More and more companies are recognizing the value of working with bloggers.
Bloggers have thousands, sometimes millions, of readers. Readers who are interested in the topics featured on that particular blog and therefore more likely to be potential customers for a company whose product or service relates. It’s a very targeted marketing strategy. As well, bloggers are powerful influencers, and endorsements can boost sales and reputation.
For the bloggers themselves, there are also benefits. Working with a company can mean compensation in the form of money or product. It can also mean exposure, which means more traffic, more readers, more clicks and more revenue.
Sometimes a brand reaches out to a blogger or other times a blogger reaches out to a brand. No matter how the partnership happens, there are a few guidelines that bloggers should follow when working with brands.
- Be clear about what you are offering (or, if the company reached out to you, what they are looking for from you). Are you going to write one post or several? Will the post be just about the company or will they be part of a post on another topic? What type of profile is the company looking for? What links do you have to include in your post? How will you promote your post through social media? It’s important to set clear expectations from the beginning so that you both know what to expect.
- Be clear on what the brand is going to do for you. Are you being paid? Getting product? Are they sharing your post on their website and social media channels? How many times? Are they going to tag you? As a blogger, you have a powerful marketing channel and engaged followers. There’s value in that. Don’t be afraid to ask for compensation. The benefits of blogger-brand partnerships should be mutual.
- Be selective about the brands you work with. There are lots of companies looking for profile. Make sure the company and the topic are truly a fit for your blog. Think about your own brand. By writing about a company, you are linking their brand with yours. Make sure that what they stand for is something you endorse.
- Write an authentic, honest post. Authenticity, honesty, openness are all essential in blogging. Readers want to feel a genuine connection with the bloggers that they follow. Make sure that any promotional posts are written in your usual style and tone.
- Include a disclaimer in your post. Be open about how the post came about, why you’re working with a particular company and what you’re getting from it. “Opinions are my own” is the standard disclaimer seen all over the blogosphere. In fact, it’s so standard that it’s not that meaningful. Sharing a little more information about why you decided to work with this particular company is part of being authentic and honest. Plus, it can turn into a stronger endorsement of the company, which will strengthen your partnership.
- Publish and promote the post. Once you confirm your partnership with a company, keep the lines of communication open. Let them know when you’re planning to publish the post. Once it goes live, follow up with your contact directly to share a link. In your social media promotions, tag the brand and like and share the posts their posts.
- Respond to comments and questions openly and honestly. Engaging with readers is an important part of being a blogger. Sometimes readers have questions about the product you’re featuring. Answer from your own experience, or connect them with a rep at the company for more details. The harder situation comes when readers question why you’re working with a particular brand. Some readers don’t like promotional posts. Be open and honest about your motivations and what you’re receiving. Not everyone will agree with you, but if you can stand behind your reasons to partner and you’re authentic in explanation to your readers, you’ll be true to your brand.
As a blogger, the most important asset that you have is your reputation. Following these seven steps will ensure that you maintain–or even grow–your reputation by partnering with brands.