As the rise in technology hits the world, the ever changing Digital Media Marketing business evolves at an even faster pace. Marketeers, in the attempt to come up with newer and more innovative means to make their product stand out, are trying unconventional mediums to propagate their messages.
While your Facebook, Google and Mobile Apps flood with advertisements, the constant flow of information makes it harder to make truly rewarding purchase decisions. This gives rise to an alternate method of disseminating content: Organic Seeding.
Organic Seeding uses individuals who are considered Key Opinion Leaders to spread awareness about a certain product or brand. Since these Key Opinion Leaders are trusted within their niche social communities, having their endorsement for your initiative can make a considerable difference in creating Top of Mind Awareness, generating conversations and in some cases even influencing purchase decisions.
More and more brands are starting to realise the importance of Organic Seeding. While certain brands are succeeding in their attempts to stand out others are merely following the trend like blind sheep, without understanding the science or the ethics behind the business.
Whether you are a brand manager or an agency representing a client, here are a few things you need to keep in mind before you engage with bloggers for your business:
1. Bloggers are NOT journalists
On an average, I as a blogger receive at least 10-15 press releases per week. Not only is it annoying, it is also pointless. PR agencies really need to understand that bloggers are not journalists. They are not running a newspaper. They will only publish content if they think their audience will enjoy it or if it will make them happy. Most bloggers started writing because they liked it, not because they wanted to make money out of it.
I have personally faced a dilemma when in instances, I had to publish Press Releases that did not interest me on my blog for the sake of the relationship between me and the person sending it to me. But I seriously would like that it stopped.
On one instance, a beauty blogger I know and would like to keep anonymous was pestered to publish a post on her blog about an anti-bacterial soap bar which was completely out of her domain.
In my personal experience, I received mass emails from an event that I had not even been invited to. When I pointed out the mistake, instead of responding, the renounced PR agency kept sending me emails for another week regarding the same event.
2. Set Expectations
Key Opinion Leaders can help you achieve amazing results for your campaign but they are not magicians. When you reach out to them, explain your goals and objectives and set expectations beforehand.
Having said so, you are not their employer. Even if you are commissioning a KOL for content, you cannot order them around. They are the best at what they do so trust them. If you knew as much about blogging as they do, you wouldn’t need them in the first place.
An example would be of a campaign that I was handling. My brand manager wanted me to ask the bloggers to write about her product, send the content for approval to her and then publish it on their blog. I had to very kindly explain to her that you are not commissioning them for what they publish but only for the fact that they do publish on their platforms. She was a sane one so she understood 🙂
3. Focus on the experience, not the give aways
Yes, the give-aways matter. But a KOL will hardly care about whether you’ve given them a USB or an external charger if your blogger meet-up is uninteresting. Make sure you put a lot of thought and effort behind your event plan and know exactly what will interest your KOLs. After all, if you cannot create interest about the product, how do you expect them to do it for you?
4. Respect is the keyword
I know I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: Bloggers are not your employees. Treat them the way you would treat a client. Give them respect.
I was once sent an anti-aging cream to blog about. I didn’t understand how I fit into the Target Audience in the first place but the direct way I was asked about when I will publish the post made me uncomfortable. If that was a requirement, it should have been mentioned earlier before the cream was even sent to me.
In some cases, you will find bloggers who will not respect you and simply bully you because they can. My advice is to deal with them firmly yet politely and don’t engage with them from the next time.
5. Know your bloggers
If you do not know the names, faces and interests of your bloggers, you should not be in the PR business at all. Don’t just use them, get to know them. I have been fortunate enough to have found a great group of supportive bloggers who not only deliver their best but getting to know them has made my job more fun to do.
6. Pay on time
If you want the post on time, you have to pay on time. I have faced this issue personally as a PR Representative. The long corporate hierarchy delayed my payments for an entire two months. Although I was helpless, I made sure that I actively communicated with my KOLs to reassure them that they will be getting their payments. Since that experience, I have started charging clients 50% advance to pay off my bloggers as soon as the project is closed.
7. Measure your data
You had a fabulous event. You got a great turnout. Everyone loved the product. Everyone loved the food. Everyone tweeted about it and posted about it.
That should not be the end of the campaign for you. Gather this data, analyse it and determine whether the effort was worth it in the end or not. Tying all lose ends will not only make you more satisfied with your job but also help your clients see the value of Organic Seeding.
8. Give credit
So your campaign won an award? Your boss gave you a bonus? You got a mention in the media because of the fantastic results you generated? Always name the people who helped you achieve these results. Send a thank you note to all your bloggers.
9. Be Honest
You are not their friend. Don’t pretend to be their friend. Don’t be fake. They will know immediately that you are trying to suck up. Instead, try to maintain a healthy relationship with the KOLs without compromising on your professional dignity.
Sorry if something in this post offended anyone but I have written this to help people out. 🙂
I would love to hear your thoughts on this whether you a blogger, marketeer or just an observer!