The explosion of social media has led to the rise of the blogger as an influential opinion maker. This has dramatically changed the marketing landscape and opened up an exciting new way for PR companies to engage with their audiences. The decline in traditional media has resulted in a dearth of journalists available to cover client’s all-important products or services, but the concomitant increase in the number of bloggers has provided a rich source of new opportunities. So what are the aspects you should consider when harnessing a blogger to your PR campaign? Here are six tips to help guide you:
1. First, be aware that not all blogs are the same. The early landscape of ‘mummy bloggers’ has changed significantly and there are now numerous blogs catering for niche markets. Find the ones that are both most appropriate to your audience and have the greatest reach. This will enable you to focus your efforts to those that are most likely to generate the best coverage.
2. It is vital to undertake due diligence before approaching a blogger with a pitch. Review their blog over a period of at least a couple of weeks – this will give you enough time to establish their style of posting and any opinions they hold that will affect their review of your product or service. Reading the comments will give you a good indication of their audience profile.
3. Bloggers generally don’t have editors – they own their content entirely. Unlike with traditional media pitches, where you may be dealing with more than one person, a blogger is solely responsible for the entire testing, review, writing and posting process. This makes your relationship all the more intense. Creating high quality personal interactions can go a long way towards securing a good review.
4. The nature of blogging is one of sharing. Show an ongoing commitment to your blogger beyond your business interests and pitches by regularly ‘liking’ or sharing their blog posts, tweets, Instagrams and Facebook activities. This will help cement your relationship with them and create strong bonds for the future.
5. The difference between traditional media and blogging is that the former needs to state facts and verify sources to be credible, whereas the latter is an accepted channel for opinion. Be aware that through a blog, it is quite possible that you may receive a harsh review based on an irrational, subjective viewpoint!
6. Understand that there can be sensitivities between bloggers and traditional journalists. At this year’s Melbourne Fashion Festival in Australia, tensions arose between the two factions, with fashion editors reportedly irritated that their front row seats had been taken by bloggers. The bloggers, in turn, argued that they deserved to be there because of their enormous social media reach. It’s not quite open warfare yet, but the rise of blogging and the increased pressure on traditional journalists can only result in more such scenarios. Alienating a particular group can have repercussions in your future relationships, so make sure you treat all parties fairly.
Ultimately, adding a blogger to your PR activities can result in great coverage for your client. Cultivating mutually beneficial long-term relationships with on-line exponents that are a great fit for your client’s brand can garner results that far and away exceed what can be expected from traditional media. If you don’t have one or more bloggers on board with your team as yet – it’s time to start looking!