There are many articles about how PR professionals should seek, contact and engage with bloggers. As PR pros, we focus on building relationships with bloggers and converting them into brand ambassadors for our client. We hope they will write amazing posts about our clients that will spread through the blogging world like wildfire.
But have we stopped to think about what bloggers want from us?
I am a mom blogger, and have had the opportunity to be on both sides of a pitch. Blogging has helped me mold the way that I, as a PR pro, engage bloggers.
I constantly remind myself that bloggers receive multiple pitches—just like reporters—and I need to make mine stand out from the others. The best pitches are the ones that are thorough and consider the bloggers' perspectives.
Here are a few things bloggers want when they work with a PR pro or brand:
1. The specifics up front: In your pitch, include the deadline, what to post about, links, and how many words you would like the post to be. This helps a blogger to determine realistic expectations and whether he or she can fit it in.
2. Compensation: While in a perfect world we would all love to compensate bloggers for their time and effort to review our products, there often isn't a budget. However, there are other things you can offer as giveaways. Bloggers love to offer giveaways to their audiences. PR pros need to understand that it is not always about money—it is about why a blogger should promote your brand to his audience for free.
3. Information, not prewritten language: Arm bloggers with information such as background on the company or product, frequently asked questions, pictures, and social media handles. The blogger will craft what you provide to reflect the tone and voice that matches the blog. Don't force prewritten language on the blogger.
4. Promotion: You want bloggers to promote your brand, but bloggers also want exposure to your audience. Remember to tweet a link to their posts or give them a shout out on Facebook with a link to their blogs.
5. Patience with data: Blog data is tricky sometimes. When you work with a blogger, it is more about the exposure and influence the blogger has and less about the number of page views. Don't beat down a blogger on exact numbers—focus on the reach.
6. To keep in touch: The more you stay in touch, the more likely the blogger will develop fun ways for you to work together. This means more exposure for your brand.
Focus blogger relations on a specific blogger list, and develop a plan for how to keep the list going. When you develop relationships with bloggers, you'll make your job easier and empower them as brand ambassadors.
Sometimes it is about the quality of blogger relationships, not the quantity. Whirlpool, Disney and Lifetime have blog programs you can refer to as examples of how to customize a blogger program to fit your brand, company size, and market.
Thanks to Lisa Concepcion of LisaTakesMiami.com and Daisy Teh of TheItMom.com for providing insight into what bloggers really want.
Linzy Roussel Cotaya blogs at Crawfish Tales. A version of this article originally appeared on PR Breakfast Club.