Building relationships with bloggers and influencers is not always part of small business's PR strategies as many of them view PR as a way to get in front of their target audience via journalists only. That's a mistake.
Whilst bloggers and influencers are in most cases freelance writers, the most popular ones can have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of followers.
There are a number of similarities and differences between bloggers, influencers and journalists, but one crucial thing that is the same for both groups is the need to create and build a relationship with them.
Coverage through bloggers and influencers is a great way to boost your SEO too. Some generate lots of traffic and also have a good authority. Here are three ways to build a long-term relationship with bloggers and influencers.
Do Your Research
In much the same way as journalists, before you approach bloggers or influencers you must do your research.
What are they interested in? Who is their audience? Think about where your business will fit into their blog/social media.
Don’t simply go for the easy option of the bloggers and influencers with the most followers. They may have a large audience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will fit with your business or brand.
Your research should eventually provide you with a list of bloggers and influencers who are most relevant for your business, and whose audience is likely to be your ideal client prospects.
Don’t Try The Hard Sell
A lot of businesses that do contact bloggers and influencers only do it for ‘quick wins’. In other words, they do it for today’s publicity and to promote their business now.
PR and marketing is as much about consistency as it is about producing relevant content, so if you value what bloggers and influencers bring to your business you should seek to build a long term relationship with them.
Think About the blogger or influencer
Like journalists, bloggers and influencers will know and understand that you are contacting them because you want them to notice, and eventually cover, your business. However, if you think about the people behind the blog or publication it could set you apart from others. For example, what could you offer them? Who could you introduce to them?
If you provide the influencer or blogger with value and something that is beneficial for them they will be more likely to hear your story.
Some businesses even send product samples. While these are likely to improve the chances of your business being covered, there are no guarantees. Additionally, you could run the risk of a less-than-flattering review of your product, so make sure you’re confident about what you’re sending them.
Also, don’t forget to share their blog content. While their posts wont always be relevant for your business or your audience, make an effort to share some posts that are. If the blogger or influencer sees this, they will be more assured that you are not just seeking to promote your business, but are happy to promote them too.
Be Proactive As Well As Reactive
Where journalists often react to the news agenda, so will seek business comments for their articles, bloggers and influencers are constantly thinking of new topics in their niche to blog about.
When you think you have a story relevant to the blogger or influencer, why not pitch it to them? Offer them to write a guest blog about a topic they don't know much about for instance. You can also ask them if they would like to do the same in return as they could get backlinks and traffic from it. That's how you build a long-term relationship. Businesses who wait for bloggers to find them could be waiting for a long time, so being proactive is as important in PR as being reactive.
Finally, if they do cover your business in their blogs or elsewhere don’t forget to thank them. They are the same as you and me- everyone likes a pat on the back sometimes- especially when they are promoting your product.
We can see that building long-term relationships with bloggers and influencers is very similar to with journalists. In fact, in some cases journalists run their own blogs independent of their work.
As with most things in the business world, only by developing long-term relationships can you improve the chances of long-lasting success.
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Written by: Ben Caine, Client Manager
As a former journalist, Ben has a keen eye for news. He is passionate about small businesses, and is the main point of contact if you need help making full use of the JournoLink platform.