This past weekend, members of the 360PR Healthy team were in the Twin Cities for the 2013 Healthy Living Summit, where 360PR’s Victoria Renwick led a panel on “Blogger and the Brand: A Best Practices Session for Building Relationships.” Joining Victoria were representatives from Stonyfield Organic (a 360PR client), Applegate organic and natural meats, and blogger Elizabeth Evans D’Ascensao from On Tap for Today.
Each panel member offered a unique perspective that fostered great discussion. As the agency partner so often working to build lasting relationships for our clients with influential bloggers, we were thrilled to share and hear tips for both brands and bloggers on how to work better together.
Authenticity stood out as an underlying theme. From a brand perspective, partnering with a blogger who truly gets your brand mission and values and uses your products can lead to positive, well-messaged exposure and open doors for a larger relationship that can potentially create more value for your brand. “We want to work with bloggers that have tried our products and authentically like and use them,” explained Chandra Carson, Communications Project Manager at Stonyfield.
Likewise, from a blogger perspective, authenticity and a personalized approach are the way to build open communications and lasting relationships. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creating a blogger outreach program. The most effective marketers and communicators work 1:1 with influencer bloggers to develop programs that are customized. As Tiffany Gale, Applegate’s Digital and Social Media Manager, said, “We read every blog inside and out when first considering working with someone. And guess what: we want to pick up the phone and talk with you too!”
If you’re a brand looking to build healthy blogger relationships, here a few things to keep in mind:
Make it fun! Give guidelines, not orders.
Make it easy. Provide turnkey content, samples or vouchers so bloggers can experience your brand (and ask them to disclose they received the product).
Make it personal. One-size-fits-all pitches don’t work.
Make the offer compelling: Consider “first to know,” behind-the-scenes and other special access opportunities for bloggers. Share the love using your brand channels, giving bloggers the exposure they want.
Engage in a dialogue and be open to feedback and suggestions from bloggers.
Sometimes the timing’s not right. Be patient and don’t take it personally if you get a “no” in response to the first ask.