• The Tangled Web
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    Melody McKinnon explores the mindset of today's web savvy pet parents to improve consumer relations and develop effective marketing strategies.

    Reaching pet parents through pet bloggers

    Aug 17, 2012 By Melody McKinnon

    Bloggers can gain an impressive, loyal following on the social Web through excellent content, communication and trust built through fellowship. Their value to pet product brands is in their influence over consumer purchasing, often in a very specific niche. Bloggers can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your products, and a nod of approval from the right blog can seriously increase sales. Search engine optimization benefits include link building and social media mentions.


    Managing several blogs has placed me on both the marketing and publishing side of blogging. I receive inquiries from companies every day, and I have established relationships with other blogs for marketing purposes. Building relationships comes easily to me, but that doesn't appear to be the case with most people in sales and marketing. They may have a difficult time relating to bloggers on the proper level, instead addressing them as they would mainstream media, retailers or even customers.


    Approaching bloggers isn't difficult, it's just different. The most effective approach is to offer them something of value.

    Product testing & reviews
    If you're launching a new product or if you would like to have a product reviewed by a blogger, ask them. Don't tell them you're sending a product sample as you would with a retailer; ask if you may send them some products to be reviewed on their blog. Keep in mind that testing and writing reviews is time-consuming, and most bloggers aren't willing to put all of that effort into reviewing your US$4.99 product for the freebie. Offer extra products or company swag (promotional products) for bloggers to use for a contest or simply as a thank-you for their effort. Be prepared for negative product points to be included in the review because most bloggers value their readers' trust above all else.

    Prize donation
    Bloggers quite often hold small contests that can be widely promoted over the period of a week or more. Offer your product as a prize (at least a US$25 value) or double it up and have the blogger review your product at the same time. Company swag, such as branded clothing or pet products, are popular prizes as well.

    Guest posts
    First and foremost, remember that a guest post is not a press release or an opportunity to promote your products. Have a real writer research and compose useful content for blogs and offer it to one exclusively. The majority of bloggers allow a link in the author bio and that's where the value is for you. Other blogs may allow a link in the body of the article for a fee. Check the website for guest post guidelines and follow them to the letter.

    News releases
    Traditional press releases usually don't fly with bloggers unless it's truly news that their readers will be interested in. You have a better chance with releases about pet charity sponsorship or other contributions to the community.

    Interviews
    Invitations to be interviewed are usually extended by the blogger, but it can't hurt to mention that you're available.

    Your initial correspondence should be professional, direct, polite and appreciative of the blogger's time. It's your job to work with the blogger and accommodate his or her topic, style, scheduling and goals. Remember that they're doing you a favor, not the other way around, and check any arrogance or condescending attitudes at the door.

    Once you've been mentioned on a pet blog, promote it with pride via social media or on your corporate blog. A note of thanks to the blogger is also the kind of gesture that promotes good will and keeps the door open.

    I've enjoyed each and every interaction with bloggers that I've had as a marketer. As a result, I've built countless relationships with quality bloggers across a wide variety of niche topics. They're a reasonable, intelligent, and pleasant group overall. Using these tips as a guide will help your brand score similar, mutually beneficial arrangements with many influential pet bloggers, resulting in valuable, inexpensive marketing and PR.

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      Thank you so much for this post. I'm a dog blogger and receive emails on a daily basis from people who don't seem to get it. I've connected with some great companies and I appreciate the opportunities they provide. What I don't appreciate are the people who treat bloggers like an inexpensive or free form of advertising. I post content 2-4x a week; it's quality content, well researched, and well written. I promote my blog daily and work on my blog at least 20 hours a week. My goal is to be the top dog blogger on the internet and I can't get there without putting in the work and I want to work with people who respect this and appreciate it. Not the ones who act as if they're doing me a favor. I so appreciate this post! Kimberly

      Posted by : kimberlymgauthier@gmail.com (Email | Visit) on 08/21/2012


      Hi Kimberly, I appreciate the comment. Building relationships with bloggers is a relatively new marketing strategy that many marketers don't have a firm grasp on yet, as is the case with many social marketing strategies. That's why it's so difficult to find a good social marketer who has both the knowledge and the right personality to effectively work the social web. It can certainly be frustrating with some, but I find most marketers are willing to listen and learn.

      Posted by : Melody McKinnon (Email | Visit) on 08/21/2012


      Hi Melody, As a long-time pet blogger, writer, and a person in PR and social media, I feel these from both sides of the coin. We need to build relationships before we can expect bloggers to reciprocate. I know when I pitch, it is based on relationship and give and take. As a blogger who gets pitched, the cold "I don't know" you pitches drive me crazy. I am also the PR Manager for BlogPaws and can honestly attest the growing force of pet blogging, myself included. Thanks for writing this!

      Posted by : writeric@yahoo.com (Email | Visit) on 08/21/2012


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