If you’re looking for a fun, exciting and effective way to get your product in front of a whole new audience of pet owners, look no further than pet bloggers who offer product reviews. This community, like the pet industry as a whole, is rapidly growing each year.
For example, BlogPaws, a conference for pet bloggers and brands, boasted a sold-out crowd of over 500 enthusiastic attendees in 2016. And that’s just a small sampling of the entire pet blogging community. Some blogs focus on traveling with pets, while others focus on particular breeds or rescues, and others may cover holistic approaches to pet wellness. As the number of pet bloggers grows, so does their influence. Smart brands understand the unique power of these influencers and are reaching out to partner with them in various ways.
Done right, mentions in a blog can drive traffic to your website, increase the potential of sales, build brand awareness and create goodwill amongst the pet parent community. In our experience, earning product reviews on blogs is one of the most effective public relations tactics you can use to broaden your reach, and it’s a smart element of your overall marketing.
However, before you start Googling “pet blogs” and sending packages to bloggers, here are some things to keep in mind to make sure the process is mutually beneficial for both of you.
- Do your research.
Understanding the blogger’s audience and specialty is key to an effective campaign. Distributing a blanket “Dear Blogger” email is unlikely to work, since most experienced bloggers will send those right to the trash. The blogger outreach process is just like a media outreach campaign targeting traditional journalists – before you send anything, you must be certain that your press materials and pitch are on target for each reporter. That’s why we always learn as much as we can about the blogger before making the connection for our clients. Just as with beats or areas of focus at newspapers or magazines, we need to know what types of pets a blogger covers: cats, dogs or both? What do their readers enjoy learning about? What is the blog’s reach? Does the blog typically do product reviews? Are those reviews “sponsored” (i.e., paid)? We then align the needs of our client with those of the bloggers and their audience, to develop a prioritized list of bloggers to contact.
- Numbers aren’t the only things that matter.
It’s tempting to only want to work with the “big dogs” in the pet blogging community. But there are many different types of blogs that can work with your overall outreach strategy. Some, like the Dogington Post, have large readerships; some are positioned as part of a media outlet, like Catster.com; and still others are smaller and more personal like The Writer’s Dog. The key is to align your marketing goals with the right audiences. If a blogger has 250 readers instead of 250,000, you may not think it’s a good choice for a blogger outreach campaign. But once you dig a little deeper, you might find that the smaller blog has a much more engaged community or a specific niche that would find your brand or product especially interesting. Looking at the whole picture will help you determine the blogs that will offer you the most beneficial partnerships.
- Understand their policies.
Each blogger has a set of guidelines and policies for product reviews. Make sure you request these upfront. Some blogs will require product in exchange for a potential review; others will require financial compensation for their time. They may request an additional item, contest or special promo code to give to their audience. Some may ask for a link back to their site from your own website and social platforms. In addition, you should ask for an estimated date for when the review will be published. While we encourage quick turnarounds on product reviews and on most media outreach efforts in general, publication dates are entirely dependent on the blogger’s schedule, which could mean days or months. This could become important if you’re coordinating a product launch or special contest promotion.
- Don’t send unrequested products or samples.
Some brands send products or samples to blogs prior to knowing whether the blogger is actually interested in doing a review. This is a random, hope-for-the-best kind of approach that we do not endorse. It’s important to decide what type of product you can send, once initial interest has been earned. This is applicable when you have varying levels of a product line in terms of fabrics, prices or sizes. With snacks, foods or other packaged products, you will want to decide if you are sending a small sample or the full size that would be available for purchase online or in a retail outlet.Working with pet blogs on product reviews can be hugely beneficial, generating positive publicity and awareness for your brand. But as you can see, the blogger outreach process requires time, expertise, consistency and an understanding of what each blogger needs for their particular audiences.
Fetching Communications can help you cultivate relationships with bloggers, earn product reviews and reach a larger audience of pet parents. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post about building your brand with bloggers through guest posts, sponsored posts and giveaways/contests.
We specialize in building brand awareness for pet products and services like yours. Want to discuss your specific challenges and the solutions Fetching Communications can offer? Contact Liz Lindley at 877.703.3824 x105 or email@example.com.