Today many people learn from bloggers and digital influencers via social media. While until recently, traditional media relationships and great press releases were the only way – other than advertising – to disseminate information, today, working with bloggers and other social media influencers provides brands with another helpful tool. Following are few things to consider when collaborating with bloggers as you work to strengthen your brand’s reputation and influence consumer behavior:
- Know your Target Audience. Not only does knowing your audience affect your products, research and brand platform, knowing the bloggers’ audience is important if you want your message to reach the people you’re targeting. Also, bloggers within the brand’s target demographic are those most likely to be interested in a partnership.
- Incentivizing your Bloggers. As you search for bloggers who best fit your brand, keep in mind how you can help them. Be prepared to offer compensation since for many, blogging is their main source of income. Be respectful of their time and reputation as you seek to begin a relationship and have them promote your brand or products. If your intentions are not clear at the outset, you will likely be ignored. Many high-traffic bloggers receive invitations and pitches by the dozen every day. If you want one to post about your brand, make your pitch clear and to the point.
Beyond compensation, strive to build a mutually beneficial relationship. Bloggers’ reputation and readers are their most valuable assets. You can’t overestimate their importance. If your brand does not fit their needs and their readers’ needs, they won’t promote it. Bloggers will need to be sure that aligning themselves with your company will help build (or at least maintain) the relationship they have with readers.
- Pitching to Bloggers. Most bloggers prefer email pitches. They are often too busy to take phone calls and prefer to see all relevant information as they select brands to work with from the many offers they get. Make sure your email includes everything they need to know, and be considerate of their time. Email pitches lacking specifics are likely to be promptly deleted.
Be authentic and sincere, address bloggers by name, and make sure they know you are familiar with their content. Generic pitches will be ignored. Be specific but concise; explain what the product is, what your expectations for the blogger are, what your proposed compensation is, and whether there is a giveaway or promotion for the blogger’s readers.
- Maintain the Relationship. Once you begin a relationship, work to sustain it. Being accessible is critical, so respond promptly to any messages from bloggers and keep the communication lines open. Thanking them as they post about your brand will go a long way.
Keep in touch and don’t hesitate to ask what their preferences are. Remember, bloggers are experts who are popular with their readers – your brand’s audience! – because they understand that audience. That makes them of great value to your brand.
To find and establish a relationship with the right bloggers, consider enlisting a public relations firm that has experience in creating these partnerships. PR agencies are known for connecting brands to the networks that will reach specific audiences and those with experience in new media may already have a network of bloggers who are a good fit for your brand.