As a practical matter, many B2B content marketers approach ‘influencers’—including bloggers, analysts and journalists—as though they are essentially the same. In fact, those audiences are totally distinct from one another, and bloggers in particular require a unique approach.
Influencer marketing—the practice of engaging with an influential audience outside of your target market—can be a powerful tool for brands to promote their content. Among all the tactics used to create relationships with third party influencers, blogger relations programs might rank among the most difficult and yet most rewarding, according to Marketing Sherpa.
All ‘influencers’ are not equal.
SAP, for example, considers industry analysts, the media and bloggers to be three distinct audiences that have to be cultivated in unique ways. Bloggers tend to be passionate, knowledgeable and insightful about the topics and issues they cover, according to SAP. They do not blog out of a duty, but out of enthusiasm. Bloggers also tend to share analysis and opinion, rather than reporting and breaking news.
Two very practical conclusions therefore must be kept in mind:
- Bloggers are not simply there to report, but to analyze. The best way to engage with bloggers isn’t to push content at them, but to ask for their analysis and to engage them in conversation, says SAP.
- The value is in the conversation ‘between’ the bloggers as much as it is in the conversation ‘with’ the bloggers. Marketers should consider engaging conversations among and between bloggers.
“The problem with many blogger relations efforts is that PR pros tend to pitch based purely on serving the brand’s need for exposure instead of thinking about what would make the blogger interested and even excited to use a brand’s information in a blog post,” said Lee Odden of the Online Marketing Blog.
When engaging bloggers, don’t use the standard pitch.
When a brand deals with bloggers, “there is no market for messages,” said Brian Solis, author, blogger and principal analyst with Altimeter Group. By that, Solis means bloggers need to be approached more like customers than journalists, with an eye to “what’s the value” for the community the blogger reaches.
Unless there is value—meaning a bit of content the blogger knows has value for the audience—a pitch isn’t going to succeed. Content must be tailored to a blogger’s typical audience to get pick-up and drive drive traffic for that blogger.
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