In the short yet very assiduous and fulfilling time span that I’ve been a Blogger, I’ve been so happy and fortunate enough to get connected and work with such innovative and brilliant brands of all shapes and sizes.
In the beginning when I began getting the emails from brands very interested in working with me to help promote their business, it was all so exciting!
Of course my initial reply was always “Yes!” because not only was I scoring some great freebies, but I was also helping my blog get more recognition for working with this so and so and not to mention the giveaways.
Well, that was the mind frame of a very amateur (and slightly misinformed and uneducated blogger).
As the pitches came and went, I started to ask myself “Do I really want to work with this brand?” and “Will I lose credibility as a personal blogger (initially wanting to express and share my thoughts and stories) because all I’m doing now is just reviews & giveaways?”
Don’t get me wrong, I have a multitude of Blogger friends that are strictly review & giveaway blogs that I absolutely adore and respect, hey, that’s there niche! More power to them! I have nothing bad to say about that.
But, the reason I say this is because I want people to understand that if I’m to write my honest opinions and thoughts on a product (and the brand that it’s attached to), they better be a product (brand) that a) I have already used or am very familiar with and admire or b) a product that sparks my interest and would fit well with my family and those of my readers.
The worse experience I had first of all, included another blogger’s name in the initial email, then took weeks to reply to my emails, icing on the cake — never replied back to me when I chose a winner for their giveaway (basically leaving me with a disgruntled winner). It wasn’t until 3 months later that my winner finally received their prize.
Another pitch that got me annoyed to say the least was asking me to review their product via PDF attachment and website (with no physical product getting in my hands). How on earth am I suppose to write about something that I’m very new to without having to pay out of my pocket? What if I don’t like it?
I just wasted my money.
Oh and let’s not forget Miss/Mr Robotic. You know, that “person” that reaches out to you only to sound like they copied and pasted their email and don’t even attempt some decent conversation?
Came across this wonderful post on Rafflecopter’s Blog and definitely had to share it. Will share the 2nd part once it’s up!
Many of these are the main reasons why Bloggers DON’T want to work with a Brand.
It’s been said over and over: blog outreach can be an awesome way to get your brand to become ‘known’. But guess what? Bloggers don’t want to work with you!
Ok – maybe that’s a little misleading. But hey! As a brand, you should know that bloggers turn away brands just as often as you might turn away bloggers. Brands are shocked when they’re rejected. But guess what…
Sometimes, bloggers don’t want to work with you!
Why? Well… it depends.
Over the last month, 500+ bloggers were surveyed asking them questions regarding the relationships they’ve formed with brands in the past — from the good, the bad, and the ugly. Reading through the feedback, twelve distinct characteristics stood out that bloggers look for when partnering with a brand.
The objective of this article is to share some insights on what it’s like from a blogger’s perspective when they choose to partner with a brand.
1. Your products don’t fit the blogger’s niche.
Almost seems obvious, doesn’t it? But it’s highly recommended to be aware and respectful of the niche that the blogger is in.
Bloggers build an audience around topics that they’re passionate about: travelling, baking cakes, running marathons, etc. If your product doesn’t fit the blog’s niche, their audience won’t be interested in what you have to offer, and neither will the blogger.
Put yourself in their shoes: if you were a fashion blogger approached by a company who sells organic coffee, wouldn’t you be hesitant to move forward? I might put that email right in the trash.
Michael from Art of Backpacking, an international travel blog, tells us his perspective:
“The brand must be targeting the same niche. In my case, it needs to be travel related. The product or service also needs to be of good value.” (check out his review/giveaway for dog-friendly travel items)
2. You are not ‘personable, yet professional’
Loosen up your tie a bit and feel free to kick off your shoes! Working with bloggers should be fun 🙂 A bit of laughter accompanied by a smile goes a long way. So be personable!
Here’s a good tip: talk to a blogger as if they were a neighbor who invited you to their home for a summer cookout. Get to know who they are on a first name basis and be respectful of their space. And please, save yourself the embarrassment: don’t show up to the party in formal wear – you’ll be laughed at.
On that note, you’ll also have to know when to be serious: at the end of the day, business is still business. Bloggers understand this just as much as you do, but that doesn’t mean you have to be formal 100% of the time.
Nicole of Pretty Opinionated writes:
“Do the brands address me by name, or at least get my blog title correct? Is their email personable yet professional? Do they seem easy to work with? These are all important to me.” (LOVE THIS!)
3. You are not open-minded and never listen to what the blogger has to say
Bloggers partner with and are sponsored by different brands all the time. While you might be used to the same routine at your company when it comes to blog outreach, keep in mind that many bloggers have been exposed to many different marketing campaigns and approaches from a myriad of companies.
In this regard, bloggers are pretty darned experienced and can be privy to a wealth of knowledge. Take our advice: be open-minded and listen to ideas and suggestions that they might have. You might know what works for your brand, but they know what works for their blog.
When asked about the best experience working with a brand, Angie of Luv Saving Money writes:
“They send me the newest products they offer. They also offer great giveaway periodically to my readers. They offer web conferences to talk to people that help create the AVEENO products and listen to our feedback and answer questions. They also do nice incentives for us like gift cards at Christmas this past year or opportunities to represent the brand at events.”
4. You aren’t trustworthy
Nothing makes us more upset than seeing a brand that doesn’t follow through on a commitment that they’ve made to bloggers, whether that is inclusion in a campaign they’re running or mailing out prizes to winners of a giveaway. We’ve worked with a few brands that haven’t been trustworthy in the past. It’s the worst
Just as you’d hope bloggers would be trustworthy working with you, bloggers have seen their fair share of brands that over-promise and under-deliver. You can appear more trustworthy and honest to a blogger by providing references of bloggers that they might have worked with in the past, maybe a well connected social media campaign, or a good presence on LinkedIn.
On the subject, Mandee of Raising My 5 Sons exclaims:
“A brand I work with must be dependable and trustworthy. Someone that has a product that really speaks for itself. I look for products that we can use in my household, and also ones that might spark the interest of our readers.”
5. You don’t have a relevant mission statement
Certainly this isn’t mandatory, but it’s definitely a plus. Consider it icing on the cake. If your brand’s mission statement is in line with the blogger’s philosophy, you’ve definitely got an edge.
One brand we’ve worked with in the past is ‘Pur Minerals’ who sells mineral-based makeup products. Their company is very passionate about giving back to the community. It resonated really well with the bloggers they worked with and their communities: “As a nature-based brand for women, we feel it’s our responsibility to give back to those who make life beautiful and to the world we all share.” You can read more about Pur Minerals philosophy here.
Everyone appreciates a good social responsibility campaign. If your company not only has one but lives and breathes it, by all means let everyone know!
Andrea, who talks finances at her blog So Over Debt, tells us she looks for brands that have:
“A Relationship to my niche, relevance to the needs of my audience, and a mission and values in line with mine.”
6. You don’t stand behind your product
If you’re offering a product to bloggers that gets 2 out of 5 star reviews on Amazon, consider it a no-go. Bloggers have their own branding to deal with. Bloggers standing behind a *cough* crappy *cough* product on their blog makes them look bad to their readers among other things.
So you ask ‘in what situation would a brand offer to partner with bloggers and give them products they don’t stand behind?’ It depends. But we’ve seen it happen when brands want to say… get rid of inventory in their warehouse or gather inbound links to their site.
If the brand is passionate about what they make and stand behind their products, it’ll show! So be passionate about what your company does… it goes a long way.
What makes you choose to work with a brand? And what doesn’t?