Discussing the best ways for brands and PRs to work with bloggers, this is a guest post by Vicki Day, author of the blog MrsD-Daily.
I enjoy blogs – both reading them and writing my own. But over the last few years the nature of blogs have changed. Real-life stories on topics both personal and niche have now gone mainstream, curated and created simply for marketing brands.
However, while brands piggybacking on bloggers is understandable, and can even be rewarding for all involved, the approaches used by brand PRs can drive me to despair. Here’s why:
Bloggers are never asked, they’re told
PRs fail to get the intended brand message out when they don’t consult with bloggers on what works for them. Bloggers know what excites or best appeals to their readers, but they are seldom asked, but rather told what to write. We need to stop treating bloggers as mere advertising tools and instead work with them to get the best out of their writing style and perspective.
One size doesn’t fit all
Instead of carpet bombing every known blogger, PRs would do better to select only those blogs that they have read and feel best fit the profile of the brand in question. PRs should discuss the project individually with each blogger they approach and ask them how they would like to get involved. The blogger will know what works best, be it a sponsored post, an advert or, if they are on an affiliate scheme, a sequence of themed posts. The important thing to remember is that no two blogs are the same, even if the topics they cover are. Using a one size fits all approach is not viable.
Bloggers love affiliate schemes for a wide range of reasons and I do feel they are under-used. First, they give the blogger a chance to earn commission through the links for the life of the post, and second, the tracking links give great data to the blogger and valuable information for brands to track purchasing patterns. In my experience, PRs don’t always realise the significance of this data and just want to push the product/service out.
I often interact with PRs wanting to work with bloggers during the pre-launch phase of a brand or product. On many occasions I have explained to PRs that it would be better to cover the launch after using the product in question, using affiliate links to prove the campaign works. However, my suggestion falls on deaf ears.
Cut out the competitions farce
PRs have a tendency to ask bloggers to promote a brand through competitions in which entrants “might win” a prize. Far too often, what these magic words actually mean is that no one actually wins anything at all.
If the PRs’ main objective is to maximise coverage and create brand awareness, then that’s really all they have to communicate. Bloggers are the best judge of what peaks their readers’ interests and gains long-term loyalty, so let them get on with it, and don’t force on them short-term attention-grabbing gimmicks.
Communicating with transparency and honesty – that’s what blogging was all about in the first place, right?
Our guest blogger Vicki Day has been in retail for 30 years ‘from being Santa’s boss to running an Ikea store.’ She has been blogging since 2009 and sees herself as a cyber-sales assistant.
What do you think? Are Vicki’s suggestions practical? Comment below or tweet your response to @CisionUK