There’s an abundance of information out there about where brands/advertisers looking to work with bloggers are going wrong. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with a lot of this insight, we must remember that it’s a partnership that’s being formed - and so, there’s a few things bloggers need to take into account too.
For three years I worked for a children’s brand working on blogger outreach campaigns. With the parenting blogosphere already well established and constantly growing, it was an obvious fit. The network of ‘mummy-bloggers’ and progressively more so, ‘daddy-bloggers’, consists of a very savvy group of people who know exactly the worth of their blog, how to work brands and how to get themselves out there.
However, during my my experience I quickly identified some irritating and common occurrences in the communication process. I would often find great, relevant blogs but was put off by seemingly simply things, which I have listed below.
1. WHERE ARE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS?
If they’re not spotted within the first 20 seconds then you’ve lost their attention. The best place, from a design point of view as well as a user point of view, is in the header or footer. A lot of blogs put them in the ‘Contact Me’ section, which actually makes a lot of sense - and that’s fine if you’ve made that conscious decision.
The quantity of blogs (some good, some bad) I came across with NO VISIBLE social media links was shocking.
Why do you need them?
It shows brands that you’re ‘switched on’ - you’re taking this blogging thing seriously and you want to engage with people within the same community. You want to be found!
Let’s be honest, brands want to see how influential you are on these channels. Your presence on Twitter matters to us because that’s where you’ll be sharing your sponsored content.
Side note: If you want to be contacted via email - make sure your email address is easily located too. This was another problem I came across.
2. MEANINGLESS EMAILS
The amount of introductory emails I received with no blog URL, or even the name of their blog in, was incredible. Try again.
- Personalization - if you know the name of the person you’re contacting, use it.
- Blog URL. Blog URL. Blog URL.
- Why your blog is relevant to what the company does.
- Links for social networks that you use regularly for your blog
- Readership / visitor volume
- Ideas for sponsored posts
Impress brands with:
- Why you want to work with them.
- Examples of previous sponsored posts
- The results of previous sponsored posts (stats, user response, etc).
- What you can do for them - your reach and why you are great.
- Innovative, different ideas for sponsored posts
- Further helpful details, like for the parenting industry the ages of your children
3. FREEBIE HUNTERS
Product/service reviews can work very well for both parties. But firstly, please don’t guilt trip companies into giving you free products. A lot of them really would love to give away hundreds of products/services to the blogging community but they have tight budgets very watchful bosses!
Secondly, if you are JUST freebie hunting, then you’re transparent. I understand the appeal, I’ve seriously considered setting up a personal blog for that very reason - how cool would it be to get given loads of free makeup? But at the end of the day, you need to build valuable relationships and brands want that too. Just a quick look at your blog and your Twitter feed will tell them what they need to know.
4. MAINTAIN PROFESSIONALISM
If you’re blogging in a professional capacity, make sure you emulate that in all your communications.
Some bloggers are openly very rude about brands - watch what you say on social networks and in your PR section of your blog.
If a brand says that they’ll contact you in the future when an opportunity comes up, more often than not they mean it - they want a list of blogs on their radar. Please don’t get angry or upset with them!
If you’ve had a bad experience with another brand, don’t tar others with the same brush. They could be lovely!
When it comes to Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and so on, find a balance between what’s personal and what’s blog-related.
All this may seem like common sense to some, but they are in fact common problems. If you want to work with top brands and build reciprocal relationships with them, then these are the fundamental rules you should try to follow. If you’re reading this post, chances are you take your blog seriously and it’s probably fantastic. Don’t trip up on small hurdles. Be smart, professional and be you - show brands what makes you unique and tell us why THEY should want to work with YOU.
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