When bloggers crept onto the media relations radar for PR pros in the early 2000’s, only a handful were prominent enough to get noticed compared to the millions of bloggers today who may or may not be right for a given campaign. But one thing is certain. Bloggers cannot be ignored and pitches can backfire, badly, if you do not personalize story and product review ideas in the same way you would for large national outlets.
Another major shift has come in the form of blogger sponsorships and partnerships. If you’ve been on the pitching side of a blogger campaign recently, you know that many now require some form of compensation. This often triggers a heated debate and I have heard both sides argued well.
I blog personally so professionally, I am extremely interested in how this landscape continues to change at a rapid pace. As you consider blogger programs for 2014, I urge you to keep the following in mind:
- Mom bloggers are regular women too, not just moms. Don’t overlook them for content related to fitness, fashion, travel, cooking, finance, etc. Simply make the topic relatable to their lifestyle. For example, how will your client’s fitness product or service make it easier for them to sneak in 30 minutes of physical activity several times per week?
- Size isn’t everything. A local food blog may only have 2,000 readers per month, but it’s probably safe to assume his or her readers are loyal and choose to follow the site for a very specific reason. If your brand fits that audience, coverage on a small blog may do much more for your company than placement in a daily newspaper or morning show that doesn’t reach your users.
- Sadly, one silver bullet for building blogger lists does not exist, so stop looking for it. Instead, embrace the process—which I find to be interesting and quite fun! Depending on the type of bloggers you are looking to target I suggest lists be built through a combination of paid search tools (e.g., Cision, GroupHigh), blogroll research and Google searches.
- Do your research before pitching a blogger. Read more than just their latest post and be sure to click through to “About Me” and “Sponsorship” tabs if available as well. The information provided there typically offers invaluable insight into their personality, preferences, rates (if applicable) and experience working with other brands. Many bloggers also have a dedicated giveaway or sponsored post tab so draw a clear line between organic and sponsored content.
- Set aside budget. Blog reviews are no longer inherently free. Many bloggers create beautiful written and visual content for brands as part of a sponsored relationship. As part of your strategic planning process, look at blogs with the greatest potential to move the needle for your brand. Traditional pitching for earned placements may not be the only way you want to go in 2014. A sponsored relationship benefiting both you and the blogger can yield strong content and most importantly, measureable results.
What else would you add to this list? And, are you planning to expand your focus on bloggers in 2014?
Alexis Anderson, lover of blogs and lifestyle/mom blogger at www.lexandlearn.com.