Think Outside the Box

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The value of social media is being realized by more retailers in the pet category—many businesses are using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and even their own blogs to regularly engage their target audiences online.

Amanda LeGaux is a social media specialist at Trone Brand Energy, a leader in blogger engagement, particularly in the pet space.

However, a relatively untapped opportunity in the digital landscape lies in the pet blogosphere.

The pet blogging community has proven to be a valuable platform for companies to both engage with and learn from pet loving consumers, and it is an essential driver of online sales and product recommendations.

Retailers have the opportunity to harness the power that pet bloggers wield in the pet owners’ purchase consideration journey to better promote and sell products online while garnering key purchasing insights from their target consumer audience.

Of the national pet owning audience, 30 percent spend more than 30 minutes per week consuming pet-related information, according to Trone Brand Energy data from 2012. This segment of individuals, referred to as pet information seekers, is researching topics including pet health and nutrition (77 percent), pet behavior, safety and life stage issues (69 percent) and most important for retailers, new products (67 percent), according to Trone Brand Energy data.

More than one third of the pet information seekers audience turn to blogs for this information.

Here are some of the top ways that retailers can leverage pet bloggers to grow their business.

Guide consumers in their purchase decisions and increase sales.

Pet bloggers are committed to sharing their opinions about products and services that they use. Many of these influencers have weighted audiences representative of specific regions and regularly promote local products and companies.

Retailers can engage bloggers and work with them during their review writing process to provide information not only about a specific product but also on where to buy it. The pet consumer who then turns to that blog while seeking content or researching a product will gain valuable product insights that also direct them to a purchase destination.

Retailers, especially those with an e-commerce platform, should consider incorporating blogger engagement into their overall strategy, in order to maximize sales via the peer-to-peer recommendation model that pet blogs foster.

Check the pulse of important issues in the pet community.

Pet blogs provide retailers with something that is somewhat difficult to attain—instant insights into the most relevant issues in the pet community. Trends in the pet category emerge quickly. Retailers can turn to blogs to get a pulse on hot topics, buzz-worthy products and audience interest.

Retailers can then use this information to direct their content push strategies. For example, if a blogger provides insights about their audience’s overwhelming interest in biodegradable and nature-friendly products, retailers can then distribute social media content about their company’s product offerings in that category. The relevant and immediate nature of this information can potentially lead to more targeted product awareness and purchase.

Increase SEO. Bloggers can help to increase a brand’s visibility in online search by sharing posts that contain both links to a brand’s Web properties and keywords that identify a brand’s product offerings. Engaging bloggers to regularly distribute brand messages helps to strengthen a company’s online reach and consumer availability.

Amanda LeGaux is a social media specialist at Trone Brand Energy, a leader in blogger engagement, particularly in the pet space.  She works to grow relationships with influencers in the digital space and drives the content strategy for influencer engagement for various clients in the pet category.  Blogify, Trone Brand Energy’s blogger engagement resource, helps brands to easily connect with bloggers to increase sales, online mentions and brand advocacy.

5 Responses to “Think Outside the Box”

  1. Aaron

    May 01. 2013

    This is a great idea and one I’ve been trying to implement for the past month. I’ve reached out to over 40 different pet blogs and haven’t gotten a response from ANY of them. Very frustrating as I see this as a great way to get the word out about our new online capabilities.

    Any tips on getting a response from these people?


    Reply to this comment
    • Amanda LeGaux

      May 01. 2013

      Blogger outreach is tough!

      My biggest tip here is to personalize every ‘pitch’ to each blogger that you reach out to. Bloggers spend a lot of time writing about brand related content and wants brands to spend some time focusing on them. They don’t want to be referred to as ‘Dear Blogger’…they want to know that the company reaching out to them has done their homework and at at the very least knows their name or the name of their blog.

      Another note – bloggers are inundated with emails on a day-to-day basis, so it’s vital that you deliver content specific to that blogger that is relevant to them – and do so creatively!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Pack Leader, Cat Herder

    May 01. 2013

    Aaron, just wanted to see if I could help you out a little because I see both sides of this issue. As a pet business, I can completely understand your frustration. But as a blogger/website, I want to let you know that bloggers get hundreds of requests each week and, as many bloggers write on a part-time basis, it can be nearly impossible to keep up with demand. That said, these are the mistakes I see most often in pitches:
    1. Not knowing the blog: When crafting a pitch, be sure you do your research and personalize the pitch to the blog and the blogger. (I.e., Don’t offer to send a cat product to a dogs-only blog; address it to the writer by name, not “to whom it may concern”)
    2. Attend events like BlogPaws or BarkWorld and meet the writers in person. That goes a long way towards how bloggers prioritize posts.
    3. Include how you will be willing to help that blog – perhaps offer giveaway items, or cross promotion, or do a sponsored post. Generally the more willing you are to help the blog, the more willing they will be to help you.
    4. Never dictate. I sometimes get requests where people “demand” a post to be written in a certain way and that guarantees it will never be written. Bloggers value their freedom to write what they want.
    5. Be patient. Many bloggers are working on 8-12 week lead time, but little reminders are always good. ;)
    Hope that helps a little!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Sandra

    May 08. 2013

    I am new to the pet blogging community, I can highly recommend Blogpaws.com to reach out to pet bloggers. There is also their conference starting 5/17. I am also available to do pet reviews just send me an email!

    Reply to this comment
  4. new business ideas

    Sep 05. 2013

    I almost never make responses, however, I browsed through several remarks here on How Pet Retailers Can Work With Pet
    Bloggers | Pet Age but had a few questions for you if you wouldn’t mind.
    Might it be just me or do some of the replies appear as if they are generated from really mindless folks?

    As well, when you are blogging on other different webpages, I wish to keep up with you.
    Is it possible to post a short list of your current social
    network pages including linkedin link, Facebook
    site or twitter feed?

    Reply to this comment

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