We are so excited to bring you the first in a new series of posts on IFB. We've brought you the best advice from the best bloggers in the business through the Professional Blogger Spotlight, and now we're turning the tables. Once a week we will be interviewing brands, to get their perspective on working with bloggers. What are they looking for? Who do they work with? How can you become more attractive to the brands you love?
In what capacity does BaubleBar work with bloggers?
We have been able to form really organic relationships with bloggers because we work with women whose style we really admire, and they work with us because they love our product. We do gift some product to both bloggers we have formed relationships with as well as top blogger conferences, like IFB. We also have our weekly Inspired Style feature on our blog, where we send select personal style bloggers an assortment of product and ask them to style it – it's been really fun for both us and our customers. (And we've gotten great feedback from our customers that they've found new blogs to follow this way!)
We are now beginning to work on bigger collaborations that allow us to work more closely with the ladies we love to follow ourselves. This week Kristina from Pretty Shiny Sparkly is taking over our Buried Bauble – every Friday we secretly mark down one item to $10 and give people a clue via email to find it. We let her pick four Buried Baubles and she has created some great editorial for us to include in all the Buried Bauble purchases. Collaboration is key here, and we work incredibly hard to come up with programs that are not only creative and interesting for readers, but also feel very on-brand and supportive for both parties involved.
How do you select bloggers to work with?
We look at a lot of things. As an avid blogger myself, I follow nearly 300 blogs and constantly stay up to date with the who’s who of the blogging world to make sure we are reaching out to the bloggers that make the most sense for our audience. I spend a lot of time on Alexa.com and Quantcast. There are so many different variables these days (followers, # of comments on a blog, twitter following, Facebook likes,) that it can be hard to measure. Everyone has an Alexa.com score, so that’s a good starting point. From there, it’s less quantitative and more intuitive. Factors like style, reputation, and site design also weigh in – and sometimes being able to spot a really great up-and-comer is invaluable. If I visit the blog and find myself sucked in for the next half hour, I know it’s someone we definitely want to work with!
We like to work with bloggers who are creative, collaborative, and have a strong sense of personal style. We also love finding bloggers with a very genuine voice. We were over the moon to start working with Erica and Lauren from Honestly WTF because the two of them not only have incredible style, but there is something very authentic about their blog – going through it you really feel as though you have a strong sense of who they are. A blogger's ability to connect with their audience in that way is something very powerful and something that a score can't measure.
What value do you think blogger collaborations have, as compared to traditional marketing?
We work with bloggers for several reasons, but the overarching/obvious reason (besides the fact that our entire team is a bit blog-obsessed) is that bloggers really drive awareness of our brand, product and value proposition in an authentic way. You can't buy blog love – if they don't truly like and want to use your product, it comes through in what they writeI think it feels more authentic – and more interesting! There are a lot more opportunities to get creative and have some fun when we do blogger collaborations. A blogger is a real person, vs. a model (though a lot of bloggers look like models!) with an opinion and sense of style. One of my favorite parts of my job is getting the photos back from our Inspired Style bloggers – they always manage to style our sparkle in ways I would never imagine – it inspires me, and inspires our readers!
Do you have any tips for bloggers looking to engage with brands? How can they make themselves more attractive to brands?
I can’t stress how important it is to have a great site, a great design, and a strong community and a following built up before you reach out to brands. You must spend the time doing these things before you reach out to brands – if you don’t, you will not be taken seriously. Know your numbers and your growth rates. (If your uniques + Alexa score are on the lower side, but you are growing at 50% every month, that speaks volumes!)
A good media kit also helps. I’ve received media kits from a few bloggers that were so incredibly good that we worked with them – despite the fact that their numbers were lower than what we would typically look for. If you really want to work with a brand, you need to separate yourself from everyone else and do something to stand out!
Lastly, both as a blogger and in managing BaubleBar’s blogger outreach, I have found personally, that if you like a brand, and really want to work with them, the best strategy is to write about them. Follow up with them by sending a note with a link to the post, and letting them know that you’d love to work with them down the road if they have opportunities for bloggers. And ask to be added to their press list. Trust me… the brand will take notice!
BaubleBar is one of the sponsors of this season's IFBcon. (Purchase a ticket here, before they sell out!)