The Mistake of Commoditizing Bloggers and Influencers

How do you “manage” bloggers and influencers? Ideally it should go beyond transactional and it turns into a real partnership and relationship. I’ve been blogging for well over 15 years now and I’ve had my fair share of badly written event invites and story pitches. On the flipside, I’ve also built fantastic relationships with a few PR executives and they’ve evolved into genuine friendship over the years. Based on the my collective experience as a blogger, ad man, and client/brand, allow me to share these tips in managing bloggers and influencers.

See Also: When Should You Pay Bloggers and Influencers?

1. If they’re legit, it’s never about giveaways, tokens, and events.

If you’re talking to a real bonafide digital publisher/blogger/influencer, they don’t care about your giveaways and your “tokens”. They want the story. They want access. Most importantly, they want exclusivity. Money and tokens don’t give them what they genuinely want — credibility. If you’re dealing with a top tier influencer or blogger, offer them exclusive interviews, first look at products, and other ways packaging the story that lets them tell it ahead of others.

When it comes to the financials, these are long term partnerships and deals that can be discussed separately. It’s not about one off gift certificates or samples for these guys.

That said, if the bloggers/influencers you are getting are constantly asking for money, tokens, giveaways, and samples, you need to make sure they’re actually worth the effort and the resources. If they’re not, you need to control your spend and standardize it.

2. Create Experiences for Influencers and Not Press Releases

If you’re gunning for social media mavens like micro-celebrities on Instagram, a press release or a product sample might not cut it. This is where brand activations and events come into play. Give them an Instagram-worthy experience. Get them into a physical space where they can genuinely enjoy, experience the brand, and talk about it on their platforms in real time. This is where the true value of activations are unlocked. You don’t get that much value out of it if you’re taking traditional press and bloggers (who don’t do real time social) to events like these.

Here’s an example of a brilliant execution leveraging some of the top YouTube Vloggers in the country:

3. You need to learn how to properly pitch stories in the digital age.

Bloggers, especially the top-tier ones, get a lot of e-mails daily. You need to be able to cut through the clutter if you want them to notice you and eventually publish your story. Here are 5 key things you need to remember when pitching stories.

  • The title of your e-mail should show urgency and the topline story.
  • Keep it short, don’t attach too much stuff. We hate it when we get e-mails with 20MB attachments.
  • Mention how it can affect their site traffic or social reach, especially if it’s breaking news related to their industry.
  • Offer interviews for more information or as an exclusive briefing.
  • Don’t lead with “Dear Blogger”. If you know them, write them personally.

4. Relationships — the variable that scales success

The old guard of public relations needs to teach the younger generation of digital PR the value of building relationships. A strong relationship with a blogger, influencer, or publisher can prevent crisis (they can give a heads-up if it’s a bad review, etc) or allow for your side to be aired more accurately. It can also get your more coverage than usual, especially if your story isn’t that compelling in the first place.

There are definitely more tactics and strategies to build stronger relationships with bloggers and influencers but these are pretty much the 4 key ones that I’ve observed that have worked through the years. If you want to add more feel free to hit the comments section below!

This post is part of a series of articles on “Digital PR in the Philippines”. Here’s the complete set:

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Carlo Ople

Author Carlo Ople

Founder and writer of Unlocked.ph and for full disclosure I'm also the Vice-President for Digital Marketing Strategy of PLDT/Smart, the largest telco in the Philippines. Prior to this I co-founded a digital advertising agency (DM9 Digit) which we sold to Dentsu, the largest single branded agency in the world. I also co-founded one of the biggest tech websites in the country, Unbox (unbox.ph). Views do not represent PLDT/Smart and are purely my own.

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