Before you ask, no I’m not writing this to blow my own trumpet as a blogger. I’m actually writing this as a brand who works with bloggers and a blogger who works with brands.
We all know bloggers are becoming more and more important to brands and PR’s. Blogger campaigns, Instagram ads, social media shares, events and so on. There’s so much that bloggers get involved with when working with companies. Not to mention the several blogging conferences that happen each year where hundreds of bloggers pay to attend. Or a lot of the time brands sponsor the blogger to represent them at the event.
I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years and have been lucky to work with a huge amount of brands and PR’s on different types of projects. The work I put into my website takes time and effort, and is something that I am passionate about and proud of. For brands to approach me and ask me to work with them, represent them or trial one of their products shows that I am doing something right as a blogger.
Most brands and PR’s totally get what a blogger can do for them in terms of advertising and reach on social media. However there are other brands and PR’s (maybe small businesses) who are just unaware of the importance of bloggers; who take us for granted and really don’t understand what we can do for them or their business.
Last year I launched my own small business alongside my blog. I’m not going to lie it hasn’t been easy. Updating social media, designing new product, getting my stuff seen, takes so much time and effort and with two kids it’s pretty stressful.
This year I decided to start working more closely with bloggers and my brand. Already they have all offered me advice, suggestions and beautiful photos for me to use to improve my business. There is no invoice at the end of the week, no budget to run out. Just lovely people taking the time to review my product, share my product and promote my product.
Of course there will be times when invoices will be sent to you but this is always negotiated at the beginning of a campaign. You may receive a quote from a blogger and think why should I pay X amount for a blog post when “you’re just a blogger”, but bloggers can give you so much more than, for example, a small space in a magazine, even a national one. (Trust me, I’ve done both).
Developing close relationships with bloggers can have such a positive impact on your business, because bloggers are real people. We don’t have strict schedules, time sheets, budgets, specific working hours. (Well, we some of us have to work around the kids, but there’s a lot we can do on short notice).
What we do have is passion; passion for our blogs and space online. That passion will reflect on your brand if you trust us, appreciate us, and treat us fairly.
Bloggers talk to people. They share, share and then share again. (Yes sometimes this costs a little extra but like I said, fees are negotiated in the beginning). Bloggers take pride in what they do and most of the time work with brands because they genuinely like them and/or buy their products already. Bloggers will answer questions when a reader leaves a comment. Go back to the PR or brand with feedback; communicate between brand and customer. They will represent.
As a blogger I’ve developed close relationships with the people I work with. I’m more than happy to continually promote them way past our agreement, especially, for example, if I’m still using the product. And even more so if you haven’t expected too much in the first place. We appreciate fairness.
The key is to not ask us for the world in return for some dishwasher tablets or £2.50 of vouchers to buy yoghurt. Think about the value of what you’re offering and the ‘value‘ of what can be offered in return.
Is a children’s book worth £4.99 enough of a ‘payment‘ to ask a blogger for a full blog review and 3 separate social shares to their 10000+ followers? Going by the national minimum wage and how long the average review post takes to complete, the answer is no. However, including in a gift guide plus a share on social media is much more reasonable.
Being a blogger and a brand has opened my eyes to both sides. I can totally see what’s reasonable to ask for from my blogger outreach. At the same time, I know how it feels to be a small business and struggle to find ways of promoting your brand and get your name out there. You want to squeeze everything you can out of a campaign and gain the widest reach possible. Having said that, I’m also a blogger an know how it feels to be undervalued and exploited.
If you’re a brand looking to working with bloggers then my advise is this.
- Don’t ask us to work for free. By this I mean asking us to share your infographic or press release with nothing in return. I’m sure you get paid, and so should we.
- Think about what you really need from the blogger. Is it a review in the form of a blog post, or will a short paragraph alongside a quality photo do more for your brand?
- Be up front. If you are just looking for a do-follow link, then be honest. Don’t sugar coat the fact that’s all you’re really after with your sweet-talking compliments about how lovely my blog is.
- Be realistic. You’ll be lucky to find a blogger which can complete your requirements in a short space of time. Most bloggers work around their lives, so don’t expect a reply within and hour and then start chasing them.
- Give deadlines. It’s so easy for bloggers (myself included) to fall behind on our work. Setting deadlines (reasonable ones) makes everyones lives easier. We can prioritise our workload and you can leave us alone until the work is due.
- Once a blogger has completed their work, acknowledge them! Time and time again I let PR’s and brands know the work is complete and I get absolutely no reply. We hate it.
- Share on social media. If a blogger has tagged the brand in a post on social media then get the brand to share it! I can count on one hand how many times my reviews have been shared by the brand, which is just shocking. If we are taking the time to review, then utilise this and let your customers know.
Of course, you get bloggers who don’t fulfil requirements of collaborations and unfortunately give us a bad name. But don’t let this stop you working with bloggers. The majority of us take pride in what we do and thrive on sharing good content with our readers, including collaborations.
The aim of this post was to simply say that bloggers are becoming a vital part of advertising, and should be taken seriously. I for one am very grateful to the bloggers who are working with me.
If you’re a business or a PR and are thinking of working with a blogger for the first time, then my advise is go for it. What can you lose?
We don’t bite, I promise.