Blogger collaboration is the golden ticket to success in a digital PR agency. For a DPR officer, it’s a breath of fresh air, a sigh of relief, dare I say it, FUN! If you’re working in the field, you know the importance of blogger collaboration and relations with influence makers to diffuse your client’s name across every social platform and among a diverse readership in several different countries. It’s not only a successful business tool, but it is also quite enjoyable for the digital PR officer. It’s wonderful to take on a new client with a stellar product that they can offer as a sample to relevant bloggers. Easy peasy, right? Well, not always.
The truth of the matter is that it’s not all peaches and cream, smooth sailing, and if you put all your eggs in that blogger collaboration basket, you may run into some glitches. Here are some issues you may encounter with blogger relations and advice on how to fix them:
The almighty dollar. The theory of DPR is this: I offer you some fabulous piece of content, some hot piece of news, or some luxury product for free, and you in turn give me a publication and a link. Quality is rewarded with a publication and a link and then there is only top notch info on the net. We’ve seen enough junk circulating on the web, however, to know that’s not true. The problem that you will surely encounter with bloggers is that in addition to the fabulous products you offer them (even if they total close to 100 euros or more), they charge for posts. Before embarking on a blogger collaboration project, ask your client if they are interested in paying, maybe just for top bloggers. Then you can avoid this issue all together. Some bloggers ask for as little as 50-100 euros, which is doable, while others are up there in the thousands. Which makes me think I’m in the wrong field of work. But in any case, if you have absolutely no budget, it doesn’t hurt to insist a little if the blogger charges for posts. You can write back and say “unfortunately we don’t pay for posts, but we’re offering you a luxury product and we’d really love to collaborate. If you change your mind, let me know!” You’d be surprise how many of them give in, especially if it’s something they’re interested in, many make an exception.
Unrealistic expectations. Every client wants to see their product featured on top bloggers’ pages. Some are even willing to pay. Perfect for you….as long as you’re offering a product AND money, nobody can say no, right? Wrong. If you’re dealing with a client that is a small business, chances are, top bloggers may not take the plunge because most only work directly with big brands. This doesn’t mean you can’t ask, because truly, you never know. But you must make your client understand what their product is and which range of bloggers they are realistically capable of obtaining. Aiming for a few low to mid range bloggers and getting low to mid level publications that are also promoted on their social media sites, is far better than chasing after the big time fashion blogger for months and not getting anything in the meantime. This is not being negative, it’s being realistic and it’s something you will have to explain to your client.
Aftermath. So now you’ve got the blogger interested. They agree to your terms, place the order for their samples, and you sit back and wait for them to let you know they’ve published their post, right? Wrong. Some will keep you in the loop every step of the way. Others drag their feet and yet others perform the good ole’ Houdini act (disappear into thin air with the lovely products you were so kind to send them). For those who update you, they’re a God send, hold on to them and keep them in mind for future collaborations. For those dragging their feet, the importance here is to stay on top of them. Be kind, but firm. If they need to place their order, follow up to see that they have, then write to see if they’ve received it. The awkward part is when it gets to the end of the month and you need to know if they are going to publish by the 31st or what. I kindly say, “I just wanted to see if you had an idea of when you would publish as I need to report to the client. Do you think it will be this month or shall I say for next month?” And then you cross your fingers and hope they respond, “It will be up tomorrow.” You’re working on somewhat of an honor system here, but it all comes down on you when they don’t publish or they’re taking forever to publish, so you need to speak up. For those who disappear, it makes no sense to write every day, but continue to follow up every couple of weeks.
So there you have it. Some issues you may encounter when working with bloggers and how to handle them. Remember, the most important thing as with anything in this job, is to be organized. Tools such as buzzstream come particularly in handy when you’re handling a large quantity of people, names, email addresses, sample numbers and sizes. Do yourself the favor and you’ll be glad you did later!