How to Market to Bloggers

Someone I’m personally close to works at a marketing agency. She emailed me this morning, asking about how to contact bloggers for a campaign.  Here was my advice…

A number of bloggers are used to being contacted by marketers.  As a result, they can smell a good one from a bad one from a mile away.  Therefore, you should…

– Do your research. Don’t contact anyone whose blog is a bad fit, and if possible, make an effort to show that you get the topic and style of their blog when you approach them.  Contacting fewer people more personally will probably yield better results than contacting more people less personally.  The smaller newer bloggers might take anything, but the seasoned ones with real readership are very selective. If you treat them well and they like your products, they’ll expect to develop a relationship with you and be on your list for future offers.  It’s like being in a secret elite club.

– Have a single person on your team be their contact person.  They need to feel like they know someone.

– Speak in plain English and edit out any marketing language that may sound unnaturally excited or insincere. They need to feel like that contact person is a real human being that they could have a drink with.

– Don’t expect them to do you any favors.  They won’t blog about your product just because you ask them to — there needs to be something in it for them.  Offer something free to them that they’ll consider to be of value.  That might be the product itself, access to a really cool event, cash payment, something valuable that they can give away to readers on their blog through a contest that they create themselves, etc.

– Don’t ask them to blog positive things.  Ask them to speak honestly, and mean it.  They have to have your permission to speak negatively if they don’t like it.  (If they like and respect you, they won’t be jerks.)

– The FTC changed some rules this year, and bloggers now legally need to publicly disclose when they get free stuff or payment for a post.  Go look this up and read about it — bloggers will appreciate it if you know more about the rules than they do.

– Screwing up on any of the above will either result in being ignored or being publicly ranted about. They don’t really have a middle ground.

For contact info… Most bloggers have their email addresses listed on their blog somewhere, or at least provide a contact form.  Also try checking their sidebars for other blogs they like to read… that’ll clue you in on what the social circles are and who’s popular.  Also check who regularly has comments versus who doesn’t — that’s sometimes an indicator of popularity (tho really not always).

(Friends don’t let friends market badly to bloggers. Pass it on.)

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2 Responses to “How to Market to Bloggers”

  1. Abi Jones Says:

    All of the above is great advice for marketers! I’d add that the bloggers you contact may have limitations imposed by their ad networks – meaning they can accept free goods from you, but writing about those goods isn’t allowed on the ad-containing portions of the blog.

    So if a blogger turns you down, ask why and see if there’s an alternative opportunity, perhaps via a medium like Twitter or Facebook.

  2. SarahC Says:

    This advice is awesome!! THANK YOU!!