I really like this piece from Jupiter’s Michael Gartenberg who gives some practical Lessons for Analyst Relations. For many corporate marketers, having excellent reviews and research done by Analyst firms helps the decision making process, especially with complex products and solutions that span multiple groups.
In the last few years, a new role has emerged in the decision making process, bloggers (often normal customers or prospects that have an opinion about your product) can influence the decision and buying process.
At Hitachi Data Systems as the Online Community Manager, I had an informal role to be responsible for Blogger Relations, I’ve reached out, built relationships, and even met them in real life. Microsoft IE team treats me like a blogger/analyst and has invited me to cover their beta and final release of their product. Now, at PodTech, I consult our Fortune 1000 clients on how to deploy Social Media. Here’s a crash course on Blogger Relations.
Here’s a few tips to help you as you reach out to bloggers in your industry.
1) Blogger Relations is often the role of many people in the company, a previous term we all know could be called customer relations. Same customer love, just some new tools a few rules.
2) Bloggers may have first hand experience with your product, and may be more trusted than Analysts, Press, and your Marketers. Bloggers that talk about your products may be a customer or someone that has experience using your product. Sometime this could be different from Analysts who are not using your product. In the level of trust, it’s possible that prospects may trust someone who has first had experience very high. An Analyst may have authority in a particular subject. In many industries, this role is merging as bloggers become so knowable they become authorities. This is the case of Blogger/Podcast Martin McKeay in the security industry.
3) Know your bloggers and know them well. I’m echoing Michael here, as you should really spend time reading a blogger in your industry before making contact, and especially before pitching to one. How do you pitch to a blogger? You don’t. It’s a very different approach. I get pitched several times a week, it’s easy to spot who reads me and who doesn’t, guess who gets the welcome.
4) Provide multiple points of contact. As a Community Advocate/Manager (here’s some resources on becoming a Community Manager), your job is to listen to the market and line up the conversations with the right people in your company. You’re more of a traffic cop rather than a person can answer all the questions. Besides, it’s likely that you’re not an expert at every technical aspect of your product, find those that know and teach them to interact with bloggers in your industry using the same tools, or some of these responses that Nathan recommends.
If you’ve anything to add, or any questions, please leave a comment or contact me, I’m here to help.