Tag Archives: sponsored posts

How to reach out to bloggers – 6 top tips for blogger engagement

13 Mar

I am a blogger and I am a marketing manager who does a degree of blogger outreach and engagement in my role.

On top of this blog, I write a beauty blog as a hobby. I receive samples and invitations from PR companies and brands themselves to review their products and do product give away competitions on their behalf.

There are a few things that I have noticed from working with PR companies and brands that I would like to share with you to help you improve your blogger outreach if that is something you are pursuing as a form of advertising and influencer relationship building in your role.

1. Research:

Research your bloggers. See what other posts they are writing and if they tend to give negative or positive reviews. Some bloggers are kinder than others and some like to get a bit hoity-toity and say mean things about the product just because they can. Personally I won’t give a review on a product that I don’t like. I like to give positive reviews only because from a marketing managers view point, I know how uncool it is to have a blogger say bad things about your product where everyone can see on the internet after you have spent a lot of time and money to provide them with information and samples. Make sure the blogger meets your brands values eg: keep away from bloggers who identify as pole dancers or swear a lot if your brand is a “family brand”.

2. Blogger kits:

To help you to find a blogger that is going to do a good job of representing your company and so you get more bang for your buck, contact the bloggers you are interested in and request their media kit. Most bloggers kits will give you readership stats, info on the editor, advertising opportunities, if they expect compensation and more information on who their blog targets. Bigger bloggers who have more followers and reach will probably ask for a relatively big fee but it might be worth it for your brand if you know that they are definitely speaking to your target market.

3. Communication:

Some companies communicate better than others. It is very important for companies to be polite, respectful and patient with bloggers. Communicating your intentions from the get go is important so the blogger is ready to deliver what you want from them. If you are going to be paying them or providing samples make that known. Remember that most bloggers are doing it as a hobby and have day jobs and families to take care of so make your communication informative so as to avoid multiple emails.

As a blogger I feel it is my duty to reply to companies in a timely and professional manner as they are doing their job to engage me. Some bloggers will request payment for a post or at least some form of product compensation and it’s nice to be respected for your time and effort with a thank you.

In one case I was asked to run a competition for a company. This is quite a lot of work and I was provided with written information on the products but nothing else. I didn’t feel it was appropriate for me to run this competition without at least receiving the samples myself to know what I was reviewing and also as some form of thank you for the time I put behind promoting their products for them. I asked for the samples to be sent to me and the company provided these to me… although they did seem a bit ticked off which I didn’t think was very professional. When I had drawn the winner the company didn’t even bother to thank me for taking the time to run and promote the competition which I felt was highly disrespectful. All it would have taken is a short email with a sincere thank you.

Don’t be precious about their posts. Let them do their thing and thank them for the post once it is written (they should provide you with a link).

4. Blogger product samples/events:

Some companies have the most beautiful, well thought out packages. I have been sent boxes of products with printed postcard notes and a special little treat of lollies or a little bag to go with the samples to review. It is so special when a PR company goes to the trouble to make your samples that little bit more special than normal. It’s so exciting to receive a parcel in the mail and when they are presented beautifully it automatically makes me want to do a really good job for the company.

If you are hosing a blogger brunch or some form of event make it happen during after office hours. I receive invitations to what seem like beautiful glamorous luncheons but I can’t go because I have to work! I suppose that hosting an event during the day will weed out a number of bloggers so that you have a more concentrated group of attendees… but in my opinion hosting it after hours is better and will get you a great coverage. Also make lots of photo opportunities at the event. Bloggers are stuck to their cameras! Pretty boxes and bags with your company names on them, easy to see demonstrations, celebrity card board cut outs that they can take photos next to  (if you have a celebrity endorser perhaps), beautiful table decorations, pretty food like cupcakes that can be photographed, photo opportunity branded screens (you know like celebrities have photos in front of at events?) bloggers LOVE those.

4. Product information:

Provide your bloggers with as much information as you can. The more information you provide, the more information the bloggers can lean on to write a great post about your product. Ingredients, points of difference, where it can be purchased, price, website for more information, twitter handle, facebook links and so on. Make sure you remind them to please post the links to your social media platforms and website in their post.

6. Special feelings:

Yes, bloggers are all about special feelings. If you make them feel special and valued they are more likely to do a good job for you and mention you again in future. Little special goodies in their sample boxes, special events etc all help get the message about your brand across. Be generous! Don’t be crazy about it, but so many brands are very very generous with samples and thank you gifts.

 

What tips do you have for successful blogger engagement?

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The delicate art of a sponsored blog post

22 Oct

The ideal picture. A blogger and a marketing manager working together towards the common goal.

2011, the year that bloggers decided that they wouldn’t make their blogs a hobby any more as e-books, sponsored posts and “how to monetise your blog” discussions spring up. There is nothing wrong with getting paid for blogging efforts if you do a really good job and make your clients (the company paying you, that you agreed to work with) happy. We all like money and blogging takes a lot of time and effort! Honestly.

