How to work with bloggers

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Vuelio bloggers survey

How to work with bloggers

It’s a woman’s world: three-quarters of UK bloggers are women, and they’re talking a different language to brands, PRs and marketers, says the biggest ever survey of UK bloggers.

Do you blog? If so, or you’re looking for ways to develop relationships with bloggers, stay tuned.

The most popular blog topics are fashion, beauty and lifestyle, which is unsurprising as you certainly can’t move without seeing such sites!

However, according to the survey conducted by communications software company Vuelio, in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, the vast majority of brand pitches to UK blogs yield little in return.

I’m not surprised by this either. In my experience as someone who has blogged since January 2009, most PRs get the basics wrong.

I welcome the survey as it’s always good to get some numbers behind perceptions. I found it interesting to note the perceived differences between female and male bloggers. In particular, the way women promote their sites through more visual networks such as Pinterest or Instagram.

Further reading: How to use Pinterest for internal communication.

Blogger profile I was heartened to see I fit the profile of a ‘typical’ blogger in that I am highly engaged for personal reasons, am honest and transparent with my readers and have specialised knowledge of my topic. I’d not seen a profile like that before.

My blog is seven years old and I’ve written more than 800 articles on internal communication, social media and PR. Over the years it has scooped various industry awards and I’m constantly editing, tweaking and improving it based on feedback from readers.

A question of credibility
The findings around credibility are critical – bloggers and PRs need to work hard to ensure relationships are developed in the right way.

This means transparent communication, outlining expectations and taking time to get the basics right.

I recommend bloggers spend time thinking through how they blog and ensuring their disclosure policies are published. Readers are incredibly valuable and you owe it to them to be consistent, accurate and reliable.

Don’t sell yourself out for a quick win or fast buck.

In terms of what lessons I think PRs can take away from the survey for better practice – I echo all the findings from the survey with regards to the ways PRs interact with bloggers and the ‘wishes for improvement’.

Almost two fifths of respondents received six or more pitches from brands every week – but only 30 per cent of bloggers said that more than one post a week was the result of brands coming to them.

I receive 5-10 approaches a day from companies looking to promote their goods and services via my blog. I’ve lost count of the number of emails I’ve received where the person hasn’t bothered to find out my name.

Sending me a message with Dear Blogger, is not going to endear me to you!

I’m under no illusion you’re only contacting me, I know PRs have lists of bloggers they’re working through. However, if you’re trying to cut through the noise of an inbox, getting the basics wrong is not a great start.

My website is the shop window to my communication consultancy, All Things IC, so I’m strict with what I choose to publish, and have never accepted payment to blog.

What can PRs do?

Take the time to do some research.

For example, I was named as one of the Top London Mummy Bloggers back in 2013. That surprised me as I am a mummy who blogs, not a Mummy Blogger.

But every week brands contact me to see if I would like to review toys, children’s clothing etc – if they actually looked at my blog they would see I have never written about these topics.

Transparency is the mindset you need, from both sides. If bloggers have a policy about what they publish, be sure to read it before contacting them as you’ll save time and effort all round.

The potential of UK bloggers
“It’s clear from the number of pitches our respondents said they received that PRs and brand managers recognise the enormous potential of UK bloggers,” said Kristine Pole, programme director at Canterbury Christ Church University and co-author of the research.
“But there also seems to be a fundamental disconnect, when you look at the efforts PRs are putting in compared with what they’re getting out, and the often mismatched expectations of each side.”

Want to get help with your writing?
Masterclass_logoOn 14 July, trainer and ace comms pro Helen Deverell @HelenDeverell will be facilitating an All Things IC Masterclass in London.

It’s an opportunity to develop and enhance your writing skills as well as share experiences and learnings with like-minded professionals.

You’ll leave with the practical knowledge, skills and confidence to:

  • write and structure communications for different audiences and channels
  • edit and proof colleagues’ work
  • identify what makes a good story.

Want to sign up? Places are £499+VAT each and it’s suitable for beginners. Contact us to add your name to the list of people to be notified when bookings are open.

Further reading about blogging via All Things IC:

How to blog – what six years of blogging has taught me
How to blog – is the business of blogging worth it?

You can see more of Vuelio’s findings below and online:

 

Vuelio Bloggers Survey - Blogger Profile Infographic[1]

 

Vuelio Bloggers Survey - How Brands Work With Blogs[1]

Found this article useful? Why not share it on.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

First published on the All Things IC blog 26 April 2016.

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