This whole post started in a Facebook group with a statement I made, “No budget for marketing doesn’t mean hit up the mommy bloggers” – and a request – “Linda! Can you make that no budget line into a pin?” So I did. Feel free to pin away.
It’s no surprise to anyone that having a blogger’s seal of approval on your product is highly desired and potentially lucrative. Smart marketers realize that the key to getting bloggers on your side is to build the strong foundation for a relationship that will lead to advocacy.
That’s easy to understand, right?
The WHY and HOW of building that relationship are key – and not always easy to understand. That’s OK – bloggers are more than willing to help you out with that.
Leave the Gimmicks Behind
Please. Save the gimmicks. We’re smart—and quickly see through that. Your product should resonate with us – and if it doesn’t, then we probably aren’t your crowd. Or your branding is way off. If you have to wave a flag and act like a clown in front of our faces to get our attention then you are obviously on the wrong track. Fun and engaging sells, but silly and stupid comes across as unprofessional.
Do Your Homework
Know how to work with bloggers before you send that first email. Do your research ahead of time. I don’t just mean research the blogger, but research the industry. Have a clear understanding of what is going on – how are campaigns run and how can you be perceived as “a marketer who gets it.”
Follow Industry Best Practices
That means know your stuff AND their stuff too. Be aware of rules around content, required disclosure and platform terms of service to make sure that your bloggers are in compliance. If they get in trouble, your relationship is kaput and you could be in trouble as well. And if they aren’t following best practices, you probably don’t want to work with them anyway.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If you open the lines of communication, for the love of bacon, keep those lines open and remain transparent. Bloggers aren’t in business to promote you and make you look good, unless you pay them to do so. They are in the business of blogging, probably because they love IT. If they end up loving YOU, consider yourself lucky. With the exception of a rare few they AREN’T making tons of money on their blogs.
And in most cases, unless you are forking over the dough, they aren’t writing for you, traffic or exposure – they write for them and for their audience. If they genuinely love your product or service they will be more willing to work WITH you. To this day if a Suave pitch shows up in my email I get giddy. $2 shampoo. And I love it. Weber Shandwick was the first agency to actively engage with me (in 2009) on behalf of the brand, and I’ve been a loyal Suave shampooer ever since. Brand advocates and true fans of your products are worth their weight in gold.
There are so many more tips to marketing effectively to bloggers to build those relationships and I welcome anyone with other ideas to post in the comments. C’mon, let’s hear your thoughts.
Linda Sellers blogs at Linneyville.com, a multi-generational lifestyle blog that she co-authors with her daughter, Maggie. She is a Strategist at Create Digital, a full-service social media marketing agency. She loves photography and travel and is excited to take on her newest hobby soon – grandparenting! You can find her on Twitter at Linda_Sellers.