Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brand Marketing and 5 Great Tips on How to Work With Bloggers and Small Brands

“My name is Vanessa and I'm the person stalking you." I imagine myself uttering these words in shame at the Bloggers Anonymous weekly meetings where marketing professionals gather around a room with a coffee in hand recounting the ways we tirelessly stalk bloggers. Blogging is the hottest way for brands to get the word out without the large advertising budgets and many companies have teams dedicated to identifying and working with the hot stylistas out there in the blogosphere. I am the one woman team here at Winky Designs that identifies and builds relationships with top bloggers (Hi!). I absolutely LOVE reading fashion blogs and can often be found exploring them on my off-time (I’m so dedicated aren't I ;)) so you can tell I really enjoy what I do. I've compiled 5 great tips on working with style and fashion bloggers and what to expect. This of course, is just from our experience, but I believe both brands and bloggers can collaborate and make money blogging by keeping these simple tips in mind!
  • Go where the bloggers congregate. “Birds of a feather flock together”. Cliché yet true! Whether you’re a small brand looking for bloggers to work with or you’re a blogger looking to be seen, make yourself stand out from the crowd by showcasing your unique style and image on popular forums and style sites. If you’re a blogger, post often on as many sites as you can and if you’re a brand, look for bloggers who are very active! Some sites we frequent: Chictopia, Wanelo, Pinterest, Instagram, Luvocracy, Lookbook, Independent Fashion Bloggers, ifabbo, Lucky Mag blogger community, Signature9.
  • Get to know who you want to work with. The biggest pet peeve I hear from bloggers are brands that approach them impersonally meaning they don’t really know who they are and who their readers are. As a brand make sure you reach out to bloggers whose readers are your target demographic. Want to expand your US exposure? Then you probably shouldn't look for a French or Italian blogger. Chances are their readers are mostly from those countries. Also, do your research! Read their blog posts, follow them on their other social media platforms, and for goodness' sakes, DIALOGUE WITH THEM! That means commenting on their posts, talking to them on twitter, liking their Facebook, etc. Social media and marketing is all about creating conversation with your target market so get out there and say “Hi”!
  • Expect there to be some compensation. Blogging can be a serious business that can take a lot of effort and time and most bloggers will expect something in return for a mention. Bloggers, don’t be afraid to ask! Almost all brands will be happy to gift a product or few in return for a review or style shoot. Brands, if you’re aiming for a high profile blogger with great readership and popularity, get ready to shell out some cash. Top bloggers can charge hundreds even thousands depending on their popularity. If you have the budget, go for it. Sometimes all it takes is one insanely popular blogger to blog about you and suddenly your sales are through the roof…
  • Make the expectations clear and make it a mutually beneficial relationship. Brands, looking for SEO keywords and links throughout the post? Blogger, thought you we’re just posting a few images with little write up? Miscommunication and frustration on both sides can make it feel like bloggers are from Venus and brands are from Mars. Like any good relationship there needs to be an open dialogue and clear communication of the expectations from both sides. It’s helpful for the brand to produce a tip sheet of what they expect like SEO keywords, links to social media, mentions of promotions, etc. Bloggers, if there is anything in the tip sheet that isn't right for your blog, speak up! This is a collaboration and both sides should benefit by receiving increased exposure and traffic.
  • Stay engaged- The relationship shouldn't end just because the collaboration is over. This isn't a one night stand! Keep the lines of communication open with each other by posting comments and tweeting. Bloggers, subscribe to the brand’s newsletter and stay abreast of the new collections. If the response from the collaboration was good, there’s a good chance the brand will work with you again. You can recommend other bloggers to the brand while using the collaboration as leverage to gain other brand partnerships!
Brand and blogger partnerships are a great way to market yourself and grow your exposure. Remember, don’t automatically count out a brand or blogger just because they have a relatively small following. Invest in one another and nurture the relationship because you never know if or when they’ll hit it big and I’m sure they’ll bring you along for the ride!