#BloggersWanted: Lazy or Tactful?

#BloggersWanted

I have this niggling annoyance with the #BloggersWanted hashtag on Twitter. I see PRs and Marketers sending out tweets asking for bloggers to get in contact for possible collaborations, review products or be added to mailing lists. Sometimes I think it’s lazy on their behalf. Other times I can see it as quite a tactful way of finding new bloggers. Mostly, I think it’s lazy.

I hope this doesn’t come across as too harsh to those that use this form of searching, but I also have the same problem with #JournosWanted. Is this the best way to get your client into the news? My chosen route would be to find journalists who write about these topics, and I would do this by reading. I would look in every magazine, newspaper or online publication that would be relevant and contact that journalist personally. If you had some quotes or stats on a particular topic like bullying or obesity, my first point of call wouldn’t be the Editor. Or worse than that, the Editor’s Assistant.

I just don’t really see Twitter as the most effective way of finding the perfect bloggers for campaigns, or contacting journalists. If I’m wrong, please don’t hesitate to challenge my opinion.

What’s your opinion on the hashtag? Do you notice it? Does it even bother you? Or am I just being cynical?

Here are a few of my issues with the #BloggersWanted hashtag:

1. You’re reaching 0.1% of the blogging community

With this hashtag, you’re only going to reach your followers and people searching the hashtag. And the people searching for the hashtag are usually micro-bloggers trying to get some collaborative work. Which in all fairness, is a proactive thing to do and may be a beneficial way for them to find work.

But in my experience as a PR, finding bloggers and Influencers that suited current campaigns was one of my favourite things to do. I enjoyed trawling Instagram and looking at feeds, trying to work out if this person was suitable for the brand, had good engagement and had the right content.

How can you be sure that a blogger replying to your #BloggersWanted tweet is a genuine fan of the brand? Wouldn’t you want to work with someone that is a consumer, or already has a passion for the product or brand? How do you distinguish between the bloggers that are only in it for the freebies and the bloggers that are just looking for another name to add to their collaborations list?

I can see how using this hashtag would be a certified way of gaining coverage for your client, as the bloggers that reply are more than likely eager to offer their services. But is this the best form of practice for your client in the long-run? Getting coverage for the sake of coverage? I know for me personally, the biggest wins for me were when I would send out products to the big Influencers and see them post organically because they liked what they received and it was relevant to them. Their audience would be appropriate for the brand and the reach would be high. I would also have contacted them beforehand, asking if they wished to receive the product, after I had decided they were a fit for the brand.

2. Are you doing it for personal gain?

Is this a clever way of boosting your own social media following? I’m sure if I had took to Twitter during my placement year asking for bloggers to review certain brands that I was working on that I would have gained a fair few followers. But I’m also sure that the brands that I was working for would have had me fired on the spot, for asking the Twitter world if they would like to review their products.

Do you follow up with all respondents? When you say ‘drop me your email’, would you not rather have a link to their blog or Instagram? To see what kind of content they produce? If they even mention a product/brand similar to what you are trying to promote? Are you giving out false hope just to give yourself some exposure as a PR?

Or with the ‘leave your email’ do you basically give the blogger an application form as to why they should receive free products? This way, you’re making the blogger do all of the hard work and making them prove themselves. Shouldn’t you be the one to approach the blogger? I know during my year in Influencer Marketing that many bloggers would email me asking to review products. But I would always go through their blog and Instagram to make sure they suited the brand, blogged about relevant topics, gave reviews and had good engagement. I can’t really trust someone that has 80,000 followers yet receives only 100 likes on every photo. Or someone that was a blogger yet hadn’t posted on their blog in 10 months.

3. Twitter’s doing the job for you

In my opinion, I think it’s a little bit lazy. Goodness knows, I know how busy a PR can be – I’ve been there and done it – but if it’s a priority, it can be done. I think finding the right bloggers and Influencers for campaigns is so important, especially for brand image.

If I was doing the PR for Gucci Fashion and I put out on Twitter a #BloggersWanted tweet and sent some Gucci loafers to a blogger that focuses on best buys from the high street – would that be a good fit? Would it look good for the brand? Would it be suitable for their audience? No, no and no.

There are agencies popping up everywhere to do with Influencer Marketing and there are ones out there that’s job is to find the best bloggers and Influencers for campaigns. If you’re stuck on time, have too much to do or other priorities to get on with, I would outsource to something like this – not Twitter.

4. You’re missing out on the best people suited for your campaign

The bloggers that are already earning money from their blogs and have an established following, probably aren’t following the #BloggersWanted hashtag. You want to get your product/client out to as many people as possible. The best people to do this for you are those with a huge following.

You might think you have too niche a product, but believe me – there is a blog out there for everything and with that blog there is a following. Use keywords, search hashtags on Instagram, search what people are talking about surrounding your product. Search YouTube, Pinterest, all the social media channels. Sign up to relevant databases like Fashion and Beauty Monitor which will have a search function to help you find people suited. See who people follow, what bloggers other bloggers are following. There are so many ways of finding Influencers to suit your campaign, you just need to know where to start looking and the time to analyse their suitability.

How the hashtag can work

Before I completely slate the hashtag and give all of my negative opinions on it, I thought I’d read into some articles on why other people think it’s a good thing to use. So here is what I discovered via Google.

1. You can discover blogs you wouldn’t have on your own

If you are planning to work with micro-bloggers, using the hashtag can make you aware of a lot of smaller bloggers that might be the perfect fit, that you wouldn’t have otherwise discovered via your own search.

2. You might find bloggers that would suit another campaign

Bloggers that reply with their emails/blogs may actually work better for another campaign you have coming up and this way you can keep them on file and be in touch afterwards.

3. You can find proactive, hardworking bloggers

The bloggers that are searching the hashtag are actively looking for opportunities which already proves that they are hardworking and willing to put in the work. This would make them appear more trustworthy in that whatever you do send them/ask them to do, they will deliver.

4. It can save you a lot of time

If you are absolutely up to your eyeballs in work, already working through your lunch break, coming in early, leaving late, bringing your laptop home, working weekends etc. then of course I can see how this would save a lot of time if you are on a deadline.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the #BloggersWanted hashtag. If you actively use this form of networking and find that it works wonders, then please do let me know as I can be very open minded when it comes to new techniques of working.  

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