3 Simple Rules for Brands to Get the Most Out of Bloggers

Working with bloggers to spread a message can be a really effective strategy to reach new audiences, but expectations must be set early.

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By Deborah Mitchell

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One of the key findings in a recent study by Burst Media, which represents independent web publishers and their communities, is that bloggers cast an influential net with their audiences. Findings revealed that overall, more than half (57 percent) of respondents surveyed of the 1,453 U.S. online adults aged 18 or older say they read blogs. It also revealed that more than half of the respondents said that a brand mentioned or promoted in a blog influences their purchasing decisions.

Our team at Deborah Mitchell Media Associates knows firsthand the advantages and power of working with bloggers. Social-media outreach -- where brands work with mom bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers and lifestyle bloggers -- is now a viable marketing strategy that allows brands to connect with their audience in an authentic way. Whether the social-media outreach is online, in person at an event, or both, brands have found value in working with bloggers.

Related: An Al Roker Segment Couldn't Match the Marketing Power of This

While bloggers enjoy working with brands and want to give you the best in social-media outreach, some brands are still trying to understand blogger outreach and how to effectively use bloggers and their incredible influence. Here are a few things brands need to keep in mind:

1. It takes time to execute a social media campaign.

Be mindful of the time it takes to execute a campaign. The more advance notice you give, the better. With notice, you allow time to gather bloggers' social-media kits, impressions and audience reach.

The holidays are the worst time of year to contact bloggers at the last minute since they are busy attending events, meeting deadlines for sponsored posts, and trying to get ready for their own holidays. If you have a campaign for the holiday, start approaching bloggers in the summer. If you want a campaign executed in the summer, start coordinating the project now.

2. Brands should take the lead in a social-media campaign.

You may not know it, but bloggers put in a lot of daily work writing, editing and posting. It's important for them to be organized and clear about what is expected of them. Bloggers get frustrated with brands not taking the lead in their outreach needs, changing deadlines and not providing sufficient information.

In some cases, a blogger will walk away from a campaign in frustration because brands or PR agencies do not fully understand the concept of social-media outreach.

Related: Getting Publicity When You Aren't the Next Billion-Dollar Company

3. Blogging and social media outreach is work.

As a brand, you should be able to detail your needs and expectations for these digital influencers. If you want to send a blogger on a press trip, know that the trip is work for bloggers. Brands want Instagram pictures, Facebook status updates, Twitter activity and follow-up blog posts.

"It's the blogger's responsibility to promote the event on all your social-media platforms. It's work!" said Maria Colaco, the active voice behind The New York Mom blog.

With money, time, and proper planning, any brand can increase the prospect of reaching additional customers online with an effective social-media campaign. As you plan your campaign, be prepared to answer a few questions for your bloggers.

Once they know what's expected and the message and goals of the campaign, they'll be able to deliver the best possible results.

Related: The Hidden Content Gem Marketers Aren't Utilizing

Deborah Mitchell

CEO & Founder, Deborah Mitchell Media Associates

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles and finally connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Mitchell is author of So You Want To Be On TV

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