Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Courting the Bloggers

Over the last decade, the number of personal blogs has seemed to increase exponentially (as evidenced by this blog too!). Some have risen to achieve wide recognition and readership, making them appealing to companies that wish to harness their reach. But how do we in PR navigate the waters of blogger engagement? 

An interesting post by Louis Gray outlines some of the challenges:
Not every public relations firm is an expert in dealing with bloggers. Some are waking up to the blogging phenomenon and, guessing at the influencers, are simply adding blogger e-mail addresses to their distribution lists, without taking the time needed to see what it is each blogger covers, learning their focus areas, or personalizing an angle. Others are aggressively hustling the top two to five names and ignoring the second layer - which creates stress for those pursued, and resentment for those who are ignored.
What he suggests is that it is not enough to throw pitches out to an assortment of bloggers without any strategy - you must do your homework, create a blog, and get familiarized with the blog domain. If you are not talking the 'language' of a blogger - you will quickly be identified as an outsider.

Adam Singer, writing for the blog Future Buzz, states: 
...if you want to pitch influential or popular bloggers, here is my advice: only provide content that is both remarkable and marketable.  Resist the urge to give them anything else. 
Sound familiar? Pitching and working with bloggers is often comparable to pitching traditional media. However, it must be said that blogs are a different type of animal. At its core, blogging is a shared experience and bloggers are looking to engage others, and receive feedback from their readers. Dig into what hooks motivate a particular segment of bloggers and then package useful content in compelling and interesting ways that PR can use to engage them. Further, if you can develop relationships with bloggers that are mutually beneficial - there are gains to be had.

One example of successful corporate partnerships with bloggers include Coach's move in 2010 to team up with several high profile fashion bloggers asking them to design their own 'limited edition' handbag. Obviously, the handbag giant realized the the reach and influence of these blogs, but they also understood the audience these blogs attracts - a younger, female demographic.

(Pictured above, left: Kelly Framel and Emily Schuman

Another example of blogger and company partnership success is the meteroic rise of Michelle Phan an amateur make-up artist who garnered fame via her YouTube tutorial videos. As of February 2012, her videos have garnered over 530 million views, and she is most subscribed female on YouTube. As a result, she was hired by Lancome to be one of their spokespeople.

1 comment:

  1. One of my former classmates wrote her bachelor thesis on the topic of use of fashion blogs in fashion marketing - definitely fashion brands are among the best (if not the best) at building relationships with relevant bloggers. I think it's got to do with the fact that 'fashion items' have both the potential to be written about and presented visually - and also that fashion is such a social/cultural thing it's bound to generate a lot of conversation.