Tools and tips for working with bloggers
Blogs have become an established media category in their own right during the past decade. This growing online media sector is becoming increasingly professional with tools to help public relations practitioners understand the market.
The public relations industry was quick to spot the potential to connect brands via blogs with often highly engaged audiences. But relationships between bloggers and the public relations industry are often fraught.
Practitioners have transferred their media relations skills directly to bloggers and expected success. There are similarities but the motivations of a blogger are often different from those of a journalist.
Bloggers typically fit writing around a full-time career or and are motivated by their own interests.
Identifying bloggers If you’re considering working with bloggers as part of a campaign there is a growing box of tools that will help you identify bloggers as part of a planning exercise.
Blogdash is an international database of more than 100,000 bloggers across 15 categories. It provides basic insight to brands about blogs, based on information completed by bloggers together with basic analytics.
In the UK, Richard Leigh is readying Bloggabase for launch to the marketing and public relations community. He has signed up more than 2,000 UK bloggers and plans to rank blogs for their relevance by topic using a bespoke algorithm.
Meanwhile there are blog networks in a growing number of niches that help brands engage with bloggers. TOTS100, founded by Sally Whittle, is a great example for the parenting community.
Finally Lissted identifies journalists and bloggers that are talking about a topic on Twitter in realtime. Its premise is that news breaks on Twitter and it helps identify authoritative sources.
Engaging with bloggers The best way to get to know and engage with a blogger is to read their blog and follow them on Twitter. There are no short cuts.
We included a short section in Brand Anarchy for successful blogger relations from a meet-up of the London Bloggers network. I've included the relevant excerpt below.
- Databases of blogs are the enemy of good public relations and blogger relationships. Public relations practitioners should plan campaigns by understanding the blogs that they are targeting and not spamming an email list.
- Relevancy, relationships and respect are the key to successful blogger relations. Abuse of these fundamental tenets of public relations has been an issue for the industry for the last 30 years.
- If you’re planning to run a sponsored blogging programme, do it transparently. All bloggers targeted as part of a campaign should be treated equally.
- Bloggers may expect to be sponsored to participate in an event, write or comment about a client, just as practitioners are paid by their organisation or clients to pitch stories.
- There is no better way of gaining experience of blogger relations than to start blogging yourself.