There are many important aspects of a well-designed blogger outreach campaign that will get you the results you seek. At Angelsmith, we stay in close contact with the bloggers who participate in our campaigns and take note of their valuable feedback. As a result, we know that a brand’s initial contact with a blogger and support throughout the project are keys to success. In this article, we take a closer look at these two important components.
There are two things that every pitch letter must have: clarity and detail. Heather writes the blog, Real: The Kitchen and Beyond, which features product reviews or sponsored posts two to four times per month. She says, “A pitch letter needs to have a clear point and generally needs to recognize how my audience will benefit from the product or information. I also like when the brand recognizes my value and tells me what is in it for me, along with being transparent about what they are looking for in the partnership.”
Blanket pitch letters that do not express the value of the blogger, their time, and their audience reach will not get your project any attention. A more personalized approach will be better received. Indicate that you have visited his or her blog, but avoid dishonesty. Don’t say you’ve tried a recipe or have been reading for months when you have not. These types of claims are not only transparent. They can be embarrassing and hurt your brand image. For example, stating that you’ve read a blog that features only vegetarian foods, and then pitching an animal-based product campaign can quickly give your brand a bad reputation. Research the bloggers you approach to ensure that your product will be a good fit.
Your intentions should be clear and to the point upon your very first contact with the blogger. When speaking about a pitch letter she received for a recent campaign with Angelsmith, Heather says, “[The company] laid out to me what they wanted to do for me, THEN what they would like me to do for them. It was laid out very clearly and I was offered a dollar or product amount that showed that [my time and I] are valued. I didn't have to repeatedly email for details. Everything was there.”
In addition to what you plan to offer and what you hope for the bloggers to contribute, provide a code of ethics to bloggers that outlines how you handle every campaign and relationship. A code of ethics will include that you want only an honest opinion and that the blogger must disclose your relationship. At Angelsmith, we provide our Blogger Outreach & Social Marketing Code of Ethics to each blogger who is invited to participate in a product campaign.
Engagement and Creating a Sense of Community
Many campaigns include a pitch, product shipment, and then collection of data from posts about the product. This generic approach causes you to miss out on a potential relationship that can benefit your brand long term.
Community Is Important
Luci, of Luci’s Morsels, publishes about three sponsored posts per month. She recently participated in a blogger outreach campaign with Angelsmith and expressed her excitement at the sense of community that was created with the campaign. She says, “By creating a relationship with bloggers, as well as fostering a relationship between the bloggers working on the same campaign, we have more ties to the company and to each other. If friendships are made between bloggers, we will remember what company brought us together. And if we have ideas for future posts, returning to companies that made us feel appreciated will always be at the top of our list.”
It’s important that the person contacting bloggers be friendly, approachable and responsive throughout the campaign. Luci adds that connecting the participating bloggers by sharing links and social media handles allows bloggers to get to know each other better. This encourages even more exposure for the posts featuring your products because the bloggers are likely to cross promote each other on social media channels.
It’s Not All About Compensation
In the current digital marketing environment, bloggers are often given the reputation for seeking only money-making opportunities, but for most this holds untrue. Many bloggers enjoy promoting a brand that they develop a relationship with when they truly like the product and the people behind it. Luci says, “So often, PR companies and brands negotiate a campaign and let the relationship fade. From a blogger's perspective, it seems that once the post goes live, we don't hear from the contact again - especially if there isn't payment involved. This sort of behavior makes bloggers feel "used" and not appreciated for the time and energy that went into creating quality content. Companies run the risk of turning us off from working with them again and generally sour the taste for collaborations besides as a money-making opportunity.”
Enter into a blogger outreach campaign with a goal to get to know the people who will help you promote your product. This can be done by email communication, engagement on social media, and occasional product gifts with no expectation of a post or share. By providing individualized and informative pitch letters, and developing a relationship with the people behind the blogs, you can increase valuable brand loyalty and foster a community of product ambassadors.