Blogger Relations

A New Approach to Blogger Relations

They have tens of thousands of loyal readers, impressive website traffic, and social media followings that tower beyond some A-list celebrities. I’m talking, of course, about bloggers.

For a time, it was a known practice to pitch bloggers as you would traditional journalists. You may have packaged up a nice pitch, included some digital assets, and offered samples where possible—but expectations have dramatically changed.

If your brand is hoping to build credibility among niche audiences, blogger relations is the way to go—if you go about it correctly. So what are bloggers looking for? Here are three main components to a successful blogger partnership.

Content. Did you notice we referred to bloggers as partners? That’s because behind retail and brand sites, bloggers are among the top five most trustworthy sources on the Web today. Brand loyalty takes time, and while many brands may just opt for higher budgets on digital advertising, consumers trust bloggers more than advertisers (no surprise here).

When developing your campaign, think of ways to incorporate bloggers early on and ask for their advice. They have an ear to the ground with your audience and they’re interacting with them every day. Partner with the most influential bloggers to drive content for your campaign before you even go live. Find out what works, what types of contests and giveaways drive the most traffic, and what types of content resonate the deepest and result in the most buzz. Is it an expert’s opinion? Perhaps a series of mini-blogs or vlogs with unique tips and tricks? The bloggers will be able to tell you what will work and what won’t, and what they’ll need from your brand to get it done well.

Social Media Tie-Ins. Let’s be honest. We all love attention on social media. But for bloggers, website traffic determines how much money they are able to secure from advertisers, and social drives that traffic considerably.

When developing your campaign, make sure your brand not only has a strong presence on social media, but also is capable of handling an influx of engagement during the blogger’s campaign. Giveaways and contests generate massive amounts of chatter, and your brand needs to be ready to respond, retweet, like, share, etc. Help send even more traffic to the blogger’s site, and you’ll earn yourself a long-term partnership, and a very happy blogger who will go above and beyond for your brand.

Advertising. “But why should I pay a blogger?” I hear this question a lot. Bloggers aren’t traditional journalists in the sense that they have an editor and work for a publication that pays them—but they do work for themselves. Many as much as (if not more than) full-time journalists. Each blogger is his or her own editor, journalist, copywriter, search engine optimization strategist, and social community manager.

A blogger partnership that will yield the most impressions will require an investment. Most bloggers will have a “fee,” but some will develop special campaign agreements depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and how much content is to be developed.

The blogger dynamic has changed so much over the past five years. In a content-rich world, the influence of affluent, active, engaged bloggers has changed the way brands approach online communications, and, in some cases, their entire online strategy. Don’t just mass pitch hundreds of bloggers and cross your fingers that they’ll cover your brand. Pick a handful of highly targeted bloggers and develop an online campaign that will generate chatter and brand loyalists. Ready to dive in? Contact our social media team today and we’ll get your brand into the conversation.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s blogger relations and social media capabilities, contact Katie D’Arcy at kdarcy@martinoflynn.com.

Global Pet Expo

Global Pet Expo: Making the Most of Your Show Experience

Each year, Global Pet Expo attracts thousands of pet retailers and manufacturers to Orlando, Florida, for the pet industry’s largest annual trade show. In 2014, the event showcased nearly 3,000 different booth exhibits, and launched more than 3,000 new pet products. When the Martino Flynn team hits the Global Pet Expo 2015 floor on March 4, here are three techniques we recommend exhibitors and attendees use to maximize their show experience.

Think Outside the Show

More often than not, exhibitors only focus on their booths and the at-show experience, and forget about two crucial show periods: pre- and post-show. Communicating with key stakeholders, clients, and the trade show audience before the show starts can be instrumental in having a successful show. For exhibitors looking to drive buzz and traffic, traditional tactics–such as pre-show direct mailers and/or emails–provide efficient and affordable ways to reach targets. If you’re looking for more interruptive methods, hotel room drops are always available–although the cost is often higher, and the reach is generally lower. If you have a key group of clients or customers, it never hurts to invite them off the show floor for a special experience such as golf or an evening out. Following the close of the show, it’s important to follow up with any leads or key contacts within two weeks. Again, traditional tactics can provide efficient ways to reach this audience.

Make a Floor Plan

If you’re attending Global Pet Expo as a retailer or buyer, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the vast number of booths on the show floor. To stay focused, make a list of the “must visit” booths before you attend, and be sure to stop by these locations early in the day on the first or second day of the show. Not only will you be more energized and alert early in the morning, but show staff will be, too. While the first two days of the show are often the busiest, it’s also the time when most of the key executives and other decision makers attend, so stop by a booth early if you are looking to set appointments with members of these groups. After you have visited your “must visit” booths, give yourself time to browse the show floor, especially the New Products section. The New Products area is full of unique and exciting items, and is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the booth area.

Sample Strategically

For exhibitors, providing samples can be a good way to drive trial of new products–but it can also become expensive. To avoid the “open cash drawer” of samples, consider both quantity and quality of what you are distributing. Is it better to have a large amount of a low-value item, or a smaller quantity of a deluxe sample? A more deluxe sample, such as a full-size product, should be reserved for a higher-value attendee, one who has expressed sincere interest and a true desire to try and use the item. Low-value items, such as sachet packs, are better suited to mass sampling, and could easily be distributed on an info card or in a dump bin. And don’t forget the media – this key group will be looking to sample your products, which, in turn, opens up the opportunity for press and editorial coverage.

The Martino Flynn team is excited for the 2015 Global Pet Expo–we hope to see you there!

