I’m not talking about your staff as bloggers, I’m talking about those key influencers who have a large local following. You need to nurture them just as you would your local reporters — if not more so. They have powerful reach and can do great things to help — they can be advocates, they can cascade your message, they can give you valuable input.
So how do you develop your stategy? How do you start?
Do your research. Find key bloggers. We started with mommy bloggers — a cohort of women who write about issues related to their family. Here’s how you find them:
- Look through your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. If they have a local blog, most often that will be identified through their personal sites.
- Find your local mommy bloggers at this national website for mommy bloggers.
- Set up a Technorati account to search for mommy bloggers/tweets.
2. Develop A Database and Connect with them
Just as you have a special database for your local reporters, develop one for your special bloggers. Reach out to them and develop a relationship. Tell them that you are interested in what they are doing. If they have an RSS feed, sign up for it.
3. Hold A Special Bloggers Event
When we kicked off this year’s Summer Reading Club, we held a special by-invitation-only blogger event. At that event our executive director did a meet-and-greet. Then we had our Tech Services director talk about how children’s books are selected and what great new titles are coming out in the fall.
As we are launching our levy campaign, as part of that campaign — and clearly off taxpayers work time — we held a social event at a local wine bar (cash bar). Bloggers were briefed on the levy request and we shared ways in which they can be involved.
This winter we’ll have a special event of a Holiday Train (7 miniature trains running through a replica of Dresden, Germany) and will invite these bloggers to a special family-focused ceremonial starting of the trains.
4. Monitor Their Writings About You
Keep track of what they write by setting up Google alerts. Thank them for their posts. Re-tweet or post to Facebook their comments. Let them know you have done so.
The important thing here is that bloggers have a profound influence in our communities. Their role is as powerful as anything in local media. If you aren’t networking with them and bringing them close into your communication circle, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity.
If you need more help in getting started, let me know!