Bloggers are a great way to promote your product or service. But if you want bloggers to talk positively about your brand, you need to build a strong relationship with them.
Many marketers don’t understand this. They think bloggers are journalists. They’re not. Press releases and conferences don’t work with bloggers – most don’t pay attention to these, and many who do listen feel manipulated by them.
Look For Long-Term Relationships
Don’t try to create a one-time quick hit with bloggers. If you think you can talk to a blogger once and get a glowing review, think again. Just like any relationship, connecting with bloggers takes real effort if you want good results.
They are much more likely to support your brand if you develop a personal rapport with them, and if you are open and honest about what you have to offer.
By focusing on deep relationships, you’ll also save effort in the long run. Cultivate a small number of influential bloggers who talk about your brand again and again.
This has a cumulative effect on their audience, and is much more effective than a one-off mention. As a bonus, you won’t have to look for new bloggers every time you launch a new product or marketing campaign.
Target Key Influencers
Of course, to build a relationship with bloggers, you have to meet them first. Too many first-time digital marketers get this wrong.
If you do a quick search for bloggers on Google and then send out hundreds of impersonal emails, you’re unlikely to get any response at all. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll just upset the bloggers you email.
Online meeting places such as Tomoson are a good way to meet new bloggers. These sites let you screen bloggers by area of interest, and provide metrics that tell you how influential each one is.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s easy to reach out and contact them on the blogger introduction site. The other big advantage is that the bloggers on these sites actually want to talk to you.
Show Bloggers You Like Their Work
Everyone likes to be appreciated – including bloggers. If you want to build a strong relationship with a blogger, show them that you’ve read their blog and that you think it’s good.
Be sincere – bloggers can spot cynical flattery a mile away. In fact, you really should be genuinely interested in what a blogger writes – this is a good sign that they can connect with their audience.
There are lots of other ways to show bloggers that you appreciate their work. This can be as simple as retweeting their tweets, or posting links to their blog posts. When they mention your brand on their blog, drop them a quick note to say thank you.
To show that you really like their work, why not link to and mention their blog? Just don’t overdo it – remember that genuine interest is much better than overblown praise.
Get Bloggers Involved In Your Strategy
If you really want a blogger to feel that you value their work, involve them directly in your marketing and product strategy.
You could ask them for feedback, or even for help refining your messages. By getting bloggers engaged and using their ideas, you give them a personal stake in your success.
There’s an even bigger reason for getting bloggers engaged in your strategy. They know their audience better than you do – that’s why people read their blog. If you listen to them, your marketing messages are going to hit the mark more often.
Bloggers can also tell you what’s right or wrong with your product, and you can use these insights to improve its appeal and drive more sales.
Make It Easy To Talk About Your Brand
To get a blogger to be your brand champion, you need to do most of the work for them. That doesn’t mean offering to write their blog entries – that’s a big, big mistake.
But you can give them great content that’s easy to use. For example, suppose you want a blogger to run a contest with your product as a prize.
There’s nothing wrong with giving them nice graphics, along with cool text that describes how the contest works.
Everyone wins – readers get a chance to win great prizes, the blogger gets kudos from readers, and you get the type of exposure you want.
Speaking of great content, don’t do dull. Try to create innovative content that resonates with bloggers and their readers.
Remember, you don’t have to talk about your product to sell it. A lot of the best social media marketing campaigns use humor, mystery or excitement to drive engagement – and that’s exactly the sort of material that bloggers can easily use.
Stay In Contact
Once you have created a relationship with a blogger, you need to keep working on it. Don’t go into radio silence once your campaign is over. At best, bloggers will forget about you. At worst, they’ll think you’ve abandoned them now that you no longer need them.
Don’t bug them every day, but do touch base every little while – even if there’s nothing specific you want them to do.
For instance, one great way of keeping in contact is with a monthly newsletter. This doesn’t have to be about your product – it could be hot news about what’s happening in their area of interest.
If you travel regularly, another good idea is to look up bloggers when you visit their city. Offer to take them out for a ballgame or fashion event – and ask them if they’d like to bring their friends or family. Just promise that you won’t talk about work all the time – even the most dedicated blogger needs time off.
Stay in touch with bloggers you’ve build relationships with and your brand will reap the results.
Do you have tips on what works best when you reach out to bloggers?
Are you a blogger who wants to share approaches you prefer?
Let us know in the comments.
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