In today’s world, bloggers are just as much opinion makers as journalists are, as Messe Frankfurt has experienced itself. Therefore, starting in 2014, official blogger meetings are being organized at many events. Stefanie Hombach, manager of online marketing at dexperty, lays out the specifics of working with bloggers in the following article:
They pick up on trends, start their own and have an increasingly larger impact on traditional media. While journalists are suspecting competition, the PR industry has discovered a highly relevant new target group. After all, blog posts enjoy a high level credibility among their readership, because they are usually very personal and honest while also remaining entirely independent. In addition to this, blog posts often link to videos or product websites, and are therefore highly relevant providers of traffic.
According to the first Blogbarometer published by Iprex, for which 1,188 bloggers from all over Europe were surveyed, 84 percent of the German respondents have already been contacted by companies for PR or marketing purposes. A quarter of them are contacted several times per week and 18 percent even daily.
More than half of them generally view these contacts positively and would even welcome more. However, the bloggers also generally hope that those responsible for PR activities will learn how to properly address this “new” target group. Press releases and journalist information are often just sent to bloggers without comment. The problem with this is that bloggers are not journalists and usually don’t know what to do with the supplied material. For one thing, press releases just don’t belong on personal blogs and could possibly hurt one’s reputation.
The new PR strategy “Blogger Relations” requires an entirely new and different approach:
1. Personal contact
Bloggers do not want to be recipients of mass emails, but personally addressed in a way that corresponds to their blog style (e.g. by their first name instead of a formal title). Good old-fashioned networking is required here. Each new contact has to be worked for and this takes time and attention. Before sending information and material, the blogger should at least be asked if they want it.
2. Supplying material
- Brief text bits, that match the blog’s theme and style with added value and links to other multimedia content or background information.
- Excellent image material, which can be legally used without hesitation. 72 dpi is entirely sufficient, huge print-quality files just waste inbox space.
- Links to further information, videos, slideshares or thematically similar articles
Almost all bloggers write all of their texts themselves. Therefore pre-defined PR texts are not useful and can even be seen as a hindrance.
Material can also easily be provided using a social media newsroom (e.g. www.pr.co).
It’s okay to contact bloggers again after a few weeks and possibly offer them new material. But more than this can come across as intrusive. Bloggers are usually private individuals who publish out of interest, passion and hobby. They definitely don’t want to be backed into a corner by telephone or email, or have to explain why they have not published an article.”