CROSBY NORICKS

What Fashion Bloggers Want You To Know About Brand Partnerships

Video Transcription

Hello, Outreach Marketing Summit. Welcome to what fashion bloggers want you to know about brand partnerships. This is Crosby; I am the founder of PR Couture, which is a resource for fashion publicist, fashion brands, PR students, really anybody with an interest in the role of PR and marketing in the fashion industry. I have a background of course in fashion PR and also, as the director of social media for an interactive agency for five years, and these days I’ve primarily worked with brands, bloggers and designers through consulting sessions, as well as speaking opportunities like this one. I’m also a contributing writer to Independent Fashion Bloggers, which is a great resource if you’re a blogger and listening to this recording.

Let’s go ahead first, hold on and let me go back quickly. The first thing I wanted to talk about is this idea of press releases. Because a lot of times the questions I get asked by brands is really about the role of the press release, how to actually get a blogger to cover your product, and we’re kind of at the stage now where we’re not necessarily using press releases very much anymore. If anything I recommend that we use them as a resource at the bottom of a pitch. What you really want to do is actually do your research, find out something compelling that connects your brand with what the blogger focuses on, have all of that information in the body of your email and then use your press release as kind of a supplemental document at the end. In this quote from Jess, she clarifies that it’s important to have a level of personalization and that if you’re just sending a press release in the body you’re probably not going to get very far.

That said, we are operating in this amazing visually rich space right now and images are becoming so important to bloggers and actually just individuals. We’re all spending so much time on Pinterest and Instagram so really focusing on how important your images are as part of your pitch is becoming increasingly important. We can now just embed and it goes directly into our pictures, which are a great so, I recommend that you do that and include two to three of your top images. The ones most esthetically aligned with the blogger that you’re reaching out to, that you embed those directly into the post. That will really help a blogger to very quickly see from a visual perspective whether or not your brand is a fit.

You can also start thinking about potentially your net photo shoot, for your next look book, coming up with some original images that are just intended for blogger outreach, so that you’re able to give unique content to different bloggers.

When you’re thinking about a campaign, so not just necessarily sending over a pitch for just straight coverage, but a collaboration or a campaign is important to get really aligned internally and come up with some sort of guiding document that you can share with the blogger. I encourage you to think about coming up with a creative brief or a project outline. Really getting clear on the goals and the mission and the expectations so that you can have the best experience possible, and the blogger really understands what’s required on her side and also what the brand is bringing to the table in terms of cross-promotion.

That said you don’t want to create too many confines there so, I love this quote from Carolyn, she said, “A great partnership results in something innovative and valuable to both parties, that neither the brand or the blogger will be able to do without the other.” Think of these blogger campaigns and opportunities really as collaborations. Figure out are there any unique skill sets or passions this blogger has above and beyond fashion that you can incorporate into the opportunity.

There’s nothing wrong with having an email pitch go out that says, hey we’re interested in exploring opportunities. Can we jump on a phone call and kind of learn a little bit more about what you’re hoping to do with your blog this year and how we might support one another?

While it is incredibly important to do your research and really understand whom you’re pitching, just like you would a fashion editor at a publication. I did really love this point that Jennine had where she basically said, it’s really important to have this great personalization and have something custom created for me, but at that end of the day, it really depends on the value of what’s being pitched to me. If I am pitched something incredible, an amazing opportunity, early access to let’s say, the next great target collaboration. If I’m getting exclusivity or something really unique out of it I don’t care necessarily that much that things are personalized.

If you do actually have something really incredible to offer, that does give you a leg up. Besides that, it’s really important to sit down and think is what we are really offering this blogger are that great or interesting or valuable to her, and use that as a guidepost to figure out how you’re going to prioritize your pitching and your outreach. Who you’re reaching out to and what you have available.

The other thing that Jennine pointed out which I think is important and what I see a lot is this focus on this line at the bottom of pitches that says high-rise images of samples available upon request. What happens sometimes is that a blogger will include that line and send that out to everybody, print editors, television producers, as well as bloggers. The challenge with that is that sometimes they didn’t actually mean that any blogger under the sun could get a sample of the product, so make sure that everything is included in your pitch and something that you’re actually able to follow up on.

So let me go back — The other consideration is to think about not necessarily just reaching out to a blogger for one particular opportunity but to actually think about inviting a blogger to really become a brand ambassador and an extension of your brand.

That really comes down to finding a blogger who really is an authentic representation of your brand esthetic or brand value. As unitized just because a blogger has a large audience doesn’t mean that they’re always the right person to work with.

It’s really important to not just go after top tier bloggers or bloggers that you’ve read about in the Wall Street Journal, but to really find the ones that are the best fit for your brand. Some of those bloggers might be people who are somewhat already writing about you. Already we have the great tools that are available to us now to go ahead and find people that already have a vested interest in what your brand is doing.

Another caveat here, there’s a lot that can be done in a blogger collaboration that’s not necessarily just something that’s happening on the blog itself. You have Twitter, Instagram, FaceBook, all of these different places and all of these opportunities to deposit a campaign idea that really goes above and beyond just the standard, please review our product concept.

