Over the past few years, bloggers have become crazy influential. The number of lifestyle and fashion blogs continues to grow and the level of trust they’ve earned with their readers is incredible, and highly valuable to businesses; which is why it’s so important to learn how to partner with a blogger and make influencer marketing work for you.
So how do you successfully partner with bloggers & influencers for your small business?
1 | Make a list of bloggers you love + fit your ideal customers’ interests
You want exposure to gain a new audience and increase sales.
Bloggers want entertaining or relevant content to share with their audience.
The best way to come out with a win-win is for your audiences to align: so their reader is excited + engaged with the post and you gain interested potential customers. Think back to your ideal customer…
- Who is she?
- What type of blogs does she read?
- What are her interests?
Depending on how closely your shop reflects your personal style, it may be a blog you already follow and are familiar with. Or a little casual Instagram stalking can’t hurt…who else does your audience follow?
Jot down those names to keep a running list… I use this blog planner to help organize potential collaborations.
2 | Research blogs from your list
After coming up with your list, you’ll want to check out their stats. Many bloggers will have a media kit you can use to learn monthly pageviews, unique visitors, social media followings, and sponsored post requirements. They may also share demographic stats on their audience which can be incredibly useful for you to determine if they’re a good fit.
But you should also do your own research – dig through their blog and take a look at past posts that share favorite shop finds or highlight boutique owners:
- Do you like how they present other brands?
- Were readers engaged and commenting on the post?
- Do you feel their blog reflects your ideal customer and brand?
3 | Make a connection with the blogger
While you can certainly “cold call” bloggers for opportunities, it sets you above the rest to start building a connection before just asking hey, you, want to work together?
Follow along on Twitter or Instagram and comment on a few posts that resonate with you, start a conversation, or ask them a question related to something they recently shared. Or in your initial email, start off with a comment (or compliment!) that shows you like the work they’re doing and have been paying attention to their business. Because remember, it is a business for most bloggers.
4 | A few additional “rules”:
1. Address them by name…and spell it correctly. (Such a big pet peeve of mine!)
2. Keep your email short + succinct. We all have too many emails to get through, so don’t waste their time with huge paragraphs:
- Introduce yourself + your shop’s message, and provide a link to your about page if they’d like to learn more.
- Share why your shop would interest their readers and why the relationship would be valuable to them.
- Briefly mention a couple collaboration ideas or your goal – Is it a new vendor launch + giveaway? General awareness? Seasonal gift guides?
3. Follow up with a timeline that fits your promotional goals, but gives them time to fit you into their schedule. Keep it simple, such as ‘We’ll begin promoting in early August for our September tote line launch, would love to connect by July if you’re interested.’
4. Thank them for their time!
5 |Determine Pricing
One of the most difficult parts of working with a blogger can be determining the amount to pay for this form of advertising since there isn’t a lot shared on prices charged, unlike in traditional advertising or social media rates.
Many may offer a media kit that lists their stats and pricing for various features. But if not available, you want to accurately assess their potential in reaching your ideal customer, the amount of time that will go into their work (are you expecting them to include original photography in addition to the post write up?), and if they are receiving commission from sales generated, etc.
This is another great reason to do your own research:
- Are they a local blogger that has a larger dedicated audience in your city?
- What level of engagement (hint: it’s not all about the number of followers) do they receive on Instagram or Twitter posts?
- How does their audience compare to yours? If they share blog stats, you can easily compare monthly pageviews to your blog or shop, or review social media followings. If you have 3,000 Instagram followers and they have 1,500, that’s still a big number! You’d be expanding your reach by 50% more than your usual post; and if they have a really engaged audience, that could be better (and less expensive) then finding someone with the same number as you or more followers that are less engaged.
Here’s one perspective from a well-respected lifestyle blogger: How Much to Charge for a Sponsored Post? (from their view point)
Lastly, according to a recent survey, the major pain points that bloggers face when working with brands are:
1. Brands expect that the bloggers time is available for free – 68%
Fix: Be respectful!
Know going in that you will need to offer something of value to them for their time + effort. Depending on their audience size, additional exposure + free product will be enough for some; but for most, sponsored posts are a form of revenue for their blog and expect to compensate appropriately for the marketing they provide.
2. Pitches by brands are sometimes irrelevant – 50%
Fix: Research + Connect!
By going through the above steps you’ll have a better understanding of the bloggers audience and how their brand potentially matches yours.
3. Brands don’t listen to the blogger/influencers ideas about what works for their audience – 38%
Fix: Focus on this experience being a partnership!
Help set the guidelines for what you want to achieve, but listen to them and allow creative flexibility over the execution and end results.
Overall, the right partnership with a blogger is one that makes them look awesome for introducing their audience to such a kickass new business. This keeps trust between them and their readers, which will reflect well on you as they advocate for your shop!
Now… what happens once you both agree to move forward? See this post on how to set guidelines for your marketing promotion.