A few weeks ago I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit and got my learning on.
One of the sessions I listened to was about the constantly changing dynamic between brands and bloggers. Trust me: this is stuff you want to hear if you do any work with brands (or plan to).
Liz Gumbinner (@coolmompicks) led the panel, which included Natalie Bowman from Bing (@missbeaux), Amber Roussel from Lippe Taylor (@pureamber), Angela Chambliss from Best Buy (@achambliss16), and Jeannine Feyen from Ogilvy (@JeannineFeyen).
Unfortunately, in my effort to get down as much info as I could, I neglected to write down who said what. Consider this post a mish mash of my notes! These tips give phenomenal insight into the minds of PR firms and brands as to what they're looking for when it comes to working with bloggers:
1. It's not only about blogs stats: There was a lot of discussion from all the speakers about the term “digital influencer” versus “blogger.” A brand might be attracted to your social following and not necessarily your blog. If you have a great Pinterest following, but your blog stats are meh, that's still worth something to brands. So, my advice is to work on building your overall following, not just worrying about your blog stats. In fact, you might want to hone in on building the following on your favorite platform versus trying to spread out the efforts on all your platforms. Especially when time is a concern (and isn't it always)?
2. Working with too many brands might get you passed over: Bloggers can work with too many brands! If your sidebar is badge after badge of brands you work with, a brand might skip you for someone else with fewer relationships. Choose your partnerships wisely- more is not always better.
3. Try pitching a package: One person on the panel said that bloggers who pitch a brand with more than a sponsored post are more likely to get work with them. Sometimes it's easier for a PR firm to get a brand to approve the budget for a $3,000 comprehensive proposal than a $50 sponsored post (I just threw those numbers out there). Why? Because there's more perceived value in a more thorough campaign than a post that's published and done.
Bonus tip: Pitch ideas for various holidays (but a few months out). It could even be something like “I'm doing something cool on my blog for mother’s day and am looking for sponsors.”
4. Combine forces with other bloggers: If you're a smaller blogger, consider combining forces with a few bloggers and pitching an idea to a brand together. The brand gets greater reach and you get greater reach, too. Win-win!
5. Rethink your ads: I'm not sure that all brands feel this way, but Bing will almost always skip working with brands who put a leaderboard ad above header (that's a 728 x 90 ad if you're wondering). While I'm not advocating taking down an ad above your header, I WOULD say to take a good, holistic look at your blog. Does it look like an advertising explosion? If your blog is smattered with ads everywhere, a brand just might pass you up. Use ads, but give some thought to where you place them and how many you use.
6. Read this article: Someone suggested that we must read this article from Time magazine intriguingly called What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong. This should get you curious: “It’s no longer just your clicks they want, it’s your time and attention. Welcome to the Attention Web.” Well worth the read.
7. Hone your focus: The consensus was that you have to focus more versus writing about everything. While this may sound defeating, I don't take this to mean you need to pigeon-hole yourself into a niche and ditch your other topics. But your blog should have an overall theme. If you're a lifestyle blogger, well are you all about capturing the everyday moments? Or is your overall tone full of humor? When people think of your blog, what comes to mind? That can be how your focus comes into play. If you need help with determining yours, then try this 10-minute exercise.
8. Pitch unique ideas that center around “other” platforms: Most brands have a pretty good grasp on how to use Facebook and Twitter for business. But what about Pinterest or Instagram? Or platforms that brands are just starting to use, like Snapchat? Pitching ideas or campaigns around using one of these platforms could make you stand out.
9. Know the right way to reach out to brands on Twitter: Someone asked if it's okay to reach out to brands via Twitter. The consensus was yes, but use it as an entry point to connecting another way. For example, if you reach out to a brand on Twitter, ask what's the best way to connect with them versus saying something like “@brand I'd love to do a review and get free product!” Trust me, people do this and it's a big turn off.
10. Try this to find PR contacts: One way to find a brand's PR contact is to search “BRAND press release” in any search engine. This will bring up their latest press releases, which will list a contact name at the bottom.
Any of these surprise you? Any that really resonate with you? Spill it in the comments.
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Hey- I'm Melissa! I'm a mom, side hustler, online course instructor, and brand marketer. I run a 6-figure blog helping online biz owners find their a-ha moments with can-do tips, tutorials, and online courses. I also work at Burt's Bees as the assistant manager of Brand Engagement (yep, it's as cool as it sounds). Jump start your biz productivity with my free worksheet!