Building Relationships and Marketing to Bloggers

Marketing to Moms Smart PR

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 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 is key – and not always easy to understand.  That’s OK – bloggers are more than willing to help you out with that.

1. No gimmicks, please.  We 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.

2. 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”.

3. 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.

4. 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) and I’ve been a loyal Suave shampooer ever since.

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.  Let’s hear your thoughts.

28 thoughts on “Building Relationships and Marketing to Bloggers”

  1. 4. If you open the lines of communication for the love of bacon keep those lines open and remain transparent.

    YES. There is nothing more frustrating than a one-time opportunity where the brand goes missing after you post about them. I love to follow up afterward and let a brand know how my post did, give them stats, and if I’m still using a product they gave me to review, I’ll write back a couple weeks later and let them know how I’m liking it. Those who do PR well are very appreciative of this and you hear back from them. The one-offs don’t even bother to acknowledge you’ve gone the extra mile to send them stats.

  2. You know, Linda, this is an aspect of blogging that doesn’t get discussed nearly enough. From both the blogger’s and the marketer’s perspective, it’s become a very important part of both ecosystems and I think it’s something many on both sides are frankly still figuring out. I would say that whether bloggers are involved in their craft for passion or profit (or both), great content that fits into their vision of their blog and the needs of their audience or community will always be important to them. So, from a marketer’s point of view, it’s a good idea to figure out how (and even if) your product really fits in with what a blogger is all about before making contact.

  3. I have gotten SO many of these in just the past week. We’re holding an open house – can you attend? Oh you can’t? Well can you still your readers/followers/fans about it? For a price I can – otherwise, no. I don’t work for free.

    I am constantly amazed at what PR thinks they can have bloggers do for free. Or practically for free. I had a pitch in my inbox this week saying I’ll send you a nominal amount to shop at the client’s store and we’d like you to create a post and recipe explaining how/why you’d do x, y, and z and promote it to your social networks. Um, no thanks. While it’s not quite nothing – that’s a lot of work for what was asked.

    Honestly I think some companies think we’re just desperate for content or that we’re stupid enough to not realize this isn’t a win/win situation.

    And I echo the love for Weber Shandwick!

    1. Yes, they don’t get that we are in the business of creating content, and we probably miss some pitches that we actually might want to write about b/c of the way we are pitched. I can’t tell you how many I delete after the first sentence. Hopefully they will read and learn.

  4. Big puffy heart this post. I’m the first to tell you that someone who takes the time to get to know me in a meaningful way is more likely to get my attention and I will happily do favors for them because I know they ‘get it,’ and will be back for more.

    This is where many firms and agencies fail-they need to be building and nurturing those relationships consistently. Hiring someone to send our PR pitches to random bloggers in hopes of someone blogging about them is ineffective and a waste of time, money, and resources.

    Bonus points for working bacon into the convo!

  5. This needs to be said again and again. Thank you for this great post! Although there are exceptions, you normally get what you pay for. Good promotion and long lasting relationships are worth paying for.

    1. Great point, Jimmie. If a blogger does a good job promoting a company, the company and the blogger should have a very valuable opportunity as they build their one-on-one relationship.

  6. Oh, I don’t think this graphic really does this post justice. I thought it was going to be different (the post)…but, it makes a very good point about relationships. They are so key across blogging and for companies->Bloggers–>Companies. If anyone establishes an agreement, they should work together to learn and grow. I think this is so new to so many….that while they can research, finding a good blogger to work with and help both the blogger and the company grow is worth it’s weight in gold. Likewise, for bloggers to work for the common good of all and helping mentor one another. All of us…bloggers and companies have strengths and weaknesses…I think it’s a beautiful testimony to the beauty of relationships….

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