I saw an article in my bible today (Marketing Interactive, hahaha) and it really struck a chord in my heart. I’ve been managing and engaging bloggers for more than 3 years as well as been a commercial blogger for about 2 years myself and some of the ways these (us?) people are treated are appalling.
Some stuff off the top of my head: “exposure” in exchange for posts, being called by the wrong name in an email, getting your name spelled wrongly, request for social media statistics (HELLO, ALL OUR PROFILES ARE PUBLIC), being treated like freeloaders and much more.
I don’t deny that most – and maybe even all – of us bloggers love the freebies that come our way. Personally, my entire family plus the BF hasn’t bought facial wash in 2 years cos I keep getting sponsored items. Free clothes, accessories, shoes, meals, cosmetics, etc you name it and most mid-level bloggers have gotten these at some point in their blogging career. Heck, my room is like a Watsons. My friends come in through the door and start shopping around for stuff they need.
Most PR campaigns usually have a blogger engagement strategy already but they tend to forget some crucial points when it comes to dealing with bloggers. Treat us like the humans we are, and we’ll be more inclined to blog something for you.
Here’s a 10 point summary from Marketing Interactive. Enjoy, and learn.
- Remember that blogging is not a job for most bloggers. Hence, avoid inviting bloggers to media events at office hours or calling them repeatedly when they are at work to do media pitches.
- I have to say this a second time: Remember, the majority of bloggers are not blogging on a full time basis. Schedule your media event for bloggers on weekday nights or weekend noon and you will find the turnout to be much better than scheduling them during office hours.
- Blogs are online. Therefore, media releases should be provided for easy online usage. Softcopy is preferred over hardcopy, and is better for the environment too. PDF’s are not preferred as they are hard to copy and paste for editing. Lots of hyperlinks are good.
- Experiences are more important for bloggers. Hence media invites work better than media releases to get coverage. If you send me a write-up about a new camera, but I don’t get to feel or try it, how am I supposed to cover it from my point of view (which is what blogging is about)?
- Not all bloggers are the same. Some may have millions of views a day; others have less than 5 views a day. Some may be written professionally while others prefer a more casual approach. Do your research first to engage with bloggers who are most relevant to your brand instead of casting a wide net and hoping to catch a few prized fish along the way.
- Provide plenty of photo opportunities at your media event to get maximum coverage. Bloggers love to take photos of everything and share them on social media if it’s interesting.
- Use hashtags for blogger engagement, but don’t go overboard. If you’re providing more than three hashtags for one event, do you think everyone will be able to remember all of them and use them when sharing? If possible, just have one.
- Do not treat bloggers as secondary targets to hit your media quota when not enough mainstream media responded to your pitch. If you want to do so, don’t make it blatantly obvious. I have received invites which are just hours before the actual event. Obviously, I was treated as space filler or just an afterthought.
- Some bloggers are really young and may not be as media or PR savvy. Have a lot of patience when dealing with these bloggers. Mind you, some of them have even higher reach than some of the smaller mainstream media.
- Don’t insult bloggers with cheap freebies like a $5 voucher. While there may be some bloggers who blog for freebies, many do so because they enjoy writing and sharing. If you consider the effort that goes into constructing blog posts, the “freebies” are not worth the time spent.