Why a Blog Can Change A Business: Three Arguments to Back You Up in the C-suite

Why a blog canIf your client or organization is looking to implement an integrated marketing strategy, a blog may be one vital tool for success. However, proposing the idea of a blog many times comes with resistance from the C-suite. If you’re trying to sway this crowd, make sure you’re prepared with these three arguments to get them on board:

1. Blogs are shareable. There is no limit to the amount of times a blog can be shared online. Start by creating great content on your site, and then use social media to promote links back to that content. You’ve heard that adage, “If you want to catch more fish, cast a wider net.” The same principle applies here. Shareable content helps you reach the maximum amount of potential customers. And an added bonus – blogging can help your SEO rankings if you include clickable links and keywords in your posts.

2. Blogs give you an opportunity to engage your audience. Audiences won’t believe your brand is better just because you say it is. Your potential customers need to trust you and your products or services, and the best way to build trust is through engagement. Blogging gives you the prime opportunity to interact with your audience – if you do it the right way. You have to make an effort to build a rapport with your audience by responding to comments on your blog, answering questions or interacting on social media.

There are several reasons why marketing and public relations are shifting away from the traditional TV and radio approach, and one reason is because they don’t give audiences the opportunity to talk back. Blogging does, but it won’t be effective if the audience doesn’t feel like you’re listening. The interaction in blogging creates the two-way communication that is the basis for trusted relationships. (Tweet this!) 

3. Blogging makes you look like a genius. Customers want to believe that they are getting service from the best of the best. Blogging is a great way to show how much you know about your product or field of service. When you share information about what you know, audiences can put trust in your experience (it always circles back to trust). Blogging about tips or inside information about your product or service lets customers know that you care about helping them.

To make an extra impact on your customers, get your organization’s leadership involved in blogging. They can blog about the industry, or they could blog about their hobbies. It really doesn’t matter what they are writing about as long as they are open, honest, and engage with the audience. When customers trust an organization’s leadership, they are more likely to be loyal to the brand. You need to convert potential customers into customers, but then you need to convert customers into repeat customers. Blogging can help you do that by renewing your audience’s faith in the organization with each post.

What results has your company or organization seen from blogging? 

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan and a yogi and also owns and operates an online store selling essential oils and natural products. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at jen@songbirdpublicrelations.com.

Build Brand Buzz through Blogger Relations

Person-BloggingIn a PR pro’s world, what’s better than a group of thought leaders spreading the positive word about your brand?

Besides this summer’s World Cup-gone-social case study, I’d lean toward nothing.

To achieve that ultimate brand buzz dream, you need a thorough, targeted blogger-relations strategy. When executed well, blogger engagement will give your brand third-party credibility among its target consumer audience.

But unlike Clint Dempsey, PR pros can’t score big within the first 30 seconds of a blogger-outreach campaign. It requires research, patience, engagement and an overall good product or service for blogger relations to succeed. Here’s how to start:

1. Find your niche bloggers. Fight the urge to mass distribute to a media list; opt for quality instead. Complement a database media list with hands-on research. Tools like Twitter’s Advanced Search can help you find niche bloggers with a substantial social following. Let’s say, for example, you’re a cheese brand. Search “cheese AND blog” in the Advanced Search words section, and you’ll get a list of hundreds of people who blog and have a special place in their heart for cheese. Bingo.

2. Read their content. Before pitching, take time to read each blogger’s content to see how your brand fits, then reference specific posts during outreach. Let’s go back to that delicious cheese example. If you’re pitching a food blogger, point out some cheese-specific posts and tie in why he/she would love your brand. Did he/she write about a new Gouda dish? Share a tasty recipe that makes your specific cheese irresistible. By using this approach, you 1) prove you read their blog, 2) highlight your cheese’s unique attributes, and 3) illustrate how your product can be repurposed for content beyond that initial review post.

3. Set reasonable expectations up front. As new PR pros, we’re under tight, demanding deadlines every day. But, keep in mind that most bloggers write in their spare time, and they’re under similar pressures during their day jobs, too. From the beginning, set reasonable deadlines you both agree on for product reviews, tweeting, etc. And always remember: It’s the blogger’s site – not yours. It’s his/her prerogative to stick to blog guidelines and write about what best serves the audience.

4. Engage regularly. Have your solid group of bloggers secured? Nice work. Now it’s time to prove you’re a good partner. Share their content, +1 their updates, comment on their posts or tag them in tweets they’d find interesting (within reason, of course). When executed well, a blogger-relations campaign is mutually beneficial: They help your brand reach new audiences, and you help their blog reach new readers.

5. Have a good product. Cue the “duh” reaction here – of course your product is wonderful – but hear me out. Sometimes PR pros are asked to promote an unfamiliar product. Because it’s new, they may not know or recognize the product’s flaws – but the blogger will. And, depending on the blogger, this could result in a severed relationship or, worse, a negative review (followed by a “good riddance”). If you’re uncertain about a product, test it out firsthand, or see what the review sites say. By doing your homework, you could save your brand’s reputation while helping improve its product.

As you embark on your blogger relations journey, remember that quality trumps quantity. And, while time consuming, this thorough strategy will have reputable thought leaders building powerful brand buzz among your target audience. Now that deserves a hashflag raise, don’t you think?

Do you work with bloggers? What tips do you have for a successful blogger-relations campaign?

Stephanie Vermillion headshotStephanie Vermillion is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati. She is on the PRSA Cincinnati Leadership Team and is part of the PRSA Cincinnati New Pros Committee. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn and Twitter (@SMVermillion).