Successfully obtaining coverage from food bloggers can be an elusive area for PR people.
In a recent survey, Boutique PR agency CRED Communications asked 42 food and beverage bloggers about their blogs and relationships with PR people.
Over half of those surveyed have a monthly readership of over 10,000. Almost all respondents have been approached by a PR agency, but around 38% of respondents say PR agencies do not understand the blogging community.
“Bloggers have tremendous influence and PR people should include them in their campaigns,” Mandy Queen, managing director of CRED Communications.
Below are two infographics showcasing the survey results.
The survey showed that the timing of events matter because many bloggers have day jobs and family obligations. 69% of respondents prefer attending events on weekday evenings between 5pm and 8pm, with almost 62% preferring weekends.
“The data about when bloggers prefer to attend events were very revealing. If you invite bloggers to attend events during the day with mainstream journalists, a lot of them can’t attend because they have to work,” Queen said.
But that doesn’t mean you have to schedule separate events for bloggers and journalists – 83.3% of respondents say they enjoy attending events with mainstream media.
Meanwhile, pitching stories to bloggers is no different from pitching to journalists in the sense that PR people should read blogs thoroughly before pitching stories and give bloggers complete control over the stories.
“One of the biggest complaints from the bloggers is PR people contacting them before really reading the blogs beforehand,” Queen said.
“And we wouldn’t try to control the message. We don’t think it’s our role to tell journalists and bloggers what to write and how. The PR person has responsibility to make sure the activity or campaign is pitched in the right way to begin with.”
Asking bloggers to try products and write reviews may be seen as risky for some agencies, as bloggers could give negative reviews, but authenticity is the rule in the blogosphere.
“Bloggers must be able to sample the product and give an honest opinion, which means they won’t write about it for the sake of writing about it. The product has to be something relevant to their audience and one that they could recommend,” Queen said.
Story pitches should also take into account the type of content produced by bloggers, particularly bloggers who see blogging as a hobby. 69% of respondents said “having fun” was their motivation for blogging and about 45% of respondents blog for the sake of growing an audience.
Queen said, “Bloggers are motivated by passion and the need to be heard – not material gain – and most likely attract readers through unbridled enthusiasm as well as creativity.”
Ongoing partnerships and friendships with PR agencies and brands affect whether or not over 71% of respondents would be open to receiving information from an agency or brand.
“Bloggers are all about trust, whether in relationships with partners or readers. It is imperative that PR people establish more personal ties with bloggers that also allow them to keep their editorial integrity,” Queen said.
Email is the preferred method of communication with PR people for 83.3% of respondents.