In the early days of social blogging, when the landscape was predominantly new mums blogging about the joys and challenges of parenting and young women sharing their top beauty finds, bloggers would offer genuine product reviews in exchange for a product sample. Payment, other than occasional expenses, did not factor and the emphasis on strategic interactive content rather than static review posts was significantly less. Brands had not yet cottoned onto the influence bloggers held nor had bloggers realised their worth to brands could be monetized.
The blogosphere has blown up since then. Bloggers are influencers in their own right, and in some cases outstrip the reach and authority of traditional print titles and other media platforms.
The rise and influence of bloggers is tangible. Blogs and social media posts allow interaction with the target audience and on occasion brands can see an increase in sales immediately after a blogger has recommended a product. In a recent Periscope post, the British Beauty Blogger recounted how a luxury brand wanted to collaborate as they witnessed record sales after a product was featured on the British Beauty Blog.
Fitness, nutrition and wellbeing has spiked in the UK’s collective conscience, with millennials and baby boomers alike fit-bitting their way to a healthier mindset. This has, naturally, seen a huge growth in fitness, nutrition and wellbeing bloggers, with the likes of Zanna van Dijk and Faya Nilsson gaining incredible traction in a relatively short space of time.
As a result, bloggers have changed the way brands interact with consumers, where PRs are the facilitators in the relationship between brands and bloggers. Here are some tips on how to create and maintain fruitful working relationships with bloggers:
- Bloggers spend their life on the internet. They want to be emailed not called, unless specifically requested
- Bloggers often have day jobs and may not be able to respond to your enquiry immediately. Be patient, but send a gentle reminder a week later and, if necessary, a final email to let them know you won’t be chasing on the subject any longer. So allow additional time when planning strategy for liaising with bloggers
- Understand, interact with and leverage that bloggers tend to document their life for all to see. Make sure you read their blog carefully before engaging with them and bring shared interests and talking points into the conversation. The more rich and shareable the content you can give them, the better
- Once you have started a relationship, be sure to maintain it. Thank bloggers for any posts they decide to do and engage with bloggers across social media – don’t obsessively stalk them but liking, commenting and sharing their content will help to keep you, and your brands, in their forefront
- Be personable and professional. Remember bloggers are not governed by the same code of practice that journalists are but brands do still have to adhere to ASA rules when working with bloggers or any other social media activity
- Be wary of asking bloggers to make unnecessary amends once copy has been posted. Such requests are often born out of unrealistic expectations of what coverage can be achieved with bloggers. Inaccuracies or wrong information should be flagged but requesting for a stylistic amendment or grammar ‘improvement’ should be refrained from
- Bloggers are valued by their audiences mostly because they are authentic and genuine. Share you brand values and what you are hoping to achieve with your outreach programme with them. Just don’t insist that they adopt a certain tone or content as it is ultimately their editorial
- Take the time to thoroughly investigate which bloggers are most relevant to your subject area and target audience, and in turn who influences them. A focussed and strategic approach is essential. Ten specially targeted and researched blogger posts can be significantly more powerful than fifty generic blog posts
By Philippa Short