Aug 23 Tips for Agencies Pitching to Bloggers
Kristin and I had the pleasure of attending the 2011 BlogHer Conference in San Diego a couple of weekends ago. While we didn’t know what to expect going into to the female blogging conference – given it was a first for both of us – we came out of it thinking about our relationships with bloggers and how we can improve those efforts on behalf of our clients.
While Kristin explored the phenomenon of bloggers pitching directly to brands or agencies in an attempt to secure sponsorship or product, I’ll explore some ideas I have that community engagement and relations specialists can apply to their everyday relations with bloggers.
Tips for Pitching to Bloggers
If you’re pitching to a high-traffic blog, there’s a significant chance that they receive a considerable number of requests for coverage or sponsored content. Even the small blogs want to feel like they matter. Don’t just churn out another automated or preconceived email. Yes, you may have set details you’re supposed to provide (and be clear about those – I’ll cover that in my next point), but always take the time to actually read the blog and learn about the blogger so that you can make a personal and informed connection.
Be clear with your client’s objectives and goals.
Even if there’s a blogger that you may think is perfect for a particular product or campaign, he or she may have certain rules or criteria they adhere to for their blog. After all, it is their baby. There have been campaigns where bloggers later come back and ask, “So what exactly am I supposed to be posting?” “Where am I supposed to host this application?” “I don’t think I can try this product.” Be clear and you won’t run into any issues later, wondering why a post hasn’t gone up or a blogger is MIA.
Pay attention to the blog you’re considering.
In addition to being clear with the blogger, you have to be clear with your client in terms of the blogs you’re selecting. You have to ensure that they’re a good fit for the campaign’s objectives and goals. If you’re working with a children’s toy brand, for example, you are likely going to select bloggers that have kids – not single, city socialites blogging about their escapades. You should also know why you’re choosing this blogger. They may seem perfect in your eyes, but if your client comes back with any questions, you have to have concrete reasons to justify why you think they’re a good fit.
Consider key metrics.
As much as you may love a blogger, you want to make sure they have enough traffic or readership to meet your client’s goals. You should consider not only their content, but also their aesthetics and metrics. Is the blog aesthetically pleasing and easy to read? How often do they post? How many comments do they receive? How active are they on other social networks? But please note, while these numbers are extremely important in predicting the success of your campaign, they aren’t everything. If you find a blog that you feel has a lot of potential or one that will grow to become popular, sometimes it’s best to build that initial relationship early.
How to Find the Right Bloggers for Your Campaign
There’s nothing more important than building an actual relationship with your bloggers, something Christian, our Community Relations Specialist and “Blogger Queen,” can attest to. It’s much more satisfying to meet the people who will essentially become ambassadors of your brand in person rather than over email. It’s easier to build connections, and the conversations flow naturally. You learn first-hand the type of person the blogger is, and you can gain insight into his or her interests and beliefs much quicker than scrolling through page after page of archived posts.
Consider the relationships you already have.
Once you build relationships with bloggers, you build a sense of trust and you know that you’ll be able to turn to them for future campaigns (and they’ll be willing to keep in touch because they’ll want the inside track to brands). Consider your previous campaigns: are there any bloggers you’ve worked with that would be good for your campaign? Are there bloggers whose opinions you trust? Perhaps they could recommend bloggers in their networks or that they know personally. Once you build those relationships, I’ve found that bloggers are willing to help you out – especially if you’ve built the foundation of a friendship (it is possible – even over email!).
Regularly keep track of the blogosphere.
Be proactive. Even if you can’t attend every conference out there, you can still keep up with trends in the blogosphere and note blogs that could be useful for future campaigns. You can also take note of blogs that you just find interesting, plain and simple. In our industry, you never know what type of campaign you’ll be working on next.
Take advantage of established blog networks.
There are several networks, like BlogHer, Business 2 Blogger and Mom Central, that have hoards of bloggers in different niches willing to partner with brands. If you’re struggling to find enough bloggers, or perhaps you’re a novice at blogger outreach, these networks and other lists can be an excellent starting point.
Do you work for an agency or brand that does blogger outreach? Share any other tips you have in the comments below.