If you are running a small business, chances are that publicity and marketing for your brand and product line are on your mind. Without a dedicated publicist, contact emails, editorial calendars and the all-too-important relationship with your chosen print or broadcast editor, this type of media may be out of reach. Or maybe you simply want to increase awareness faster than the 3-4 month lead time that magazine editors require and are looking to bloggers.
Many businesses understand the value of partnering with influencers such as bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers to endorse their particular brands, but they don’t know where to begin and what criteria should be put into place to discern between someone of influence and someone who is a hobbyist. Not to mention, what are the rules of engagement? How do you approach them and maintain a positive relationship?
As bloggers ourselves at Top Tier Media, we have a few tips you will find helpful.
Where to Find Influential Bloggers:
- Blogger Networks
Some of the best ways to find lists of bloggers is to begin searching the networks they are apart of like The Beauty Blog Coalition, iFabbo (International Organization for Fashion and Beauty Bloggers), POPSUGAR Select and Style Coalition Influencer Exchange. Most networks will link you directly to the blog, where you can then find their contact information.
Pinterest is a blogger’s dream. It is the place where blogs get pinned and re-pinned with very little effort. Pinterest overflows with millions of professional pictures of blog-worthy outfits, delectable recipes and brag-worthy adventures. Behind many of these pictures are bloggers. Many have enormous followings and earn regular incomes because of this. Take a look at their Pinterest statistics. Their number of followers, pins and likes will show how influential they are in the marketplace and how often they are active on the site. Strategically partnering with a blogger with a large enough following can send loads of traffic back to a site with eager customers.
As of December 2014, there are over 300 million active users on Instagram alone. This increasingly popular photo-sharing site shows no signs of slowing down with video capabilities, a popular page and millions of pictures posted every single day. Hashtags are the best ways to find beauty bloggers here. Most frequently used are #beautyblogger, #fashionblogger #bbloggers, and #fbloggers. Want to find a beauty blogger in your specific niche? Try #crueltyfree, #vegan, #organic, #health, #drugstore, etc, paired with a beauty or fashion blogger hashtag. The hashtags can help point to a particular authority in that field. Look for Instagram users who post regularly, stay within a theme and have true engagement in the form of Likes and comments. While follower numbers are important, if the engagement doesn’t jive with the follower count, then it is likely that the Instagrammer may have “bought” fake fans. If the Instagrammer doesn’t have a physical blog linked to in their bio, they typically have their direct contact information listed.
YouTube is the ultimate tool for finding influencers to endorse a product. With any given topic featured on YouTube, the most popular vloggers show up at the top of the search results. A popular vlogger with a large following can easily do a testimonial or tutorial with a brand and bring the message to their followers. However, you must not only be willing to send free product, but (oftentimes) have the budget to pay their fees for promotion.
What to Avoid When Pitching Bloggers:
- Leaving a comment on a blog post/video/social media post regarding your brand, product and that you’d like the blogger to write about it. Some brands have even posted entire press releases in the comments – that’s a HUGE no-no and a big turn off.
- Tweeting a blogger that they must try your product with a link to it. (And more so, doing this incessantly when the blogger does not respond.)
- Ignoring how they want to be pitched (which is usually found in their About/Contact section.)
How to Pitch Influential Beauty Bloggers:
- Send relevant press kits. Of course you wouldn’t send pitches for beauty products to a food blogger. But, go one step further and read the “About” section and a few blog posts before contacting – for example – don’t make the mistake of sending a non-cruelty free product to a vegan beauty blogger!
- Perfect your pitch. Address the blogger by name – make it seem personal and not like a mass email (even if it is – but we don’t recommend mass pitches in general.) Don’t forget to include information about your product, small photos or pdfs (don’t clog up in-boxes without asking; “Photos available upon request” works beautifully), a link to your product’s website (you won’t believe how many people forget the link), your contact information, when the product will be released, prices, etc.
- Use the magic words. Include the phrase “press samples available” instead of asking to send products for review. This is a subtle way to encourage bloggers to ask YOU for the product. While there is no obligation for bloggers to review your product (unless you have a written agreement to pay for an “advertorial”), they will be more likely to do so if they have requested the product samples.
- Include a short description of your product with relevant links. Let’s say you have an upcoming event that you’d like a blogger to share with his/her readers. If they can cut and paste a short, pre-written description of the event with links, they will be much more likely to post. This should be written in the tone of the blog you’re trying to reach (usually an informal tone) and should be newsworthy (not OVERLY self-serving). If a blogger has to re-write your formal press release in an informal tone, remove quotes from your president, and remove unnecessary fluff, they will be less likely to do it. Of course, the blogger can add to and edit your blurb, but you’ve given him/her a great head start.