A guide to working with bloggers

Blogs are big business and gold dust for brands who want to reach out to new audiences, via a channel whose followers trust and respect them.  

At Gravitas, we aim to incorporate blogger engagement in to all of our campaigns.Here are our top tips to help brands work better with bloggers:

Identify the right bloggers – Like you would a journalist media list, dedicate time to using the right tools, like Gorkana or Bloggabase, to build a list of relevant bloggers and nurture it. Look for quality bloggers who have built a following over a long period of time with interesting articles, images and brand collaborations that speak to your target audience.

Blagger or blogger? – Working in PR, it astounds us at how many greedy blogger requests we get asking for free samples of everything under the sun. Anyone can start a blog which means there are some really good ones out there and some to stay clear of.  Be selective and don’t be afraid to ask for readership figures to help weigh up whether there’s a good enough fit and benefit for the brand. It’s ok to say no to a blogger.

Personalised approach – Avoid sending out blanket pitch emails to your identified bloggers as these will be ignored. Personalising your approach will increase the chance of a reply. Use the bloggers name and comment on a recent post. Make sure you look at the blog before contacting them to make sure your pitch is relevant. Like journalists, bloggers are now receiving hundreds of pitches a week so you need to stand out in a crowd and build a strong relationship.

Be clear…Spell out what you’re asking the blogger to do in your pitch, whether it’s a review about a product or service, a giveaway/competition or to attend an event. Unlike journalists, bloggers don’t rely on content creation ideas from brands so you have to try and make the blogger WANT to talk about you. Be prepared to talk costs if you want a sponsored post.

…and avoid #bloggerblackmail - Last month saw a blogger blackmail incident between bakery Anges de Sucre and food blogger, Wrap Your Lips Around. The blogger agreed to do a review and was then offered samples she deemed inadequate on the day, which resulted in a negative post. It happened because of a communication breakdown so by making sure you manage expectations from the offset, you reduce the risk of a potentially brand damaging mishap further down the line.

Build trust – Get to know a blogger like you would a journalist. Meet them for a face to face briefing or grab a quick coffee on a regular basis. Be honest, reliable and never fail to deliver on a promise as it won’t be forgotten.

Sponsored posts - Blogger rate cards don’t exist so negotiate a fee based on reach figures and potential engagement opportunities, that you’re both happy with. Remember that if a blogger has been paid, directly or in kind, then it’s their duty to abide by the ASA and be up-front with their followers by stating it’s advertising or a sponsored post. If you think the pitch is more advertorial, then raise the suggestion of a sponsored post - they can only say no!

Google safe – Finally, be aware that if a blogger is paid to write a post, they are obliged to add a code to the URL link to stop any SEO value being passed on. This is because Google want to ensure that only ‘earned’ pieces of coverage help search rankings. Don’t get caught out! You can run content through Moz if you’re not sure.


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