Bloggers of our day have been bestowed with something that even stirs the jealous bones of news teams – loyal, trusting readers. Pictures of newly-adopted kittens, short articles about food, and event reviews filled with selfies and one-too-many canapé pictures – which would be considered taboo for traditional news outlets – live flamboyantly on blogs and entice countless readers.
What we’re seeing today is a shift of consumer preference, and oftentimes trust, in the content they consume. Rather than professionally written news pieces, many are seeking entertaining, picture-filled blog posts drizzled with humour, sarcasm and written in simple English. Consumers look to blogs to form their purchasing decisions and the marketing impact of a persuasive, well written blog post is undeniable.
Many blogs are functioning with structured editorial teams in place, but they still work differently from newsrooms, which is why brands need to do a little homework if they hope to land a spot on popular web logs.
First impressions do count, and it’s important to start off on the right foot when you approach bloggers. But how can brands actually start approaching these digital wordsmiths?
By now, you would have done your research and compiled a comprehensive list of potential bloggers who you feel best represent your brand.
While bloggers in the past might have accepted impersonal notes from PR and marketing executives, they are less appreciative of it today. Make sure you write a personalised note to each blogger, building rapport and clearly stating what your brand offers and how you’d like to partner with them. Keep in mind that they are not obliged to rave about your product or write a story off a generic press release, even if you give them a freebie.
It’s not a ‘numbers game’ anymore, so avoid the automated approach of mass emails to hundreds of people (which will likely end up in the spam folder, and result in your email address getting blocked). Focus instead on building an actual relationship with the relevant bloggers in order for them to understand and trust your product or service. Only then will they become true brand advocates.
While everyone wants the big and famous blogs with a massive following, credible smaller blogs are often easier to approach and work with, and can spur the larger blogs to take notice.
Before reaching out, start following them on social media and reading their blogs to get an idea of how they tick. Better still, become a genuine fan of their blog – start reading, sharing, and commenting on their posts. That way, you’ll understand how your brand can fit in with the blog’s narrative and come up with suitable angles.
Take the relationship from cyberspace to real life after you’ve personally written to the bloggers – nothing beats human interaction. Have a chat about your brand and make sure you highlight anything that could be of interest to their readers. The quality of your product or brand is going to inspire the blogger to write about it, much more than your tenacity or gift-giving.
Bear in mind that the aim is not to receive unpaid advertising – bloggers truthfully share their experiences about products and services. If you want to buy a sponsored spot on their blog, it will be highlighted as such.
Bloggers have real impact and genuine points of view, and genuine interactions will always yield much greater results. So get creative, and get personal! It’s time to hit the blogs.
For more information on how Mutant can help with blogger engagement, get in touch with us at [email protected]
Chase Jarvis and fiercekitty – Photowalk Gnomedex 2009 image by kris krüg is licensed under CC BY 2.0.