Drill Tip: Should You Have To “Pay to Play” For Great Blog Coverage?
Among bloggers, it is increasingly acceptable to ask for payment in exchange for coverage. Despite this trend, there are still viable methods for public relations professionals to work with bloggers that don’t depend on “pay to play.”
In fact, when surveyed the majority of bloggers still assert that the #1 reason they blog is because they feel passionately enough about a particular subject. Even those that describe themselves as full-time bloggers put revenue as secondary priority:
The implications for public relations professionals are that there is a better way to approach relationships with bloggers.
At Brandware, we like to call this (BRM) Blogger Relationship Management in a hat-tip to the well-honed practice of Customer Relationship Management. BRM entails treating bloggers like a company would treat its best customers. We try to understand what bloggers want and need in order to form relationships that have the dual impact of feeding both the passion of the blogger as well as their audience.
The creation of a blogger hub, for example, can be an excellent tool for BRM. Blogger hubs are brand or company-specific web sites that public relations professionals can use to maintain contact with bloggers. The key to success with blogger hubs is to provide value-added resources like video/photo assets or Q&A access to key executives beyond what they would have access to in a pitch email or press release. Specifically, blogger hubs do this with features that bloggers both need and use on a regular basis including RSS-based content subscriptions and media assets with embed codes.
Though in many segments – such as with mom bloggers - “pay to play” is becoming standard, there are still earned media opportunities for public relations professionals. Reaching out to smaller blogs specific to an industry or category is a great way to find bloggers that care more about the subject matter than they do monetization. With these bloggers, public relations professionals can find ways of creating more sustainable, earned media relationships than those created through “pay to play.”