by Brandi Jeter, Manager – Community Relations
BlogHer is an annual blogging conference for women that marked its eighth year this July. In addition to tons of education, the conference also offers an opportunity for bloggers to meet with representatives from brands and start conversations about how they can work together. In these conversations, the objectives of the brands are usually clear and measurable. They want to drive traffic to a site, increase sales or syndicate a brand message. With professional bloggers, their needs aren’t that easily determined. Bloggers want respect and consideration, for sure. They want to be fairly compensated. At BlogHer, I had the chance to attend sessions and speak to attendees about what they really want, and these three desires came up most frequently.
Most bloggers can remember the first time they received payment for working with a brand, usually in the form of a sponsored post. As bloggers grow and become more savvy with technology, marketing and engagement, they are looking to build more substantial relationships with their favorite brands. Bloggers want to be a part of shaping marketing campaigns, and are willing to bring their personal and professional expertise and insider info to the table. Bloggers want to be more than just hire work, they want to be partners.
At BlogHer, I saw several instances of brands and bloggers engaging in a cohesive and mutually beneficial partnerships. One example was by utilizing bloggers as representatives in their booths. Social Fabric community member, Xenia Galaviz, works with Turning Leaf Wine as an ambassador, and was at BlogHer helping to educate other bloggers on the brand. Even before the conference, she was authentically advocating for Turning Leaf in online blogger groups, people were seeking her out on the expo floor. Bloggers can be your biggest advocates. Find ways to collaborate beyond just the blog post.
There is a large number of bloggers who started their sites on a whim, and later became aware of opportunities to partner with brands. For those bloggers, as well as folks may have come from unrelated careers, having detailed information about the industries they’re being asked to promote is extremely helpful. That’s the reason they’re willing to spend money to travel and attend conferences like BlogHer. They’re hoping to meet PR representatives and pros to get insider information.
Two words. Content marketing. When brands or public relations companies write about what they are looking for when they do blogger outreach, or when they are seeking ambassadors, bloggers pay attention. Share about your processes. What does it take to pitch? Who are the decision makers, and what do they do? What are your firm’s overall objectives and goals? Educating bloggers outside of the scope of a marketing campaign is a great way to make sure they have the information they need to ensure they’re successful when you do finally tap them for a project. Speaking at conferences, and hosting blogger meetups are other ways to give bloggers the information that they crave, while helping you to develop well-informed partners.
One common theme that was prevalent throughout the entire conference was balance. From conference sessions to individual conversations, influencers at every stage of their blogging careers are trying to find a way to have it all without losing it. It makes sense, too. In order to excel and stand out in the somewhat saturated social media space, there is a great need to be timely and first. Trying to fulfill that need often comes at an expense.
The easiest way that brands can help bloggers achieve balance, is by acknowledging that a blogger’s time is valuable. Not only is it beneficial to the blogger, but it establishes a foundation of respect that the blogger is sure to reciprocate. Some of the ways that brands can do this is by sending thoughtful, personal emails, rather than big blasts, gathering as much information about a campaign as possible (including due dates and payment) before pitching, and reaching out via telephone rather than email.
The partnership between bloggers and brands has added a rich new dimension to shopper marketing. A little bit of nurturing on both sides will guarantee even more successes to come. And isn’t that what everyone really wants?