At the beginning of the semester, I started as a PR and marketing intern with a rapidly-growing product company.
I was excited to put into practice all of the classroom skills and theories I had learned.
After a few days of getting adjusted, the CEO of the company pulled me into his office and asked me two important questions. He first prefaced his questions by saying “We have great product traction in our national retail stores, but we need to do more online.” He then asked, “How do we improve our online sales? And how do we create a community around our product?”
I thought to myself, “I’ve been here for two days! Where would I even look to start something like that?”
Luckily, I learned that businesses that use blogs increase their website traffic by 55%.
This is great news for interns because most students already follow an array of blogs. But just following blogs doesn’t mean that students know how to use them to help their employers.
Here are four steps that can help interns know where to start when targeting blogs for their companies.
1. Know your audience
No one can start using the blogosphere without honing-in on the specific audiences they are trying to reach. Just ask Abigail Shaha, senior communications executive for Intrepid Agency.
“You have to know your audience!” said Shaha. “If you don’t specifically know who you are targeting, then how are you supposed to do anything with communications?”
Shaha further commented that students definitely need to learn the art of researching key audiences.
Here are a few suggestions for audience research:
- Talk with company management, see what they already know.
- Search through customer reviews online (Amazon, eBay, YouTube, etc.)
- Check social media channels
- Conduct your own research through email surveys, interviews, etc.
2. Organize your contact lists
All blog information needs to be organized and recorded.
The ways to organize your specific blog contact lists differ, but lists allow interns to keep track of every each blog’s progress.
These blogger lists can most easily be organized on an Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet:
Helpful Hint: Color-coding the lists can make it easier to find information about the progress of each blog quickly.
3. Show more than tell
Bloggers love having personal experiences with a product or service before they write about them. At least, that is what CEO of Tomoson, Jeff Foster, thinks.
“Bloggers love to get their hands on products they can use and review. They’ll write better reviews if they can see and feel what you have to offer,” said Foster. “Of course, blindly giving away hundreds of samples isn’t advisable, particularly if your product isn’t cheap. But if you target key bloggers with your giveaways, you’ll keep the cost down and get better results.”
One great lesson that we can learn as interns is that sometimes, we don’t need to talk at all. We can let the products do the heavy lifting.
4. Follow up
After we know our blogger audience, organize the lists and send out the products, what comes next?
“I think one of the biggest issues with the online sales, marketing and communication is that we don’t always follow up,” said Spencer Quinn, Founder of FiberFix USA. “It just takes a consistent effort and some patience.”
The follow-up can be a simple email or phone call to make sure the blogger received the product or the experience they had with it.
Quinn shared that the follow-up with bloggers is a huge part of what made a few of his product lines extremely successful in sales and awareness.
So, when it comes down to it, the process isn’t too difficult. Although, this might not work for every student, it is a good starting point for most interns who want to impress their employers using blogs.
Hudson McKay is a student at Brigham Young University and currently serves on the PRSSA board as vice president of member services. When he’s not writing online marketing campaigns or blog posts, you can find him climbing up mountains, being with friends, and crunching on as much flavored ice that he can get his hands on.