By: Brooklyn Wilson (@brookwilson97)
Although it is one of the fastest growing trends in PR, working with bloggers and influencers can be daunting and difficult. But with the rise of social media, it is also one of the most effective tactics to use, especially when trying to reach those tech-savvy, socially absorbed, trend following millennials.
Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you’re looking for a blogger or influencer to partner with:
Match your brand to their brand
The blogger is everyone. The writer, editor, manager, owner… you get the point. That means that they only answer to their followers. If you want to successfully collaborate with a blogger, then you must align your brand/product with that of the blog. Bloggers decline a majority of pitches because they do not match what they truly believe or express through their blog. It’s important to not only match the context of the blog, but the personality of the blogger. This is important because bloggers and influencers have the ability to tailor their message in a very personal way for their audience, so if your brand is able to match their character, then it will be much more authentic and impactful.
Be the early bird
Bloggers are busy. Many of them have other full-time jobs and can only work on their blogs during weeknights or weekends. Because of that, many bloggers like to work in batches. They shoot all of their photos for the month over the course of 2 days, or write all of their posts for the month over the weekend. If you want to ensure that your story gets told in time, reach out early and expect to wait a couple weeks before it gets published.
Don’t skimp on the green
Blogging is a business. It takes a lot of work, time and creativity. Therefore, they expect to get paid just like any other organization would. Obviously this is much different compared to the typical PR approach of earned media, but there are some benefits to it. Paying the blogger encourages them to produce their best work because they want to be of value. This might include hiring a professional photographer, spending more time on writing, or more creatively capturing the essence of the message. Basically, you get what you pay for. High quality blogs will charge money, but they also have a much stronger brand with loyal followers who trust them.
Make it legal
When working with a blogger or influencer, especially if you’re paying them, it is in your best interest to draft up a contract. This helps you control the content, the number of posts, the timing of publishing the content, and all other factors. Bloggers also prefer to work with a client long-term to keep their brand authentic and honest, which is valuable to the brand as well. A contract can help solidify that relationship.
Explore their whole social web
It’s easy to find a blogger or influencer on Instagram and immediately decide that they’re the perfect fit for your brand or product. Take the time to check out all of their social sites and website to truly understand who they are and who their audience is. It is especially important to look at their website to grasp their writing style and the way in which they discuss products or brands.
Give them something to talk about
The best way to pitch a blogger is to offer them an experience with the brand that they can recreate for their audience. It produces the highest quality of content when they are able to use the product, attend the celebration, eat at the restaurant, and tell their readers about their experience. Don’t send them a news release with the expectation that they’ll post about it without trying it themselves and deciding if it’s something they truly enjoy, or something that their readers will be interested in. By sending them invitations or samples, it also increases the likelihood of unpaid content if they genuinely enjoyed the experience. So ditch the news release and offer them something a little more entertaining.
Every blogger is different. The key is finding the right one to match your brand and finding a way to work together that benefits both parties.
Brooklyn Wilson is currently a junior at Grand Valley State University studying advertising and public relations, with a minor in Business. She serves as the VP of Public Relations for PRSSA and is an active member of the chapter. Her passion for communication and relationship building, in addition to writing, led her to the PR field . In her free time, you can find Brooklyn watching countless episodes of Fixer Upper and spending time outdoors.