As the media landscape has evolved, blogger relations and influencer relations have emerged as components of public relations programs. Beyond pitching media (print, broadcast, online) for coverage of a company and its products or services, organizations are now seeking to secure coverage for their organization on blogs, including those authored by influencers on LinkedIn. Here’s what you need to know about pitching bloggers.
Know your audience
While bloggers are often relevant additions to an organization’s media pitch list, the wants and needs of bloggers often vary from those of the traditional reporter. For example, you wouldn’t send a local print reporter a product sample in exchange for coverage, but doing so with bloggers is often a common practice.
Just as you work to define “what’s in it for them (and their listeners/readers/viewers)” when pitching traditional media, the same rule applies to bloggers. Ask yourself:
- Why is my product/service/event relevant?
- Can I offer the blogger an experience they can’t otherwise buy? (Think “behind the scenes,” “exclusive preview,” etc.)
- What disclosure guidelines is your company or cause comfortable with? (For example, will you only engage with bloggers who disclose how a product sample was obtained and the terms of the offering, etc.?)
Understand the geographic barriers
When pitching bloggers, you may be engaging with individuals who live and work outside of your local market. Further, their readership is likely scattered around the world. This forces companies and causes to hone their blogger pitches to remain relevant despite the author’s and readers’ geography. It also requires a careful examination of access. For example, if you are offering a blogger a product sample in exchange for a review, how can their readers easily purchase your product? If your product is only available in a limited number of markets and isn’t available through e-commerce, postponing blogger relations until you have a wider distribution mechanism in place may be prudent.
Understand the pay model
While some blogs operate under a purely editorial model, others offer advertising and sponsored content as well. The benefit of the latter is that there are often many opportunities to customize your package, down to the quantity of social shares you are seeking and the platforms on which you would like them executed. For companies and causes alike, it is important to evaluate whether or not “advertorial coverage” is something you are comfortable with as an organization if you are going to engage in the latter. The upside of sponsored content? You often have the ability to review and edit posts before they go live ensuring accuracy and consistency of brand voice and messaging. The cons? It’s often labeled as paid content which may limit the influence it has over some audiences. Case and point: would you rather buy the car that everyone raves about from first-hand experience or the one people were incentivized to rave about?
While blogger relations can help to increase the reach of a public relations program and cultivate new online audiences, brands need to carefully evaluate the content, audience and pay model of each blog to determine where they are comfortable having their brand represented.