Yesterday, I discussed the power of blogger outreach and how Char-Broil does an exemplary job with mutually beneficial connections.
In order to achieve and implement these crucial relationships like Char-Broil does, it’s important to understand exactly what makes for a successful relationship with the bloggers who move your brand forward.
The writer in me loves to learn all the viewpoints of a story or relationship so this week I’m focusing on a prominent blogger who Char-Broil has been working with for two years—Scott Thomas who runs the blog Grillin Fools. I love what he as to say about what makes his experience with this grilling brand so awesome.
While bloggers are a great way to utilize the “one-to-one-to-many” approach to spread a brand message, the way many marketers go about building these important blogger relationships is sometimes all wrong. Given the nature of my industry, I constantly hear blogger outreach horror stories consisting of robotic communication, requests for brand mentions while offering nothing in return and blatant disrespect.
I think many could take a lesson out of Char-Broil’s book on how to treat bloggers and how to go above and beyond just as Char-Broil has done for Scott. Blogger outreach is no one night stand and the way Char-Broil fosters their relationships with bloggers is a great example of how relationship nurturing can lead to powerful brand advocacy.
Turn Bloggers in to Brand Advocates
Scott’s blog covers all things grilling and is full of some amazing recipes. His relationship started after a falling out with Weber Grills, a company he advocated for on his own accord. Weber used to be his “go to grill” as Scott used to be more of a charcoal grill kind of man.
Scott’s advocacy came to an abrupt halt when he sent a request for a grill as a prize in his first charity BBQ contest. Weber Grills didn’t send a grill but they did send Scott a cease and desist notice. Scott then had to go back and change all mentions of Weber Grills to “The Grill Manufacturer that Shall Not Be Named.”
What a sad way for Weber Grills to end a relationship with Scott who was a prior advocate for their brand…
This falling out led to Scott reaching out to Char-Broil, originally asking them to donate a grill for the charity BBQ contest. Char-Broil didn’t just send one grill, they sent three. They also asked if he would write for them. What a contrast compared to Scott’s experience with Weber Grills, don’t you think?
The interesting thing is, being a charcoal man, Scott didn’t use Char-Broil’s gas grills before they sent him one. Between trying out their product and becoming a father of young children (meaning less time for the time consuming process that is charcoal grilling), Char-Broil slowly won him over.
Now Scott consistently recommends Char-Broil grills, as those are the grills he is using for a lot of his dishes. He also shares some of their promotional content such as an infographic Char-Broil put out on how to carve a turkey.
Treat Your Bloggers Like Rock Stars
It all started with donating to Scott’s contest. Now Char-Broil has continued to work with him and according to Scott, “treat him like a rock star.” This leads to ongoing mentions of the brand in Scott’s posts and recommendations of their products.
Because Char-Broil has seen real results from the way they do blogger outreach, I asked Scott what makes him enjoy working with this brand so much. I hope these ways in which Char-Broil goes above and beyond will inspire something in your own blogger relations strategy:
- Scott is a monthly contributor on the Char-Broil blog and gets paid for his posts.
- The company flies him and the other Char-Broil All-Stars someplace warm where he gets trained on Char-Broil’s products, educated on marketing topics and gains media exposure.
- Every year Char-Broil sends Scott new grills to review and grills to give away at his annual charity BBQ contest which will be in its fifth year in 2014.
- Char-Broil is prompt and regular in their communication with Scott and all of their bloggers.
- Char-Broil keeps him “in the know” with brand information and is responsive to his ideas for creative content that diverges from the traditional topic or post he does for them monthly.
Things to Keep in Mind About Bloggers
Though Scott is one of the biggest grilling bloggers in the country and has a great reputation among fellow grillers, he doesn’t come close to making a living off of his blog. In fact, he works in IT full time and is a family man in addition to keeping up with his blog. This shows that the majority of bloggers are working with limited time—something we should all keep in mind when reaching out to them.
Scott’s blog started as a tax deduction for charcoal and meat. When a local paper did an article about his blog, it started to get bigger and he started to acquire ad placements. Though the blog gets some money from ads and sponsorships and he gets some cool tradeoffs, Scott certainly isn’t able to afford to quit his job and run his blog full time—though that’s the dream and his ultimate goal.
Bloggers operate out of passion. Grilling is one of Scott’s strongest passions and his blog is a product of this. Unlike traditional journalists, bloggers are niche writers, not getting a paid salary and blogging because they want to, not because they need to.
How You Can Be Like Char-Broil and Find Your Own “Scott”
I think one of the key things we can learn from the relationship that Char-Broil and Scott have is the value of a mutually beneficial connection.
Scott gets grills, media coverage, and exposure to Char-Broil’s huge community of owners, while Char-Broil gets good content and portrayed in an authentic, favorable light on Scott’s blog.
Every brand could use relationships like this, right? Well, it’s not a difficult process, but it’s also not a relationship that happens out of luck. You can develop a stellar blogger relations strategy by implementing a few simple values:
- Determine what type of blogs your target audience follows and only reach out to bloggers in that niche.
- When you pitch them, offer them something.
- When a blogger agrees to work with you don’t treat it as a one night stand. Foster an ongoing relationship.
- Treat your blogger networks like rock stars.
- Be flexible, let mentions happen organically and treat the blogger like part of your brand—not an extension.
- Check out more campaigns to learn from in this ebook I put together. Inspiration is key.
Do you know of any awesome examples of outreach campaigns? Comment below or get in touch with me as this is an ongoing theme I write about! Cheers to a good discussion!