By Chris Lee
Blogging has been mainstream for more than a decade but for many brands and their PR agencies aiming to identify and engage with key influencers, bloggers have different needs and practices to journalists. So how should brands interact with bloggers, many of whom enjoy genuine reach and higher trust among their audiences than traditional media?
Tailor approach according to audience
Sarah Moore is blogging engagement manager for Blogging Edge, an agency dedicated to blogger relations. For Moore, her focus is on building and maintaining relationships with bloggers.
“When identifying influencers within various sectors, we look for bloggers with an existing interest in the brand or product we want to promote, as well as how well they engage with their readership,” she told NMK. “Taking time to read blogs also helps, as you can quickly identify if a blog will be a good fit through the general tone of the site, the use of photography and the design elements.”
Moore continued: “While being bloggers ourselves definitely helps in starting a dialogue, it is important to remember that bloggers are just like the rest of us – busy people juggling numerous different commitments alongside running a website.”
Getting details right, like addressing them with the correct name and spelling the title of their blog properly, may seem obvious, but they are crucial considerations, she warned.
“There is nothing worse than receiving a generic email that starts ‘Dear Blogger’ – it demonstrates that you haven’t bothered to look at their blog at all. Reading ‘About’ and ‘Contact’ or ‘PR’ pages where available should give you enough information to construct a meaningful opening email,” Moore added.
Most bloggers Moore works with run their websites in their spare time, so marketers in the same position might face is a lack of communication during regular working hours.
“Unfortunately there are also some bloggers out there who will accept products without reviewing them. While this is rare, it does happen on occasion, so it’s important to manage your or your client’s expectations,” she concluded..
Blogging relations case study
One of the leading blogger relations services in the UK is Best British Bloggers from digital consultants Stickyeyes, which includes 10,000 bloggers on its network. The service matches bloggers to its client campaigns according to their influence and authority on their chosen subjects.
Hotel company Hilton Worldwide came to Best British Bloggers with a clear demand; to reach out to key online influencers in the UK and Ireland to raise awareness of the Hilton brand.
This would be the first time that the Hilton brand would attempt to connect with key bloggers and online influencers, but expectations were high. Not only did Hilton want to increase its online exposure and increase brand awareness, the company also wanted to create a new breed of brand advocates who could speak with authority to large and highly engaged audiences.
The campaign would also be a key contributor to Hilton’s wider search marketing campaign, with a focus on creating unique, relevant content, social shares and quality link referrals.
Best British Bloggers helped connect key influencers in fashion, beauty and lifestyle with Hilton.
“The #RediscoverHilton campaign focused on helping influential bloggers rediscover an aspect of life that was important to them and to their readers, with the stories told through their blogs to an audience of millions,” according to Stickyeyes. “Whether it was taking people on an action-packed city break or giving someone a chance to unwind on a spa weekend, #RediscoverHilton would demonstrate the diversity of Hilton’s hotel breaks and bring the Hilton brand to a completely new audience.”
More than 2.8 million people were reached by the #RediscoverHilton campaign, which helped lead to a 125 per cent uplift in brand citations across social and coverage on 33 third party blogs.