It can be tricky to get the attention of bloggers. They are journalists but a very different breed compared to what you might be used to in a traditional PR role. The content that goes on most blogs is very personal and, as a result, blog owners aren’t going to write about just anything. Here are some blogger engagement tips to get you started towards a successful campaign.
There is nothing more annoying that getting an email completely unrelated to your blog. As a fashion blogger who once wrote about bathrooms, I still get press releases and guest post offers from interiors companies. Because of my job, I tend to reply quite politely to these people to say how irrelevant the emails are. But you’ll probably find that most bloggers will just ignore you.
Retro Chick often gets irrelevant emails but sometimes the brand can make it work. She says: “Probably the best pitch I ever had was from Premier Inn. They are totally irrelevant to my blog, but they pitched an idea where I could visit a city, stay in their hotel and then talk about the vintage things to do there. They’d thought of an angle!”
If you have a specific product or service you want bloggers to review/write about but it doesn’t seem relevant, find a way for it to be. Premier Inn did exactly that and got a review out of it.
Read the blog you are contacting. Hopefully you will have been reading it for a while but if not, at least do a little bit of research. Most bloggers will have their name somewhere on the site. Do not title an email ‘Dear Blogger’. It’s very likely you’ll get moaned about on Twitter.
This means you can’t send out a blanket email to all the bloggers on your list. Find the ones that might be interested and send personal, individual emails.
Charlotte from Charlie and the Fashion Factory says: “[The most annoying thing is] when they suggest writing the article for you.”
Most bloggers don’t want guest posts. If there’s no suggestion on the blog that they accept such a thing from brands, don’t offer it. It’s offensive to say ‘we can even write the post for you’. It generally doesn’t save the blogger time (especially if you get a cheap copywriter to do the work) and suggests that your content is going to be better than something they could write.
The most amazing thing about blogs is that they are written by real people. Reviews are generally very honest and there’s a lot of personality that comes through. Very few reputable bloggers are going to sacrifice this because you think it’s a little less work for them to post a ready-made article singing the praises of your brand.
If a blogger isn’t interested they generally make it obvious by ignoring your emails. If your pitch is good then you might get a reply saying no but bloggers, like magazine journalists, don’t have the time to reply to every press release that’s sent to them.
If you do need to follow up then send one email just asking if the original message was received. Offer something extra in the follow up whether it be further images or a sample. Leave at least a week between your original email and one chasing it.
Put yourself in their shoes
If you are emailing a blogger about a new product, put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself these questions:
- What does the blogger get out of this?
- Are they really going to be interested?
- Do they need to try it first hand to review it?
- Will it interest their readers?
- Is it relevant to the blog?
Because blogs are so personal, bloggers will want to try your product or service first hand so they can write about it. If you have zero budget for this sort of outreach then you’re doing it wrong. If the budget is limited, find the most popular, most relevant blogs you can and contact them and only them.
If you are a beauty brand it’s also best to offer full sized products. Bloggers aren’t going to get the full experience of a product if they can’t see the proper packaging or get the full use out of it. This is true of samples you send to any journalist.
If you want a blogger to write about an event then you should probably invite them along to it. And not at the last minute once you realise that you’ve got spaces left because not enough ‘proper journalists’ will be turning up.
If you haven’t been reading a blog for years before you contact them, don’t say you have. If you didn’t enjoy the most recent post, don’t lie about it. If you don’t connect with a blog while doing your research it’s likely that they aren’t right for your brand.
You should also be upfront with what you can offer a blogger and what you want in return. Will you send them a product to review, will you whisk them away to a hotel in exchange for a write up and a dofollow link back to your site? Let them know what they are getting into, this way you don’t get stung after you’ve used some of your budget and they don’t post/add in the correct links/tweet about it.
When contacting bloggers on social media, you should at least interact with them a bit first. A message out of the blue is a little impersonal.
Also, don’t blanket-tweet lots of bloggers about your product. They’ll see that you’ve been contacting others in the same way and aren’t really interested in one blog specifically. Tweet one or two blogs that you love, be personal and engage with them.
If a blogger does post about your brand then you should do your best to promote that post and drive traffic to the blog. Not only does this benefit you because the brand gets more exposure but the blogger will see that you are putting some effort in. This stands you in good stead if you ever want to work with that person again.