As the public turns more and more “ad blind” brands are looking to influencers to create native advertorial content in the form of sponsored posts. Sponsored posts are those pieces of editorial content that promote a brand in a natural way in the form of a story. I’ve only been blogging for six years, but here are some of the observations I have made during my time on the internet.
Connect first on social media. Follow and share some of the blogger’s content. If they want to work with you they will notice and follow back. It’s a good start to a lasting relationship.
Do not send influencers a cold pitch email unless there’s a monetary amount attached to it or something else of significant value. Bloggers are very busy and receive tons of pitches every day. Which do you think will get noticed…a pitch offering a free product sample valued at $10 or something valued at a few hundred dollars?
When you do pitch without compensation and bloggers respond with their ad rates and you reply with “we don’t have a marketing budget set up for this campaign at the moment”, do not be surprised when the influencer writes back “Do you work for the brand for free as well?”.
When influencers write a piece promoting your brand, in turn, share that piece of content on the brand’s social media accounts for double the effectiveness. Blogger success depends highly on traffic. Send a little of yours their way. This builds good rapport and encourages bloggers to put your piece of evergreen content into their social promotion rotation for years to come.
Do not send a food blogger a pitch to promote your baby diaper product. It would look SO out of place on their site.
When you require that certain brand photos must be used in an influencer piece a blogger is writing for you, you are really shooting yourself in the foot. Your photos will stand out like a sore thumb when they don’t look like the native photography said blogger would use on their site and take away from the natural fit of the editorial content. This makes the piece scream “ADVERTISEMENT” and goes completely against the purpose of influencer marketing which should look like word-of-mouth in a natural way.
Be aware of new trends in social and look at how bloggers are using them. If they have a million twitter followers but have zero favorites and re-tweets it’s likely that they paid for followers. Same goes for instagram. Facebook has become a pay to play platform so thousands of likes might not translate to thousands of impressions. Are they on Pinterest or Snapchat or Periscope? How are those platforms translating for them? I’ve seen Instagram accounts where an influencer has only 1,000 followers but garners over 100 likes per photo and influencers with 10,000 followers that garner the same amount of likes. Look at the big social picture not just at the follower numbers.
The same can be said for monthly visitors and page views on their website. If 50% of their pageviews can be pegged to one top producing page then it’s likely that your content is not going to get as many impressions as you assume it will get. Also, blogs with more actual pages on them can dilute your message. If a potential influencer has 100 pages on their site and another influencer has 1,000 pages on their site and they both receive 100,000 page views per month, which blog do you think would be more effective?
Sometimes it’s better to go with a few mid-level bloggers when promoting your brand than putting all your eggs in one super blogger’s basket.
In recent years there has been a BIG push for brands to work with Mommy Bloggers. Makes sense on the outside since women make the majority of the buying decisions for families, however, some of these mommy bloggers sites read like one big brand advertisement billboard. Where’s the story in that? Stories sell stuff. There are some moms that are doing it right interspersing editorial and advertorial content equally but there are some that have one sponsored post after another. Is that where you want to position your brand? Try adding niche bloggers into the mix. Many niche bloggers are actually moms themselves, they just aren’t marketing themselves as such and hold equal if not more influence.
Reach out to bloggers in a different vertical. Lets say you have a travel product, try reaching out to influencers in the style, food, running, and health categories. These non-travel influencers can put a special spin on sponsored content. Travel style, what to eat in certain regions and tips to stay healthy when traveling are all great content pieces.
Don’t throw away your influencers after you’ve used them up. They have an amplified voice when positioning you in a positive light and they can have just as much of an amplified voice when they aren’t.
Are you a blogger that has worked with brands? Any other comments, tips or suggestions? Add them in the comments section below.