An increasing number of savvy businesses are utilising the pull of the Bloggerati to increase their audience, establish trust and credibility, and align their brands with the leaders of their desired tribes.
The majority of bloggers – many of whom are turning their blogs into successful businesses in their own rite – are more than happy to work with brands to promote products and services, either in for revenue, or gratuities, or as part of a revenue-sharing or affiliate system.
If you’re looking to increase your following online or raise brand awareness by working with bloggers, you might be wondering how exactly to determine which of the millions of bloggers out there to align yourself with – and how to approach them and create the best mutually-beneficial partnership.
When it comes to working with bloggers – or even social media leaders – as brand ambassadors, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure. Who you choose to evangelise your brand, and the agreement you strike up, really depends on your business, your brand voice, and your target audience… but that doesn’t mean finding an incredible brand ambassador or two has to be an uphill battle. We’ve put together our top tips for working with bloggers as brand ambassadors.
Understanding your Target Audience
Knowing your target market inside out is vital in determining which bloggers will best align with your brand, and what you’re trying to achieve online. You may have a favourite blogger, whose work you read religiously, but if they’re appealing to young entrepreneurs, and your products are aimed towards retired travellers, a useful synergy is unlikely to result from working with them.
Get back to basics, and examine which demographic you really want to reach out to. This will make deciding which bloggers, amid the plethora of successful tribe leaders online, to approach.
Finding the Right Blogger
Once you have a firm grasp on your target market, you’ll be able to search the web for the best bloggers already appealing to, and connecting with, your ideal customers. See what a range of Google searches relating to your industry or niche turn up, testing out a variety of keyword terms and synonyms, including the word ‘blog’. Trawl your social media accounts to see which bloggers your followers are talking about, and sharing content from, or take a direct approach and ask your existing customers which blogs they read.
You’ll probably end up with a very long list of possibilities, so take some time to shortlist based on the following:
First impressions count, so cross any blogs that appear unprofessional off your list
Weed out any blogs where posting is sporadic, or where no new content has been posted for a week or more
Have a good read of the content on offer. Keep only those blogs offering quality content, in a tone or brand voice that you feel aligns with your brand – whether it be light and conversational, or professional and authoritative.
Check out any associated social media accounts. Give extra points to bloggers who post, tweet, pin or Instagram regularly, and have a decent following.
Get a feel for the level of engagement with readers, via the blog’s comments, and social media accounts.
Take note of blogs already displaying ads in their sidebar, or featuring sponsored posts. This is a good indication they already have systems in place to work with businesses.
You’ll likely have an instinctual pull towards a handful of shortlisted bloggers, so trust your gut and prepare to contact those bloggers you feel could best represent your brand.
The nest step is initiating contact with the bloggers who have made it onto your shortlist. Most will have their contact details available via their blog, otherwise you can reach out to them via social media.
Popular bloggers are frequently contacted about advertising, promotion and business partnerships, so make your email pop. Keep your first communication friendly and upbeat, and explain your interest in a potential partnership while offering a brief snapshot of your business. Don’t overwhelm with details and statistics – think of this first email as an introduction, to say hi, express admiration for their work (a little genuine flattery goes a long way), and initiate a conversation.
Agreeing on the Finer Details
Once you’ve heard back from one or more of the bloggers on your shortlist, take some time to get to know them, and get an understanding of how their business works. Ask them for information about their visitor stats (bearing in mind that a relevant blog with a smaller audience can be far more beneficial than a less-relevant blog with a larger audience), give them an idea of the kind of partnership you are interested in, and what you hope to achieve by utilising them as a brand ambassador, and discuss options for an arrangement that is beneficial for both of you.
Try not to rush the process, even if you are chomping at the bit to reach their audience, and take some time to work out all of the important details – including their obligations and yours, payment processes, tone and brand voice, and how outcomes will be measured. Draw up an agreement so everyone understands and agrees to their responsibilities.
Have you worked with a blogger to increase brand awareness? What are your tips to cultivating a successful brand ambassador relationship with a blogger?