As we move in to 2014 with all of our goals in tow and eagerness for the new, as always, digital marketing and PR will morph and modernize while staying true to its traditional relationship building roots.
While I think we will see a quite a few new trends in blogger outreach as brands are really starting to see results and witness the effectiveness of this tactic, one of the biggest trends that I think will happen is that blogger outreach processes will make a leap from informal campaigns to structured relationships.
Throughout the past few years as everyone tries to get the hang of this whole “blogger outreach thing,” many campaigns have been executed as one time strategies focusing on working with bloggers to promote a new product or message once and then the blogger and brand don’t connect again.
Some old ways of working with bloggers that may have worked moderately for PR pros and marketers before that are become ineffective to obsolete are:
- Attaching a guest post in a pitch email. Relationships need to be cultivated before sending content.
- Spray and pray campaigns.
- Mass emailing bloggers. It’s all about personalized emails.
- Working with bloggers only for one post. Telling the blogger that you want to work with them on an ongoing basis will make them want to work with you.
- Little to no compensation offered. If your brand or product has a higher value, exchanging product for posts can still work but more bloggers are seeing the value their recommendations bring to a brand and are requiring more compensation.
Now, more and more marketers and PR pros have seen the value that a long term relationship with bloggers brings to their brands.
A beneficial, long term relationship involves structure and a game plan. 2014 is the year of the game plan, haven’t you heard?
The biggest benefit from a structured and fostered relationship with bloggers is that you’ll be able to achieve ongoing brand mentions. Ongoing mentions hold a lot more value than a onetime sponsored post or product review because they come across as sincere and can be weaved organically in to a bloggers content.
Think of it this way, if you read a blog post that was (or maybe isn’t) labeled as a sponsored post, and it’s a thorough and positive product review but you never hear about that product from the blogger again, would you take it as seriously as a continuous stream of brand mentions?
Bloggers are no longer going to be a strategy that exists outside of your brand, rather, an extension of your brand. They are and will continue to be some of your brands strongest and loudest advocates.
In order to move in to the fact that ongoing relationships with bloggers are the best kind and worth the time investment, here are a few things to put in to place:
- Instead of paying bloggers for a post at a time, have them commit to a post a month for a few months.
- Keep the bloggers you work with in the loop concerning all things about your brand.
- Ask for the opinion, advice and feedback on changes and new products or services.
- Cross promote them on your own digital channels. This includes sharing their posts that don’t mention your brand.
- Periodically send them product from your company.
- Host a blogger event at least once a year where not only can your bloggers learn more about your brand, but they also have fun doing something that relates to your brand.
Want to see how some brands are creative in their blogger outreach, establishing long term relationships and real results? Check out my e-book on this topic!
What changes do you see in the way blogger outreach is done effectively coming up? I would love to hear EVERYONE’S opinion in the comments!