The art of blogger relations: Five ways to become a blogger's new BFF
Despite the death of the press release media relations is in no way extinct, but with newsrooms shrinking and print moving into digital, a successful media relations program now includes blogger relations.
Working with journalists means a relationship is professional, but with bloggers it’s different. They write about their passions and have real emotional connections with their readers and followers. Respect and understanding of what matters to each blogger, and ultimately his or her audience, is what’s most important. No blasting mass emails. No sending off-topic pitches. No “just-following-up” phone calls. Respect, relevance, oh and friendship helps.
Building positive relationships with bloggers is as important as it is delicate. It can be a very fine line between getting positive coverage from a blogger, being ignored or even being flamed. It’s important to keep front of mind the trust readers have in bloggers and a blogger’s ability to influence purchasing decisions of his or her followers. After all people are more likely to buy a product if they hear about it from someone they trust (Nielsen, 2013).
Here are five tips to becoming a blogger’s new BFF:
- Find the right people. Not every blogger is right for every brand. Discovering the right ones can be challenging, but there are a few tools to help. Google Alerts will send a notification when there is a mention of a brand or a specific keyword in the blogosphere. BuzzStream provides user the ability to manage blogger lists and outreach. CisionPoint and GroupHigh have blogger databases and content distribution functions.
- Shut up and listen. Some bloggers get multiple pitches in a day so don’t waste their time with off topic spam. Know specifically what a blogger covers and how. Read the blog. Checkout the blogroll and the About, Disclosure, and PR pages on a blogger’s website to find out what the blog is about, whether pitches are accepted, and how best to get in touch. Additionally, bloggers often provide specific instructions on how to pitch them.
- Participation is good PR.Build the relationship before pitching; follow and engage bloggers on social media—not as your brand but as yourself—and actively read and comment on blogs. It’s about building a relationship of respect through authenticity and participation.
- Add value or don’t bother. Offer the blogger something she or he won’t be able to find alone— something new or different and special. Use creative content to tell a story such as videos or infographics, or hold an event. Remember there’s no one-size-fits-all solution; tailor the approach to each blogger.
- It’s not goodbye. The relationship doesn’t end when the story runs. The way a PR pro interacts after the coverage could help or hurt future relations. Publicly thanking the blogger and sharing the coverage on social networks is common courtesy; take it one step further by submitting it to content aggregators such as Digg and reddit. Keeping in touch with an occasional retweet will strengthen relationships over time.
Click here to put Thornley Fallis’ blogger relations expertise to work for you!