Collaborating with Bloggers – Effectively and Ethically
By Jonathan Moll | On June 15, 2016
One of the most powerful ways to engage any target audience is by partnering with a blogger. Whether you’re looking to reach a large amount of consumers or a passionate niche of enthusiasts, there’s likely the perfect blog out there, willing and able to help deliver your message to their audience of loyal readers. While partnering with a blogger may provide unquestionable advantages – especially in regards to reach and credibility – it’s important to ensure you engage with bloggers effectively and ethically to get the best results.
These practices should begin at first contact. While you may believe the blog in question is eagerly awaiting your scoop, you may be surprised to learn how similarly cluttered a blogger’s inbox can be when compared to the reporters you regularly pitch. Despite being from different worlds, both bloggers and reporters frequently receive emails from public relations teams with pitches that can be anything but relevant or personal, so make sure you bring your A–game.
From brainstorming your offering to crafting the perfect pitch and executing your partnership, it’s essential to that you aim to be effective and ethical every step of the way. Three important tips to keep in mind are:
- Propose a mutually beneficial relationship. Bloggers didn’t become influential without the cultivation of strict standards and outstanding content. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect a blog to agree to work with you unless you’re offering access to an experience or story that is both unique and genuinely compelling – to both the author and audience involved.
- Provide transparency to the readers. For example, if you’ve provided a good, service or trip free of charge in exchange for coverage or an honest review, it’s important that you require the blogger discloses the arrangement in their post. Failure to do so would not only be considered deceptive and unethical, it would also be a clear violation of the FCC’s guidelines for blogger engagement and endorsements.
- Avoid interfering with the blog’s authenticity. Working with a blogger is much like working with a reporter. In both cases, you shouldn’t expect to sway the sentiment or have final approval of the content. While sharing messaging points to help educate the blogger is permitted, requesting final approval and interfering with their authentic content is not.
For more information on best practices and transparency in public relations, check out the Public Relations Society of America’s code of ethics here.
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