Bloggers. We’ve all heard about the rise of bloggers — from the masses of mummy bloggers to the prolific food blogger who documents every meal and reviews every restaurant. But who are they, and how can they help with your marketing?
Defined, a blogger is someone who writes on a blog, which is a website containing the writer’s or a group of writer’s own experiences, observations and opinions. Images, video and links to other websites are generally part of the deal, and sometimes the traffic to these blogs is HUGE.
Blogger engagement is the task of building and maintaining relationships with people online who have an interest in – and regularly write about – a subject or topic of relevance to your business. They may have a blog devoted to your area of expertise, and they may also have a strong Twitter or Facebook following.
In much the same way that a media release distributed to media may result in coverage for your business, bloggers are another channel – a channel that provides a raft of additional benefits ranging from web traffic to higher search engine rankings. However, to become besties with bloggers requires a different approach than simply sending a media release via email and hoping for the best.
Here is our step-by-step guide for dealing with bloggers.
1. Find out who the most influential (and relevant) bloggers are
Do some old-fashioned research and find the bloggers of most relevance to you. Google is a good place to start, but you may also want to try the Australian Blog Hub at www.bloghub.com.au. You need to make sure the blog is updated regularly (there are lot of abandoned blogs out there!) and — because not all blogs are created equal — you need to assess their influence to make sure they’re worth the effort. Try Klout at www.klout.com for a tool to measure social influence.
2. Say hello
To work successfully with bloggers, it’s important to establish a relationship first. This may mean following their twitter feed, commenting on their blog posts, and basically getting the conversation started. They need to know who you are and what the relevance of the relationship is to their blog.
3. Make an offer
Yes, OFFER. As a mutually beneficial relationship, it’s important to come to the table with something that the bloggers will value (and no, it’s not just relevant and interesting content, although that is vital as well). Payment, in the form of advertising dollars or a sponsored post, is the preferred currency for bloggers (it tends to help get food on the table!). However, free experiences or products for review, invitations to events or exclusive content are also appreciated. In return, you’ll get exposure for your business, be it through advertising or editorial content.
4. Keep the relationship alive
To truly become a bestie with a blogger, then you need to work to keep the relationship alive, beyond the transactional relationship associated with a campaign or program. Just like a journalist, bloggers need to know who you are, that you are able to help them and their blog, and that you’re in it for the long-haul.
So there you have it — our step-by-step guide for working with bloggers. Whilst in some respects blogger engagement is the grey area between traditional PR and online marketing, we think it’s an area that deserves a bit more attention. The rewards have the potential to make a huge difference to your business.