IFBcon Live Blog: Catching Their Eye: What Do Brands Want from Bloggers


Catching Their Eye: What Do Brands Want from Bloggers, brought to you by Bollare

Moderator: Meg Biram, MegBiram.com

Alle Fister, Principal at Bollare
Laura Ellner, On the Racks
Julia Engel, Gal Meets Glam
Ara Katz, Beachmint
Alina Hauptom

Meg: What is your strategy when you’re choosing what brands you want to work with?

Julia: I make two lists: one with all the brands I want to work with and one for all  the brands who are contacting me. I come up with a strategy with how to contact them. I research contact info. For the brands contacting me I also research. Would it be a fit? What do they want? Is it right for me?

Laura: Make a list of your favorite brands. Plan for how to reach out. What would make sense? What collaborations would work? If you’re approaching me, be authentic. Would you wear it? Is it really “you?” People will notice and see through it if you’re not being true to yourself

Alina: We do a lot with fashion music and design collaborations. Do you have a large and engaging audience? Are you a traveler? Can you relate with our brand? These are the things we’re looking for.

Alle: You know you. You have to have a sense of self coming through your blog. If I can figure out who you are I can fit you with the right brands, it will be a great fit. Are you easy to work with? There has to be a good relationship.

Ara: We work with a lot of bloggers in interesting ways. It depends on what the goals are. But for the most part if it’s meaningful in terms of the ease of working together, that’s what we look for. Communicating together. Communicate what you want to do. Sometimes it begins to become tangled, especially when there is an agent involved. Sometimes, it’s easier to work directly with the blogger. Communication is key!

Meg: How do you start to work with a big brand if you’re not a big fashion blogger? How can smaller bloggers get involved with brands?

Alle: I really respect starting your own thing. I think it’s awesome! Always thinking of the other when outreaching. What can you bring to the table for these businesses? Show how it works well for them. People like working with people they like! People who have a true sense of self and have thought about their brand and personality and can approach us and show how their brand would work for a brand, then the “yes” to working together comes much more organically. Are you passionate about this brand? Have you thought about this brand?

Ara: When you reach out, tell us you resonate with the product and think your followers would love it as well. Learn our language ( “CPL deal” ). Ask if you can review a product. “I know my numbers aren’t huge but I think my audience would love this. Can we do a giveaway?” Etc. We’re open to ideas! Blogs that have the biggest number don’t work the best for us. It’s all about the engagement.

Alina: We did a partnership (Fashion Incubator) and found bloggers had a much larger reach. We’re looking to do more with bloggers in certain markets!

Laura: It’s never too early to build a relationship with a brand. Don’t send an email requesting free things. Be humble. Tell them you love the brand if it’s one you want to work with down the line. Reach out and build the relationship. Make sure it’s a good personality fit.

Meg: While you’re trying to build your blog, think local! Find local designers, stores.

Meg: Tell us about a successful experience you’ve had working with a brand? Have you learned any lessons?

Julia: I’ve had a great relationship with Beachmint. We’re both happy, and it’s long standing. It’s based on performance. Try something new and be open! If you have something valuable (A strong Instagram or Pinterest following) do a campaign on a different platform! Come up with something new and creative!

Laura: Mutually beneficial relationships are key. I’ve worked with some brands who I’ve become friends with! We hangout outside of blogging and business. I’ve also worked with Beachmint. It’s all about the collaboration. Working together and having a strong happy partnership is key.

Meg: any that didn’t go well?

Julia: I’ve worked with a brand that was performance based. I didn’t reach the goal I’d hoped for but I continued the relationship. You learn. How can I do this better next time? Be nice/ honest. They’ll usually want to work with you again. Just do something different the next time around.

Laura:  Nothing bad so far. Make sure your expectations are realistic. Make sure what you’re getting out of it is clear before hand.

Meg: Whenever you’re corresponding with a brand via email and you agree on what you’re going to do, it’s technically a contract. Know that if you agree via email, it’s kind of a binding contract.

Meg: What types of things do you like and not like when you’re being pitched?

Alina: Reaching out telling us where they’re traveling and asking for a comp or discount in exchange for blog coverage. Come up with creative ideas! Why should I work with you? That’s what stands out.

Alle: What types of emails do you like to receive? What do you like to respond to? Take pitches you’ve received and extract from that pattern. A lot of times they’re concise, thinking about the other, and that ease of communication will really foster a relationship.

Ara: Speak our language! Know who’s on the receiving end. They’re probably evaluated on some kind of performance basis. Say “I love your brand, these are the three items I can’t live without…” show that you know and like the brand. Include data on best posts you’ve done with other brands. You may not have millions of viewers, but you do have these data points.

Laura: Know your value. Be confident. I’ve been approached and sometimes people have a sense of entitlement. Be honest in your emails when you’re reaching out.

Meg: How do bloggers fit into your PR and marketing campaigns?

Alle: A lot of our clients are digitally savvy and engaged. There is a measurable factor. I can show what’s working well and sell a brand on that basis. We work with Quiksilver on an array of different partnerships. We were able to show what’s working well and able to continue the conversation. We actually just got back from Malibu with 6 bloggers and Quiksilver. The bloggers were styling windows in the Quiksilver Malibu flagship, and surfing over the weekend. I can look at the metrics. I can show what’s doing well and prove it. Know your worth! Really show that to people!

Alina: It’s no longer traditional PR. I Work very closely with PR team. It’s no longer separate. We’re no longer pitching to traditional outlets. Now we’re reaching out to bloggers. It’s a very valuable component.

Ara: It’s also on you guys to come up with interesting ways to engage us! Don’t forget to take the initiative to come to us with interesting ideas. What are ways to create this relationship? Create personal connections with people at these brands. Demonstrate your value.

Questions from Audience!

Alicia: In terms of being a “smaller blogger,” what kind of numbers are you talking about? Is there a minimum numbers of viewers that you’ll work with?

Alle: We’re looking at the conversion. How engaging is your audience? Don’t just look at one aspect. Look at overall engagement. How passionate is your audience? If you know you, I can help identify the brands that work really well with you.

Ara: It’s figuring out who you’re talking to. Not as much about the numbers, but about the quality and engagement. Traffic isn’t necessarily so meaningful. It’s the relationships.

Laura: It’s more important to have the reader engagement; great way to do that is to engage with your readers. Reply. We’ve been talking about relationships between bloggers and brands, but it’s important to have a good relationship with other bloggers and readers

Kelly: What do bloggers want from brands?

Julia: Any mass email with “hello blogger” I usually don’t respond to. They’re not really interested in me. They’re just interested in whoever responds to the email. Who has looked through my site, knows who I am, and has a sense of me? I want to be passionate about the brand I work with. I want to work with someone who wants to work with me. When the email is not sincere you can tell.

Laura: I agree 100%. I love checking out new brands, but at the end of the day as a style blogger it comes down to “is it a fit for me?” Does it represent my style? Use the my name when reaching out in an email. Throw in a post you like that I did. Be personal and authentic.

Meg: Look at their aesthetic. Make sure you research and make sure it’s a good fit with their style.

Alle: Think about the other. What makes the conversation natural? When we have bloggers stop by our showroom for a blogger fitting, we have a rack of clothing that really fits their style. We make sure we know their style!

Live-blogged by: Ellie of City Brewed.

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