As a style blogger and PR professional developing blogger campaigns, I work on both sides of blogger outreach and understand firsthand how to partner with bloggers to complement brands’ marketing and communications efforts. Bloggers can help add credibility to your message, increase exposure and awareness of your campaign and help drive traffic to your site.
Here are five tips to get you on the right path for successful blogger collaborations:
Do Your Research
There are great tools and resources to pull up-to-date blogger lists such as Cision or Buzzstream. Or you can do your own research through social channels to find relevant bloggers. From there, you can get an idea of their following, reach and engagement by researching their blog and social media channels. You can also ask for a media kit to confirm they are the right fit for your brand or client. Media kits generally include blog analytics, social media analytics and examples of past partnerships.
Prepare Your Campaign Goals and Guidelines
There’s nothing more frustrating for a blogger than agreeing to partner with a brand that is not organized and keeps changing deadlines and scope of work. I recently experienced this when an agency reached out to me to participate in a campaign that involved a blog post and several social media posts. They had agreed to a price and then two days later, asked me to do more work and be paid less than what was originally agreed upon. Even though the compensation was on par, I decided not to participate because of the disorganization. They burned a bridge and I will not work with that particular agency again.
It’s important to carve out time to develop your campaign goals. After you’ve defined the campaign goals, you can develop a detailed set of guidelines and a timeline for your bloggers. And stick to them. If you’re working with a client, make sure they have plenty of time to approve the plan before you start contacting bloggers.
Send Personalized Pitches
Bloggers require thoughtful, customized email pitches. If you send a mass email with a press release, it will be deleted before it’s ever opened. Bloggers and social media influencers today expect personalized emails that include partnership opportunities that are relevant to their readers. An email crafted to a blogger addressed to their first name (not their blog name) with a quick sentence or two on what you love about their blog is a great way to keep them reading.
Be Realistic and Flexible
Bloggers love working on projects where they are granted freedom to develop something that represents them—and something their readers can relate to. If it feels too much like an advertisement, readers are turned off. Bloggers are aware of this risk and protect their relationship with their readers. Give them the creative freedom to develop their own content with some guidance, such as relevant talking points and website links.
The overview of the campaign can be shared in that initial email, but keep it fuss-free and easy to follow. Bullet points that lay out expectations are a great way to keep bloggers interested without feeling overwhelmed.
Compensation is Necessary
Whether you exchange services/products or provide monetary compensation, bloggers expect something in return for their work. Most bloggers today have a set fee for blog posts and individual social media postings. It’s best to ask for their rates and/or media kit early on in the conversation to confirm their requests are within your budget and to ensure you have time to negotiate rates.
Why is it worth paying a blogger? With most blogger partnerships, you’re getting high quality content including photography and writing that you can repurpose, as well as social media exposure. If you get started on the right foot, the relationship can develop into something more organic where the blogger continues to promote your message or your product or service. Keep this in mind as you develop campaigns and weigh the benefits of such a partnership.