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European Blogger Relationships: A Best Practise View

Written by: Claire Goyat June 19, 2012  

There are many parts to a great online campaign but one of the most important is your relationships with online media and bloggers.

Having a close relationship counts. We all know that different regions have different cultures and a different sense of ‘funny’, so understanding what makes local bloggers tick really helps when running things on an international scale

Here’s our best practice lowdown on how to manage blogger relationships across Europe, direct from our partner agencies.

Do you meet with bloggers face to face?

UK (C&M): Wherever possible, yes. Sometimes it’s not always logistically do-able but making relationships with bloggers as personal as possible is critical.

France (CGo&Co): Yes – especially for programs where events and launches are a regular feature.

Spain (Tinkle): Yes, we always try to do it. We generally apply the same model as with journalists: it’s better if you know them face to face and have develop good personal relationships with them.

Netherlands (Fortress): Always – it’s essential when activating bloggers for a longer period programs.

Austria (Ambuzzador), Germany (P3000), Switzerland (coUNDco): Yes, always!

Italy (Hagakure): We run a number of sector specific blogger meetups in key parts of the country – for groups like mums, food enthusiasts, etc.

If so how regularly do you meet?

UK (C&M): We don’t work to a set routine isn’t a set amount, however we like to be in face-to-face contact at least once every couple of months.

France (CGo&Co): We always meet up around national events (such as LeWeb, Habitat, etc…) and we organise special gatherings around connected people in Paris.

Germay (P300), Austria (Ambuzzador): We usually organise our meetups around campaign events and/or launches.

Spain (Tinkle): We organize meetups around most of out clients events. We also meet bloggers in digital events in Spain and Portugal, such as EBE and Internet es Tuyo.

Switzerland (coUNDco): Less regularly due to size of blogger community here, but as often as possible around large industry events.

Italy (Hagakure): We always have something going on – our blogger meetups are important parts of the calendar for key bloggers, a chance for them to get together and share.

Do you involve bloggers in offline events?

UK (C&M): If we’re running a more traditional promotional event then we still like to make bloggers part and parcel of the experience. For certain events, there’s no real distinction in the media audience, really.

France (CGo&Co), Germany (P300), Austria (Ambuzzador): Yes, always.

Spain (Tinkle): Yes! When we work on a launch plan for a new product or service we always include them in the plan. We also like to involve bloggers whenever we have celebrity activity going on. Our bloggers love this kind of thing and they’re hugely important to online profile.

Netherlands (Fortress): Yes we do. We organize lots of offline events and always invite bloggers into the fold. They usually have a different approach to content, which can generate really interesting results.

Switzerland (coUNDco): Where possible, yes. We did this recently for Sony Playstation – for whom bloggers are a very important part of the media mix – and the results were great.

How do you make contact with bloggers in the first instance?

(All regions): Email! Once contact has been establish we then determine the best form of contact moving forward, this is usually by phone or email, and – of course – Twitter, Facebook, etc.

What tools do you use to source relevant bloggers/influencers?

UK (C&M): Cision, Social Media Library, Google searches, Brandwatch.

France (CGo&Co): Online tools such as ebuzzing.fr, Brandwatch, Google, etc.

Germany (P3000): We often do our own research and check out popular blogs we know and their blogrolls – plus the usual online tools.

Spain (Tinkle): Search engines and digital ranking tools such as alianzo, ebuzzing, alexa, etc. We also use our own network contacts, depending on the action.

Netherlands (Fortress): Finchline, Business Contact Manager, Crowdbooster, Googlle

Austria (Ambuzzador): alexa.com and marketinggrader.com

Switzerland (coUNDco): Google and Brandwatch, mainly.

Italy (Hagakure): Many of the tools listed above – plus we find that our events always prove good value in unearthing great contacts.

How do you determine if a blog is credible?

UK (C&M): We study the content and tone of a blog, how frequently they post, how many people read the blog and other metrics such as moz rank and the number of linking domains.

France (CGo&Co): We look for critical things such as content quality, frequency of posts, and clear positioning. Knowing ‘good’ helps : )

Germany (P3000): Word of mouth always helps a lot – ie, the links from one blog to another. And of course the content itself. We also use ranking tools, of course.

