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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5 Elements to a Good Veterinary Case Study

What makes a good veterinary case study? Well, the answer depends on what you are looking to accomplish with it. Do you need content for your website? Newsletter? A veterinary trade journal? Consumer media outreach? Since all require diverse elements and different case studies will appeal to different audiences, we’re going to examine what makes a good veterinary case study for general or consumer media.

First, what is general or consumer media? National or local in scope, general/consumer media is simply the media that consumers or the general public reads or watches. It can be something as small as your community newspaper or something as large as Good Morning America. But for the most part, when Fetching Communications pitches case studies to general/consumer media, we pitch local newspapers (community and larger city-based papers) and news broadcasts at local stations. Why? Because the regional outlets are going to be most interested in a story with a local angle, i.e., the pet parent and/or veterinarian reside in the area, so it resonates with the community.

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Now that we’ve defined the type of media we are targeting, let’s examine the elements that comprise a good case study for a veterinary practice.

Happy Ending
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Like the public, the media prefers one. They want to know that the pet made it out of the woods all right. Stories where the dog or cat may have had a near-death experience – but miraculously survived – are usually of interest to the media because they are hopeful and have a positive outcome. With all the current bad news, no one wants to tell or hear a sad pet story.

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Unique visuals are typically appealing to consumer media – particularly television. Is there a compelling X-ray? A 3D model? Or is the dog or cat themselves the visual? Any collateral images that you can provide – including images and video – will help tell a more complete story and the TV station will appreciate the extra footage.

The People
In order to have a powerful case study, you need a pet parent that is happy with the pet’s outcome, comfortable in front of the camera, and on-board with sharing their story. Not everyone will be open to this, so it’s important that the pet parent knows what will be asked of them. At the same time, the veterinarian or specialist also must feel comfortable discussing their treatment of the pet and being on-camera.

Uncommon Diagnosis or Very Common Ailment
Did the pet have a condition you have never seen before? Is it something that is happening only in your area due to environment or weather? If so, that may pique the media’s interest. Conversely, is it a common ailment or condition that affects many dogs or cats? That could also be of note because it will resonate with more pet parents in the audience.

Groundbreaking Use of Technology or Unorthodox Treatment
Was any new technology used in the pet’s treatment? Or, did you use traditional technology in an unconventional or unorthodox manner to care for the pet? Both would potentially help bolster the case study’s credibility when it comes to media coverage.

Are all five elements necessary for a compelling case study? Absolutely not. But several, like the happy ending and the people are make or break when looking to generate media awareness in papers or on your local nightly news.

Additionally, if you are more interested in television than print outlets, then it is a necessity to have some visual elements on-hand to help audiences better understand what the pet and its family endured and what you as the veterinarian had to contend with.

We specialize in developing case studies and media pitches for practices like yours. Contact Liz Lindley at liz.lindley@fetchingcommunications.com or click here to learn more about our media relations services. We can discuss your practice’s specific challenges and the solutions available.

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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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How to Talk to the Media at Your Next Pet or Vet Industry Tradeshow

In a previous blog post, we mentioned that tradeshow exhibitors should “be prepared for media.” Let’s take a closer look into this subject, because doing it right can be a great advantage, whereas doing it wrong can cause problems down the road.

Tradeshows give you a wonderful opportunity to meet people who may become future customers, and of course you want to focus on the potential for sales and connections. However, another set of attendees is equally important, and that’s the media. They attend shows to see new products, check in on existing companies, and see what the trends look like for the months ahead.

Journalists come to the shows with packed agendas: meetings they have made in advance with companies and their publicists, lectures they want to attend, events they don’t want to miss.How-to-Talk-to-the-Media-blog-picture

You may have appointments pre-scheduled with particular reporters, and if so, we recommend that you set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you that the journalist will be at your booth in twenty minutes. That will give you time to wrap up any conversations and prepare for a focused meeting with the journalist. Your plan should be to spend 20-30 minutes with the reporter. Hand the reporter a press kit. Don’t allow for any interruptions, and strike a balance between talking and listening. Give the reporter your direct email and phone number so they can follow up with you after the show with any questions.

Let’s talk for a moment about your press kit. This is a folder or flash drive that typically contains a press release about your exhibit/new products, a frequently asked questions document, and a product information sheet with images. We advise that press kits are developed several weeks prior to the show, that way you have enough time to print copies, and place in folders and on drives. Your publicist will use the press kits in pre-show communications and pitches with media outlets. When you arrive at the show, place the folders and press kits in the press room at the tradeshow for easy access.

And, finally a word on unscheduled media visits to your booth. The worst thing you can do is ask the reporter to come back at another time. Remember, meeting with the media is not only a way for you to position your messaging and products but it is also an important aspect of reputation management. We have assembled a list of tips that will help you when someone with a press badge arrives at your booth. Click here to download the “Be Prepared for Media at a Tradeshow” checklist.

What are your questions about talking to the media at your next tradeshow? Contact Liz Lindley at Liz.Lindley@fetchingcommunications.com for a free tradeshow publicity consultation.

 

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Earned, Owned and Paid Media: What’s the difference?

What is “earned media” and how does it differ from paid or owned media?

Earned media is a term that may be new to many veterinary practices and pet product companies, and sometimes it’s heard right along with Paid Media and Owned Media.  All three types of media can be tactics of a powerful communications campaign, but not all need to be used at the same time.

Here are the definitions:

Earned Media: quotes and features in media outlets including those in print, tv, radio, blogs, online, resulting from an interview or product review or rating that developed as the result of a proactive pitch and/or press release. Also called editorial coverage.

Owned Media: Company website and blog, company Facebook page and other social media pages, branded journals or e-newsletters, brochures, in store retail displays.

Paid Media:  Traditional and digital advertising. Paid search, social media advertisements or boosts, banner ads, sponsorships, direct mail, display, retail/channel, and ads on tv, print, or radio.

Would you like to talk about how these campaigns can be used to grow your business?  Contact Liz at liz.lindley@fetchingcommunications.com or 877 703 3824 x 105.