One of the key things you can do while developing successful blogger relations is to put yourself in the blogger’s shoes. Whether they’re big, corporate shoes or training shoes for growing feet, blogger outreach is like going back to school in a number of ways… but the rules may have changed since last term.
Likewise, in the case of PR for journalists versus bloggers, the shoe is on the other foot. If you are a brand reaching out to bloggers, it’s likely that they have the power. If you put a foot wrong, your reputation in the blogosphere could be at risk. So think like a blogger, consider what they want and need, and put it into practice.
All of this is a silly way of saying that when it comes to blogger relations, you must consider the proposition. Offer value and the opportunity for great content and bloggers will flourish, create great copy, and help to promote and amplify your message. Give them a pair of knackered old sandals when you made them expect Jimmy Choos, and you lay your credibility on the line. Bloggers are not constrained by traditional media rules – they don’t have to answer to the businesses they work for, and they do not have to toe the political line of that business either.
Trends are changing, and if your brand isn’t handling blogger relations in the accepted way while your competitors are out making friends with bloggers, you could seriously fall behind. The prominent and self-explanatory British Beauty Blogger recently posted about the beauty PR industry’s failure to keep up with flourishing trends in blogger relations practice. In a post titled ‘The Game Changed While Some Brands Weren’t Looking‘, British Beauty Blogger (let’s call her Brit) outlines some of the techniques employed by beauty PR executives – some of them seemingly generous and lucrative – and why, ultimately, they don’t offer value to bloggers.
Some of these mistakes are simple enough to correct: for example, she laments that some PRs still offer the same small rewards for writing a review as they did when her audience was considerably smaller. Once a blogger’s following elevates them above the “magic middle“, a single product provided for review purposes doesn’t cut it anymore. While many bloggers receive samples for consideration, most are too busy or do not blog for money. This can cause mounting expectations and ultimately prevents bloggers from creating the kind of fresh, innovative content that would be ideal for a blogger outreach campaign.
While this is a competitive field for drudgery, outreach fatigue for the blogger is further incentive to up your game. Again, it is important to put yourself in the bloggers shoes. If you were Brit, what would add value for you? Here is one way where brands are being innovative but, in putting themselves rather than the blogger first, got it wrong:
Recently, I’ve turned down the ‘opportunity’ (twice) to endorse products going on sale in stores nationally in exchange for a printed link on the packaging.
Now, what’s the first thing you do when you buy a new product? Take it out of the box, and … throw the box away.
… Take it from me that this kind of ‘promotion’ does not lead to significantly bigger stats, because by the time a customer has put the box to one side to take the actual products out … everything nudges that box further towards the recycling. A product endorsed by a blogger (even if you have never read a blog) might inspire you to purchase because any endorsement has the potential to swing a decision, but it is more or less worthless in real terms to the blogger.
Other mistakes which put the blogger first but are not well thought-out are competitions. As Brit rightly points out, not all bloggers (and perhaps very few) are familiar with the legal acts that govern giveaways and competitions. By putting your bloggers in these uncomfortable positions, you damage the relationship of mutual trust that you should be building together.
So before sending your proposal, put yourself in your prospective blogger’s shoes. Some things to think about:
- Do your own expectations and those of the blogger’s align?
- What is our mutual goal? (Think about message and mutual gains)
- How long will this take for the blogger to write?
- Think ahead – are there any costs involved or legal concerns to address?
By understanding your bloggers and catering to their needs without their having to ask, you can put your best foot forward and create an efficient, marketable blogger outreach campaign that takes off all on its own.
Read more about the value of blogger outreach by downloading the Inkybee eBook, and check back for more tips for building a successful blogger relations campaign.