One of the biggest challenges I've experienced as a blogger is building a more long-lasting relationship with my favorite brands. It's been my experience that getting the review or getting the giveaway in the first place is a lot easier than turning that relationship into more than a one-post stand. But at the same time, who wants to turn their site into nothing more than regurgitated press releases?
What are you looking for in a relationship with a brand? Free swag and gifts for your readers can be great, but I think ultimately (like our real-life relationships) we're looking for something mutually beneficial. Maybe you're hoping to grow that relationship into a brand ambassadorship, paid sponsorship, or a full-time job with the company. Regardless of what your end goal is, getting from the point of making the contact to the point of a mutually beneficial relationship IS HARD. I've got brands I've worked with for years, who I still have to beg for a lookbook each season!
I recently chatted with some of my favorite bloggers: Julia di Nardo from Fashion Pulse Daily and Marie Leggette from The Curvy Fashionista about how THEY do it. These ladies have built exceptional relationships with brands, so I'm checking in to see how they did it and what advice they can share.
What advice do you have for the blogger who wants to move her relationship with a brand beyond reviews, giveaways and press releases?
Marie has worked with some of the biggest brands in plus-sized fashion, and she shares, “I suggest asking what some of their objectives are. From there you can get a feeling of where they are even willing to go and grow…and if what you may want to do aligns with their goals! When you know, you'll have a prime opening to pitch your idea, showing them how their objectives can be reached!”
Julia suggests a direct, but laid back approach: “In order to move the relationship beyond the status quo, ask them, in a casual manner, if they may be interested in X (a paid opportunity) that would even more thoroughly spotlight the brand on your site, or casually send them your media kit, in case they might be interested in some sponsored opportunity in the coming months. Keeping it professional, but casual, should make it comfortable to approach.”
What's the biggest struggle a blogger faces when trying to take a relationship with a brand to the next level?
When you've been blogging a long time, you inevitably come across some challenges when working with a brand for so long. Julia talks about one issue I've encountered several times: “I think if you've had one solid contact at a brand for a very long time, and that point-person leaves, it's almost like starting from square one to build your relationship up again with a new person.”
For Marie, that biggest struggle in taking the next step is that “we can either underestimate or overestimate ourselves.” She goes on to say, “For me, I have found that I surprised myself when I pitched a major brand and they loved it. I had history with them and had an idea and went for it! Was I scared? You bet. But if I did not believe in myself or had the courage to go for it, I wouldn't be here.”
How do you stay memorable with a brand? How can you keep them engaged & thinking of you for upcoming projects?
When it comes to remaining memorable, Julia suggests that you show some common courtesy: “I think with any kind of relationship, being attentive, diligent, and making them a priority (i.e. attending the brand's events, posting info about them as soon as it's released) is much-appreciated…doing something courteous and considerate, that requires minimal effort, like sending a thank-you email or even hand written note after you've worked with them on something really can make a difference in distinguishing yourself from the rest.”
Marie leaves us with some simple advice for staying memorable: “believe in yourself, have a game plan, and be professional!”
Have you been successful in moving your relationships with brands past giveaways, reviews, and press releases? What tips do you have for the rest of the class?
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