What Pet Brands Need to Know about Product Reviews

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.

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  • 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.Photo-for-blog
    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 liz.lindley@fetchingcommunications.com.

 

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How Veterinarians Can Attract a Blogger’s Attention

A few weeks ago, we talked about how partnering with bloggers can benefit your veterinary practice. Now that you know how beneficial blogger relationships can be for your veterinary practice, we’re going to take a few steps back to talk about exactly how your veterinary hospital can attract a blogger’s attention.

Usually when we talk about bloggers, you assume that we’re only talking about the relationship between pet bloggers and consumer brands. Many consumer pet brands do often partner with bloggers by offering the opportunity for product reviews, contests and giveaways, but the way veterinarians and other veterinary service providers attract the attention of top, industry bloggers is very different.

Here are a few, easy and realistic ways you can attract a pet blogger’s attention to your veterinary practice:

Offer to Guest Blog
Bloggers often welcome the opportunity to offer their readers new, interesting and useful information from a trusted source. Before reaching out, take time to learn about them, their blog and their niche. Then craft a pitch with some topics you think would be interesting and helpful to their audience. Keep your email short and make it personal by including their name, what you like about their blog and what value your content would have for their readers.

Send Press Releases
Have you implemented a new procedure in your practice? Contributed to clinical research? Had a remarkable success story with a patient? Turn that into a press release and circulate it through a distribution service. Specialized services like PetPR.com can get your release into the mailboxes of local, national and trade media contacts, as well as pet industry bloggers, and even help you determine the best ways to leverage your news.

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Pitch Media-Owned Blogs
There are a number of larger, media-owned blogs that allow for unsolicited pitches and proposals. For example, Catster.com and Dogster.com encourage submissions from writers, veterinarians, trainers and other animal-focused professionals. These sites cover a variety of topics including health, spay/neuter, nutrition and behavior. Before pitching an idea, however, read some articles to get a better idea of the types of articles they’re looking for.

Keep Your Own Blog Current
While you’re reaching out to other bloggers, don’t neglect your own blog (and if you don’t have one, it’s time to get one! See our post about blogging, and how Fetching can help). Consistently providing content on your site will help increase trust, credibility and SEO. Your content also gives potential blogging partners a better idea of your interests, expertise and writing style.

For more information about why your veterinary practice should partner with bloggers, check out our first blog post in the series

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How Partnering with Bloggers Can Benefit Your Veterinary Practice

Similar to how an article in a local newspaper or magazine can lead to increased brand recognition and new customer appointments for veterinarians, an article on a high traffic pet blog (even if it’s outside of your immediate practice area) has the ability to produce new customer leads and establish trusted relationships with your clients.

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Here’s how:

  • External blog posts boost your practice’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
    When a respected blogger links back to your site from theirs, it helps your own site’s SEO. And that means more people in your area will find you when searching a
    site like Google for a veterinarian close to where they live. How many times have you searched Google when looking for a nearby restaurant or even a dentist’s office? Pet parents do the same thing; in fact, consumers are relying on search engines to find veterinarians more than ever before.blog-image
  • Positions you as an expert in the veterinary field.
    When you’re mentioned on a blog, or in the media, it helps build your credibility and elevates your status as an expert in the field. Think about this: if a potential client searches Google to find more information about you and your practice (which we know they do), and they stumble across a blog post where you are positioned as an industry expert, are they going to feel more comfortable trusting you and your team with their pet’s health? The answer is “yes.”Trust is a key factor when it comes to attracting and retaining clients in the veterinary field. Seeing a quote on a reputable blog post gives pet owners the confidence and trust they need to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment at your practice.
  • Builds your content library.
    Sharing content with your clients and your community builds loyalty and gets people talking about you. Blog posts are an easy way to increase your content library and can be repurposed in a variety of ways and shared through social media, e-newsletters, your website, etc. Who couldn’t use a little extra content to share on social media? We know how hard it is for veterinarians to keep up with Facebook pages. Want to know how your practice is doing on Facebook? Sign up for our free Facebook page analysis and we’ll let you know!

In a few weeks we’ll dive into exactly how you can build relationships with bloggers, and why veterinarians need to take a slightly different approach to getting the attention of this audience.

Fetching Communications can help you build your veterinary practice by connecting you with pet industry bloggers and influencers. Contact us at liz.lindley@fetchingcommunications.com or click here to learn more about our blogger outreach campaigns.

