As part of the series on blogger relations, Toby of Diva Marketing Blog just posted Part II entitled “A Successful Blogger Relations Strategy.” The post captures perspectives and insights of 99 bloggers who responded to an online survey about what makes a blogger outreach strategy successful. (Ninety-nine sounds so much nicer than 100. Remember the 80’s German pop hit “99 Red Balloons”? Ninety-nine’s got rhythm, 100 feels like a rock.) For all the results you can head over to the blog. It’s an excellent read. I just wanted to highlight a couple of points that I think are especially, well, to the point.
The three big take aways:
• It’s not about you
• Relationships matter
• Honesty is critical
I guess anyone who has some understanding of bloggers knows this. But if there are three “golden rules” of blogger relations we should have tattooed into our gray matter – I guess it’s these three.
It’s a win for the blogger, the brand and the community
This one is an extension of “It’s not about you” and should probably be added as a footnote at that same location in our brains.
A successful strategy isn’t a strategy
I LOVE this thought. Essentially, the whole dynamic of social media is the antithesis of traditional marketing communications, with its one way strategic propositions, USP’s and “on-message” straight-jacket. Conversations aren’t strategic. They’re spontaneous, free flowing and unpredictable. At least the good ones are. It’s a wonderful contradiction. For a blogger relations strategy to be successful, it can’t be strategic. Because it’s rooted in conversation.
It gets the conversation going around the product or service and the discussion builds beyond what was expected.
What’s great here is what’s left unsaid. Bloggers and their communities are happy to hear about your product in the social media space. There’s no sign on the door saying “Brands are not welcome!” They are welcome. As long as they create value for the blogger and the community through, as Joseph Jaffe puts it, the power of community, dialog and partnership. In other words, through mutually beneficial, online conversation among the blogger, the community and living, breathing human beings representing the brand.
Success is when the company establishes timeless relationships with their community of relevant bloggers.
Laurent made this excellent point in a comment to the original post. The greatest potential for mutual benefit will come through an ongoing relationship between the marketer and the blogger. Isn’t that true of most relationships, as we build trust, commitment and knowledge of each other’s needs? Marketers who begin to invest in these relationships need to recognize that this will be a long-term commitment, and ensure that they have adequate structural, technical and financial resources in place before starting out on the journey.
We’re all still learning, so let’s be kind.
I liked the following response from Anita Campbell to the survey question “Who’s doing it wrong?”, as many of us can get quite hot under the collar with regard to social media:
“As for anyone doing it ‘wrong,’ I simply prefer to think of it as them not quite being where they need to be yet … All this openness makes us pass judgment too harshly and too quickly I think. Let’s give companies and people time to learn and grow in their blogging.”
Couldn’t agree more.