Blogger relations: ‘whys’ and ‘hows’

I thought I’d devote a post to the subject I’ve been working on for several months while writing my Master thesis: blogger relations and its role in PR. I’ve been meaning to share my experiences and knowledge with you for some time now, but never got around to do it.

To begin with, blogger relations, or blogger outreach, encompasses more than just favorable posts about a certain product or brand written by famous bloggers. Webloging, videoblogging and microblogging – can all be part of a successful blogger outreach campaign. Blogger relations ideally should be combined with other social media tactics: bloggers and their readers would most likely want to know more about your brand by looking for online pictures, videos, podcasts and informative and interactive website.

However, do not use all possible social media applications unselectively. Do a thorough research beforehand to find out where and what your target audience might be spending time on. A good principle to keep in mind: less is more.

When to use blogger relations as a part of marketing mix:

1. Your primary goal is a long-term reputation management, rather then short-term sale-success.
2. Your product or services are not self-explanatory, and require informational cognitive approach to marketing, rather than visual appeal.
3. You’re niche-positioned brand which appeals to a certain segment of publics. The smaller the segment is, the more you should consider blogger outreach (or social media strategy in general, for that matter). One of the brilliant explanations for this is a Long Tail theory. Read more here.
4. You’re committed to invest time and resources in online marketing in the time to come. Blogger outreach demands higher degree of commitment, and is more time-consuming than traditional media relations.
5. You are proactive in your corporate strategy, thinking dynamically rather than incrementally.
6. You are struggling with getting MSM coverage, and you want to get into the journalists spotlight.
7. You have ambitions to dominate the world in your industry sector.

So how to get started?

1. Start by monitoring the blogosphere to find the influencers in your particular sphere of interest.
2. Start listening to these conversations on the regular basis.
3. Try blogging yourself, or introduce a team/corporate blog on your website. Note: blog must include the opportunity to easily comment on it (without requirement to log in, or to register beforehand). Some companies have gotten this wrong: just posting articles on your website is not blogging.
4. Comment on other blogs. Make your comments interesting, which add value to the blogger and the ongoing conversation.
5. Link to your website/your blog wherever possible.
6. Never bribe the blogger to give you a positive coverage. For one paid-for positive post, you’ll get hundreds of negative ones, and you risk loosing credibility forever.
7. Instead of waving with free-products (which is actually quite ethical unless you demand to get a ROI for it), appeal to blogger’s ego: bloggers love to be among the few chosen ones to review a product or a company.

Why to get involved in blogger relations?

Employing blogger relations in your marketing campaign will sufficiently improve chances to increase the scope of your campaign. Today blogs are enjoying readership that rivals that of traditional media, and this tendency moves in the direction of blogs. Blogger outreach is an excellent step towards achieving WOM and online buzz about your brand. As journalists increasingly monitor blogosphere for their topics of interest, your chances to get into the mainstream media without any effort on your behalf are getting higher. Variety of multimedia channels fragmented media users, and now it is much easier to reach exactly your targeted market – you don’t have to guess who and where they are: successful blogger relations will get your target to come to you instead. Interlinked nature of blogosphere gives you potential to spread your message to millions of audience (potential customers and brand ambassadors) – hence, the chance to dominate the world. If you’re good enough for that, now you have a chance to do it with almost no expenses involved.

Once you’ve made your official appearance online, you should maintain it: it will cost you a good deal of time, so think twice before you get out there.

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7 Responses to “Blogger relations: ‘whys’ and ‘hows’”


  1. 1 Peter Kim August 18, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Hello Helena – good point that effective blogger relations are integrated and precise, not standalone (a common misconception because of the new media nature of the medium) or general (like traditional mass media). I find that many people get hung up on scalability – which you touch on in your next to last paragraph. I’d love to hear more thoughts on the subject though…I mean, are blogger relations a better investment than a TV ad when you’re trying to roll out a new brand?

  2. 2 Helena Makhotlova August 19, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Peter. I think the answer to your question is it depends. And the main factor is probably the culture of use of social media in a given society. At least for now, the USA and UK are ahead in successfuly implementing blogger outreach in their communication stategy. Given the vast use of social media, and blogs in particular, in Asia, it is certainly a good market too. However, Europe is lagging behind this development, but it’s a matter of time before companies on a large scale is starting to embrace social media in their marketing mix here as well.

    And the second factor is the type of the product/service which is being promoted. Some products are absolutely better suited for blogger outreach than others. For example, bloggers’ endorsement of technology products/services has proved to be very successful. I think the decision whether or not to engage in blogger relations should be based on the research which will hopefully show you where you should put your main efforts.

    Start-up companies with not much marketing budget will probably find online strategy more available to use than media relations. Social media, in general, is ideal for new brands to raise awareness and generate WOM, while traditional advertising works best for well established businesses.

    Blogger relations is just a part of social media. I think while any company should consider implementing some elements of social media in their marketing efforts, blogger relations should be used by companies committed to engage in it for a log term, and only if means justify the end. Because as Chris Norton from Wolfstar consultancy puts it, if you approach blogger relations in a wrong way, you’ll get absolutely murdered.

  3. 3 joshcarr6 August 20, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Helena,

    I just started a company where were are trying to bridge this gap between traditional PR and Search Engine Marketing. Right now we are running it as an agency where we comment on blogs in the name of our clients. Joining the conversations they should be involved in but don’t have the time or experience to do themselves. Our goal is to make a user friendly version of our software that we can offer as a service to automate this kind of outreach.

    There are multiple benefits – adding backlinks is of course a great one. We have also had some success with bloggers who end up doing a full post because of a comment we left.

    I would love to send you a beta login to our software so you can check it out. Send me an email if you are interested.

    Our website is buzz.io

  4. 4 Chi-chi Ekweozor August 22, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Great post Helena.

    I think you overlooked perhaps the biggest incentive to blog in your ‘Why to get involved in blogger relations?’ list.

    Search Engine Optimisation.

    Blogs really add Google Juice to a company’s brand name and/or website URL.

    Basically, Google ranks regularly updated blogs much higher than static websites in search engine results.

    This fact alone makes blogging a very important part of a company’s search engine marketing strategy as @joshcarr6 is trying to tell you.

    Enjoyed. Bookmarked.

  5. 5 Helena Makhotlova August 23, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    That’s true: Search Engine Optimisation is certainly a great bonus of a successful blogger outreach campaign. But if it’s the biggest incentive of it? I’m not sure. I left out the SEO partly on purpose; it has been, and still is, a subject to a lot of talk on the internet, and I persoanlly think it is somewhat overrated. I think it would be wrong if a company is to engage in blogger relations with sole intention to get on the top of Google search.

    As for ghost blogging for companies, or CEOs; while I realise that most companies do not have sufficient time to monitor blogosphere regularly, let alone comment on all the relevant posts, I still feel it’s unethical use of social media. These companies can’t be genuine or transparent, which is the whole point of corporate blogging, isn’t it? Well, at least from the idealistic perspective.

  6. 6 best Search Engine Marketing March 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Great blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What web host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol


  1. 1 Recent Links Tagged With "degree" - JabberTags Trackback on October 31, 2008 at 4:49 am

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