Recently I have heard some stories from bloggers about companies paying them to write a post and then asking them to change a part of it. I have read the posts they planned to write for the money and can see why the marketing managers asked them to change the post. While some bloggers continue to behave so unprofessionally, marketing managers will over look talented bloggers and offer less remuneration for posts. Yes you are a blogger, work hard and may have a degree of talent and a strong readership… so act as professional as you think you are when dealing with companies.

Bloggers have a distasteful name in many marketing circles due to many behaving unprofessionally. Many bloggers seem to have a knack for tooting their own horns and thinking that they are better than they are, thinking they are entitled to everything for free and for being overly opinionated in life. I’m not being mean, it is a fact that most bloggers don’t have as much pull in the world as they think they do. There are a lot of bloggers out there (heck anyone can open a WordPress site and start typing… that’s what ‘m doing right now!) and the best of the best generally take their blog very seriously and professionally so deserve every success.

Sponsored posts. It’s about the blogger getting what they want and a company getting what they want. Also known as working together for a common goal. The common goal being a marketing message being presented to a bloggers readers by a talented blogger who will be paid for their efforts.

I am a blogger (I also write a beauty blog) and I am in marketing where I have approached bloggers to write posts about my brand and products. I can see both sides of the fence.

So i’m going to give you some pointers on how to think about writing a sponsored blog post from both sides of the fence.

As a blogger

  • Make sure you only accept sponsored posts that you feel meet your target audience or you think you can make work.
  • Do not tear a company/product to shreads. If you try a product/service and it didn’t float your boat or you really didn’t like it you would be best to apologise to your client, thanking them for letting you try the product but it really didn’t work for you. Advise them that you wont be writing a post about it. They will be thankful that you were honest with them and didn’t publish bad remarks all over the internet.
  • Remember the golden rule: Do to others as you would have done to you.
  • “Oh but I am a blogger and it is my job to be honest because it’s what my readers want” (see the golden rule above). Yeah, you can be honest but remember that there is a marketing manager out there who’s job is to get the word out about a product that they think is great. Pretend that someone was writing a review on your grandmother for example. You think your granny is totally cool and bakes the best cookies…. but someone out there just really didn’t like your grandma because maybe she smells a bit funny or the one time she made them cookies but she used the wrong flour so they were hard. You would be super upset if someone wrote a really mean post about dear old Nanna for everyone to read.
  • If you didn’t really like a product but still want to write about it then try and find the positives in the product eg. “This cream made my face break out in spots, but perhaps it would work better for someone who has a different skin type to me. It contains XYZ minerals and smells beautiful”.
  • If you have a problem with the product or service as you are experiencing it DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT take to twitter or Facebook to say how you are having issues with it. You have the brand/pr managers personal email address from speaking to them through your negotiation process so use it. Be professional and email the manager to explain your problem so they can explain and look into the issue for you themselves. Twitter posts tagging the company and telling your readers that you are having an issue is NOT alright when you are in a working professional relationship with a brand.
  • Remember, if a company is paying you (in money or product what ever you are agreeing to) they would like to see their marketing message ring through in your post. You can be yourself, shine your personality through! It’s your blog after all and that’s why the would have chosen you to write a post for them. Just make sure you are covering the key marketing messages in your post to make the company happy and earn your payment. They chose to invest their marketing budget in you rather than a magazine ad or a competition because they can see the value in the blog you have created. Do them proud for choosing you.
  • You should provide the client (the company asking you to to write for them) a copy of the blog before it is published out of courtesy in my opinion. Some bloggers can command $500 per post and for that amount of investment in a single post, the marketing manager is going to make sure their message and investment in you is going to come across well with the message they need to get out. Don’t be offended if they ask you to add a few more details in. Use your personality and writing style to weave the marketing message into your post. BUT again it is your blog and if you feel that they are being unreasonable feel free to pull the plug on the deal. In the same breath, the company also has the right to pull the plug if your post doesn’t meet their expectations.
  • Make sure you say the post is sponsored in your blog for the sake of transparency and your professionalism.
credit: toothpastefordinner.com
As a Marketing Manager
  • You find a great blogger who meets your target demographic, is creative and works really hard to write great posts. Make sure you are offering them a decent reward for their efforts. Some bloggers are happy with a free product and some will accept gift cards or cash. Be generous because honestly, blogging is hard work and if they are decent bloggers they are worth every cent. You are also paying for the pull of their readership. You wouldn’t get an ad in a newspaper for free would you? Some bloggers blog as their full time profession and a jar of face cream does not pay the bills.
  • Provide the blogger with lots of information up front so they know what your expectations are and they can work towards meeting them. deadline, payment, photos, marketing messages that must be covered, where to purchase etc.
  • If you are asking a blogger to write a guest post for you or a sponsored post remember that their blog is their brand. You are engaging them to be with your brand because you see them as a good fit and you would be happy for them to use their personality to discuss your marketing message.
  • If you review their post and find it distasteful or doesn’t give enough of the marketing message politely ask them if they would please submit x y z into the post using their creativity and flair to get your message across. If they are professional they will understand that you are paying them to get your message across.
And there you have a basic guide that I hope makes you think from both sides of the fence about bloggers and marketers. I hope this clears up some issues and gives both sides some insight into each others world.
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