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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.

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28 Comments on Building Relationships and Marketing to Bloggers

  1. Meghan @JaMonkey
    October 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm (6 years ago)

    Gah if only they got it. They don’t work for free so why should we?

  2. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies
    September 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm (6 years ago)

    I love this post. It’s amazing the number of hoops brands will make you jump through for the silliest things. Amazing and disheartening.

  3. nicole @nicky_olea
    September 26, 2012 at 10:18 am (6 years ago)

    Amen! Plus um, I don’t think anyone could work in “bacon” better than you! :)

  4. April Decheine
    September 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm (6 years ago)

    Great post, I am learning to be a lot tougher with my time!

  5. Rebecca
    September 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm (6 years ago)

    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….

  6. Jimmie
    September 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

    • Rebecca
      September 19, 2012 at 6:39 pm (6 years ago)

      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.

  7. Mel
    September 18, 2012 at 8:45 am (6 years ago)

    Great post, I’m sick of these pitches too!

  8. Kelly
    September 17, 2012 at 9:36 am (6 years ago)

    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!

    • Rachel Ferrucci
      September 20, 2012 at 1:53 am (6 years ago)

      I’ll jump in here because I want in on the bacon!
      Linda- Amen sista! You hit it on the head!
      Kelly- So did you with your added points.

      Am I in with the bacon?

  9. Shell Fruscione
    September 17, 2012 at 2:27 am (6 years ago)

    Absolutely love this post! Thank you for saying it, it needed to be said.

  10. Janine
    September 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm (6 years ago)

    A-to-the-men my friend

  11. Rachel
    September 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm (6 years ago)

    You are exactly right, if you have no budget, that does not mean all of a sudden I work for free.

  12. Jenn
    September 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm (6 years ago)

    I wish all PR understood the difference between journalists and bloggers…

  13. Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
    September 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm (6 years ago)

    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!

    • Linda
      September 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm (6 years ago)

      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.

  14. Christa
    September 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm (6 years ago)

    A thousand times yes! Pinning!

    • Linda
      September 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you!

  15. Kathy
    September 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm (6 years ago)

    A great post. I do have some pretty good relationships with PR… some really do get it!

    • Linda
      September 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm (6 years ago)

      Yes quite a few do and they are so great to work with.

  16. Amy
    September 16, 2012 at 8:53 pm (6 years ago)

    Amen to everything. I’m bookmarking the article and sending marketers here!

    • Linda
      September 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you so much!

  17. Shawn Hessinger
    September 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

    • Linda
      September 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm (6 years ago)

      And it’s important for the blogger to say no when it’s not right – to add validity to their own brand.

  18. Erica Mueller
    September 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

    • Linda
      September 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm (6 years ago)

      So true Erica – in those cases you are just page views for their report. They are missing the bigger picture.

    • Kelly
      September 17, 2012 at 9:33 am (6 years ago)

      So true, Erica. Also points for Linda for working bacon into this!


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