Bloggers: How to work with brands and PRs
As some of you may be aware, I work in Public Relations at a digital marketing agency in the B2C sector. I’m lucky enough to work with some wonderful fashion and lifestyle brands, and as part of my role, I research and discover bloggers and influencers who fit the mould of brands I'm working with. A number of factors come into consideration when choosing a blogger or influencer to work with. This can be anything from synergy with other brands, niche sectors, quality of writing and photography, and also the level of engagement they have.
It’s a delicate balance between picking a blogger we love, but who also has a strong enough following to be effective in generating brand awareness to form a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s obvious that in most cases the priority for a brand is return on investment. However, don’t be disheartened if you have a small, but growing following – brands are increasingly recognising the benefit of working with niche bloggers, who have a loyal and engaged audience. This is especially prevalent when it comes to start-up brands, who risk their product being lost amongst the noise of bigger brands, with deeper pockets.
It is no secret that influencer marketing is an effective strategy for brands. You only have to look at L’Oréal’s latest integrated PR strategy, which recognised the value of online influencers to shape their #YoursTruly campaign. Red Hot Penny’s recent blog looks at the campaign in great depth, highlighting the brand’s use of bloggers and influencers to facilitate an integrated and effective campaign.
Bloggers and brand partnerships are no secret, but it is important that there is mutual respect and synergy between the partnership. It is important bloggers maintain integrity and work with brands who they genuinely believe in and would buy themselves, and likewise, brands should ensure they’re working with bloggers who are authentic and align with the brand, regardless of their following. It is crucial brands recognise the power of working with bloggers to create meaningful brand awareness and authentic reviews over time. The blogging revolution and shift away from traditional advertising is a fantastic opportunity for brands, particularly smaller, ethical brands, who now have a platform to share their brand message and the quality of their products. It’s an exciting time in the industry.
So, without further-ado, how do you approach a brand you would love to work with? Being on both sides of blogging and marketing, I’ve listed a few tips that will help you to approach brands who are right for your audience:
Research, research, research
Don’t just stick to ASOS, Topshop, UO etc, take time to research small, niche brands within your sector. It is likely they will be delighted you have reached out with interest in their product. This is a mutually beneficial relationship and will engage your followers in unique brands they have never heard of and will most likely love!
Make your approach relevant and targeted. If there is a particular product you love and would like to review, make it clear to the brand how much you admire their work. With smaller brands, the designer is usually heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the business and they will appreciate the great feedback. Even if they don’t choose to work with you in this instance, your politeness will be remembered for future campaigns. The PR world is small - it’s important to maintain a professional reputation.
Get comfortable with rejection
Unfortunately, brands and PR agencies receive a lot of requests for products or freebies. Whilst this shouldn’t dishearten you about reaching out, just be aware that you may not receive a response because of the sheer volume of emails they receive. Don’t take it personally if a brand does not want to work with you. If you haven’t heard back in a couple of weeks, it’s worth sending a polite follow up email in case it was buried in a huge inbox. If you don’t hear back, or the brand politely lets you down, don’t feel discouraged - it may take some time before your hard work is rewarded.
As previously mentioned, brands will assess your following and the quality of your work to see if you’re a right fit for them. If your blog is growing and your following is still evolving, have patience. As your work and blog naturally progresses over time, brands will notice your hard work and want to work with you. It might be harder to recruit brands to begin with, but have patience, and over-time you will find brands that are a good fit for your niche.
Thank you for reading!