Samantha Chan
May 14, 2010

How to talk to bloggers

Fleishman-Hillard's Samantha Chan is a familiar face in Singapore's blogging circles. Here is what she had to say about getting bloggers to talk about your product.

Samantha Chan
Samantha Chan

Talking to bloggers is only more hassle than it's worth if you don’t know how to. If you think all it takes is giving away a free gift, you’re never going to make any progress with your blogger relations.

The first and most important tip is listen to what your target blogger is saying and listen very closely. This golden rule of communication is underestimated by too many. Most bloggers see their blogs as an intimate avenue of self-expression and thus their online musings offer good insights and clues to their likes and dislikes.

If your target blogger has explicitly stated that he or she finds headphones intrusive, then regardless of how sophisticated your latest range is, they will just not like it. So why waste time convincing them otherwise?

Too many brands make the mistake of targeting bloggers simply because they have a large readership base, but that alone is not good enough.

More importantly, you should consider whether they are relevant to your brand. For example, would your health-conscious, fitness-loving blogger make a convincing spokesperson for your new range of potato chips? If not, move on.

If yes, find ways to make the product relevant to them and their lifestyle. If your target blogger is a freelance model who shows up for events on a regular basis, why not invite her to try out your brand’s most talked about hair-curlers? If she looks good, so does your product.

But be careful as simply giving a blogger a free product does not always work. In reality, this is not genuine advocacy as you cannot ensure a gift will turn the blogger to become truly passionate about your product.

There’s no point running a blogger outreach programme if you don’t spend time engaging with the individuals themselves.

Provide them with an overview of your product, show them how to use it, give them an opportunity to ask questions and find out what’s so great about it. Make yourself useful by sharing some good tips and tricks.

But if you don’t know how to, don’t fret and don’t overpromise the blogger.

So, how do you get started? Take small steps to build a bond. Show bloggers that you want to get to know them, read their blog posts and leave pertinent comments. Saying “great blog post!” is not enough. Sincere and thought-provoking comments count and, trust me, bloggers can tell. Always, always be honest and authentic.

And if they are on Twitter, which most influential bloggers are, follow them and engage in conversation on this microblogging platform too.

Don’t just rely on the virtual world, get physical too.

Attend blogger events, meet-ups and tweet-ups. Identify and attend regular events in your local market. For example, in Singapore, there’s a Social Media Breakfast (SMB) event where bloggers, PR practitioners and anyone else gather to network and talk about all things social media. It’s a great event to start building contacts and identify potential brand advocates as well as naysayers.

Don’t just collect a few namecards and call it a day. You’ll need to build and grow the relationships over time. Continue to engage with them both online and offline, don’t just leave it to the next time you have a product launch.

Got a view?
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