The benefits of traditional media coverage are widely known, including raising brand awareness by reaching tons of eyeballs and validating products or services with third-party endorsements.
But what about blogs, websites in which writer and reader are insanely passionate about a topic whether it be working out, pets or even working out with your pets?
Typically blogs reach fewer people than traditional media outlets and are often written by amateurs, so they might lack the prestige of glossy magazines or cable shows with high-production value. What then are the benefits of conducting blogger PR campaigns for franchise brands?
To answer, let’s take a look at a recent blogger case study from Fishman Public Relations. A restaurant client tasked us with elevating awareness of a few new and existing healthy menu items in one of its core markets.
We frequently target and generate media coverage in that local market, so a traditional media relations campaign would likely not yield the breakthrough results we wanted. That’s because media outlets are disinclined to frequently cover one particular brand.
We decided to host an event where we would give local food bloggers a sneak peek of the new menu items a week before they were available to the public. The franchise’s head chef would fly to a local restaurant, demonstrate how to cook the new menu items and conduct a question-and-answer session on the health benefits of the ingredients.
By inviting local food bloggers who wrote about food with an emphasis on health, we were able to confirm more than 20 attendees for the event. Almost all of the bloggers who said they would attend showed up, making the event a success.
And because the menu items would be available to the public within a week, the bloggers had an incentive to write about our restaurant client shortly after the event so they could “break” the news to their loyal readers. When it was all said and done, about 20 different bloggers wrote positive articles chock full of brand messaging and vibrant photos.
After reviewing the media coverage in totality, here are some of the key takeaways on the benefits of blogger outreach for franchise brands:
- Online exposure – In addition to brand exposure on the blogs, there was online chatter about the brand because bloggers are heavily active on social media. The vast majority posted pictures and messages throughout the actual event and then pushed their published blog posts on various channels.
- Turn bloggers into brand evangelists – Personally inviting bloggers to an event can create lasting relationships. Not only will bloggers likely cover the brand again the future, but there’s a good chance they’ll become loyal customers moving forward.
- Drive business in a local market – Working with a large group of bloggers in one area will help the brand reach local readers, which can help drive business in specific markets.
- Nuanced coverage by people who “get it” – A fashion editor who happens to also write food articles in the local newspaper because of budget cuts might not get the nuances of fresh food and made-to-order food. A lot of restaurant brands claim the former because it’s an arbitrary statement, but the latter specifically means the food was prepared for customers after they placed the orders. By reaching out to bloggers, you can rest assured that they’ll have a firm grasp of the topic at hand.
- Word-of-mouth marketing – Readers of underwater basket weaving blogs are not passively interested in the topic – they are fanatics. What better way to get people talking about a brand then reaching the most passionate people in your space.