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Account Executive, Andree Latibeaudiere, discusses how successful blogger relationships stem from research and respect 

Blogging

In the past ten years, blogs have evolved from an interesting diversion to a valid media platform, as brands recognise the value of having seemingly independent advocates and supporters. The internet democratised all industries, allowing ‘normal’ people to express opinions and gain followings that rival major news outlets in a vastly more accessible manner. The normality and relatability also went a long way in establishing that all-important trust between the consumers and brand, with all involved parties benefitting from increased exposure in a win-win situation.

However, not all bloggers and brands are created equal with accounts of high profile horror stories from both sides. High profile bloggers aren’t shy about expressing their displeasure with PRs and brands (check out Liberty London Girl’s Twitter feed for evidence) and conversely some companies simply won’t work with some bloggers due to unprofessional behaviour. So what are the secrets to keeping this potentially lucrative relationship sweet? We put together a Blogger Best Practice guide to help you navigate this sometimes tricky territory.

Always:

• Read the blog and research your blogger: establish from the start whether your chosen blogger has an interest in the product or has the right tone and audience for your brand.
• Be clear what you want out of the relationship: being upfront with what you are offering and what you expect in terms of content gives both parties the chance to negotiate terms and timescales.
• Be helpful: if you’re unable to help a blogger, offer alternatives to keep the conversation open. Most bloggers are time poor and appreciate any help you can give them!
• Engage with them: comment on good content (not your own products!) and engage with them on social media, especially if you have a larger following than the blogger.
• Encourage disclosure: always ensure that the blogger discloses the source of your content to avoid the dreaded ‘Astroturfing’.

Sometimes:

• Offer exclusive content
• Build a database of relevant information: some bloggers are quite open on their blogs and will include personal information for consumption. It may be useful to know if a blogger has recently had a child or had bereavement so you can be sensitive when contacting them. This insight may give you the edge over the other companies vying for their attention!
• Offer guest content: this works really well if you have a well-established blog which the blogger can contribute to with links to their blogs and social media accounts.

Never:

• Spam: as mentioned above, most bloggers are time poor and will immediately delete irrelevant or impersonal material. Once you’re on their ‘spam’ list, it’s hard to re-establish this relationship.
• Hassle: most bloggers work on their own and have other jobs so will not appreciate constant pestering for content. Remember that the blogger owes you nothing, unless you have a specific contract or arrangement and even so, will appreciate sympathy and sensitivity regarding their time.
• Address ‘Dear Blogger’ or ‘Hi there’: blogs are personal and will at least have the blogger’s name or preferred alias listed. This approach is lazy and shows that you haven’t done your homework!

Hopefully these tips will help keep this relationship beneficial for all involved. Do you have any top tips for blogger relations? Comment below!

Andree

Andree Latibeaudiere

The ultimate brand endorsement

We recently welcomed Sophie Palmer, a social media and blogger enthusiast, into the Bristol team to undertake work experience with us. With a wealth of digital knowledge we asked her to write a guest post for the blog, and the chosen subject – blogger endorsement.

Blogger relations: how to get it right

In 2009 Zoe Sugg opened her YouTube account and started talking. Reviewing her favourite budget beauty products and showcasing her latest fashion buys, she gained a host of fans with her honest and fun personality. ‘Zoella’, as she is known, now has over six million subscribers on YouTube, a sell-out ‘Zoella’ beauty range and a novel due for release in 2015. Twenty million people a month view her online and with 2.3 million twitter followers, she has almost double the followers of celebrity Saturday night TV presenter Tess Daly; who also boasts a contract as the ‘face’ of L’Oreal.

Blog image

It isn’t surprising that brands have bloggers on their radar. While in the past a celebrity endorsement might have been the norm to push sales, consumers are putting their trust in bloggers they can identify with.

Brands are utilising this shift in trust and using blogger engagement to push online visibility and increase sales, after all fashion bloggers are helping to set and share the trends and their intimate connection with readers is desirable for any brand. Blogger outreach isn’t reserved for the big fashion brands, the diversity of blogs means that all it takes is some careful research to find the right blogger for your brand or project.

Here are our top tips for making the most of blogger collaborations:

  • Research – Don’t choose a blogger purely based on statistics, have a thorough look and keep in mind that the partnership needs to be relevant to both your customers and the blogger’s audience. A partnership with someone with fewer followers will be more effective if they are someone your customer identifies with and if you are a brand their reader is interested in.
  • Ideas – Spend some time creating an idea to present to your chosen blog. Bloggers receive countless emails from brands so make your idea stand out so that the blogger will be excited to work with you.
  • Make the relationship work for both of you – Blogging is time consuming and if you want them to spend their time promoting your brand, offer to promote theirs too. Bloggers don’t always expect payment but a free item and a tweet about them to show your appreciation is a gesture that will go a long way.
  • Personal approach – Building a friendly yet professional relationship with the blogger is important if you want the partnership to be long lasting. Generic emails usually end up in the junk folder and remember bloggers talk, so make sure they’re saying good things about your brand!

Join our team

Exciting times are afoot at Grayling and now is your chance to join one of the most successful PR consultancies in the South West.

We are currently recruiting foJob vacancyr an experienced Account Manager and an entry-level Client Executive to join our dynamic team.

The Account Manager role will suit an experienced consultant interested in working with clients in the business-to-business environment.

The Client Executive position is ideal for a recent graduate, preferably with some work experience in PR, who would relish the opportunity to support clients working in fields such as retail and fashion, transport and engineering.

For more information about either of these roles, please contact Kimberley.Holder@grayling.com

Brand reputation – who is winning the PR race in 2014

The results are in and the Superbrands Council’s 2014 chart has seen quite a shake-up.  Here in Bristol we’ve been looking at who’s up, who’s down and what impact PR has had on their position.

British Airways has flown away with the headlines as it hit the dizzy heights of the number one consumer brand. It’s the first time the airline has made the grade and success has largely been attributed to two key factors – its popular ‘To Fly, To Serve’ marketing makeover and enduring goodwill from its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Stunts such as the giant ‘Welcome to our Turf’ image greeting planes at Heathrow have stayed in the public’s imagination and boosted the brand’s image.

welcome to our turf

Retail brands have continued to rank well. Boots and Amazon both entered the top 20 for the first time and thanks to successful star-studded autumn/winter and Christmas campaigns, M&S has remained a fixed favourite among UK consumers.

The technology sector has taken the biggest hit in this year’s league table with Apple falling from number two in 2013 to 14 in this year’s table. The brand has been widely reported to be losing its way following the death of Steve Jobs and a perceived lack of game-changing innovation has also had an impact on the public.

Google, Facebook and Microsoft all fell in the rankings too, reflecting a tough year for technology as a whole. Each company has faced its share of public criticism around privacy following Edward Snowden’s revelations and consumers are voicing concerns about their domination of the market.

As ever, this year’s chart offers us a fantastic insight into consumer thinking and provides brands with an opportunity to take stock. With increasing power in consumers’ hands it’s vital for all companies, big or small, to look at how their reputation is performing so they can build on success and address early warning signs. It will be interesting to see where the winners and losers of the 2014 league table go next.

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