Network with bloggers the right way by @_lauramclo

by Laura McLoughlin | Featured Contributor 

If you are doing marketing for your business, you will no doubt have considered influencer marketing. This entails partnering with a blogger, vlogger or some other kind of digital star to create content to promote your business in a way which benefits both parties. The problems with this come in when well-intentioned business owners and marketing professionals go about contacting bloggers all the wrong ways.

To help you skip this painful learning process, and get you on the right track for harmonious blogger relations, I’ve collected my top tips for any time you are outreaching to a blogger you would like to work with.

Engage with them.

Get to know your influencers, especially if you are in a relatively small, niche market. You should take the time to follow them on social media, and like their posts from time to read. Read their articles, congratulate them on their milestones, respond to them when they are searching for comments or help. Not only will you have blossoming friendships within the industry, but you will better know a blogger’s interests when it comes to contacting them about working with you and your company.

Understand that they are people. Busy people.

Don’t follow up with them six times a day. Don’t follow up six times, in general.

Many bloggers maintain their websites in their downtime, and have to find a way to balance it with a full-time job. Therefore, if you have sent an email to a blogger, give them sufficient time to respond to you, and only follow up multiple times if you think there is a chance that there has been a technical error or they could have genuinely missed your emails.  Emails sent around Christmas, holiday time, and other busy periods can easily be snowed under, after all, but if after your initial pitch and one or two gentle follow ups you still haven’t heard back, draw a line under it.

Treat them professionally.

You would never walk into a meeting and say hello to “XXX” and then proceed to deliver a presentation on a topic of zero relevance to your listeners, so don’t subject bloggers to it over email.

Call them by name, and take the time to actually research what they do. This research should not just be a quick scan of the site to tick a box, but rather to work out if they are part of a specific niche, such as LGBT weddings within the topic of wedding blogging or vegan living within the topic of food blogging, or have a particular style. You may find your press release really doesn’t suit a light music blog with a taste for the silly, and that it would find a better home with a more somber reviews website.

And when everything is said and done, thank them.

Respect their boundaries.

If they don’t accept guest posts or contributions, don’t push them. If they don’t link to companies and brands as a rule, accept that. Nothing turns off a blogger faster than a pushy PR person, so respect where they draw their lines and respond to their refusal politely.

If a blogger does want to work with you, great! But that doesn’t mean that all the fences are down. You still need to allow a blogger to have creative control over their blog and content, and only intervene if you feel that what they are doing is not fit for purpose. They know their audience best, after all, and will know the right way to communicate to them why your company or campaign is important.

The main thing to remember when conducting influencer marketing is that the influencers you’re emailing and messaging on social media are people – smart people. Digitally savvy and business minded, successful bloggers have set themselves apart from the rest of us normal folk who can just about set up a WordPress account. They are a one-man-army and deserve to be called by name and spoken to as you would any professional under a big brand name.

As long as you keep that in mind, you shouldn’t have any problems.

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