Some would say this. Do you agree?
In the year I’ve been blogging and as an avid reader of Irish blogs, I’ve seen only one great example of PR brand blogger outreach, which I wrote about here, where a Belfast hotel offered local bloggers a unique overnight experience that provided ample writing and photography opportunities for their lifestyle blogs.
I’ve finally found another fantastic example, although I had to go “across the border” to find it!
Irish fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger Suzanne Jackson is considered a virtual powerhouse when it comes to Irish blogging. Suzanne from Dublin, only set up her blog (http://SoSueMe.ie) when she lost her job. It now has over 800,000 readers a month and she speaks to over 28,000 Twitter followers daily. A stylist for Ireland AM, her own eyelash brand in the works, her own app and teaching a blogging course at LA Creative College in Dublin, you can imagine Suzanne gets her fair share of rubbish press releases.
But when I saw her latest collaboration news I felt proud, not personally, but proud for my profession. I don’t know who orchestrated it, but the partnership between the blogger and Tour America wins on so many levels. It’s creative-business-genius. The plan is for the local tour operator to send Suzanne to, arguably, the home of fashion; New York. During the trip she will attend Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week while writing a chapter for her second book. Naturally, she’ll do the Sex And The City Tour as well.
So why does it work?
- The campaign offers huge potential for Suzanne to create content for her blog and book, given that’s a huge part of what she does as a creative
- The content, lasting a week or possibly more, gives the travel brand engagement with, and brand awareness to, an audience that is huge in both scale and loyalty (I’d never heard of them until her blog, so it’s already working!)
- The link between the two businesses is so seamless: fashion: New York: travel agent: Fashion Week: Sex And The City: flights from Ireland to New York
Suzanne also has a partnership for a day in London Fashion Week with help from the brand Canon, so this girl knows her stuff when it comes to engaging with brands while staying true to her audience. And thankfully, brands are cottoning on to really understanding what bloggers want, utilising them without using them and getting a bit more creative with their offerings.
Of course there have been other good examples of influencer outreach in recent times if you widen your search internationally, but strangely it’s hard to find many!
The best for me was from Ford in 2013 where the brand launched their “Fiesta Movement” campaign during ‘Social Media Week’ in New York by supplying carefully selected influential bloggers and social media personalities with brand new Fiestas for six months in exchange for their commitment to create content based on their experiences. The fact that it was an updated version of an earlier campaign in 2009 shows that the company is well ahead of the competition in the Digital PR field. The results from the original campaign were pretty impressive; 132,000 website update sign-ups (82% new to the brand), and car pre-orders reaching 6,000 on general sale.
There are a few other brands internationally who execute influencer marketing well. Rather than sending releases or requests for specific campaigns, brands like Michael Kors (a firm favourite with local bloggers in this industry) offer incentivised engagement instructions on release of a new product via their fashion network communities, giving proactive bloggers the opportunity to get involved without the brand having to do all the research legwork and woo-ing. Then again, I imagine Michael Kors wouldn’t have to do much blogger seduction. I mean look at that watch!
So what are the lessons we can take away from these examples?
- Understanding bloggers is another reason why I encourage all PR pros to blog. It doesn’t matter what the topic so long as you’re passionate about it. The thing is, when you feel the pressure to produce regular engaging content and you understand what makes different audiences tick, you become more aware of how important good, targeted relations are to bloggers.
- Approach bloggers! So many bloggers are crying out for more than just free samples or a haircut. Even if you don’t have a concrete idea, engage anyway. Most of the bloggers I’ve ever met are really clued-in business minds. They have a creative streak to rival any PR agency if given a good product/experience to work with. So if the fit is good work together.
- In the age of digital PR and content marketing, don’t forget about the trusted voices who exist on the web while trying to build your own voice. Sometimes, I find brands and organisations get so involved in their own content creation they almost become territorial over it, wary of handing it to someone they can’t control. If you trust your brand, you can trust the best bloggers with it.
As for me, I’ve had only one targeted approach from a PR in the last 14 months. It was a very good one (I blogged about it here) for all the reasons mentioned in this post, however I understand that my blog is niche, it doesn’t really apply to brand outreach unless…
And this is a big opportunity PRs use more in the UK than here (with sites like www.PRexamples.com) I need good local campaigns/stunts to write about. I am an avid media, social media and industry networker, but even the best ideas might pass me by - especially if I’m not their target audience.
Yet no-one thinks to write to me and highlight their great work.
We’re a bunch of modest so-and-so’s here, aren’t we?!