Playing the dating game can be rough, no doubt about it. But it doesn’t have to be, if you have a strategy for going about it. For most, you decide what type of relationship you’re looking for, determine the kind of partner that will suit you best, put yourself out there and meet potential mates, and you hope that in the end you’ve found a match that will be a long-lasting relationship.
For a brand, building successful relationships with bloggers might feel much like playing the field, but with a strategic plan and some hard work, bloggers can be incredibly important allies when it comes to communicating messaging and influencing product purchases.
Here are four key points to think about when developing a strategy for your brand to effectively build a community of loyal blogger advocates.
What kind of relationship are you looking for?
This is the key to success. You need to know where you want to go before you can map the best route to get there. What do you want your brand to gain from its relationships with bloggers? Are you looking for them to become paid spokespeople? Do you want them to act as a focus group? Can they help you create content relevant to your brand?
Your brand’s mission and vision should help guide these answers. It’s also important to think both short and long-term. While you may want to jump right in and start forging relationships (love at first sight type), the best, most meaningful ones take time, so be realistic with your goals.
Set your criteria.
When you set up an online dating profile, you select criteria for the type of person you’re interested in. You should go through the same process to determine which bloggers might be a good partner for your brand. Think about blog topics that are relevant to your product or service. Draw a line in the sand about what kind of reach you feel the blog should have. Determine if a blogger’s social following is just as important as their blog readership.
Ultimately, the blogger’s readers are the ones who will impact your business. This means you need to be sure their readership demographics align with your core consumer.
With objectives and standards in place, the real fun begins. Start getting to know potential matches. In a real dating situation, you might talk on the phone, exchange emails or texts and even meet in person. The fastest way to get to know a blogger is to read their blog and exchange in dialogue through the comments section or their social network profiles.
In addition, you want to become familiar with their personality. You need to find out if they have other marketing partnerships. You might even ask them about their goals. And you’ll get to see their fans in action. Are they engaged, motivated and action-oriented enough to help you meet your brand’s goals?
Label your relationship.
Once you’ve gotten to know a blogger and feel you’re ready to take your relationship public, be sure it has a clear label and the partnership responsibilities are explicitly outlined. They should know exactly what you expect of them and they should know what they can expect to receive from you in return. Like love-based relationships, brand and blogger partnerships must be mutually beneficial and even though not everyone in a relationship has realistic expectations, these partnerships must in order to be successful.
If your brand invests the time to develop a strategic plan for working with bloggers, you can be assured they will help elevate your brand awareness and favorability for the long-term.
So, what are you waiting for? Go find your brand’s perfect blogger match.