Dear PR , Social and Digital Marketing execs, we know that reaching out to bloggers has become an import part of your arsenal of tools in maximising exposure for your valued clients. We know you are very busy people so we have compiled a list of things you may want to apply in order to achieve success and not unnecessarily piss off the wrong blogger with a following (which happens more than you know).
I often hear how bloggers should approach sponsors but hardly anything about how these executives should up their game to deal with bloggers. As a former Marketing & PR senior exec with nearly 20 years in the communication field and a blogger for a decade, I wanted to compile a new set of best practice rules of engagement.
I have used photos I was commissioned to shoot for the amazing Dubai sandwich shop and espresso bar, Panifico located centrally near auction gallery, Christie’s in DIFC to illustrate this post.
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY REACH OUT TO FOOD BLOGGERS AND VLOGGERS
Tips for PR Executives and Digital Marketers
- Read the blog or watch the YouTube vlogs of the person you are contacting. This is a critical requirement. If the content does not interest you, then it will show in the way you approach the contact. Plus you look like a complete idiot targeting nail polish to a professional male chef.
- Have some focus. Do not send out blanket correspondence to anyone with a blog. They may even have their own terms of engagement. Familiarise yourself with them.
- Seek to build long-term mutually beneficial relationship the bloggers who will add value to your campaigns with terms you are both comfortable with. This way you will be able to confidently partner with the blogger and having a handful of trusted professional bloggers is worth more than trying to cast a veeeeery wide net. One blogger may be a great fit with multiple campaigns and multiple clients depending on the demographic and actual campaign. Plus they know other great bloggers.
- Conduct some research about the person. Bloggers usually have static pages with info about them. YouTubers have channels and profiles with info about them.
- Never tweet a blogger or vlogger to DM you their contact info. That. Is. Just. Tacky.
- Never leave a comment on a blog post with your contact info for the blogger or vlogger to contact you. You reek of desperation to anyone reading (including your competitors).
- Always send an email to the person directly in which you refer to the blogger/vlogger by name. It doesn’t have to be a real name, but at least the handle they use online. Just like how “Dear Editor almost guarantees your press release ending up in File 13 (the trash) you pretty much will have the same result with any seasoned blogger.
- If you cannot find an email address after proper search, then and only then leave a comment to say you are trying to find an email on the site in order to contact the person directly about the possibility of working together on a project.
- Know what you want and also what you are willing to give for it. WII FM still rules. How will you be adding value to the blogger/vlogger and his/her following?
- NEVER contact a blogger/vlogger under the assumption that he or she is hungry and waiting for free food. Never offer a blogger or vlogger a free meal for a review or even worse, a good review. While there are some food bloggers who actually blog in the hopes of getting free food, many of us are actually offended that you would invite us for the purpose of giving a review. It would be better for you to reach out to fewer bloggers and invite them to dinner. They may or not accept and may or may not write about it.
- Bloggers and vloggers talk. Do not be misguided by the level of influence that they have with each other, your competition and even your clients and the customers they are trying to reach. You do not want to be ridiculed in secret social media groups or worse yet, in public.
- The only way to guarantee coverage without losing integrity is either to a) PAY for it or b) invite the blogger or vlogger to events so useful or exciting that they will not only want to turn up but also to share with their following. Yes that means more work for you but it is much better to work smarter and get better results while maintaining your reputation in the blogging world.
- Assume all bloggers/vloggers do not wish to provide our recipes or photography for free for whatever project you are working on. More seasoned bloggers/vloggers with a following will have some idea of what their publishing platform is worth, so be sure to respect that some bloggers, like me, do not work for free. But that is a whole other post (coming up next)!
ETA: If you are new to our blog, you must read this post by Chef Lij about how chefs REALLY feel about bloggers
We’re dying to hear your views or tips! Leave a comment below!