All great PR’s know that the influence of a blogger has the potential to be far greater than any form of paid advertising in the new digital age. Bloggers slowly build a strong audience as they share their daily thoughts and opinions. Working with bloggers can be a great way to get your client’s brand exposure, should you work with blogs than suit the brand. Just as journalists are accustomed to receiving dozens of press releases, so are bloggers. Being personable, but professional, is important for influencer marketing when collaborating with bloggers.

To help you do this, we’ve put together a list of the 7 DO’s and 7 DONT’s when reaching out to a blogger you would like to work with.

1) Telling a blogger your content is a ‘MUST publish’

Nothing irritates a blogger, or a journalist, more than hearing how their client’s content is a ‘must publish’. According to who? A PR’s need to have content featured does not constitute it as valuable. It is up to the editor to decide whether the content works for their audience or not. Remember this. It will change your approach and potentially achieve better results. Take pride in your work, be passionate about the content, but don’t tell them what to publish. A personal approach will appeal more to the editor than the hard sell ‘must publish’ approach.

2) Don’t Assume They Have Time For You

Most bloggers are extremely busy. Whether they are mums or work full time, they are often juggling roles of mother, partner, employee, blogger, etc. Assuming they have time for you (or your product) is a mistake. Many PR’s hound bloggers for a response to their mail and this can burn bridges before a relationship is even formed. Mail bloggers in good time and allow them a couple of days to reply, before following up.

3) Don’t Act Like You’re Doing Them a Favour

It’s important to remember that bloggers are providing you with a service as much as you are providing them with an opportunity. Many bloggers are requested to publish content without a gift or compensation. Essentially they are working for free. Many PR’s are working with brands that are not big labels or very glamorous – telling a blogger why your brand is interesting and why working with you would be advantageous will further the collaboration and you can both help each other.

4) Forgetting to Include a Courtesy Note

Take a moment to add a courtesy note to introduce yourself and the brand to the blogger. Nearly all blogs have the author’s name on the front or ‘about’ page. An e-mail address titled, “Hello blogger” opposed to “Hello Mary”, for example, indicates that you have not looked up their details, and may result in your mail being deleted. Add a short personable introduction when reaching out so that they can see you’ve done your research. If you have an established relationship with the blogger, they won’t mind blanket mails as much.

5) Not Doing Your Research

Do your research. Take a moment to read the blogger’s ‘about’ page, contact page, latest posts and last product review. They may have written about a competitor just this week! Take a look. This will give you a sense of who they are, how you should approach them and whether they fit your brand. You will already have a better chance of receiving a reply if the blogger knows you have a taken a moment to view their work.

6) Treat Your Mail Differently To Real Life

Before you mail a stranger (someone you would like to work with, but a stranger none the less), think about how you would approach them in real life. If you’d randomly walk up to someone and dump your card or product on them, mail away. In reality, you’re far more likely to gingerly approach and kindly introduce yourself, investigate what they like, make small talk, etc. This applies to online outreach too. Remember you’re just a PR standing in front of blogger asking them to love your brand.

7) Ignoring Them at Events

If you invite a blogger to an event, include the hostess’s name so they know who to ask for when they arrive. Often bloggers are invited to events, but when they arrive they are ignored or end up standing alone, pottering about, trying to act interested in your product they know little about and leave 20 minutes later. Ensure someone is there to greet them and tell them why they are there (you invited them for a reason after all). Often bloggers leave events as the point of them visiting (from their point of view) has not been made clear. A simple introduction and greeting can put the night into context and give them more information about the product/brand, which is more likely to result in coverage.

7 Tips to Improve your Outreach

1) Give Them a Chance

If you invite a blogger to an event, include the hostess’s name so they know who to ask for when they arrive. Often bloggers are invited to events, but when they arrive they are ignored or end up standing alone, pottering about, trying to act interested in your product they know little about and leave 20 minutes later. Ensure someone is there to greet them and tell them why they are there (you invited them for a reason after all). Often bloggers leave events as the point of them visiting (from their point of view) has not been made clear. A simple introduction and greeting can put the night into context and give them more information about the product/brand, which is more likely to result in coverage.

2) Offer Them Products

Many clients are happy to give product (but not cash) for online space. Offer them a product to keep if their audience is large enough. If you can’t pay them in money, pay them in kind. If they have a small audience, loan them the product to try out.

3) Tell Them What You Want

Often PR’s send packages with no brief. If you send packages without an agreement or prior knowledge, bloggers are not obligated to give you coverage. If you want the blogger to tweet about your product, ask them. If you’d like them to feature it on their website, say so. Letting them know why the product is ‘cool’ and where it fits into their lives is more likely to result in coverage.

4) State a Deadline

If you’re on a tight deadline let this be known to the blogger so that they understand you are pressed for time. This way they will be able to confirm whether they can help you by your deadline. They may need to decline if they don’t have the time to help you being up front is best for all parties involved.

5) Be Social

Start a work Twitter account and keep up to date with your contacts. It’s a great way to keep your weekend/private/party pictures away from people who you want to take you seriously (your boss/bloggers/journalists/prospective clients or employees). It will also allow you to engage on a purely work front and keep in touch with those in the industry. Bloggers are more likely to work with you again if they feel you are generally interested in their work, even if only on a business front.

6) Send Event Reminders

Often bloggers will accept your client’s event invitation, but then forget to diarise it and fail to attend. Send a reminder e-mail the day before the event so that they can be sure to have it diarised, dress appropriately and arrive on time. With so many mails being sent to them, if they are not highly organised (which many bloggers aren’t), they may forget to attend. Sending them a reminder will ensure they do.

7) Include the Details

Ensure to include your client’s Facebook, Twitter, G+ or Instagram details, in your e-mails, if you are requesting event coverage. This way the bloggers can include the hashtag or details in their social competitions or coverage of the event. This will create more exposure and potentially help your event trend on the day. Engagement is key on social media platforms so ensuring these basics are covered can further your brand reach. These details are also often used when they initially publish their piece. They may tag your client’s Facebook page or Twitter account, retweet this and show your support in return. Bloggers are also looking for exposure; by sharing their coverage on your client’s social page it will also benefit them and their reach.

Working with bloggers can be fun and challenging. It’s a great way to get coverage and exposure, but it can also go wrong (they can just as easily write something negative as they can positive). If you are representing your client in any way, you are working. It’s great to be personal via e-mail or Twitter, but always remember you are working – even if you’re mailing from personal accounts. Don’t get overly familiar. Good luck!

 

By Meg Shout, digital executive at MediaVision


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