Bloggers. They have arrived and their influence is not waning. Hard to believe that the first blog was created 20 years ago. Now blogging is an entire social culture. And everyone who is in the business of creating awareness for their cause, political views, brand, or themselves wants to get onboard. For this reason, blogger campaigns have secured their spot as a vital component of a brand’s public relations program.
As I mentioned in my last blog post “Four Tips on How to Run a Successful Blogger Campaign”, one important step is to determine the type of campaign you want to execute. Will your campaign include bloggers who get paid for their posts either directly or through a blogger network, or will it include bloggers that post about your brand out of the goodness of their hearts (a.k.a. “earned”), or should it be a hybrid of both. For the purposes of this piece, we’ll focus solely on paid blogger campaigns through partnerships and the important “Dos” and “Don’ts” as you consider a paid blogger partnership with a blogger network.
- DO agree upon goals. We all know the rule so this may seem obvious, but “don’t assume anything.” Success to you and your client may be very different from what success is to a blogger network company that has agreed to support your program. Before you set these goals, agree upon the duration of the campaign. Is it for a month? A year? Or are there on and off periods throughout a given timeframe (i.e., a more phased out approach)? And then set your goals based on the preferred duration. Goals that you should agree upon up front include:
- Number of bloggers participating. Agree upon the number of bloggers that will be onboard this campaign along with the minimum number of bloggers that must post. So basically set the maximum and the guaranteed minimum.
- Impressions/reach. Agree upon the guaranteed number of collective impressions (websites and social) for the entire program. This will insure you do not miss the mark in your client’s eyes.
- Length. Another nice-to-have goal is a minimum length for each blog post. We have to believe that each blogger will give 100% and include as much of the approved messaging as possible, but again, to be safe you may want to add a minimum word count for each blog post.
- DO review the list of bloggers. You will need to provide target demographics of the audience you are looking to reach. You should request to review the list of potential bloggers and have a role in the final decision on which bloggers will be involved in the campaign to represent your brand.
- DON’T choose reach over quality. This one goes hand in hand with the reviewing of bloggers, as noted in the point above. As you go through this process, be sure to spend some time reviewing the blog posts of the potential brand blog ambassadors. How often do they post and how comprehensive is each post? Is the information being provided informative or just a rambling of thoughts? What’s the blogger’s tone, and does it match that of your brand and the audience you are trying to reach? Once you’ve gone through this list of questions, take a look at the reach. Don’t feel that you need to go after those blogs that have a larger reach right out of the gate. It’s important that the quality is there; then make sure you have a good blend of bloggers with varying reach levels. Please do note that many blogger networks will not provide you with individual website measurements but will provide you with social reach.
- DON’T add bloggers to your future outreach list. You will be asked to sign an agreement with the blogger network you partner with stating that these bloggers are the property of the blogger network. Although all bloggers will be fairly easy to contact, don’t try to reach out to these bloggers directly or add them to your future earned PR campaign programs. It goes against your agreement and is really just bad form.
- DO provide a message guide. Once you have your goals and bloggers set it is then time for the most important piece: messaging. A good, solid, client-approved message guide will get you the most desired results. You want to ensure you limit your messaging to just a handful of key points that are clear and help to build the brand’s story you are looking to tell. If you can visualize a blog post by connecting your message points, you are likely on the right track. Also, be sure to provide some exciting bits, like images and videos that bloggers can build into their posts. This helps to build more engaging stories for their readers and in the end a more memorable brand experience.
- DON’T assume content posted is accurate. Yes, your blogger network will do its job in reviewing and qualifying posts but in the end you know your brand and its story the best. So, with that said, as soon as the post goes live, REVIEW. The earlier you catch an error or issue the sooner you can request a revision and the fewer readers that may have seen it.
Remember, the most important thing is that you and your client are pleased with the results. Following this short list of Dos and Don’ts will help you in your mission to achieve success.