As a blogger, I never get bored with my flooded email inbox. Requests run the gamut from checking out the latest new gadgets to test-driving cars because, let’s face it, brands and agencies understand that bloggers provide a valuable service. It’s well documented that there’s no sales tool like word of mouth and that blogs are one of the top sources of trustworthy information. Bloggers have unique content that brands and companies can leverage to provide value to their audiences. The opportunity for a win-win relationship between brands and bloggers is omnipresent.
When brands or agencies work with bloggers either as a paid gig or for free promotion, there are some very clear expectations that should be followed on both sides to ensure the campaign is a smashing success for everyone.
An Influencer Should:
- Know exactly what is expected of you. Follow the agency’s guidelines and meet your deadlines. If you are unclear about what is expected of you or when your deadline is, ask so there isn’t any confusion or a misunderstanding. Missing a deadline or not doing exactly what the brand or agency expects makes you look unprofessional, even if it’s due to a miscommunication, and it’s unlikely the company will want to work with you again.
- Do good work. Knock the brand’s or agency’s socks off, and show them that you are worth investing in.
- Follow up after the campaign. Let them know about the success of the campaign on your blog and how your readers responded. They’ll see you are truly interested in the results of your hard work.
- Send links to your blog and social media posts in a timely manner. It’s difficult for agencies to track down all links, especially in large campaigns. This is also proof of the work done to ensure proper payment.
- Send invoices and a W9. When signing a contract, make sure to follow the instructions on invoicing so you get paid in a timely manner.
- Share ideas of how you can work together in the future and how you see your partnership continuing to grow.
Brands and Agencies Should:
- Have solid client From the outset, it is the job of the agency to set expectations with clients.
- Have solid blogger Provide all the information the blogger needs to write an informed and balanced review or endorsement including creative, images, deadlines, copy point, tracking links, and a reminder about the FTC disclosure (bloggers must disclose that they are part of a paid campaign). All of this is helpful, and it’s a professional way to conduct a campaign.
- Pay influencers. Big bloggers with highly trafficked sites are being compensated for their time. Brands should expect to remunerate bloggers with a gift card (or some other method of payment) if the product they are sampling is below, say, $100 in value. Smaller bloggers will often work for less, but it is still good practice to offer something for their time. If your client doesn’t provide a budget to pay bloggers, then perhaps a brand can negotiate for a blogger perk, such as VIP passes, store credit, free service, or a small gift card. Don’t offer compensation in the form of a “chance to win” a fabulous prize.
- Set expectations prior to executing. Blogging is a business, and bloggers should be regarded and treated as professionals both by agencies and brands.
- Send press releases with images. Unless the brand or agency is requesting a review, in which case sure to provide the blogger with the actual product in addition to high-res images.
- Know your bloggers. Don’t send them pitches if you’ve never seen their work and don’t know what interests their audiences.
Blogging has become a mainstay of the PR/marketing world, and it’s critical that brands and agencies work to cultivate a symbiotic relationship with bloggers. Setting expectations is important to managing and creating a bridge where brands and bloggers can create long and healthy relationships.