A couple of weeks ago, I shared my tips for bloggers on working successfully with brands. Today I want to look at the other side of the relationship.
For companies, working with bloggers can be a valuable part of your marketing strategy. It can help you to connect with new customers, boost your sales and build your reputation.
But there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are my tips for companies who want to work with bloggers.
- Be selective about the bloggers you work with. Sometimes a blogger reaches out to you. Sometimes you may go looking for a blogger to advance your company. Do your research and make sure that the blogger is a fit for your brand. Read their posts–including the comments on their posts, follow their social media accounts, look at what other brands they work with, review media coverage they receive. Look at their writing over time to get a sense of who they are and make sure they match your objectives and your brand.
- Treat bloggers like valued customers. Whether you reach out to a blogger or they reach out to you, be prompt, courteous and professional in your communications. Even if you decide the partnership is not a fit, deliver your rejection respectfully. Be aware that all of your interactions are public. Between their own websites and social media, bloggers have a number of media at their fingertips. Don’t say anything in an email, by text, on social media–or even by phone–that you wouldn’t want to appear online.
- Be clear about what you are going to do for the blogger and what you want them to do for you. Before reaching out to or replying to a blogger, think carefully about what you are willing to invest. Do you want to offer discounts, free products or services for the bloggers themselves? Or do you want to do a giveaway or promotion for their readers? Be explicit about what you’re willing to give and also what you want in return.
- Be prepared to pay. Bloggers are professionals. Their platform and audience have value. They have spent time building their followers and their own brand. Plus, planning, writing, photographing, editing, publishing and promoting posts take time. In calculating a payment, consider an hourly rate as well as the marketing value that you are seeking.
- Give the blogger editorial control. Working with a blogger is closer to media relations than it is to advertising. So a good phrase to keep in mind is “freedom of the press.” In my previous post I wrote, “Authenticity, honesty, openness are all essential in blogging.” Therefore, you must leave it up to the blogger to determine what he or she says about your company or product. Doing your due diligence before entering into a partnership (see #1, 2 and 3 above) are the best way to ensure your objectives are fulfilled.
- Engage with the blogger and readers. Once the partnership is confirmed, keep the lines of communication open. Be available to answer questions from the blogger and provide additional information as needed. Once the post is live, continue to engage–answer questions, reply to comments (if it feels appropriate). Share the post on your social media channels. Also, say thank you.
Digital media has changed marketing. Between social media and bloggers, companies have some very powerful platforms to communicate with customers.
Are you interested in working with bloggers? Contact me for help building those connections.