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s pet category capabilities, contact Rose Feor at rfeor@martinoflynn.com.

Video Content

Shoot Once, Edit Often. Producing Cost-Efficient Video Content.

Producing cost-efficient video doesn’t have to mean cheap. Cheap is when someone in your organization encourages you to use your iPhone and some free downloadable editing software to create a do-it-yourself video for your sales team, or worse yet, a customer presentation.

Visual quality is very important; however, there is more to producing a successful video than the equipment used to create it. Strategy, messaging, and planning, along with visual quality, will make your video the most effective and cost efficient. That’s where a professional can add the most value.

Video content is in higher demand than ever before. It may have a short viewing cycle, but could potentially be seen by thousands.

According to a survey by DigitalSherpa:

  • A Website is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of a search engine result if it includes video content.
  • The average Internet user is exposed to approximately 32.2 online videos per month.
  • 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week.
  • 90% of consumers say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in their decision-making process.

With these statistics, it’s imperative to continually serve up fresh video content online. You’re being challenged to produce more videos to stay relevant. While your marketing budget is likely decreasing, the demand to quickly turn around high-quality video content is increasing. Therefore, we recommend the “shoot once, edit often” approach.

When we’re asked to produce a project for a client, we always take into consideration what else can we get — aside from the material for the current assignment — while we’re on-location to build up a video library for a client. Conducting extra on-camera interviews and shooting some additional footage of a client’s facility or products for future use is not only a smart use of our time, but it now makes the initial assignment more cost efficient for our client. We’re starting to create the valuable video assets needed for additional projects.

Often, a client will request a video that needs to be turned around quickly to support a customer presentation, an analyst meeting, or a trade show, but because of timing and costs, getting on an airplane to produce something isn’t an option. However, having created a library of strong and relevant video content allows us to turn a video around quickly and cost efficiently. Using existing footage with the addition of a new script, music, and some motion graphics, we can create a new video in days, not weeks.
If one production can create four to five unique videos, then that’s the smart, cost-efficient approach that we can offer our clients.

Shoot once, edit often — and create more for less.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s broadcast, traditional, and integrated Web video capabilities, please contact John Marianetti at jmarianetti@martinoflynn.com.

Brand Loyalty

Earning consumers’ love: Brand loyalty and romanticizing brands

What does it mean to be brand loyal? Is it enough to like a brand or product? Or, do you have to be a fanatic? Are you someone at a party who will skip the soda if the host doesn’t offer your preferred brand? Or, are you secretly hoarding a drawer full of lipgloss because it was discontinued and you can’t imagine life without it? If so, do you know why you feel that way?

In our world, that’s what we call brand loyalty. Brand loyalty occurs when a customer chooses to repeatedly purchase a product produced by the same company instead of a substitute product produced by a competitor.

Simply put, being brand loyal means that you have already made your decision as to which product you are going to buy. You are not browsing. You are not looking for the best deal. You are not negotiating the benefits of like products. You are buying the brand that you trust the most.

At Martino Flynn, our ultimate goal is to help our clients identify strategies and tactics that create an experience rich in loyalty. We develop initiatives and multi-channel programs that drive our clients’ need to garner ongoing consumer loyalty and advocacy for their products.

For me, personally, there is one brand in particular that stands out. Starbucks. It’s my home away from home. It doesn’t matter if I’m on vacation, on a business trip, or in the next town over, I’ll find a local Starbucks to visit.

To be honest, I’m not even sure that I love coffee. But I do love Starbucks. As a mom of three young children, Starbucks has become my go-to place for the most clichéd and overused term of the last decade, “me-time.” Starbucks isn’t just a product; for me, it represents an experience that I crave in my everyday chaotic life. It gives me 30 minutes of quiet solitude and peace. Basically, it’s my “Serenity Now!” and I can’t imagine not finding the time to fit it into my day. Starbucks not only benefits from my daily purchases, but also from my family and friends who have endured my soliloquies about the benefits of Starbucks. I have been known to drone on about the company’s value (you get free refills!, the rewards program is incredible and the app has one of the best user experiences on the market today).

But, as with anything, loyalty is delicate and needs to be treated as such. Brands can benefit from thinking about their consumers in terms of a relationship and learn how to continually court them. It’s important for brands to:

  • Treat the relationship with their consumers with respect. Consumers are loyal because they feel connected to specific brands. Nurture the connection and treat it with reverence.
  • Remember that one bad experience can destroy a consumer’s loyalty to a brand. Brands should identify where they excel and where they need to improve – and DO SOMETHING about it. Consumers can and will forgive brands if they take the time to address their issues.
  • Learn that consistency is key. A consumer’s experience with a brand’s products and/or services is essential to that brand’s ongoing success. It is the brand’s job to make sure that a consumer’s experience in retail, online, customer service (i.e., basically every key touch point of your company) is consistent and positive every single time.
  • Understand that consumers demand to be heard. Have you ever been in a relationship and complained that your partner wasn’t “listening” to you? Brands should always have their ears and eyes open. Their job is to make sure that they are always listening to their consumers and learning from the relationship.
  • Leverage their consumers who are brand loyalists/advocates as much as possible. They are essentially an extension of your sales and marketing team. What better way to get your message out than through people who absolutely LOVE your product?

So, why is it so critical for companies to create brand loyalty? Because your consumers are the lifeline of your products, and a consumer for life is the ultimate testament to the success of your brand. So, are you creating consumers for life? Or, consumers for now?

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s branding and consumer marketing capabilities, please contact Lisa Vinci at lvinci@martinoflynn.com.

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