A couple of weeks ago I was invited to an event held by family run gift retailer Prezzybox to an evening of festive fun and an insight into blogger brand relationships.
After some mingling, catching up and meeting new faces, Becky Sheeran (aka TalkBeckyTalk) and Fran from Prezzybox took to the stage for a Q&A which saw each of them answer the same questions from a blogger and brand perspective. It was a great set up to have a discussion with both a brand representative and a well-established blogger on working together and how these relationships work.
WHAT DO BRANDS LOOK FOR?
Aside from the obvious answer of good quality content, most brands will look for a strong engaged social following. It’s not about having more followers than anyone else, it’s about how influential you are to your audience, whatever size it may be.
As well as this it’s advisable to have your own domain so that you can begin to build up your domain authority. DA is something that a lot of brands may ask for to see if you fit their campaign criteria.
Fran also mentioned that she constantly deletes emails from bloggers straight off the bat as they are full of swearing. I have to say this surprised me. Whilst I am quite a sweary person, there’s a time and a place and emails to a brand are definitely not that. I mean, would your work emails be full of swearing?
HOW TO APPROACH BRANDS
It’s not hard to tell when someone loves what they do – it shines through in their content. Brands want this for their collaborations with bloggers so show passion for what you do and you are on to a winner.
When approaching a brand make sure you approach them with something rather than an open-ended ‘please can we work together?’ message. Send your stats, send your social links, and send ideas of what content you could create for them. In short – sell yourself!
Make sure you pitch relevant ideas. For example, if you’re a UK blogger with a primarily UK-based readership you wouldn’t share content only available in the US.
Lastly, remember the social blade scandal that exposed lots of people for buying their following I touched on a few months ago? Brands know, and they will check up on if you’re one of the guilty party.
COLLABORATING WITH BRANDS
There are certain things brands want (or don’t want) when they collaborate with bloggers. Outreach is a brand project to help them build their online reputation, so most brands will be looking for a link back to their site.
When it comes to linking back to sites it’s more than shoving in a hyperlink. Brands want engaging content that will make your readers want to buy the product or see what else they have to offer – this goes for words and photography!
Unless a piece of content is designed to go live on a certain dates, it’s best to discuss when you can get a post live with the brand. Many, like Prezzybox, do like a quick turnaround so just make sure that you talk about the realistic time frame of your delivery – and if circumstances change let them know.
Brands, again like Prezzybox, love to share bloggers content on their social channels. When your post goes live drop them an email with the link to make their lives easier. Tag them in your content when you share it on social media and the likelihood is they will share it on!
TOOLS AND TECHNICAL TIPS
Make your content as SEO rich as possible – this is not only good for the brand, but good for your site too. If you use WordPress the best plugin for this is Yoast which gives you a traffic light gauge on how your content is SEO wise, and helps you improve it.
You can keep a track on your DA using Moz – you can even install it onto your toolbar to make it easier.
As mentioned above, brands are aware that people use the follow/unfollow technique or buy followers. And they will use things like Social Blade to check up on your stats.
Save characters on your tweets using Bitly. I personally use Buffer to schedule my tweets which automatically shortened my URLs.
Lastly, make sure you know and abide by ASA guidelines. Declare sponsored posts and ensure your links are correct. It will save you a whole load of trouble!