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31 Jan – 4 Feb 2018
Blogs differ from traditional media in the way in which they present information. Blogs are able to cater to the repertoire of social media and feature a different style of writing that uses emotionality and authenticity. They are not dependent on large advertisers because blogs normally do not contain adverts. Nevertheless, most senders misjudge the effort and costs involved in producing a well-managed blog. Paying bloggers is not a crime. It is, in fact, also much more efficient than traditional printed advertisements. Online communication is permanent because the Internet never forgets. Positive reports can be accessed over many years, influence how easy it is to find your brand in search engines and have an impact on purchase decisions in consumers' minds.
Sending traditional press information to relevant blogs may not be the ideal solution, but it can help to open doors if your topic suits the blog in question. Nevertheless, establishing a long-term relationship with bloggers requires a different approach. I have been working in the field of PR for ten years and have been running Germany's largest online magazine for fathers, which people often like to refer to as a blog, for three years. I therefore know both sides of the blogging story. Good content can only be produced when cooperation goes beyond simply sending an e-mail. I experienced my first contact with the blogger species as a PR representative in the automotive industry. This involved working with bloggers who had already been whisked off on Business Class trips to five-star hotels by major automotive manufacturers, who sent them all over the world to test vehicles. I recommended that my client (who wasn't an automotive manufacture) explore this media genre, which was indeed still young back then. I had no budget and no idea. So I grabbed my telephone and called some bloggers in order to tell them my story and invite them to get involve. My client didn't offer to cover any travel expenses or provide an allowance for expenses. Our success rate: 100 percent. Why? Because I was honest and because the package offered was the right one for developing stories. Four factors are therefore important when appealing to bloggers:
The answer's actually very simple: by monitoring. Who is talking about what topics in your industry? The best way to gain an overview is to look on Twitter because every relevant blog has a Twitter channel. Furthermore, every blogger is smart enough to mark their tweets with a hashtag (#keyword). Brands in the toy industry should search for #family, #toy, #parents or even #brands in order to identify who is talking about these topics. Checking a blogger's number of followers is also an essential quality criterion that should be mentioned in this context. When looking at followers, I can also rank other blogs because bloggers are all networked. There are also rankings that evaluate the social buzz of blogs by comparing how often readers state that they like an article by clicking the "like" button and how often this article was shared on social media. The more interactions, the more likely it is that an article or blog has a major influence on the scene. As you can probably already tell, it isn't actually that difficult. Another recommendation is to contact a communication agency that knows its stuff and can already prove its experience in the field of blogger relations.
Bloggers really do not like to be exploited. Even if they are given an allowance for the production costs of an advertorial, this by no means gives clients the right to edit the texts written or make excessive demands regarding links and keywords. Clients also need to be able to cope with criticism or, even better, to use it to improve their product or service. If you act on the findings of a person who has intensively explored your brand and factor these into your strategic orientation, you can establish and develop a true partnership between your industry and the world of writing.
There's no such thing as a fully comprehensive 'blogger etiquette'. Recommendations on the topic of relationships with bloggers such as how formal or polite you should be when contacting them are no guarantees for success. You should treat bloggers the way you want to be treated yourselves. Be sure to take plenty of time to dedicate yourself to the topic. It's also well worth having some kind of budget, which is normally quickly generated if you make the switch from traditional advertising. Provide bloggers with as much of your content as possible because they know exactly what to do with it. In fact, virtually no other media genre is as in touch with the Internet as the world of blogging.
Mark Bourichter has been working in the media industry for ten years. He has received a multitude of awards as a PR consultant and social media expert. His online magazine daddylicious.de even won the German Award for Online Communication in 2014. DADDYlicious is an online magazine for fathers that focuses on topics that are interesting for dads and dads-to-be. It is a source of advice, a news page and a platform for interesting daddy interviews and guest articles from well-known experts.