by Becky Olson
- Originally published by BulldogReporter.com
Blogger and influencer partnerships are a popular PR tactic, but they must be approached the right way in order to be successful.
For the past few years, I’ve straddled the roles of “hobby” blogger and “career” PR practitioner, which has given me a better appreciation for the way bloggers and influencers prefer to be pitched. This learning experience also revealed to me how annoying and selfish many attempts at PR-blogger partnerships can be.
Based on my personal interests in Napa and wine, I started writing about travel tips and wines I tried. And, after losing my dad to an untimely death, I decided to start a second blog about grief to provide hope and comfort to others.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I received my first pitches from PR pros – “I’ve finally made it!” At first, I was excited about any and all inquiries because I was looking to establish myself as a topic expert and increase my exposure. Maybe if I partnered with one brand, others would take notice. But, the longer the blogs were live, the more frequent and inappropriate the pitches became.
Here, I share my top six tips to help you increase your success rate and forge mutually beneficial partnerships with bloggers:
1. Do your research to be relevant.
My grief blog is clearly very niche. However, I commonly receive pitches from people who want me to write about topics, books or products that have nothing to do with loss. I can’t help but wonder every time if they even looked at any of my posts. I understand more than anyone how critical it is to land coverage for clients. Even if the blog feels like a stretch, it would help to include in the pitch why your idea is relevant because it could inspire the writer to think about it differently instead of hitting delete. Although, if after a quick skim of the content it doesn’t appear there’s a natural connection between your idea and the blog, save the pitch for someone else.
2. What’s in it for me?
The majority of pitches I receive are pretty one-sided versus being truly collaborative in nature. “Will you post a link to my website on your blog?” “Will you review my book?” “Will you post about my event in your area?” Let’s face it, anyone looking to secure coverage from a blogger is hoping to benefit from the exposure in some way – and that’s fine. But, instead of making an ask – or demand – try to find a way to illustrate a benefit to the blogger, as well. Offer to cross promote each others’ content by also asking if you can add a link to their blog on your site. Can you offer free copies of the book for a giveaway? Do you have tickets you can provide the blogger for attendance to the event?
3. Be nice.
At the end of the day, bloggers are doing a favor by sharing content on their site. I am shocked by the way I’ve been approached and treated by some people. One author was angry that I didn’t read and review her book after listing it in our Amazon book store. I expressed that my blog is a hobby and we do not realistically have time on top of our full time jobs and families to read and review every book. Another author was upset that we have a nominal promotional post fee. A third was dissatisfied with the date I offered to publish her guest blog post and demanded I post it immediately or else she would send it elsewhere. Really?
4. Be open to payment.
Running a blog costs a lot of money, time and mental energy. Many bloggers rely on their site as a sole source of income. We pay all of the hosting, design, anti-spam and social media advertising fees to generate the traffic PR pros are hoping to achieve. While we do appreciate content and story ideas from PR professionals, I feel it should be understandable that some PR-blogger collaborations may result in a value exchange.
5. Help me help you.
We both “win” with increased blog traffic. More readers equals more exposure to the people we’re hoping to reach. When writing a pitch, think about all of the places you can help share the content, such as your personal, professional or company’s social accounts or Facebook and LinkedIn groups. This may inspire the blogger to write about your idea.
6. Trust the pros.
While a couple of the bad pitches I have received originated with PR agencies, most of them – particularly authors – were sent on their own by someone who is not “in the business.” Sure, it seems simple enough to send an email, but there really is an art to pitching bloggers and media. Through schooling, our personal experiences (like mine) and decades in the PR field, we at Approach have learned what it takes to grab attention and facilitate successful partnerships on behalf of clients. If you’re serious about securing coverage, invest in your success.
When you take a thoughtful and tactical approach to pitching your content, you'll forge authentic partnerships with bloggers and will increase the likelihood of getting your story in front of the right audience at the right time.