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16 Oct 2014

Five rules of influencer engagement

Posted on October 16, 2014 by

On Sunday we’re taking bloggers and journalists to an exclusive gig, ‘Jake Bugg and special guests’, hosted by our client first direct at first direct arena. We’ve been busy planning and talking to lots of different music, lifestyle and culture bloggers from near and far ahead of the event this week, which got us thinking…

A lot has been written about the do’s and don’ts of blogger relations – don’t expect something for nothing, don’t be too formal, email rather than call, don’t send freebies in exchange for content but if you do, send doughnut (?) – the list is endless.

In a world where everyone has the power to publish, bloggers are now another type of influencer like a journalist or celebrity and working with influencers is nothing new.  We’ve been pitching ideas to journalists for years and continue to do so.  Sure, most bloggers work differently to journalists but the rules of engagement are the same, especially since most journalists operate and publish digitally, too.

Rather than talking media relations or blogger relations, here are our rules of engagement for any influencer; journalist, blogger or stakeholder.

  1. Don’t blanket, make it personal
    Just as any PR pro avoid sending a blanket email to hundreds of journalists at a time (with information that might not even be relevant).  Making contact with bloggers should be personal.
  2. Do your research and get to know the person
    We wouldn’t contact a journalist without knowing what they write about and what’s important to their audience, so get to know the blogger or journalist, their interests and background, what they write about, who their audience is, what kind of content they create and what they need before pitching an idea.
  1. Think outside of the ‘press release’
    For some influencers, like some traditional print news desks, the press release in its traditional format is still expected but for some digital journalists or bloggers think about repackaging your news, information or story to suit, incorporating video or illustrations with links and access to an online library of potential content.
  1. Don’t send freebies, provide useful resources
    Sorry to dispel the myth but if you didn’t know already, bloggers don’t just blog for free stationery.  Unless something is useful for a piece, it’s bribery.  While free tickets to an event might facilitate a review or post, think about what else would be useful to the blogger – an opportunity to get something exclusive or a unique angle.
  1. Understand your influencer’s pressures  
    Any seasoned PR bod will know exactly what time a particular journalist is in a morning planning meeting and what day they are on deadline.  This is no different for other influencers. For some people, blogging is a full time job and for others it’s a sideline after their 9-5 day.  Get to know a blogger’s working hours and exactly what they are aiming to do.  If a blogger is starting out, help them grow with content, associations and support.

Tweets from @AberfieldPR

It wasn't just Harry who went rogue today. Here's our MD looking very suspicious #fortheloveofthejob pic.twitter.com/rK5ejcD8T2

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