Part 01 : please don’t equate print publication journalists to online / internet bloggers,
Part 02 : please tell us what you want. In terms of coverage,
Part 03 : going to events / covering them is WORK for a blogger. People get PAID for WORK,
Part 04 : yes, you can have the images to use in your marketing brochure for an additional price,
Part 05 : you don’t just sit on your hands when the blogger is delivering the goods. Amplify. and
Part 06 : set expectations in advance.
Another important but often overlooked part : Do they have a blog?
No really. Not a blog that was last updated two years ago because there was a creative-writing contest that required a blog post as an entry but a blog that is updated regularly. And no, regularly does not mean daily or even weekly – but there had to be SOME consistency and regularity.
If the blogger is not treating their blog well, how are they relevant to your brand? Even if they produce a fantastic story and publish it on their blog, are your goals being fulfilled? ( It’s nice to give newcomers a chance but please don’t be taken-in by someone who “claims” to be a “well-known” blogger yet has nothing to show for it. )
Thousands of “followers” on Twitter does not a blog make. Same for Facebook.
Ideally, work with someone who has a decent overall presence. A regularly updated blog, an active Twitter following and presence, an active Facebook page / personal profile, an Instagram account that is regularly updated, an active Pinterest feed, etc. ( This would mean that you first need to decide what platforms are relevant to your brand or your campaign and this is work you have to do as a client – don’t depend on the blogger to tell you what platforms work best. Some bloggers might have years of experience of blogging under their belt but not all do – careful who you take advice from. Research research research! )
And yes, it’s ok to ask for numbers. Pageviews / Visits / etc. I’m more than happy to share my Google Analytics as a PDF file with my clients. If you find that the blogger is not ready to share these details with you, you can prepare some of your own metrics – see this blog post I did last year about some bloggers in India – it’s not comprehensive but it’s a good indicator of how you can set up your own benchmarks.
Although I don’t see why any blogger will have a problem sharing their PageViews with a potential client especially if that potential client has a solid proposition for the blogger. Of course, some bloggers fudge the numbers, which is why you need to have your own research handy.
Someone could have been toiling at their blog for years and they might have a minuscule audience that is absolutely perfect for your brand but another blogger might have a year-old blog with a couple of dozen stories on it, and huge audience that has no relevance to your brand. As a marketing manager / brand manager, this is a call YOU have to take.
Yes working with celebrities gets you zillions of eyeballs but unless they are consistently endorsing your brand, the likelihood of those eyeballs “sticking” is very low.
It’s the same in every profession – all kinds of people in the blogging space – instead of claiming that the entire set is useless, do your research and work with those you prefer – no one’s forcing your hand. Everyone can be a blogger, like everyone can be a photographer but being in the “profession” of blogging and / or photography is very different.
Here’s a good resource : The Ultimate Resource Guide to Blogger Outreach and Guest Blogging by KissMetrics.
Please do add your comments / suggestions / ideas in the comments section – if you, as a PR Agency / Prospective client would like some specific questions answered or if you’re a blogger and have something you’d like PR Agencies / Prospective clients to know.