5 Best Practices & Tips for Working with Influencers and Bloggers
With the movement of public relations towards digital and away from more traditional print media, collaboration between brands and influencers has grown exponentially. Whether you're targeting an Instagram makeup influencer or a foodie blogger to help spread your message, PR professionals need to adapt and alter their communication strategies when working with these influencers, who may not respond to marketing pitches in the same way as traditional editors.
We’ve outlined 5 best practices with tips to ensure a successful influencer outreach campaign and keep the door open for future collaboration.
Let influencers be creative
Bloggers are people too—have fun with it!
Tell influencers why you want to work together
Don’t be afraid to follow up
Stay in touch!
People don’t check out social posts or visit blogs to read ads.
Bloggers didn’t become bloggers because they like to be told what to do. They became bloggers because they have creative mindsets and are passionate about what they write. That's why they like to work with brands that offer them plenty of creative freedom to create their own images and verbiage. Bloggers and influencers also like to be transparent with their followers, who know their style and voice. Anything that sounds scripted could potentially receive negative feedback and read as an advertisement. People don’t read social posts and visit blogs to read ads, and your influencers know this.
Tip: Include suggestions in your email rather than demands. Make sure to reiterate the fact that the influencer has creative freedom, and you are only providing your ideas to get the wheels turning.
Avoid the corporate verbiage, show your personality and get to know influencers.
It’s easy to use templates for outreach emails, but this ultimately will not provide the caliber of response from bloggers and influencers that you’re looking for. While you’re introducing your brand, craft the style of your writing to fit their audience. Influencers can make a living off of blogging and social media, but that doesn’t mean they talk like a corporation.
Tip: Avoid the corporate verbiage, show your personality and get to know influencers on another level.
Make your brand something influencers want to share with their readers.
Everyone likes being recognized for their hard work, especially those with creative passions. Getting interest from a brand is flattering, but many brands and PR professionals approach influencer outreach the same. Your goal should be to personalize your emails. Simply saying “we love your blog!” or “we think your style is rad!” isn’t going to sink in. Get granular; make your brand something influencers want to share with their readers while demonstrating that you’re interested in what they have to say.
Tip: Mention a specific blog or social post that aligns with your brand and explain why you think that makes them and their readers a great fit.
If you’re sending product for an influencer to try out, make sure you confirm they received it.
Sometimes it takes three follow-ups to hear back from an influencer, and sometimes it takes five follow-ups to actually secure coverage. With inboxes inundated with mundane pitches, create fun follow-ups to peak the influencer's interest. Call out a recent post of theirs, for example. Many blogs are a one-man (or woman) show, meaning one person is responsible for sifting through hundreds of requests, editing content, and building out content calendars. Make sure you’re following up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to stay on their radar and ultimately get the coverage you're aiming for.
If you’re sending product for an influencer to try out, make sure you confirm they received it and continue to follow up. Ask them specific questions about their experience, and offer your insight and expertise into the product to help them with their story or social post. Oftentimes bloggers will not have your timeline at the top of their mind, so let them know you’re eager to read their feedback.
Tip: Set reminder notifications on a weekly basis to follow up with influencers on slated coverage.
Work on forming a lasting relationship with influencers, not just a one-and-done deal.
Once you’ve worked with a blogger successfully, chances are you want to work with them again. If you’ve successfully worked with an influencer once, introduce them to similar brands or products you work with. Creating new media lists when you already have preexisting connections with bloggers and influencers doesn’t make sense. Why reinvent the wheel?
Tip: Send a follow-up email once you’ve worked together to check in and see what projects they’re working on and if a current client may be a fit. Periodically check in to say hello and that maybe you have a new client on board that they would love. Work on forming a lasting relationship with influencers, not just a one-and-done deal.
Evolving with the times
Acknowledging changes in the PR industry is the first step towards success. The PR world has evolved just as the media industry has. With a bigger emphasis on digital placements through blogger and influencer outreach, adapting to the way these relationships are formed is crucial. Taking these tips into consideration will set your brand up for a better outreach program. About our guest blogger: Samantha Wormser is a Public Relations Coordinator at Power Digital Marketing, a digital agency in San Diego that specializes in data-driven results. With a background in traditional PR, Samantha has pivoted towards an SEO-centric approach, utilizing SEO metrics and tools to assess digital opportunities and reporting on the success of placements with a digital lens. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn more about guest blogging on MediaLeaders.