PR Tips for working with Bloggers

Working with bloggers is a new and exciting form of public relations that has been fast growing in rage.

Bloggers are as influential as they seem – and many brands are getting to understand their true value. They are part of massive communities and they speak to one another on a daily basis. But on the flip side, one regularly comes across negative chatter from bloggers about how the PR professionals approach and interact with them.

A few months ago I had blogged and questioned whether PR agencies in Pakistan knew ‘how’ to work with bloggers in comparison to working with the traditional or mainstream journalist – and had outlined the good with the bad of our industry.  Bloggers are not part of the traditional media and journalists that PR professionals are used to working with – but that does not mean they are not professionals and are in it for ‘fun’ or to be ‘pushed’.

10 things that (real) bloggers want companies and brands to remember when working with them.

  1. Blogging is not just a hobby! Most bloggers see their work professionally, it is disheartening and discouraging when PR professionals send messages that sound like an order. If the relationship is build respectfully, bloggers are fantastic brand partners and, on a long-term ongoing brand champions.
  2. Respect the bloggers time. Bloggers put a lot of time into writing, photography, and scheduling posts is more intensive than most realize. Provide a blogger enough time in advance to produce the best work possible; nobody likes feeling rushed or being told to do something ‘today’.
  3. Unlike journalists – blogging is not the primary job! Bloggers may have another job – in addition to producing great content for their blogs. So if you do not get a reply to that email you sent within an hour…do not worry.
  4. Do your homework. Read their blog first – and as a PR person know why you are pitching to the blogger in the first place. Consider the demographics and behaviors of the targeted bloggers and ask why a blogger would want to partner with you.
  5. Bloggers are individuals. Remember these three words whenever communicating with a blogger. Customize your outreach and never send emails and messages starting with “Dear Blogger”! Get to know them. Ask to speak with them on the phone; do not hesitate to ask them a little bit about themselves.
  6. Share valuable and timely information — Without solid content, a PR person doesn’t really have much hope of securing coverage. Q&As, product reviews, research findings, new data — these are all strong potential content options. Before pitching a to blogger, make sure you’re offering something valuable.
  7. Consider a blogger’s full social media footprint. Digital PR is not always about getting a blog published. A few tweets from someone may carry a lot more weight than a blog post in terms of actual influence – so consider partnering with dynamic influencers who uses multiple platforms to engage with their audience. And think creatively about ways you could leverage that network.
  8. Bloggers priority is their readers not the brand! Expecting anything but honesty about a product or service from a blogger. The people who read blogs are looking for transparency and honest opinions, if the writer cannot deliver then reliability is lost – so don’t expect a positive review. Let the blogger tell the brand story in a compelling way. Don’t try to control what is written.
  9. Compensate. When it comes down to compensation, bloggers feel that they are being “cheated” sometimes. Understand that it is a professional arrangement and compensate the blogger for their time and effort. Compensation doesn’t always have to be cash (product may suffice), but the offer should absolutely have some monetary value. Hiring a blogger has to be seen as an extension of the marketing/PR efforts.
  10. Build meaningful relationships. Invest time in nurturing relationships with bloggers. Instead of approaching blogger outreach as a one-time activity, take a long-term approach. How can marketing/PR people work with bloggers to create mutually beneficial relationship?

Bottom line: getting influencers to talk about your brand is an extremely effective PR tactic. The time to plan and carry out blogger outreach programs can produce significant payback.

Bloggers life

REMEMBER: Let the blogger find the newsworthiness in your brand story!

This article was originally published in March 2014 issue of Brands Magazine – and this is the unedited version of the same.

About Samra Muslim

Comments

  1. What a fabulous summation! So great to see.

  2. These are very good tips and they don’t concern only the brands, they also concern what a blogger should expect to receive from a brand!

  3. This is a great blog post.

    Speaks our heart out!

    XX

  4. This is indeed a great post and speaks for all the bloggers.The companies have a strange point for view in this respect.According to them when we are blogging about something of our own purchase for free why cant we do the same for another product.I hope in time they will understand that asking for compensation is not about being material.

  5. Samra so happy you posted this. PR and Brands keep telling us that they invite us and give us stuff for free and they fail to realize we are also giving them our time, energy and Blog space for free as well. It as a give an take situation but feels more like a one way relationship :) Lols.
    Great Post! Will share further!

  6. You couldn’t have described much better, excellent.

  7. Great article and I am so much in agreement with point 8 – bloggers priority is to readers not the product.
    There have been times when I was approached for writing a review, but when I mentioned that I am going to put a disclaimer, they just wouldn’t get it. Bloggers get judged enough for writing reviews, but adding that disclaimer at least ensures that you have mentioned that its a free product/service right in the beginning.
    The blogs that I trust & recommend are the ones that have disclaimers – the ones that give positive & negative comments with proper justification. That’s something that companies need to understand – the serious bloggers don’t like trashing a product on purpose, but they will write a critical review about it.
    I also think maybe you should write an article on why companies need to work with bloggers :), its so sad that the blogging industry is so popular & well used abroad but in its infancy here.

    • Absolutely agree with you Kiran and disclaimers to me are an absolute must, whether companies like them or not!

      Moving onwards, will definitely take your suggestion about sharing a few case studies on the importance of working with bloggers too :)

  8. PR agencies and company individuals should read this.
    Speaking out of experience, I can say that companies need to think of bloggers as powerful individuals who are leaders of ‘customer unions’ of sorts! Taking them for granted does not and will not work. You just can’t order and expect great results. It is a professional relationship irrespective of the scale of it.

  9. VERY well written (y). It speaks me, and what I’ve been trying to tell most of the PR companies as a blogger. Questions all the bloggers have are answered in this post. Great post.

  10. Thank you for being our awaaz :) its a phenomenal blogpost

  11. very well written PR companies should read our blogs or at least blog descriptions.

  12. Totally agree with these points. Some PR companies don’t even know about niche of blogging and they will just send customized invite to the mailing list. Like i used to get invitations for Phone Launch / Technology events but that wasn’t my niche. Similarly one PR company from LHR kept calling me after the event that why haven’t i wrote any blog about them.

  13. Perfectly put! ..almost an education for those of us who are still either in the dark or in denial regarding the influence a blogger wields !

  14. Honored :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] and shared about the role and responsibilities of a blogger in Pakistan. I guess it started with Samra Muslim’s Tips for PR companies, then a few others started talking about it on twitter, then on facebook groups and most recently a […]

  2. […] P.S. After showing it to a friend, he pointed out that my post is actually just an emotional version of Samra Muslim’s blog post here. […]

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