Working in Digital PR? Here’s 3 steps to creating killer collaborations with bloggers

Creating interesting and intriguing content to reach and engage different audiences is the bread and butter of digital PR. Public relations is now evolving from a time when traditional journalists and editors controlled coverage and keeping in their good books was essential. In recent years however, the internet has seen a new PR power come to rise: the blogger.

Beware of the blogger?

Entering into the ‘blogosphere’ can be somewhat daunting and feel like uncharted territory, but it is absolutely essential for any digital PR guru who is trying to get new coverage for their brand. There seems to be a blog for just about everything: from political insights, to those dedicated to ‘hungover owls’ (no, seriously). Putting aside the drinking problems of our wise old friends, however, bloggers can be the perfect way to get great exposure for your clients. Many bloggers now boast followings in the thousands and impressive engagement figures, and also have something which many brands lack: consumer trust.

Bloggers are very careful about their credibility and know that if they look like they are selling out to brands, their readership will drop. However, it isn’t easy to get the perfect content for your brand on a blog. It’s easy to fall into the trap of letting the bloggers take the lead and call the shots on the content produced, but you have to take control.

So how do I make the most of a blogger?

To be honest, here are Curated, we aren’t huge fans of sponsored blog posts, product reviews, contest giveaways, or sponsored ad space. In our opinion they don’t resonate well with readers, and besides we prefer to put in the time and effort needed to create interesting content alongside the blogger. That way we know that not only will the audience become captivated, but we will have built a great relationship along the way.

At the heart of all good PR is relationship building, and it is incredibly important when working with bloggers. Remember bloggers are people and their blogs are their brands: a personal reflection of themselves. While they might be happy to do a straight out review for your brand, they are unlikely to invest too much time into the piece, and therefore neither will their audience. So how do you create great content with them that resonates with their readers? Here’s three failsafe steps to get you on your way.

Step 1: Know their audience as well as you know yours

Knowing their audience as well as yours is essential before you go about pitching to a blogger. If your target audience isn’t in line with the readers of that blog, then you may as well be pitching to a brick wall. So before you approach a blogger with your idea, take some time not only to figure out as much as you can about the audience you are looking to reach (gender, age, location and what they want), but also how your brand will help the blogger’s audience. Have a look at the blog’s social media profiles to get an idea of the type of audience it reaches how much engagement they have. Also, don’t be afraid to ask bloggers for a media kit which outlines their stats and engagement. Once you’ve done your research, you’re ready for the next step. So how do you get the message across without sounding too salesy?

Step 2: Think like a blogger

Before you go in all guns blazing, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look at your idea through the eyes of a blogger. It’s important to remember that they get hundreds of offers from many different brands, all trying to tap into their audience. A good thing to keep in mind here is that smaller blogs are much more responsive, and indeed more flexible, so it may be worth starting small and building your way up to the big shots. But beware: many will now ask for money. This is why collaboration is so important, as it can be used as a reason to push down pricing or even negotiate a free post.

Bloggers know that their reputation is constantly at stake, so they will be thinking long and hard about what offers to accept and who to work with. They work with their view figures and social media likes in mind: so you need to figure out how your brand will contribute to their success as well as yours. How is your idea different from anyone else’s?

Step 3: Brainstorm together to create collaborative content

The last and final step may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how easy it is to get wrong. When working with a blogger, you have to give up all editorial authority with the content—it is their blog after all. So the way to get around this is to create a genuinely great collaborative content plan. Do your research, work out your angle and then simply pick up the phone, or send a quick e-mail introducing yourself and laying out the idea. Ask for the bloggers for their input, ask about their audience, and reassure them that this is a win win situation. Rather than offering them a straight out review, get them invested in the product, make them fall hopelessly in love with it, and suggest future collaborations to keep them interested. For example if your brand is for a new health drink, target a health and fitness blogger and get them to use it as part of their routine for a month. Promoting a new retail store, work with a blogger to design a new product. Make the relationship lasting, rather than just a quick one off post.

Believe it or not, bloggers like working with brands that they can trust, I mean free stuff and the possibility of payment, what is not to love? By following these steps and building relationships with bloggers, it won’t be long before your own followers increase, and people will be turning to you for the latest brand news and advice. Not sure how to create a strategy to reach bloggers? Get in touch, we’ll be able to lend a hand!

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