Over the past few years, blogger and influencer engagement has increasingly become a key part of a digital strategy. It is an effective tactic to reach key audiences in an authentic, creative, memorable way. Bloggers are incredibly influential and have large, engaged networks of both readers and social media followers with whom they frequently interact.
When working with bloggers, public relations professionals make several mistakes that may turn the influencers away and prevent long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships from forming. Here are a few:
Not getting to know the blog. Just as reporters often have beats, bloggers usually have a focus, whether it’s recipes, travel or product reviews. Like the media, bloggers rightfully get annoyed when they get pitches that are completely off-base and indicate the PR person didn’t do his or her homework. Take time to read blogs. Get to know the blogger’s personality, interests and style. Look for someone who would be a natural fit.
Asking for free coverage. For many bloggers, blogging isn’t just a hobby — it’s a business. Drafting posts, taking photos and videos and sharing content on social media takes significant time. Asking bloggers for help without compensation is a sure-fire way to get no response and slash chances of future partnerships. Tell bloggers up-front what they will receive in return, whether it’s financial payment, travel, tickets or something else. Be prepared for bloggers to push back if they aren’t on-board with the offer. Many bloggers have established rates, so ask for those ahead and budget accordingly. Negotiations may be possible, but always respect bloggers’ rates.
Demanding tight timeframes. Bloggers are busy, and many work weeks, or months, ahead. Many work with a variety of brands and companies. While some bloggers may be happy help out last-minute, others may be instantly turned off. Again, developing a strong blog post is hard work. Try to give them plenty of notice. Allowing a blogger ample time to plan also often helps give them time to prepare thoughtful, high-quality content versus quickly drafting a post just to meet a deadline.
Setting unrealistic expectations. Asking a blogger to share a post that “blows up” or a recipe that “goes crazy on Pinterest” is the equivalent of a client asking a PR firm to create a video that “goes viral.” It’s simply an impractical request and an unlikely goal. If metrics are key in illustrating success, ask bloggers to provide media kits prior to working with them to help gauge whether a blogger will be a good fit. Consider drafting contracts that clearly outline expectations, such as the number of social media updates a blogger must share, to keep all parties on the same page.
Forgetting to say “thanks.” Although bloggers may be compensated for helping promote a product or cause, remember to show appreciation for their efforts. Simply telling the blogger how much a client liked their post, or how it helped support an overall goal, can go a long way. Bloggers are incredibly influential, and developing long-term partnerships with them can be very valuable. A simple “thank you” can go a long way! Asking how their day is going never hurts, either.
Keeping these common missteps in mind when interacting with bloggers may directly impact ongoing and future success. Bloggers often are also very willing to refer others they know, too, so earning their respect may also open up doors to additional partners and opportunities.
Hana Bieliauskas leads digital strategy at Inspire PR Group, a public relations firm headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. She works with many prominent national bloggers on behalf of clients and has planned award-winning blogger campaigns and events.