Love them or hate them, bloggers have established a permanent foothold in both the worlds of news and business. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Affilinet Trust Index found that consumers place more trust and authority in bloggers than they do mainstream journalists.
The ability to inform and entertain – while maintaining the perception of being unbiased – is what allows blog networks like BlogHer to drive hundred of thousands – if not millions – of consumers to the issues, services and products they cover.
While getting in with the blogging community can be difficult, the rewards are certainly worth the effort. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you capture bloggers attention:
Use Original Images, Avoid Stock
Blog sites need to stand out from a very crowded field, which means they place a premium on original content.
Most blog sites refrain from using stock photos that cause them to blend in with what’s already online. Instead, many prefer to take their own photos when reviewing products or publishing stories. While a few exceptions do exist, you’re much more likely to draw the attention of bloggers if you provide content loaded with original images of your products or services.
However, if you do send photos, make sure you’re not violating any copyright laws. Pulling a few stock photos you find after running a Google search and forwarding them on to a blogger without notice can result in them receiving a copyright violation warning. The quickest way to lose the trust of a blogger is by misrepresenting content as yours, so only send images you own or have the right to use.
Additionally, when you send photos, most bloggers prefer to receive links rather than downloadable attachments. However you send along your images, just make sure the content is easily accessible or else you’ll run the risk of having your pitch end up at the bottom of the pile.
Dare to Experiment With Social Media
Social media offers great exposure for your business, plus the chance to reach your target audience and beyond. Businesses that can tap into that kind of exposure become very attractive to bloggers.
Try pitching programs that use exciting social media tools like Periscope to raise your business’ profile in the eyes of bloggers. They respond well to businesses that try experimenting with new social media platforms. If you don’t try to utilize emerging tool, you risk falling behind and appearing irrelevant.
Innovate, But Do So Carefully
When experimenting with new ways of getting your brand message out online, you need to exercise caution. Disclosure, for example, is vital when using bloggers to promote your services or products.
Just recently, the Federal Trade Commission issued a clarification on its “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials” that clarified the effect of the changes on marketing techniques and channels.
A particularly notable update provided guidelines on the purchasing and selling of “likes” on Facebook. The FTC’s primary points in the release were as follows:
- The purchase and sale of fraudulent “likes” is considered “clearly deceptive.”
- Businesses that prompt users to “like” a page when it is impossible to disclose any type of material incentives will be considered in violation of these guidelines even though the FTC can not quantify how much credence social media users place into “likes” when deciding whether or not to patronize a business.
- The FTC discourages businesses from prompting endorsements using features that don’t provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure.
A recent example of how these guidelines were violated occurred when Lord & Taylor launched a campaign that provided 50 influential fashion bloggers incentives to post photos of themselves wearing one of the company’s dresses online to social media. However, neither Lord & Taylor or the bloggers involved disclosed the fact they were being incentivized to wear and post these photos.
Developing relationships with bloggers can have just as important an impact to your business as any other group in your network. Offering original, compelling content can help your business stand out and attract the attention of bloggers looking for partnerships. Just be sure any relationship you develop with a blogger is completely transparent to all involved.