Every week I get emails from aspiring start up business owners, wanting tips and tricks of the trade. If these girls and guys are brave enough to reach out and email, I figured there must be others out there pondering the same.
7. For Brands, By Bloggers
Ah, the topic of PR gifting. In some circles, it's the bloggers' holy grail, and in others, it can often cause a PR nightmare if not executed correctly. We've all seen the twitter wars and furious blog posts for when this collaboration goes wrong. This post is intended as a guide for brands on how to deal with bloggers and make the most of your collaboration. Next week we'll flip it as a guide for bloggers from a brands point of view. Fun huh!
The first thing to determine is what you want to gain from your collaboration. Are you looking for sales, brand exposure or both? Please, as a brand, get out of the mindset that by sending bloggers 'freebs' you're doing these girls and guys a huge service and expect endless gratitude in return. This is a collaboration people, you're both gaining from this partnership.
Gone are the days when you can bombard bloggers with press releases and expect them not to want anything in return, and for good reason. With a plethora of blogs out there, these girls and guys aren't just gonna repost everything that's sent their way anymore. With this in mind, make sure you're targeting the right sort of bloggers for your niche. For example, one of my dearest bloggy pals Megan from the Briar Rose is pretty unlikely to want to feature a fetish latex store but pastel hued tea dresses? I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying she'd be all over that!
Treat your collaboration proposal as a pitch - I have it on good authority that bloggers receive countless PR requests on a daily basis so if you've already done some groundwork with regards to trying to make contact (eg striking up conversation on twitter, doing a little promo for their blog etc) they are more than likely to notice your introductory email. Again, be personal and friendly. Everyone likes to feel that a pitch is tailored to them and the dynamic of their blog - greet them with their name (it's really not hard to find, everyone has an about me page or twitter handle!) reference a post you thought they executed something particularly well or congratulate on a recent success.
Whilst of course you want to find a blogger that fits your brand perfectly, it's also worth noting that jumping on your competitors' partnerships is not only pretty shady, but also could end badly in terms of the PR you want to receive. Go through the blog's archive and if it's really saturated with a particular product/service then reach out to someone new. If a particular blogger appears to have struck up a genuine relationship and partnership with one of your competitors then trying to jump on their coattails is just going to leave a bad taste for everyone involved. The blogging world s a big ole' pond with plenty of fine specimens, so go cast your net in another corner.
Ensure you establish exactly what you are expecting from the collaboration. It's absolutely ok to lay down some initial requests, because then everyone knows where they stand! What isn't ok, is trying to push content on bloggers. By the very nature of individuals that want to blog, they want to be creative with their posts and also honest about the product that they are reviewing. However if you'd particularly liked a style of post they've done recently and would love your product to be considered to be dealt with in a similar way, this is absolutely fine and actually shows that you've engaged with their blog.
Outline why you are sending the item (review? Outfit post? Lookbook link?) and in what time scale you would like the coverage to be uploaded by. Give them all the links they need, to your Facebook twitter etc. Ensure you lay this down before sending the item - you can't send out an outfit and then decide to let them know you need the pieces posted at least 3 times within a 2 week timeframe! Imagine if a client did this to you?!
It's a pretty sad fact in blogging that there are a lot of people getting into it now just for the freebies. Realistically, from a brands point of view, sending pieces to someone that is clearly in the business for this reason isn't going to be the best kind of partnership to peruse. These types of blogs lack integrity, longevity and you're more often than not going to find your product on eBay after it's been snapped in a selfie for instagram. Absolutely of course, monetising blogs is 100% okay! I'm not suggesting that you beware of blogs that consider their hard work to be a business, in fact, this is probably the best sort of blogger you could ask for coverage from. But these blogs have got where they are due to hard work, determination, and skill.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this somewhat hush-hush subject. Are you a blogger who disagrees that post after post of '℅' would put a brand off working with you? Are you a brand who has something to add? Email us, we'd love to hear your thoughts!
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