Today’s topic talk is from Matt Moretti, Project Manager at Mom Central Consulting, located in the western burbs of the greater Boston area. Matt has an interesting social media job. His firm has a roster of Fortune 500 clients and somehow or another, Matt needs to persuade bloggers (in his case, Mom bloggers), to blog about some product. Bloggers are a different breed then editors – their blog is “their baby” (pardon the pun) and Matt has three good tips to increase earned media.
Matt, the floor is yours…
For any company, engaging influential bloggers is a key strategy to increase earned media (i.e. – not paid advertising), though the social media/blogger engagement department may be a nomadic. In some companies, the marketing department will own this work, other companies will create their own social media task force, while MOST companies will have their PR reps handle this avenue as it is most closely aligned with traditional public relations.
These first-person reviews and testimonials are critical to the validity of your marketing efforts. Studies show consumers trust reviews and recommendations from their friends much more than traditional advertising… and honestly, don’t you feel that way too?
No matter what your department, you should have a basic knowledge of how to engage with bloggers to ensure success for your marketing and public relations campaigns. Once you’ve narrowed down your niche (i.e. – tech bloggers, Mom blggers etc.) Here are 3 key things to know:
1. Set clear expectations.
Have a plan in place that your selected bloggers can follow. There is nothing worse than not having your own plan together, which in turn will lead to confusion and frustration with any blogger outreach. Know who you want to reach out to, know exactly what you want them to write about, and be clear about what key words or links you want in a post. Being up front about expectations and incentives will save you a lot of trouble on the back end, and will lead to a smooth, happy campaign.
2. What’s the give/get?
Bloggers love their platforms and treat them with the utmost care and respect. You should too. Don’t waste someone’s time and insult someone’s intelligence by offering “a chance at a prize” or “can I send you images of Kim Kardashian’s new pantyhose line to write about?” These blogs are the writer’s livelihood, and they will laugh in your face if you give them crap to write about or an incentive that is downright insulting. They are taking the time to write about your product/service and sharing information with their followers – they should be incentivized fairly. Product to review may be enough in some cases, but if the product is of low value, other thank-you items (gift card perhaps?) would be ideal.
3. Cultivate the relationship.
Don’t just let this relationship be a “one and done” type of engagement. Now that you have worked with a blogger, keep detailed notes on their progress, traffic, editorial style and how they performed in reference to your guidelines. If both the PR rep and blogger have a great working relationship, you can count on that person to provide coverage or a strong review for your brand in the future. Just as with any facet of your life, networking is key, and blogger engagement is no different.
These three points are just the tip of the iceberg of what a strong social media employee/department should focus on. When done correctly, blogger engagement can change the way your product is being talked about, and peer-to-peer recommendations mean so much in a world that’s laden with “marketing speak” that often seems inauthentic.
Something to think about today…
Project Manager at Mom Central Consulting