Why Brands Need To Give Bloggers A Fair Deal
Bloggers have powerful voices in the online community. As some of the earliest online influencers, they often have huge dedicated, audiences. Because bloggers share their lives with their audience, they bring a sense of personal storytelling to the online marketplace. And brands are hoping to cash in on bloggers….
As brand advocates and influencers, bloggers offer an effective, scalable, and compelling way for brands to advertise – but only if the relationship is mutually beneficial. Brands should not walk up to bloggers and expect to get promotion for free. Far from it – brands need to give the bloggers a good deal – and help them achieve their own blogging goals. Help them make the most of their business to make the most of yours. It’s unfair to expect other people to market your business for free (unless there is something in it for them).
Here are some of the reasons why brands need to give bloggers the respect they deserve.
Bloggers talk and spread reputations
There is an active blogging community out there, and bloggers talk to each other. Badly formulated campaigns, late invoices, and unethical practices will quickly spread through the blogging community in the form of comments and group updates.
Faulty products, customer service faux pas, customer experience issues, or subpar branding, all spread through the blogosphere like wildfire. Many consumers look to bloggers for product reviews and recommendations, so make sure that you aren’t opening yourself up to criticism.
Never change an initial offer or mess around with bloggers. If something goes wrong with a campaign — ‘fess up and apologise.
Get to know bloggers better to figure out what it is they want. Instead of being a silent bystander in blogger conversations, try to engage with the community. Get a feel for how bloggers relate to their readers, each other, and brands.
Leverage the blogging community’s social ties to your advantage by getting bloggers to recommend their friends get in touch with you for a relevant campaign.
Bloggers have engaged audiences
Some bloggers not only boast a huge online reach, but they also enjoy some of the most engaged online audiences. Some blog updates are eagerly anticipated, and when a new post drops – thousands flock to the blog to see what’s been going on. A brand that’s been mentioned by a big blogger in a popular post can expect referral traffic and direct sales from a post.
A lot of this engagement comes down to a long-term relationship built on trust. Bloggers give their readers honest, unfiltered opinion; and readers reward bloggers with likes, comments, and shares.
This premise of trust is something that bloggers take very seriously – they won’t want to breach it by recommending a product or service that goes against the ethos of their blog.
When you are looking to tap into an engaged audience, remember that it is a two-way street. You have to earn that engagement.
Mutually beneficial campaigns perform well
Just going in with a ‘take, take, take’ attitude will leave your campaigns looking and feeling flat. You want people to take your marketing message and run with it, so that you can benefit from organic, as well as paid, engagement.
The best online marketing campaigns create an engaged community, as well drive sales and traffic. If you can get the bloggers on-board with a user-generated content campaign, or a lucrative competition, you will see a huge boost in campaign ROI. Why not open up your affiliate program to bloggers? Affiliate marketing is a popular way for bloggers to monetise their content.
Try to come up with a story or campaign that has a blogger-friendly ‘hook’. Many bloggers are passionate social advocates as well as writers, and will be happy to lend their expertise to the right kind of cause.
Blogger content is native
Therefore, natural. Rather than a keyword-stuffed press release, a blog post is a natural and organic way of discussing your brand, products, and services. A collaborative post sits neatly within the blogger’s own content schedule, and allows them to share their own personal stories and take on the subject. Give the bloggers creative freedom to tackle the subject in the way that feels most natural to them.
The SEO benefits
Brands know that they are going to do well off the back of a blogger campaign, so it would be unfair to not compensate the other party fairly. Bloggers know why you want to work with them – so don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes, and be transparent about your objectives.
They’re running a business too
Bloggers make money from their blogs, and for many, it’s as much a business as the one you are running (or promoting). Don’t mistake the personal touch some blogs have for a lack of professionalism. Keep that in mind when discussing partnerships and invoices, and always pay invoices promptly.
Collaborative partnerships shouldn’t be exploitative
Working together comes from a place of mutual respect and trust. Exploiting bloggers is not the way to get your brand and business out there!
There are plenty of cool ways brands can work with bloggers, so why not explore other partnership options like offline events and referral programs? Make the most of the relationships you are developing.
So, if you want to work with bloggers, you have to play by their rules. Get to know them, support their blogging efforts, and take