ThinkstockPhotos-470365606 [Converted]It seems like everyone is a blogger these days and the numbers prove it. More than 181 million blogs were counted in a 2011 Nielsen survey. You can find a blog that covers anything: DIY tips, parenting, fashion, lifestyle, pets, comic books – you name it. Brands, large and small, have been proactively pursuing bloggers (“influencers” in industry talk) to represent niche products, services and communities.

At NST, we work with many bloggers on behalf of our clients. We pulled together some of our best blogger relationship tips, which can be as equally important as traditional media, to follow when representing a client in the blogosphere.

  1. Do your homework. Besides looking at the blogger’s number of followers and page visits, search the blog for any potential posts that may have been sponsored by a client’s competitor. Also, look for any opposing personal viewpoints that might be contradictive of a client’s brand. It is necessary to know what topics the blogger covers, just like a journalist.
  1. Be honest and upfront. If your client has a budget or policies on incentives for bloggers, be upfront about the details in your first pitch. You don’t want to waste your time or theirs talking about all the great possibilities of a partnership to find out that this perfect blogger needs $5,000 for a post, far past your budget. The blogger will appreciate the honesty from a first pitch. He or she might even come back to you with a compromise.
  1. Respect the craft. Running a successful blog is a huge time commitment and takes skill, something that the non-blogging population is skeptical about. A blogger has to buy creative rights and domains, build a SEO-friendly page, manage multiple social media accounts, take and edit photos, write posts weekly (more than once a week usually), and respond to emails. All of this might even be done on top of a full-time job, parenting and other responsibilities. Never imply in a pitch that you are doing the blogger a favor by offering “a great opportunity.”
  1. Offer help. Once you have established an agreement or contract with the blogger, ask how you can help. This might include sharing on your own social media channels, drafting brief content or key messages, and providing background and images.
  1. Disclosure. The Federal Trade Commission has been policing blog posts for a couple years now, but just recently upped the ante. Endorsements and compensation must be disclosed in all blogger-related activity in an easily found place. Without these measures in place, you and your client could be fined.

Follow these tips and you are well on your way to strong blogger relationships and great client results.