A lot of your reputation as a brand relies on how you work with people. This includes the experiences that a blogger or journalist has when undertaking a project with the company, and more importantly, how they tell people about it afterward.
Though I hear about lots of companies getting this right, there are many more getting it wrong. Every blogger/brand relationship is a unique thing to get right, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ equation. However, there are a few basic guidelines that will ensure you start off on the right foot.
Process. If you’re engaging with a blogger, they like to know what’s going on. If you’re traveling with them, this is even more important. There’s a huge amount of trust involved when you allow someone to organize a trip for you, and if a blogger is in the dark about the details, this puts very unnecessary pressure on the relationship. You need to have standard processes in place that ensure everything gets ticked off the list, and nothing important falls through the gaps.
Consistency. Don’t email a PDF of a press release and just hope that the blogger won’t have any questions. If you’ve decided that your news is interesting enough for them to read, the conversation has to work both ways. The same goes for stalking for coverage and cutting off all contact once a post has been published. Maintain the conversation, and you’ll build a stronger relationship.
Openness. There’s only so many times you can ask for transparency across the board. It may sound like a cliché, but this has to be at the core of a great relationship between a brand and any member of the media.
Research. It’s not rocket science, but finding out what someone covers (and REALLY writes about), makes all the difference. This includes a touch of personalization to an approach, which is the most basic of rules but is still often forgotten.
Trust. Don’t try to influence a blogger’s opinion on a product or service, let the blogger express their own opinions and views. If they say something negative, treat it as a positive insight instead of a slight.