Into the Blogosphere

How to work with bloggers to increase your marketing reach
by : 

Megy Karydes

February 16, 2015
Marketing Mondays - Into the Blogosphere

Most print magazines, local newspapers, and television and radio news outlets have an online division where they share articles and news segments digitally, in addition to having many more stories available behind paywalls.

However, another important and equally influential form of media coverage that should be on your radar is blogs.

Narrow your focus

Working with bloggers is similar to how you’d approach other media, but since there are literally millions of blogs out there, finding the one that will garner the most bang for your buck takes time. When you do find the ones that make the most sense, the results can be particularly rewarding.

If you don’t already follow blogs, ask your customers which blogs they like to read and why. That’ll help you figure out which ones to focus on, rather than doing general searches online.

This week’s Marketing Monday goal is to create two top 10 lists of bloggers whose blogs you’d love to see your business featured in.

The first top 10 list could be a blog focused on fashion, business, retail, wholesale, or whatever else you think will be good for your business to have visibility. This is your hot list. Then, once you develop your top 10 list, create a list of story ideas for each of those blogs.

Next, make another list of 10 blogs that may have a less obvious connection but are no less interesting or important in reaching your demographic base. For example, you might be a gift shop known for having some of the best locally handmade jewelry in town, but do you also sell anything cooking related, such as cookbooks or serving pieces? If so, perhaps you can submit a recipe to a blog that can use one of your items.

Host a "Blogger Breakfast"

One way to introduce several bloggers to your business is by inviting them to a “Blogger Breakfast.” Set a date during the week around 9 or 10 a.m., cater it using a great local coffee shop or bakery, and have something of value to share. Can you provide the bloggers with access to a hot, new item from a manufacturer? If you’re the manufacturer, can you invite the bloggers to test drive your new product? The beauty of working with bloggers is not only are they strong in managing and promoting their blog, but they’re very skilled when it comes to social media.

Come up with a hashtag for your event and make sure to share it with all the bloggers in advance. They’ll be using that hashtag when they upload pictures of their experience on their social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. This is in addition to, hopefully, them writing a blog post about their experience.

While this isn’t required, most event managers provide free samples of the product(s) as a way for the bloggers to be able to best write about the product or experience after they leave the breakfast or event. It’s pretty hard to write about a new product if you’ve not experienced it, after all. And, as a reader, how can you trust what is being written about something if you know the author didn’t try it out?

While you can arrange for products to be tried at the event, letting them take it home and use it in their own environment is a thousand times more authentic. Even car manufacturers often let key bloggers test drive their cars off the lot for a few days to a week. Many businesses include the cost of the product in their marketing costs, and that’s what it is so be sure you properly budget for any product you’re showing off to bloggers.

Share the blog love

Be sure to post the link to your blog coverage on all your social media platforms and use the blog’s handles and accounts when sharing (so they will see you’re sharing the blog love). This gesture shows that not only do you appreciate the time they spent learning about your business and sharing their thoughts with their audience but that you’re willing to reciprocate by making their blog visible to your network, which helps them gain a broader reach, too.

Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm and freelance writer who often covers retail for various magazines. She likes her calendars, whether digital or on paper, and has her editorial calendar pinned to her board in her office to remind her what day it is! Find her on Twitter at @megy.