By Lara Colvill
You’d be forgiven for thinking that all bloggers have a rocky relationship with PRs. We’ve all heard bloggers moan about PRs and the way we communicate with them, but what is it that really annoys them and how can PRs find bloggers and maintain good relations with them? It still appears to be a challenge for all too many PRs, despite bloggers repeatedly advising them how to approach them.
Recently, Sally Whittle of Tots 100 posted the latest benchmarking survey results of parent bloggers and their experience of PR relationships. Unfortunately, the negative results are not that surprising; most of us still don’t have that outreach technique quite right. So what can we do to change how we as PR professionals are seen in the blogging community? Given that hyper-personalisation is key to approaching bloggers, start by considering the following questions:
The first thing to understand about bloggers is that they don’t do it for the money; they do it because they love writing and are passionate about a particular topic. This could be as broad as parenting topics or something as niche as craft beer. Yes, a lot of them can make a living out of a blog and as PRs we can help contribute to that, by paying them for work where relevant (and disclosed!) or simply covering their expenses.
Blogger relations stats
The findings that have come out of the Tots 100 survey are hugely informative. Despite being a survey of parenting bloggers, they will be relevant to all bloggers and help you understand how to make the most of the PR / blogger relationship.
Use Twitter to nurture blogger relationships
The average number of Twitter followers Tots 100 bloggers have is around 1,500 with 87% active on Twitter. This is useful for deciding who might offer value to your clients, having loads of Twitter followers isn’t the best marker of success; you should consider how active they are on Twitter, what sort of engagement they get and who else in the blogging community they frequently chat to. Just because a blogger isn’t top ranking now doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future, if you build that relationship early on, your client will thank you once the blog has taken off and they are receiving significant search engine optimisation (SEO) boost from it.
Give bloggers products to review
Of the Tots 100 bloggers 90% want to work with brands. Good news! All that reading and relationship building really will pay off. Most of the bloggers out there really do want to work with a brand that they think will be relevant to them or of interest to their audience. Those that don’t will most likely state very clearly on their about page that they do not accept PR emails or want to work with any brands, again it really pays to spend time exploring and reading a blog before approaching the author.
However, 54% of the Tots 100 bloggers said that one of their biggest challenges was getting PRs to notice their blogs and even then only 20% of the PR emails they receive are of interest. Next time you’re trying to get blog coverage don’t just aim for the person with 95,000 Twitter followers, instead consider someone who has an engaged and active following who will genuinely be interested in your client, providing some great social signals, drive relevant traffic and link juice.
Blogger relevance and measurement
92% of the Tots 100 parent bloggers are female. This doesn’t mean they want to hear about the latest fashion trends, face cream, shoes or hair products. In order to build good blogger relationships, you need to understand them and their personal lifestyle and interests. To do this is very simple; spend time reading their blog, not just the most recent posts but older ones too. What was their first post? What life events have they spoken about? Have they already written about your client previously or any competitors? The only way to do that is to put some time in, a few hours minimum getting to know their blog and finding them on social networks. Add the most relevant to your Twitter bloggers list, if you don’t have one I’d suggest setting one up as it provides and easy to filter feed of any bloggers you work with, want to work with or find interesting.
Be ethical, always
In years gone by we were all learning how to behave online and in the social space, and may have done some things that looking back on, we find horrifying. Now the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued clear guidelines on blogging transparency; “…a blogger who is given money to promote a product or service has to ensure readers are aware they’re being advertised to”. Therefore any SEOs, PRs or other brand representatives need to be aware that if you are asking a blogger to post content without disclosing that they are breaking the law. And that arm of the law will go after you and not the blogger; “” the ASA states. That means YOU!
As long as you take the time to get to know a blogger and send them interesting and tailored emails, they will be more than happy to work with you. You may even gain a new friend.
Blogger/PR relations is quid pro quo; Bloggers want new and engaging content of interest to their audience and PRs want attention for their client and its product or service, some more social media love and a follow link back.
If you want to talk to us about strengthening you brand with influencer relations, please get in touch.