Back in 2011, I was in a PR role and had built a relationship with some up-and-coming bloggers in Australia.

I saw an opportunity for someone who understood what brands wanted to achieve with bloggers, but who also understood bloggers’ motivations. The Remarkables Group was born in May 2012 to address the gaping chasm between bloggers and brands in Australia.

Since then, I have worked with Australia’s top bloggers and brands – and learned a lot in the process.

Bloggers are a critical channel for many brands for two reasons. Firstly, consumers are spending more time online and brands need to be where their customers are.

Secondly, the media landscape has become extremely fragmented. The days of the whole family gathering around the TV to watch their favourite program are gone and have been replaced by YouTube, live streaming and on-demand TV.

Couple that with the decline in print readership, and it’s a tough spot for a brand to be.

As agents for 16 of Australia’s top bloggers, we get to see all types of pitches… the great, the average and the plain awful.

I’ve consulted with our group and here are the top three mistakes to avoid when contacting a blogger for the first time.

1. Address your email properly

You would be shocked to see how many bloggers receive emails opening with a generic “Hello” or “Dear Blogger” – or worse, calling them the wrong name. This is the number one pet hate of bloggers across the globe.

Imagine receiving an email from someone addressed “Dear X”. Not good. I can guess it would be in Trash folder rather quickly.

Most bloggers share their first name on their blogs; on their About page or on their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram channels – make the effort to find it, and you’re starting off well.

2. Do your research

Invest 15 minutes in reading their ‘About’ page, and a selection of blog posts. This will not only make sure you’re targeting the right blogger but will also show that you’ve got a genuine interest in their blog when you contact them.

I know a blogger who is a recovering alcoholic, who references the fact on her About page and writes prolifically about her experiences. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when a vodka company contacted her offering her a giveaway…

3. Know what you want

Bloggers often receive lengthy emails from brands, and five paragraphs later are none the wiser as to what the person is requesting from them. Keep it brief and to-the-point, and outline clearly what it is you would like from them – to send them samples, to invite them to an event or let them know about a new product/service. It goes without saying that requests should be made with respect, and provide the blogger with an “out” if it’s not for them.

If you avoid these three common mistakes, you’re already 90% ahead of most brands.

The blogger/brand space is a hugely varied and complex one, so this is just the starting point for future posts to help you build mutually beneficial relationships with bloggers.

Do you have a question about working with bloggers to promote your brand? Ask Lorraine in the comments below!