Is your company reaching out to bloggers to spread the word or take part in larger conversations on the Web? If so, how are your blogger relations efforts going? Chances are that there’s room for improvement. Here are three simple things you can do to pursue even better blogger relations for your business:
Stick to Your Market
Look beyond bloggers with generic “influence” and instead focus on bloggers who have direct influence over your existing target market. Building relationships with bloggers takes time, and you should invest it wisely. Be selective. Remember that blogger relations is about more than simply pitching bloggers about your next product launch.
Target Brand Advocates
Search for bloggers who are not only relevant to your company, products, or services, but who are already talking about you! On the surface you may think it’s best to start off targeting bloggers not yet writing about you, in order to increase the numbers. However, those who already promote your company (like happy customers leaving great reviews) run less of a risk.
Remember, bloggers don’t generally have an editor to answer to. They’ll share their opinions whether you like it or not – and if you annoy a blogger by pitching them something irrelevant or something they simply don’t care for, you may get coverage albeit not what you were hoping for.
Also, your brand advocates (or fans) are the most likely bloggers to want to hear from you–in fact, they may be completely tickled that you even took the time to look at their blog. These are people that want to build a relationship with you. At the very least, this is a good place to start.
Give Them What They Want
Bloggers are about more than getting free stuff. In fact, there’s a large segment of the blogging community that strongly looks down on anything that could be construed as trying to “buy” bloggers or their attention. Solely taking that approach is another risky move that could lead to negative coverage.
Instead, think about what’s often important to bloggers. For example, many niche bloggers work hard to build and maintain an image as an authority in their field. Allowing them to break a small news story is extremely appealing to them (it can give them a traffic boost in addition to more credibility). Having respected members of their industry participating on their blogs is another way they can achieve that goal–consider offering to do an interview or write a guest post for them, or if you enjoy the blog enough to read it regularly comment publicly as often as you can (and as often as you have something of value to add to the post). These things allow you to not only initiate a relationship with relevant bloggers, but directly engage with their readers.
Before jumping head-first into a blogger relations campaign, do what you’d do when preparing to launch any marketing, PR, or advertising campaign–think about who you’re ultimately targeting. Understand what the blogger’s readers want, and then work with bloggers in your industry to give them that. The best thing you can do to ensure a good blogger relations campaign is help bloggers give their readers what they want–then everyone’s happy.
This article was originally featured on February 17, 2009.