Go on Twitter right now and your feed will probably be clogged up with posts from the trending hashtag #bloggerblackmail.
The commotion started after a foodie blogger approached a London bakery for some free macaron samples in exchange for a review. Unfortunately, the blogger hoped to get quite a few more macarons for review than the bakery wanted to give away and the situation exploded.
In response, the blogger posted some negative tweets and Instagram updates about said bakery (which have since been deleted), and blog posts were uploaded from both the blogger and the bakery calling each other out. Clearly expectations and reality didn’t match up for the blogger or the bakery.
Why Blogger Outreach Benefits Everyone
Businesses are increasingly beginning to recognise the influence of bloggers in the very competitive online marketplace. Every man and their dog wants to get their business to the top of Google’s organic listings and that means having a decent online SEO/PR strategy is a must.
How Businesses Benefit
Savvy businesses know that reaching out to bloggers is a great way to build their brand and gain relevant exposure to an audience who would be interested in their products or services.
How Bloggers Benefit
Likewise, savvy bloggers know that they can create valuable content for their readers through reviews while also receiving something complimentary in return for their time.
When it’s done right, it can be a win-win situation.
Reviews when approached organically by brand or agency are mutually beneficial for bloggers+brands, communication is #1 #BloggerBlackmail
— Exposure Ninja PR (@exposureninjapr) August 17, 2015
Successful Blogger Outreach (and Avoiding #bloggerblackmail)
Getting embroiled in a situation like the #bloggerblackmail one isn’t ideal for a business or a blogger, and it’s all down to a bad case of miscommunication.
Bloggers and businesses should agree on a mutually beneficial working relationship. No one should be left feeling out of pocket afterwards, and everyone should have gained something positive from the arrangement.
The rules of the game:
Businesses need to appreciate that bloggers plough a lot of time and effort into building their blog and social media, and producing good content. Bloggers need to feel that the businesses are giving them enough for providing a review to be worthwhile and should never be asked to compromise their integrity by providing a “positive review.”
Equally, bloggers need to be aware that businesses work hard to produce awesome products and services too. Businesses are having to front the cost to provide complimentary products and services, so it needs to be a fair exchange for them. Bloggers should avoid making demands of businesses.
Communicate Clearly and Honestly
Bloggers who are approached organically by a brand or PR agency should clarify what’s being offered and what will be provided in return. Equally, bloggers who choose to reach out to businesses should do so with integrity.
Agreeing on a mutually beneficial arrangement takes a lot of back and forth, but in the end it’s worth it. Keep a copy of written agreements to make sure that you’re always on the same page.
Only Work with Relevant Brands
Both bloggers and businesses should be selective about who they choose to work with. It’s really important that the blogger and the business are within a similar niche and share similar ideas and values. The most effective blogger outreach work happens when everyone is working towards the same goal.
When it’s done right, businesses and bloggers can both benefit.
If you want to find out more about how blogger outreach could benefit your business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to @ExposureNinja.