The best way to build meaningful connections with influential bloggers and journalists is to look past your short-term goal of selling a product or service and focus on building a long-term relationship instead.

While it might be tempting to pay an influencer to host a one-off piece of promotional content on their website, the benefits will be short lived. When a strong, consistent relationship is in place, you’ll be able to reap the benefits well into the future.

Earn their attention and trust

You might know your offering is the best thing since sliced bread, however, bloggers and journalists sometimes need a little buttering up. After all, they’re (hopefully) real people too – show them some appreciation!

I recently helped work on a blog post for a client in which we included ‘five of the best local food blogs’.This gave a natural opening to initiate contact with those bloggers and pathe the way for future collaboration.

Once the post was live, we shared it on social media and gave the bloggers a shout out. Our efforts were greatly received and appreciated; gaining various mentions and shares across the social platforms and four out of five of the bloggers are now very keen to return the favour with some featured content.

Keep your eyes on the prize

In order to maintain and further enhance your relationships with bloggers, be sure to frequently engage with them. Let them know you exist, and remind them of what you can do for them.

This could range from favoriting or retweeting their content on social media, commenting on their latest post, or even emailing to see what’s next on their content agenda.

Savvy journalists and bloggers will often send requests for leads when they need them – check out #journorequest and #prrequest on Twitter, consider signing up to a tool like ResponseSource –  if you’re the person they should be speaking with, let it be known. If you can’t necessarily help this time, perhaps you could point them in the right direction of someone who can.

Don’t give up

We are all familiar with the phrase “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again”. This too applies when engaging with bloggers.

I’ve pitched ideas before and heard nothing back, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to cut all ties. Maybe my original email really did end up in their spam folder, maybe they just haven’t had a chance to act upon it yet. It’s always worth giving a polite follow-up email, a Tweet or a phone call.

If you get a “thanks but no thanks” in return, look on the bright side: You’ve gained their attention. Pitch a different idea, ask them what it is they do want and let them know what you can do to help.

And finally

Building ongoing relationships with bloggers is generally a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type of situation. If someone goes out of their way for you, return the favour where you can. The process can be time consuming, but if you’re prepared to put the effort in, it will be worth it.