I understand both sides of the coins of how brands and bloggers can live happily ever together. It doesn't have to be hair or beauty bloggers. It can be in any genre.
1. Start off on the right foot - Avoid spamming or posting unsolicited advertising in a blogger comment sections. Some brands will post comments and then embed links to their websites, products or online stores. Not only will you risk annoying the blogger, you may end a long term relationship before it starts.
2. Make proper introductions - Let the blogger know that you wish to establish a long term relationship rather than just lurking around or popping in or out. If possible contact them via email, Twitter or some other avenue to let them know you admire their blog and would love to work with them long term. Once you have established the relationship then go from there.
3. Find blogs compatible with the brand - Once you find bloggers who are compatible with your brand, ask them to consider working with you as a spokes blogger. Make a long term commitment of at least six months of one year. It's your responsibility as a brand to provide your blogger reps with structured assignments.
4. Assign or provide specific topics - As a brand you may request that your blogger post a minimum number of specific topics a month, or offer the opportunity to try out specific products or services for a year and blog about the experience.
Note: If you do ask bloggers to evaluate your products be prepared for the reviews to be honest rather than fluff. If you want only good reviews for the brand then take a different approach.
5. Co-promote - One of the best things a brand can offer a blogger is site traffic. When a brand helps web visitors and readers find their blog or Twitter page it a win-win. How can brands drive traffic to their spokes blogger? By highlighting specific bloggers on their brand website, Facebook page, Twitter page or other social media. If multiple bloggers are engaged, feature a blogger every week in the company newsletter.
6. A picture is worth a 1,000 words - Provide your brand bloggers with creative and newsworthy content. Always provide clear, high quality images which the blogger can easily incorporate into their blogs. One of the things that drives bloggers, editors or reporters the craziest is when brands send out releases, but don't include images. If the media has to stop to find the appropriate images they are much less likely to use the information.
7. Provide inside scoops - Offer bloggers the opportunity to be the first to know about new products, features or enhancements. Offer your bloggers sneak peaks or exclusives about the brand before releasing it to traditional media.
8. Network, network, network - Help your bloggers network. Provide the opportunity to have interviews with interesting people tied to the brand or the company. Provide bloggers with sample Tweets, bulleted press releases or anything else which will make their job easier.
9. Be credible, consistent and visible - Any brand can build great relationships with legions of bloggers by always being engaged. Answer any queries in a timely fashion. Respond if someone blogs or tweets their feedback on the brand or the corporation. Engage bloggers by asking open ended questions, Share funny anecdotes about your brand or company. It will endear you to the bloggers and their readers.
10. Understand branding - Not all people will love your brand all of the time. Accept that fact and it will save you lots of heartbreak. Don't pressure bloggers to try your brands or products if they are no interested. Pressuring or pushing a blogger to evaluate or try your products means a time commitment on their part. If they decline accept it graciously.
11. Utilize brand champions - Find people that are already fans of your product – talking about it on their blog, using it in recipes, or similar. Readers need to see a bloggers’ passion for a brand in order to be engaged so allow this to shine through organically by working with bloggers that you know already love your client.
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