In my last two jobs, I worked for consumer products manufacturers and was tasked with seeking out new bloggers to work with on social media campaigns. Time and time again, I kept finding the same challenges in contacting and interacting with the bloggers and thought this post might help those hoping to be “discovered” by their favorite brand or understand some things those already connected can do differently for a more successful relationship.
1. Include Basic Contact Information
I personally love reading blogs, so the “seek out new bloggers that fit our categories” was one of my favorite parts of the job. The challenge came in trying to TALK to these bloggers. I understand if you don’t want to put your whole self out there with your face, bloodtype and social security number, but you should make sure you have the basics on your page:
- a name – if you must, make up an internet identity like “crafty diva” but give us something to call you. I always liked to personalize my interaction, showing that I did actually review their blog and took the time to find their name!
- your basic location – can be as general as your region, state or at least your country. Many companies, like both of mine, were not ready to jump into the international shipping issue yet and if you don’t use the words “colour” or “neighbourhood” sometimes it’s hard to tell you’re an international blogger.
- an email address. Not many people will take the time to DM you on Twitter in order to hunt down you as a contact (though I did, if I really liked a blogger!) Tip: Sign up for a free email through yahoo or gmail that’s specific to your blog. Check it often, or at least on a set schedule. It will separate your blog from your personal life.
2. Spell Check Your Contact and Social Media Links
I’m not saying that I’m a grammar and spelling expert by any means! But you’d be surprised how many bloggers spell their email address wrong! It is sometimes as simple as their blog having the word “things” in it but their email address you can click on to mail only says “thing”. Proofread it! Also click on all your buttons off your homepage and make sure they’re connecting to the correct social media places. I usually found the twitter hyperlinks, if any, were incorrectly linked.
3. Tag and Link it up
If a company sent you products free of charge, you are supposed to disclose this when writing your post, as part of your disclosure policy. But go one step further and link to them in this disclosure statement in the post! If your brand contact didn’t mention a specific provided link, link up to their homepage or the product being used off their site.
Many social media contacts, like myself, monitored the site analytics for inbound traffic. If it was shown that you helped bring in traffic through these links, it is more likely you would be asked to participate in another campaign. Make sure that you also tag them in social media, as they’re more likely to simply retweet, share or repin these placements than create a post all their own. Tip: twitter mentions seem to be noticed quicker than Facebook or Pinterest!
4. Use Your Own Photos
Being that both companies I worked for were arts and craft in nature, we did not prefer those “review” style blogs that merely copy and pasted the product image from the company’s website and wrote a little paragraph on how they or their family enjoyed the item. Besides making great connections for inbound links, my companies were also looking for visually appealing imagery to share on our social media sites and therefore get more likes/pins/retweets/shares, so use your own photos!
I want to say that it’s ok to mix in the occasional product image from the company’s site (with the source listed, of course), especially if you were so excited and tore right through the package before reaching for your camera. But make sure you take some extra photos of your process or finished piece once you had the time to play and review with your product to include in your post. This will most like get you, as the blogger, better inbound traffic also!
5. Be Consistent in Your Branding
It’s ok to have a blogspot or typepad title in your blog address. You don’t need to own your full blog title as your domain. However, it’s super confusing when your blog is a different name than your email address, than your twitter feed name, than your Facebook account. People don’t know what to call you or how to identify you on each account. Be consistent and try to streamline all your accounts under one branding so you start to develop some brand recognition.
6. Communicate with your Contact
Sure you posted your project, linked back to the site and tagged them on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. But it doesn’t hurt to also go the extra step of communicating the post link directly to your contact via an email. Many contacts appreciate this as it’s a great way to get to know someone and continue to put your name in their inbox. It shows your willingness to partner with them on projects and hopefully encourages them to keep you on the list and work with you more!
I hope these few tips will help you find your way into becoming a brand ambassador!