Yesterday I participated in a webinar for brands on identifying & working with social (media) influencers. This included bloggers of course, and I shared some of my experiences as a blogger/influencer working with various brands in different capacities. The brands had so many questions about how to work with influencers that I left with enough ideas to last me for a few weeks of IFB posts! More than anything, I realized that no matter how much it might seem that ‘every’ brand out there has a grip on working with bloggers, many in fact have no clue where to start.
There are a ton of ways brands and influencers can find each other, and bloggers are creative and driven enough to proactively pursue brands they’d like to work with. However, most brands seem to make the first move! Before working through the process and pulling together tools (i.e. media kit) you need to pitch brands, here are a few things to think about on how bloggers can work with brands. I gave these very same points as advice to brands in how they can work with influencers – but on the flip side, these concepts are just as important to making that partnership work.
Do your research
Study the brands you want to work with. What are the brand’s core values and target audience? How have they worked with bloggers already, if at all? Which bloggers have they worked with? Just like brands should work only with bloggers that resonate with their audience, bloggers should research and determine whether or not a brand will truly resonate with their readers. If you’re frequently posting about savvy shopping and thrifted outfits, your readers might not take well if you begin pursuing brand partnerships with high-end designers.
Flex your creative muscles and pitch brands with a few ideas of ways you can work together. Show them your passion for their brand, loop in some site and social media stats (or perhaps your full media kit) and design a custom experience that speaks very much to their brand as much as it does to your editorial creativity. That could mean ideas around events hosted by you, speaking or writing opportunities for their YouTube channel or blog, a group partnership with fellow bloggers, or sample product loaned for a fun editorial shoot.
Just like any other relationship, working with brands take time to build trust and credibility. You might approach a brand with a few really great ideas, but none of them work for the current collection or marketing campaign they’re in the midst of. Be patient, and keep in communication as much as you gracefully can.
Specify your goals
Be crystal clear about why your blog is a perfect platform for a brand to reach an audience they’d like to reach – and how you’ll accomplish their goals as well as yours. The people representing brands are professionals, and when they enter into contracts or partnership, they expect professionalism from the other party.
Keep it real
By that, I mean realistic. We all have our dream brand list, right? Just because you might never get a response from some of our dream brands doesn’t mean you aren’t fit to work with brands at all. Think about all the brands you use, not just the ones you want to work with. Think beyond clothing lines and into skincare, beauty, household, home decor and food or beverage brands as well. Shoot for the stars, but expand your universe too!
What other key tips do you have in thinking about working with brands? Share them in the comments!