Blogger relations are as important in today’s marketing mix as traditional media relations
, and much like its sister function, blogger relations can also prove challenging when reporting a return on investment (ROI) to the people that hold the purse.
Historically, one way this challenge has been approached on the media relations side is to value coverage in publications at what you would have spent had you placed an ad there. This has never been a method we’ve subscribed to at M/C/C because every good PR pro knows it doesn’t take into account the weight—nor quality—of press coverage, such as whether an article is a full feature solely about a client, a simple quick mention of the brand name, a press release pickup, or a quick news brief.
The crossroads where monetary value and content value meet is where the battle of quantity versus quality is waged. This is true for measuring or demonstrating the value in a blogger relations program
as well. We all value the word-of-mouth that comes from a great blog post by a real, familiar, everyday customer writing that they’ve had a positive experience with your brand, your employees, your product, or your service, but executives want something tangible to support the feel-good buzz. Think of quality as the tabletop and quantified results as the legs that hold it up.
Here are a few tips for giving your blogger relations campaigns legs:
1. Use Google Analytics to monitor traffic from blog posts about your company to your website.
A particular area to track is the behavior of visitors driven to your website by blog partners. This can include how many pages they visited, which pages they visited, and how much time they spent on your website.
Often, you’ll find that these visitors spend more time engaging with the content on specific pages within your website because they’ve already invested time in reading about a blogger’s experience with you and wanted to learn more. This could mean they are a higher-quality lead because they’re closer to actually taking an action—which could be anything from buying a product, visiting a physical store location, or contacting a sales representative.
2. Repurpose blogs about your company on your own social networks using smart URLs and track the engagement and interaction with them on those channels.
This brings value to your social content strategy by adding authentic third-party credibility to your brand while helping you tone down the promotional content, which has a more limited place on social networks than it does on other channels like email, for example.
You can monitor for clicks, “likes,” shares, plus ones, retweets, favorites, etc., and see what type of content from your blog partners really resonated with your most tuned-in audience. This insight can inform future blogger relations campaigns and even content or advertising strategies.
3. Invest in a blogger relations tool that helps you run campaigns more nimbly and effectively, just as Vocus and Cision did for public relations campaigns.
By investing in a tool like this, you’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your blogger relations campaigns by using all the data available to create a tiered pursuit list according to your needs. In an environment where you could be pursuing thousands of bloggers covering a specific area at any given time blindly, these tools help you narrow down who’s the smartest for you to pursue first—whether that be bloggers concentrated in a specific geographic region, bloggers who have large Twitter followings and actively participate in conversations there, or bloggers who are especially dedicated to a specific cause, etc.
At M/C/C we use GroupHigh, which allows us to do all those things, as well as easily calculating social reach and monthly traffic for bloggers
associated with a specific campaign.
Recent updates to GroupHigh’s offering also enable us to plug blogs written about our clients into a tracking feature that then monitors how many times a particular blog post has been “liked,” shared, tweeted, plus one’d, visited, etc. This is a piece of data that’s particularly impressive and attractive to those who want to see things more than feel them.
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In an integrated marketing world, there’s a time and a place for both quality and quantity. Both provide value to measuring how well you’re telling your brand’s story. On the PR and social media side, we tend to focus on the big picture, but when making a case for ourselves the details are in the data.
Jenn Reeves is a PR engagement manager at M/C/C, a marketing communications firm based in Dallas. Follow her on Twitter @jennreeves. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency's blog.