Developing long term relationships with bloggers takes work. It is also worth it: Bloggers are more likely to review your products, provide you with reliable feedback and promote your business if they know and trust you.
Here are some tips for developing your blogger connections:
1. Set Up a Contact Calendar
Once you’ve made contact with a blogger, set up a calendar of contact dates. If you are hoping that the blogger will write regular reviews of your products, make a point of contacting the blogger with a sample offer every 4-8 weeks. Always contact bloggers well in advance of the December gift-giving season.
Tip: Some bloggers conduct reviews on an as-needed basis while others work a strict editorial calendar. If you sell a seasonal product, ask bloggers to confirm how far in advance they’ll need your product sample.
2. Learn Blogger Preferences
A blogger is much more likely to positively review your product if it is to their taste. While some bloggers are professional enough to know how to review a product on its merits, as opposed to the blogger’s personal preferences, not all can make this distinction.
If you offer your product in a variety of flavors, colors, sizes, etc., ask the blogger about his preferences before sending a sample.
For some, blogging is a source of income. Bloggers typically earn income through one of two sources: Advertising space sales and affiliate programs. If your marketing budget includes money for advertising, contact your favorite bloggers and ask about their rates.
(In fact, do this even if the blogger doesn’t run ads on her blog. It may be that she’s never thought about selling ad space, and your suggestion may be just the motivation she needs to do so.)
If you prefer to use affiliate programs to gain customers, be sure to tell bloggers about it. Notifying bloggers of your affiliate program is best done in one of two ways:
1. Mention your affiliate program when you contact bloggers about review or promotional activities.
2. If you run your program through an affiliate network, use the “search partners” function to locate bloggers who write in your niche and invite them through the affiliate network mail system. This will eliminate concerns about spam and verify your identity.
4. Be a Social Media Buddy
Connect with and actively engage bloggers on social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ offer fantastic opportunities to get to know bloggers as human beings, not just as industry enthusiasts.
Check out the blogger’s social media profile to find areas of common interest and pay attention the blogger’s everyday updates. Share the blogger’s content as well, as he may do the same for you in return.
5. Be a Good Blog Reader
Take time to regularly read the blogger’s writing and make helpful comments. This benefits both you and the blogger: The blogger has a larger readership and genuine engagement with his blog posts, and you can establish yourself as a thought leader through your comments.
Tip: If you find yourself commenting a lot on a particular blog, contact the blogger and offer to write a guest post.
Have you developed close relationships with some bloggers? If so, how did you cultivate these relationships?