What do media and bloggers know and think about your company, its products and its experts? What better way to find out than ask. Listening to what media and bloggers have to say is the best way to start building a good relationship.
We have been conducting media and blogger audits for years. They are a great foundation for building relationships, determining how to secure more quality coverage from target media and bloggers and uncovering company and competitor product perceptions and knowledge. Media and bloggers appreciate being asked their opinions and when approached properly provide excellent information.
We typically implement this strategy when we start working with new clients or to help support a new campaign, initiative or product launch. Below is the six-step process we use to conduct successful media and blogger audits.
1. Document objective: Determine why are you conducting the audit and what you hope to learn. For example, do you want to discover what media and bloggers know about your industry and competitors? Do you feel you are not receiving adequate media and blog coverage and want to determine why? Do you want to determine how to better communicate with media and bloggers to help secure more quality coverage? Clearly defining your objectives will help you craft specific audit questions.
2. Develop audit questions: Considering media and bloggers do not have much time to spare, a good rule of thumb is to develop no more than five-six audit questions. Ensure the questions are not all close ended because this will limit the information media and bloggers share. Also, based on the media and bloggers you are targeting consider developing more than one audit. For example, if you are targeting both trade and consumer media, you might want to go more in-depth with the trade media about your industry and competitors.
3. Determine the best methods for conducting the audit: Based on our experience, conducting an audit with media is much more successful over the phone. Conducting an audit with bloggers is much more successful over email or using an online survey program.
4. Conduct the audit: When conducting the audit, ensure you are providing an incentive for the media and bloggers to participate. Media are happy to provide feedback when it benefits them. For example, simply including a few questions in the media audit about the best way to communicate with them and their preferences will go a long way to helping develop a relationship. If you are conducting a product launch, offering a product sample for review to bloggers is a good incentive for them to participate.
5. Review and assess the results: Once you complete the audit, review and assess the data. Consider your objectives and how the information you learned can help you achieve them.
6. Follow up: Another benefit of conducting these audits is they often provide opportunities for your company. Be sure if media or bloggers provided an opportunity that you follow up accordingly and in a timely manner.