Spain (Tinkle): We analyze their audience, their position in search rankings compared to others and the type of content they publish. We also look for previous references to our clients and their market place.

Netherlands (Fortress): We look at content and relevancy, numbers of visitors, number of comments (to assess engagement levels) and also how well connected the authors are on Social Media.

Austria (Ambuzzador): We like to research the number of pages linking to the blog, number of comments, connectedness with other blogos, keyword topics, number of partners and, of course, quality of content.

Switzerland (coUNDco): We look at things like posts over time, number of comments per post, style of content, knowledge within a topic and their openness for collaboration.

For the above, what levels are acceptable/good?

UK (C&M): This depends from program to program. As a rule, finding the relevant target audience is the most critical thing. Blogs with over 5,000 unique visitors per month tend to be the most credible, with a Moz rank of over 6.

Netherlands (Fortress): Ref visitors, there is no real minimum. Sometimes a bloggers who has only 300 visitors per month can still be very relevant if his/her audience is a good match for the target group. We prefer bloggers who have as many comments as possible since this shows that their audience are actively engaged. We also look at the blogger’s Social Media profile to see how well connected they are.

Switzerland (coUNDco): We have two levels really: reach and relevance. In terms of reach in Switzerland, the really great blogs have more than 3,000 visits per day. The smaller (but not less engaged) ones have 300 to 1,500 visits per day. In terms of relevance, we always check their style of content and their knowhow.

Do you supply bloggers with your content/stories or do you create content/stores tailored to a blogs request?

UK (C&M): We do both of these things, depending on the goals we are trying to achieve for the campaign. Wherever possible we we go for the tailored approach to establish a win-win.

France (CGo&Co): We usually try to supply bloggers call new fresh content by working closely with them.

Spain (Tinkle): We like to share similar PR campaign content with bloggers, but always in a new format that’s more relevant and useful for them.

Netherlands (Fortress): Yes we do. Often we’re working with blogs who do not have a lot of time and therefore do not have the opportunity to write from scratch or attend an event. In this case content is a collaborative exercise.

Italy (Hagakure): We always collaborate on new content.

Do you offer bloggers incentives for coverage? Personal or for their blog audience?

UK (C&M): We always strive for mutually beneficial relationships with bloggers – i.e. we offer them a great hook or angle on an exclusive story or piece of news and in return we achieve coverage for a client. Promos or giveaways can be part of that – most often in the shape of giveaways for *their* audience.

Germany (P3000): The main thing we offer is guest list spots at events for bloggers and their audiences.

Spain (Tinkle): It depends on the type of campaign. We usually have product to offer to them or to their audience, or an exclusive invitation for an event, for example. We don’t really pay bloggers for their coverage.

Netherlands (Fortress): With many campaigns we combine the activation of a blogger with an incentive they can use to activate their own audience. For example, when we invite a blogger to a showcase of an artist we also give them the possibility to give away tickets to their audience.

Would you consider paying a blog for coverage?

UK (C&M): As above, we would not normally pay a blogger aside from any out of pocket expenses – e.g. travel to an event. Often we like to offer product to them so that they can run their own competitions and campaigns.

France (CGo&Co): For niche blogs, sponsored posts are sometimes good options to start generating buzz. (Around one third of posts are now sponsored in France – and always marked up as such). We also have six to ten well organized blogger agencies acting as agents for a pool of bloggers, and these guys are worth knowing.

Spain (Tinkle): We usually understand our relationship as mutually beneficial, so we would be able to offer product, an experience (at a hotel as part of an event, for example)… but we don’t usually consider paying them as an option.

Netherlands (Fortress): We see our relationship with bloggers as mutually beneficial. Furthermore we have noticed that you will get more authentic content if a blogger willingly participates.

Austria (Ambuzzador): Not in the direct way of ‘money for content,’ as this could under certain circumstances lead to negative feedback. A blogger’s highest value is their credibility and this is why brands want to collaborate with them. If you pay for positive stories about your brand, you´re going to harm this credibility. Other transactions like product samples, invitations to events and paid ads or sponsorships are more productive.

Switzerland (coUNDco): We don’t pay for articles. We motivate, collaborate and try to get them broader benefits based on great content.

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