Brands & Bloggers: A Love/Hate Relationship?

Why can bloggers and brands sometimes be the best of friends and, seemingly at other times, the worst of foes?

My panel discussion on blogger outreach at yesterday’s Digital Non-Conference focused on this sometimes rocky relationship. Each panel member shares the unique experience of conducting blogger outreach professionally and being contacted by brands — each panelist is also a blogger in his or her spare time.

A Community Relations Approach
One of the biggest points of confusion with blogger outreach takes root when the brand takes a traditional, media relations approach to connecting with relevant bloggers. While there are several similarities between the two groups of influencers, there are enough points of difference between the media and bloggers that a different approach with each audience is critical.

By applying a longer-term, community relations model to blogger outreach, brands can build a mutually-beneficial, long-term relationship with this influencer group as part of a broader marketing plan.

Hands-On List Development
The second biggest issue impacting blogger outreach starts earlier in the outreach process — list development. Like email marketing, the strength of an outreach campaign starts and ends with the list. While online media databases and even tools like Klout can help brands begin to identify relevant bloggers, these tools are directional and not definitive.

In all instances, hands-on time must be spent reviewing each potential blog. Brands should be looking for the following factors in each blog selected.

  • Relevancy: Is the blog on-topic? Is the overall sentiment of content positive or negative?
  • Reach: Is the blogger active across different social media platforms? Is he or she well-followed? What do the blog’s page views look like?
  • Content: Does the blogger post regularly and frequently? Is the content relevant to the brand?
  • Engagement: Are people sharing the blog’s posts? Are they commenting on the posts and linking to the blog?

A big thanks to my fellow panelists: Shannan Boyer, Debba Haupert, Erin Flynn and Taylor Wiegert for sharing their insights with attendees.

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Kevin Dugan
Kevin Dugan

My content creation habits were formed as a kid -- filling notebooks with writing and taking stacks of pictures. These habits have evolved through my 20 years in marketing, as I’ve been immersed in all forms of content, social media and online technology. As Editor-In-Chief of Media is Power, I guide editorial strategy and ensure your needs are met. This is one way I help tell Empower’s story as the director of content.