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How to Get a Blogger to Promote Your Product

How to Get a Blogger to Promote Your Product

You have a product or service to promote. You’ve heard great things about “conversational marketing”, “viral marketing”, and the like. On the surface, it seems easy: identify a few big bloggers, schmooze with them a little, and wait for the flood of sales as your chosen bloggers start talking up your product.

It’s a good idea. So good that thousands marketrs and PR folks have been deluging bloggers from the Technorati Top 100 on down with press releases, insulting emails, even bullying tactics to get them to promote their products. So good that Lifehacker’s Gina Trapani posted a list of PR spammers and blocked emails from their domains. So good that the best way to get bad PR from bloggers these days is to try to get good PR from them.

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What went wrong?

One reason this wonderful idea isn’t working the way it was expected to is that while bloggers have something pretty valuable to offer marketers, marketers so far have had little to offer in return. Likewise, while it costs marketers little to reach out to bloggers, it can potentially cost bloggers quite a bit in terms of lost integrity and lost audiences. Offering a blogger your product for free seems nice, but a blogger can quickly lose their readers’ goodwill if they’re perceived as a shill for some company.

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Another reason marketers have had a hard time connecting with bloggers has to do with control. Bloggers are, as a rule, a pretty independent bunch. They often feel used when marketers approach them, out of the blue, and ask them to promote their product or service. And bloggers don’t like being used. Most popular bloggers are strong writers and good marketers; they could easily be working in the media, in advertising, or indeed in public relations or marketing if they wanted to (or were able to) sacrifice their independence.

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But all is not lost…

Reaching out to bloggers is still a good idea, though. Good bloggers have a special kind of rapport with their audiences, and are pretty adept at getting near the top of search engine result pages. Which means that a few kind words about your product on the right kind of blog can have a lot of life — piquing the interest of their regulars and turning up again and again in search results.

The trick is to treat bloggers with respect, both for them as people and for their relationship with their audience. Which means rather than the drive-by pitching that has characterized most efforts to reach bloggers so far, you need to think in terms of building long-term relationships with bloggers.

A few pointers

  • Do your research. Instead of spamming hundreds or thousands of blogs with pitches for your product, identify a handful of bloggers whose audiences will find the most value in your product. Show respect by learning something about the blogger — we make it very easy!
  • Take them seriously. Bloggers fight an uphill battle for legitimacy. You can show a great deal of respect by recognizing both the hard work and the talent that goes into creating a successful blog.
  • Explain yourself. Show that you’ve done your homework by explaining clearly what your product has to offer a blogger’s audience and how you think you can work together.
  • No strings. If you’d like a blogger to have a look at your product, make it absolutely clear that you don’t expect a positive review. Show your respect for the blogger by allowing him or her to make up their own mind about a product and to explain their opinion to their readers in their own way. Asking a blogger to lie for you is the quickest way to a) lose their interest, or worse, b) pan your product mercilessly.
  • Offer gifts, not bribes. This follows from “no strings”, but often marketers want to send t-shirts, pens, or other schwag to bloggers they work with. Nothing wrong with that, but again, make sure you’re not offering goods in return for positive reviews. Offer a gift as a thank you for a blogger’s time and consideration.
  • Do the groundwork. Treat a blog just like any media outlet — provide the blogger with everything she or he needs to properly evaluate your product or service.
  • Follow through. Keep in contact after a blogger has written about your product. Send them a thank you note, a testimonial, figures showing any impact their work might have had on your sales. Link to them from your site. Remember that a lot of blogs are businesses, and a lot of bloggers do related work as their day jobs — knowing their writing helped you increase sales 43% can help them sell ad space, gain new clients for their freelance business, or benefit them in other ways.
  • Ask for private feedback, too. A lot of bloggers will write a selective review of your product geared towards their readerships, while holding a separate personal view of the product. SHow your respect for them as an individual by asking if there’s anything they’d like to say that they chose not to include in their review.
  • Take your lumps graciously. Don’t attack bloggers who pan your product or service; if you’ve done your research and selected appropriate bloggers to pitch to, they’re disinterest in your product is probably a very important piece of information for you! Thank them for their time and move on — don’t, under any condition, “go after” them!

Remember, with rare exceptions, bloggers don’t make a lot of money blogging, and so their audience and their standing in the blogging community are their main rewards. Approaching them with respect for their position and their needs will gain you a lot of respect in return, and you may well find that the blogs you maintain relationships with have become a central part of your marketing strategy — and a set of important relationships in and of themselves.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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