Just a few years ago, the blogger platform was new, exciting and for the most part, uncharted. Becoming more popular, blogs began to consume digital read estate, while concurrently assuming the position as the bane of the traditional journalist professional life.
Today, we do not only read them, we need them!
In the early years of the blogosphere, even the most experienced and revered of journalist, PR and marketing professionals felt threatened by this technological wave of new age reporting. A few years down the line, while the newspaper industry can barely afford to keep their print rollers well oiled, the blogosphere’s most notorious have become this century’s answer to the supermodels of the nineties. Today’s superblogger don’t get out of bed for less than €50,000 a day! Weblogs burst on to the digital content scene as an exceptionally easy and efficient medium to broadcast personal/organizational viewpoints to the global market. Now, thanks to a variety of easy-to-use software any Melanie, Sophie or Brittany with a bit of fire in her belly can communicate her passion to the world.
There are a variety of blogsphere denizen in every industry – from personal to small business to organisational. Most notably are the digital world that people want to see and hear. While it was expected for experts in a particular profession to acquire a living from instantly providing their expertise to the masses, it was slightly more unexpected for the fashion industry to look past the supermodels and celebrities and give their seasonal front rows to blogger bums. A clever move, nonetheless.
Bloggers create an entirely new marketing avenue for the fashion industry – their product becomes more accessible to the average Joelyne and it can reach a whole new independent and engaged readership and social media community. In return, bloggers can turn a profit, become celebrities in their own right, expand their market reach and pick up a few freebies and endorsements along the way. Win, win right? Take for example, Bryan Boy of www.bryanboy.com, the new social media evaluator and latest member of Tyra’s judging panel of season 19 of America’s Next Top Model; he has catapulted himself from blogger, to one of the industry’s favourite front row bloggentreprenurs, to creating an exclusive professional position for himself on one of the biggest TV series of our generation, which makes him one of tinseltown’s most wanted – and it all began with a blog.
Bloggers are hot right now, and the fashion industry, in particular, keeps turning up the heat. Bloggerpreneurs are the Oprah for the digital generation. Remember back in May 2003, when Oprah showcased Apple’s new iPod to the masses during and episode of My Favorite Things, “This itty-bitty gadget, no bigger than a deck of cards, holds 3,700 songs!” Subsequently, in June 2003, Apple sold its one million iPod. If you carefully position your product with a superblogger with the right audience, you could hit the sell-out jackpot.
Bloggers are so sought after that the term has become a buzz word in the PR, Fashion and marketing spheres. Be warned that there is stigma attached to the ideology of the blogger. From C-level to interns, everybody wants to secure a piece of the blogger pie for their brand. The misconceptions are that these people thing a) bloggers should feel honoured to be associated with their fabulous brand, b) a blogger will guarantee sell-out success, c) a blogger doesn’t warrant compensation. If this is the attitude of you or your brand, it’s time to see bloggers in a new light. So, let’s answer the questions on everyone’s lips . how does a brand get blogger coverage?
Understand the blogger bottom line:
b. Bloggers are not interested in you, their loyalties lie with their readers.
c. The blogger is the editorial, advertising, marketing, social media AND PR department.
d. If a blogger chooses to write about your brand they might be throwing away the opportunity to work with a similar brand down the road.
Understand your industry blogscape:
The two imperative fundamentals are 1. Know your brand vision, values and market, then 2. Research, then research some more until you find a blogger that matches your brand’s vision, values and market. Remember – you want their audience to be your audience.
Do your homework, do it anomalously:
Research the blogscape with analytical precision and create a killer database to aggregate your findings. Go beyond the regular blogger and acquire every piece of important information – unique visitors. Alexa ranking, domain authority, all social media usernames, links to accounts, account activity figures, brands they have previously worked with, brands that advertise on their site, brands they wear and events they attend. Get the picture? During this research period you might discover a blogger who loves you’re product and already organically wears and promotes it on their blog or who would be willing to enter into editorial negotiations with you. Gold star.
Draw their attention:
Bloggers are dotted across the globe. If you can’t attend the same events as your outreach candidate, capture their attention on their social media channels. Every good blogger has a very engaged social media presence. Tap that. Don’t bombard them with tweets and comments either – a little bit of decorum and digital flirting is key.
This is high on every PR advice list, yet still every day inboxes are inundated with seen-it-before and impersonalized press releases. To the trash they go, and in the trash they remain. You know that new killer database in your possession, here is your chance to get the value from your hard work. Personlize the pitch by using their correctly spelled name (!), making references to certain blog posts you liked or got attention, their audience and their social media presence. Be aware that many bloggers have also stated a pitch policy on their site. Make sure you read it so you’re not burning any bridges before you start.
Create a relationship:
Bloggers receive hundreds of pitches and product samples to review every day. Curate a working relationship with these bloggers and your brand will rise to the top. Social media channels are an effective medium for getting the call rolling all year round. But, since the festive season is nearly in full swing, why not kick things off with a personalised greeting card or go one better a personalised Christmas gift (maybe they’ll share it on their blog!)
Create Content (personalized) for them:
Two key elements to remember : bloggers are their editorial department and visual content drives more engagement than any other content on the web. Bloggers are constantly on the prowl for images and visual content to share on their blogs and across their social media channels. They mat not welcome guest posts from companies on their site or controlling their content, however, they will often share visual content that is relevant to their audience. What kind of visuals do they have on their blog? Do you have a design team who could make an infographic, illustration or put some special Photoshop effects on one of their images? Most bloggers don’t. Or simply send them some images or product shorts you know they’ll love.
Do something unexpected:
If you know they are going to a very special event and they love shoes, why not book them in for a complimentary pedicure in the hottest spa in town..or the place which stocks your brand. You know they’re going on a transatlantic flight…send them a cozy cashmere blanket or be in the arrivals hall ready to whisk them away for a facial and blow-dry. Sometimes, it’s the bigger things that count!
Clearly define editorial requirements:
To avoid the relationship with the blogger going sour, make sure you clearly define what is expected of the blogger and when the blogger is expected to deliver. Understand that blogger strive to keep control of their content. Do expect to write something for them or dictate their editorial direction – again this blogger research and selection is imperative.
Most successful bloggers these days are making a career out of their passion – their blog. Honor this by negotiating a fair price for their service. Sometimes it is enough to let them try or give them the product. At the very least, be prepared to invest in advertising on their blog.
Have you tried to get your product on the hottest blogs to no avail? Have you had experience with blogger outreach? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
Also, you can catch me live on Twitter next Thursday from 3-4 GBT!