readership’s time and money, respectfully.
Bloggers require funding for publicity and PR agencies and businesses to utilize their platforms. Writing to bloggers stating that “we don’t have the budget for that at this time,” is just in poor taste. It’s manipulation. When the brevity of the situation is that you don’t want to budget blogger fees in your current business plan because you’re seeking free publicity.
Bloggers may not openly say this, but they all think it: That it’s not a bloggers responsibility to help you meet your budgets. To offer you free publicity at the expensive of their own time, income, and platform. Unless you can compensate bloggers for their time, don’t reach out at all.
Afterall, we are not journalists. Blogging is our livelihood. Our time, value, and worth is far greater than earned publicity. Would you work for acknowledgments? Neither should we.
You might need to audit your current Blogger relationships: Do you have any current blogger relationships? If so, make sure you are checking in with your bloggers quarterly. Feel free to ask them what they want to hear about from your company and what would make a compelling blog post. Also, ask them to recommend other blogger friends that might be interested in learning about your brand.
You need to take time to build your own lists: Blogger outreach is time intensive. Especially if you are manually researching and building lists of the bloggers you are going to contact. It’s worth investing time in finding relevant bloggers in your specific niche. Social media is a great place to start, as hashtags can help you narrow down your search greatly online. Once you’ve found your bloggers, spend some time developing your own list as to why these bloggers will want to work with your company. This will help you better pitch bloggers.
You need to learn what Bloggers want: Bloggers, like people, want personalized attention. Before reach out to them get an idea of their specific interests, needs, and life circumstances. Bloggers about me section will be a gold mine for you in this area. When it comes time to contact them, tailor, and personalize your pitch. Making sure to address them by name. I can personally attest that generic pitches are often deleted in my own business inbox.
Bloggers have come to expect one-on-one professionalism. We expect to be pitched with offers tailored to our blogs and for sponsorships we can adequately and reasonably promote.
A great first step is to directly introduce yourself via email, say hello through social media direct messaging, and be accessible in the days to come. Allow bloggers time to respond to you before circling back around with errant pitches. It also goes without saying that a please and thank you will take you far in life. Especially with bloggers.
A nice touch might be sending them a thoughtful email, handwritten letter, or even a discount code so they can continue using your product or service. I cannot tell you how much of a letdown it is to finish a post, gift guide, or media scheduling onto to hear crickets from PR agencies or agents. It’s tantamount to usury. Blogging is nothing but a symbiotic relationship.
Which is why keeping in contact with bloggers and influencers is a great strategy for future blogger outreach campaigns. Don’t make it a one-and-done project. Touch base. Schmooze. Be a helpful resource for topics they are interested in, and maintain ongoing partnerships this year. Bloggers will work harder when they feel they are in a relationship with businesses and agencies.
An excellent example of corrective PR strategies when working with bloggers is Nancy Behrman, founder of Behrman Communications.
Nancy Behrman began her career at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Hired to create buzz around Jami Morse and her fiancé, Klaus Heidegger. A Public Relations outreach opportunity that within only helped land her clients on the cover of the New York Times’ Sports Section, in USA Today, on Good Morning America. Nancy made it happen by way of creating positive working relationships, creating symbiotic relationships with journalists, and maintains this same attention to detail and ethics when working with bloggers today. With a career motto. “I will make it happen,” she is a force to be reckoned with in public relations.
In 1985, Nancy founded Behrman Communications. She landed her first client, Kiehl’s, the same year— a stellar case study in how an effective and innovative public relations campaign can elevate a brand. The company remained a star client until its sale to L’Oréal in 2001. In 1993, Nancy began working with Burt’s Bees, and later with other brand greats including Clarisonic, Creed, Eos, Fresh, Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris, Oakley, Philosophy, Red Flower, Shu Uemura, Trish McEvoy, Tweezerman, Ulta and Vita Liberata.
A pioneer in the world of lifestyle brand publicity, Nancy Behrman was also one of the first to understand the influential role that beauty and health could have in the media world. Over the years, she has developed successful creative partnerships with her clients because of her “hands on” approach. It works for her business and her family.
Nancy is a great example of brands knowing the importance of allowing others to sampling their products or services. Including bloggers. For without that component, you will not have the kind of success you strive for. Because businesses who are not ready to allow others to sample their products, business strategies, and creative talent, bloggers shouldn’t work with these clients. They are not set up for success.
Nancy is the living, working example of the 5 previously mentioned things Bloggers want PR Agents to know in 2018. For all those fledgling businesses wanting to make this the year that you break the blogger working code, I hope these 5 tips will help you start healthy working relationships with bloggers too!
Now I want to ask, what do you think has been your greatest misconception about working with bloggers from a PR perspective? I’d love to hear about it below!