The best blogger brand collaboration come from real true mutual respect. It’s important to understand that a blogger, she’s almost like a mini editor. She has creative control over her dominion and her domain and the more that sort of that opportunity for creative freedom can be respected and the more you can operate from a, what can we do together, what’s available to us, creatively how can we push maybe even our own ideas further. That’s really where the true creativity and the really great collaborations start to happen.

Finally, I think it’s important to — I guess it’s not finally because we’re not almost done. This idea of authenticity is a buzzword. It gets used a lot, but really again I think you it’s — You can never really know how important to find bloggers who are really the right fit for your brand and coming up with creative ways to work with them. That are not just again, the standard please post this image or write about our samples there or any of that stuff.

From the blogger perspective, Christine saying, she has a lot of opportunities that come in, it’s really tempting to say yes, but at this point she really thinks about the brand that she wants to create with her blog, and that was an interesting point. The more there is an organic interest there, the more likely that’s going to be a successful collaboration. Of course, you can create opportunities for that interest to grow, by providing interesting behind the scenes access. Experiences are great and really just thinking about, where is the mutual respect and mutual value that we have to offer here.

[gtblockquote]Fashion bloggers are typically early adopters of technology[/gtblockquote]

Finally, you know this is all about fashion and fashion bloggers, but at the same time as Jessie said, fashion is all fun and games but there’s’ also there’s a lot of things that fashion bloggers are interested and passionate about. That it’s not necessarily just as she mentioned, designer collections and pretty shoes, so tech and lifestyle companies, they’re all kinds of opportunities available beyond just straight fashion pitches. I would encourage anyone who is listening who is a part of a different business, not necessarily right off fashion bloggers just because you don’t work for a fashion company.

Fashion bloggers are as Jessie articulates, typically pretty early adoptive of technology, they have a high level of credibility among their friends and their networks. There is a variety of things, not just fashion. They’re a lot of opportunities to work with fashion bloggers, even if you don’t have a fashion product. It’s just a matter of finding again, that connection with that blogger and that opportunity that really unique to both the brand and the blogger that you’re reaching out to.

Consideration is just understanding that blogger outreach really is a long term part of your communications strategy, and if you can approach your campaign development and you’re pitching ads. This is somebody we want to nurture the relationship over the long term. This is somebody we’d look to collaborate with over and over again. That’s great place to begin thinking about how you can work with bloggers. It goes back to the idea of ambassadors, people who are already interested in your brand or have some sort of a unique connection to your brand. whether it’s nostalgia or, location or, if you have an eco-friendly brand and it’s an eco-fashion blogger, or it’s a plus-size brand and its plus-size blogger, it’s a lingerie brand and it’s a lingerie blogger, it’s a retro look and its a retro blog. Really finding out those things and figuring out ways that we can think above and beyond the ways that a lot of branches think about working with bloggers, which is sending out a quick picture, or a press release, or a look book.

Bloggers are currently creative and unique individuals and there’s a lot of opportunities there. To close here are a quick set of bullet points to keep in mind. Thinking beyond the general outfit posts, thinking about unique images that you can use and then prioritizing your outreach based on a kind of a mutual fit and then, and then reach. Use a press to support your pitch, not as your pitch. Getting really clear about campaign guidelines and expectations. Contracts are great and important, but also just in your blogger communication, getting really clear on what’s required.

Having an internal policy set up so that you know what’s going on with samples, what your team can do around samples and giveaways. Having a clear-cut budget before you reach out to a blogger and also just making sure that you have internal buy-in is important. Then, again, thinking about ways that you can support bloggers on an ongoing basis, even if you’re not working with them, even if your campaign is over. Promoting a blogger’s work through social media leaving comments, hiding an Instagram photo, all of that really goes a long way towards growing and nurturing the relationship, so the next time around you can go even deeper into the relationship.

Then just then on final caveat because I do get a lot of questions from people who wonder what’s appropriate around bloggers requesting giveaways or samples and sometimes that’s not financially feasible so just one reminder. It’s totally appropriate to offer the blogger who’s requesting product or give away or any of that stuff, so really ask her first for a media kit and or and results from similar types of coverage in case that it’s that type of thing.

It’s completely okay to want to know that the blogger who is requesting the product has a past history of successful brand collaborations. It is important to for you to have all of the stuff, the analytics that you need in order to make a smart choices to whether or not this is the right fit for and your brand at this time.

If you are interested in learning a little bit more about pitching, we do have an eBook up on PR Couture called Pitched Perfect. It includes a section on fashion bloggers and it also has a couple of pitched templates that are pretty useful so, if that is of interest please head over to your PR Couture.com/shop and look for Pitched Perfect. Then if you have any other question or anything that has come up for during this presentation, I would be happy to connect with you on Twitter @ PR Couture or you can reach me at crosby@prcouture.com. Thank you, so much for taking a listen to what fashion bloggers want you to know and I hope you enjoy the rest of you summit. Bye.