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Do good PR and blogger outreach go hand in hand?

10 February, 2016

blog-793047_1280When I started working with on blogger outreach the thing that really stood out for me was that good PR and good blogger outreach have many of the same benefits for businesses and brands. In the digital world, the obvious one is ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO) which relates to both PR and blogger outreach – if you have a good story which appears in the right place at the right time, then the result should be a great article where the author will want to include a link because they know the reader is likely to want to know more information about the source of the story – be they an individual, company or brand. And the more credible the links are, the more search engines like them.

But, just as Opportunities to See/Hear (OTS) and Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) are basic (and valuable measurements) for PR in terms of the number of people a piece of coverage can reach and its value were you to pay for the space via advertising; domain authority and page rank are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of blogger outreach. The power of both PR and blogger outreach can be seen through the opportunity to engage with people, and that’s where the real magic happens.

Storytelling through PR

recycle-57136_1280I’ve spent my career trying to tell stories for people and brands that will be interesting to the wider world. I’ve seen the impact of good PR on businesses, brands and campaigns first-hand. When I worked on the national recycling campaign, we watched as the recycling rate increased over the course of the campaign and our work on promoting women’s football for The FA ahead of UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 saw us achieve the best attendance for an England women’s game with a crowd of 29,092 when England played Finland at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium as part of the championship.

Of course, these were huge PR campaigns but no matter what the campaign, the tactics or indeed the budget, the basic premise prevails – tell or make a story interesting to the wider world, one that will capture the imagination of the media and ultimately, their target audience and people will want to share the story, talk about it, engage with it, and sometimes directly change their behaviour.

The power of the blogger

And this is where I think the power of the blogger comes in. As PR practitioners, we’ve always known that good PR will be shared and that the key is reaching the right influencers to share relevant stories, and the advent of the blogger has given us a whole new set of influencers to talk to/target.

It’s hard to find a definitive figure for the number of bloggers in the UK – mainly because it increases all the time – but according to Brandon Gaille writing for WPVirtuoso a new blog is created somewhere in the world every half second – which means 172,800 blogs are added to the internet every day, mind-blowing really.

One way to add some meaning to the vast number of blogs out there and start to get a handle on the opportunity is to break blogging down by sector. Take food bloggers for example. Compared to print media which is constrained by the number of editions and number of pages given over to food, there are thousands of bloggers devoted to food who can blog as many times as they like all day, every day if they wanted to. For example, The Food Blogger Network represents over 1,000 UK-based food bloggers alone. Then there’s parenting bloggers – TOTS 100 represents over 8,000 UK bloggers; beauty bloggers; lifestyle bloggers (many of whom also write about food as well) – and the opportunity out there can become almost overwhelming!

And, people trust bloggers. For many bloggers, their blog is an extension of themselves, so a blogger can almost become a friend whose life you, as a reader, share. A survey of over 2,000 UK consumers by Afilinet found that bloggers are the third most trustworthy source of information, behind friends and family. The same survey placed journalists at number six and brands at number nine – which makes it crystal clear why brands and PR agencies want to engage with bloggers, as well as journalists.

Blogger outreach in action – #aldichallenge

bananas-698608_640What you see with bloggers, is the opportunity to build a dialogue, and create content with them, engaging them in your campaign. There are many great examples of where bloggers have been invited to engage in an experience and share it in their own way. A current example is the Aldi January Challenge which challenges consumers to feed their family for £70 a Week, #aldichallenge, part of Aldi’s marketing campaign and clearly incorporating blogger outreach judging by the posts that have been popping up on my Instagram feed. Bloggers are invited to do their weekly shop at Aldi with a £70 budget (courtesy of Aldi vouchers) and share the results.

What you get is a pictorial smorgasbord (literally!) of amazing meals cooked by bloggers and shared via their social media and comments about the value for money, quality and range of the brand, and you can see a part of a successful blogger outreach campaign in action. Mostly Yummy Mummy’s blog post about the #aldichallenge is the perfect example of this campaign in action.

This is just one campaign of many, but a great current example. It’s the engagement that interests me – an ongoing dialogue with a trusted blogger doing something many people would be interested in trying out. It’s accessible, it’s engaging, it results in conversations about the brand and it all contributes to the brand’s reputation when it appears on a trusted blog. It works across the marketing mix including PR, blogger outreach and social media; but the bloggers are the people who really bring this campaign to life for me, they have the outlet to share their experience, and that’s so engaging.

All of these factors and benefits are exactly what you’d look for in a successful PR campaign, whether it be through traditional media or blogger outreach. And thankfully, due to the boom in fantastic blogging adding to our rich and varied media landscape, blogger outreach offers another potential dimension to every PR campaign resulting in a myriad of business benefits for brands.

Which blogger outreach campaigns have got your interest recently? Have you incorporated blogger outreach into the marketing mix for your business? What sort of bloggers are relevant to your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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