CIPR talk: How to work with bloggers

Recently my fellow Scotlander Nicola was asked to speak at a Chartered Institute of Public Relations event in Edinburgh… And she asked Patricia and I to be her sidekicks for the night. The CIPR Scotland talk was titled ‘Social in the City’, and its main aim was to give Scottish PR professionals more information about how to work with bloggers and Instagrammers. We were joined by local Instagram aficionados Fariba (@berriestagram), Darren (@poetic_mouse) and Rachel (@travelswithmyphone).

My segment of the discussion was focused on the ‘Content Countdown’. In this blog, I’m including my notes about the three elements of post-campaign strategy that PRs might want to think about to ensure everything moves smoothly, they and the client get the best outreach possible, and that they can measure and report on the success of the collaboration. Here goes!

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Have transparent deadlines

Agree when the content will be delivered. “It’s important to set realistic deadlines between yourself or the client and an influencer as to when the content will be disseminated. I’ve had a few experiences when there is no deadline set for content, then, all of a sudden, I receive an email from the PR chasing me for the article. Then I’m thinking, ‘right. I’d planned to do this next week — how will I fit this blog around my week NOW at my normal job?’ The point is that this confusion and client — PR — blogger chasing can all be avoided if you set the expectations first and the blogger will deliver when agreed.”

Set expectations for social media. “Setting expectations is especially important where social media is involved. If the client is expecting a reactive campaign on social networks as well as the subsequent blog, this is something that needs to be made clear at the planning stage so the blogger can factor this in. Some campaigns may be based entirely around social media (like our #HistoryHunters collaboration with Historic Environment Scotland) or the client/PR may wish the social media content to focus solely on promotion of the blog post.”

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Interact on social

Create a content calendar. “For a reactive, on-the-spot campaign that is more social media focused, a content calendar is a great way to achieve maximum outreach and reposting. During our campaign with Historic Environment Scotland, we worked closely with them to ensure that both parties were aware of WHEN we’d be posting on Twitter, and mutually agreed to support each other with RT’s and so on. Having a clear calendar for a more reactive campaign like this meant that — although 48 hours long — the whole collaboration achieved its full potential on Twitter and received over one million impressions in the following week. Oh, and it was also on the ‘Trending’ sidebar which was pretty cool too.”

Interact with the blogger on social. “Even if your collaboration isn’t reactive and social media based, interacting and content sharing should still play a massive part in your campaign, however large or small! Best practice should dictate that the blogger always tag the client in any social content they produce after the campaign (but it doesn’t hurt to remind them). In doing so, the client (or the PR agency, or both) should get notifications of new content and should take the initiative to retweet or repost it. This is mutually beneficial for both bloggers and the client: the blogger increases their audience, and the brand or client solidifies their reputation through this third-party content.”

Use the content you’ve got. “Lastly, remember to make the most of the content! You get so much more out of bloggers these days than JUST a blog post, so encourage your client to really benefit from the additional content (like photographs and videos) that the blogger will produce. As I’ve said, reposting on social media is an easy way to go about this, but another idea could be approaching the blogger for use of their images on the client’s website, for example. It’s always fun for us when clients think out the box and do something a bit different.”

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Measure your success

Ask for stats. “Post-campaign, bloggers will be able to provide you with comprehensive statistics on the performance of their blog post via, for example, Google Analytics. They should also be able to feed back information related to the performance of their social media content (this is especially easy to do if the campaign has a designated hashtag and can be easily tracked through Twitter or other online measurement tools).”

Give the client feedback. “This information can then be fed back to the client and used within your agency to assess the success rate of the collaboration AND to justify to the client why blogger outreach should continue to be a crucial facet of their business promotion. It really is a win-win situation and, as a blogger, it would be good to see more PR agencies and brands assessing their influencer outreach programmes and determining how their success can actually be measured (as admittedly, this can differ from one social media platform to another… Which is why bloggers tick all the boxes!)”

Brag (hopefully!) “Lastly, it’s important to share your findings, not just with your team but with the blogger themselves. In the UK, the concept of influencer outreach is fairly new and it’s still taking time for brands to really comprehend how to measure what kind of campaigns they run with bloggers and digital influencers. The more we collaborate together, the more we can learn what works and what doesn’t within this rapidly changing, and super exciting, field of digital media.”

What do you think are the best ways to work with bloggers?

2 thoughts on “CIPR talk: How to work with bloggers

  1. Yes I both write and photograph and have been dismayed sometimes by the lack of vision of people whom I have tried or been asked to try and promote…..lateral thinking and also worthwhile respectful interaction does wonders.

    1. Agreed – respect, always. The more I blog, the more I’m realising that it’s basically become my side job (it’s all I do when I get home and at the weekends!) So it’s so important that there is lateral thinking and consideration on both sides 🙂

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