In Chapter Friday’s Blog Classes, you’ll usually find articles on how to make your blog the best it can be, how to boost your social media presence and how to build relationships with brands. But what about the other way around? How would YOU like to be approached by brands, pr or marketing teams?
Since building a relationship is a two-way street, today’s post is about how brands could improve the way they reach out to bloggers. In six years of blogging, I’ve noticed that a lot has changed. For me, it’s all about mutual respect and trying to find a way to work together that is most natural and therefore most effective.
If you’re a blogger or journalist, or just a creative putting your work out there, I’m interested in hearing what your point of advice would be for anyone approaching you with a request. Something you love or don’t like? Spill in the comments!
Now let’s dive into my 7 pieces of personal advice.
Don’t just assume you’ll get free coverage
It’s quite a common misperception that bloggers can and should provide free coverage, and if you approach them with this angle you can easily offend some of your best potential partners. Like I said, building a relationship is a two-way street. Personally, I’m very selective in terms of the brands I work with, so I know I’ll love the products I’m writing about. In that case, I’ll always go the extra mile and probably throw in some extra coverage. However, if a brand is pushy about me doing a ton of things for them (with nothing in return), I know we’re probably not on the same wavelength.
Respect a blogger’s private space
Our job is pretty much a 24/7 thing, but that usually doesn’t mean it’s OK to get in touch at the most random times and on private channels – as you wouldn’t do with any other relation. I quite often get WhatsApp messages from people that I’ve never met, on the weekend, asking me if I can do them a favour or if I’ve received a mass e-mail about a new product. Just because we’ve once like each other’s photo on Instagram, doesn’t mean it’s not still a work relationship!
Be up to speed
Bloggers have busy schedules, we all know, so take advantage of that. Having a bikini sent to you is always fun, but when your next trip is to Lapland, it’s probably not going to get covered. Instead, catch up on Instagram and write an e-mail in which you inquire about upcoming plans and projects. Be proactive! This way, you’re informed and able to tap into something that’s already planned in a natural manner and are much more likely to end up working together.
Keep it personal, but don’t go overboard
Just as brands don’t like bloggers they’ve never met asking for freebies (not chique!), bloggers don’t like being approached in a very impersonal way. E-mails that start with ‘Dear blogger…’ go straight to Trash for me and 99% of my blogger friends. On the other hand, keep in mind that it’s a professional relationship. There are times I’m being called ‘darling’ by someone I’ve never met, or am filled in on dating drama and industry gossip within the first ten minutes of meeting a brand rep. Juicy? Yes! But probably not the smartest move.
E-mail is the preferred means of communication
For most bloggers I know, e-mail is the preferred way of being contacted. It allows some space to think about a proposal, makes sure we have access to the information on a later point in time and is simply the easiest and fastest. A tip: keep your e-mails short and sweet. If it’s a match, we’ll all be able to tell early on and it actually saves you some time. It’s clear that you have more information, just send that out once the blogger expresses their interest.
Be clear on how you brief
More often than not, blogger collaborations have a super tight deadline. Once you’ve agreed on working together, be very clear on what you are going to want and need from a blogger before, during and after the project. There’s not much that gets on any creatives nerves more than a client changing a brief halfway through the process.
Give a blogger creative freedom
While there are tons of bloggers who are mainly curators of content, most of us do create everything on our own. Requesting a blogger to publish a fully finished article (in the sense of “Here’s our press release, please post it this week, okthanksbye“) kind of completely undermines the work that they do. Talking about how a blog connects with its audience and how a brand could be part of that conversation, leads to a much more meaningful and creative collaboration.
Did these 7 tips resonate with you? Other Blog Class articles might be relevant to you too! Like the one on How bloggers can build relationships with brands, How to discover your special blogging strenths or How to make writing a daily habit.