 

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More Effective Ways Pet Brands Can Work with Bloggers

When it comes to advertising, nothing is more trusted than product or service recommendations from friends and family. And according to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report, this trust extends beyond our immediate circle, and now includes reviews and opinions posted by others online.

Because of this, bloggers have become so influential when it comes to purchasing decisions. In fact, research indicates that 84 percent of consumers have made purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog (source: Research Now). It’s easy to see why partnering with bloggers should be an important piece of any pet brand’s overall marketing strategy.

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When working with a blogger, product reviews often spring to mind first. And with good reason! They’re an effective, fun way to drive traffic, build brand recognition and increase sales. But don’t overlook other opportunities to partner with bloggers in the pet space, including:

Guest Blogging
Developing content for blogs other than your own is a terrific way to establish yourself as an authority in the industry, reach new audiences and drive traffic back to your site. The first step, of course, is to identify blogs that align with your target market and accept guest posts.

Before you reach out to bloggers, familiarize yourself with the blog owner, as well as their site, audience and niche. What types of pets do they have? What topics do they frequently write about? This will allow you to craft a personalized, targeted pitch for each blogger. Let them know who you are and why you’d like to write for their site. Give them some ideas of the types of content you could create for them. Above all, remember that this is not about advertising your product or service. It’s about offering value, resources and useful content to their audience.

more-effective-ways-pet-brands-can-work-with-bloggers-blog-imageGiveaways and Contests
Who doesn’t love the opportunity to win a valuable item for themselves or their pet? That’s why giveaways and contests are so successful. Whether tied to a product review or as a standalone campaign, both are great for creating engagement and word-of-mouth. The more valuable or in-demand the prize, the more interest it will get from both bloggers and their audiences.

Many contests and giveaways simply ask readers to submit an entry via an online form on the blog. For example, Caren Gittleman of Cat Chat with Caren and Cody recently partnered with our client, PetSafe® Brand, to do a product review and giveaway of the Flitter Cat Toy. Giveaways like these often encourage the audience to earn additional entries by taking other actions like commenting on the blog post, visiting the brand’s website or following the brand’s Facebook page and other social media platforms – further increasing engagement.

Fetching Communications can help grow your brand by connecting you with the pet industry’s most influential bloggers. Click here for a free blogger campaign quote from Fetching, or email us at liz.lindley@fetchingcommunications.com or 877 703 3824 x105.

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5 Big Reasons Your Brand Needs a Blog

Does your business have a blog? If so, are you publishing useful, interesting content on a regular basis?

If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” you’re missing some big opportunities to engage your customers, build brand recognition and trust, and generate leads and sales.

Today, more than ever, content really is king. Why? Consumers want to do business with companies they know, like and trust. Creating valuable, shareable content – especially through a blog – is one of the easiest ways to build connection with your target audience. In fact, 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content!

In addition, blogging benefits your business in many other ways including:

Improves Search Engine Results
Search engines are getting smarter and smarter. Gone are the days when you could pack your site with keywords and get great results. Today’s search engines – especially Google – reward sites that offer users original, informative content. Quantity counts, too. The more often you publish, the more often search engines will find and index your site. Combining quality with quantity is a sure-fire way to bump your site up in the rankings.

Drives Engagement
Surveys have shown that 68% of consumers spend time reading content from brands they’re interested in. When your brand consistently provides value and solves problems for your target audience, they’ll continue to return to your site in the future. The more they interact with your brand, the more likely they are to do business with you and tell others about you as well.

Blog-AnalyticsEstablishes Your Brand as a Trusted Leader
Blogging not only increases your visibility, but also your reputation as a trusted leader within your field. When others view you as an expert, they’re more likely to talk about your brand on their own sites and social platforms. Plus, companies with blogs receive 97% more links to their site than those who don’t – further boosting your search engine rankings.

Creates Opportunities for Additional Content
Sharing your content across different platforms helps increase your visibility and recognition, potentially leading to more sales. Blog posts can be leveraged to create videos, social media posts, emails, press releases and more. This is especially important since it’s estimated that, by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their business relationships without ever talking to a human being!

Generates Leads and Sales
The success of any marketing effort usually comes down to whether or not it helps generate leads and/or boost sales. Research has found that B2C businesses that blog get 88% more leads than small businesses that don’t.

If your blog is collecting dust, or if you haven’t even started one yet, it’s time to get serious about content creation. And remember, both quality and quantity count when it comes to search engines and your target audience. So ensure your blogging efforts are a success by allotting the proper time and resources needed to create quality content on a consistent basis.

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