DPCON12: Working with BRand
Why work with brands?
Andrea from Fox In Flats
- It can help build your brand. e.g working with Eco shoes – tehy are about practical stylish shoes and her blog is about practical stylish clothes
- It can build your community (esp when the brand retweets and shares your posts in their community places)
- It can drive traffic to your blog esp when a giveaway is included
- Can be first with the news and other opportunities
- Potential for
Why do brands work with bloggers?
Brian Giesen from Ogilvy
TRUST – the era of Mad Men is over.
Stats show that 90% of people will look at a peer recommendation
Michael Henderson from DEC PR
Agrees its about trust
Also about building long term relationships with a readership
Brands are now coming around to the idea of building long term relationships and looking at the future.
Is size all that matters? (insert immature giggle)
Andrea – it’s not just about size. It’s about relevance and whether the blogger can engage with their community.
Michael – it’s much more about engagement, than size.
e.g. The Kellogg’s campaign – was much more about engagement than size and the community.
Michael would rather work with a smaller blog that has the potential to grow that just look at the bald numbers.
Michael also commented how does the individual personality of the site come through and differentiate itself from other sites.
Brian – Ogilvy looks for influence: how much traffic, how many comments, and some other factors. They also look at relevance: how relevant is that person to the brand.
Brian also commented on how niche your blog is and how that ties into relevance.
What are the things a blogger should include in a media kit?
Brian – traffic stats are a given but also include how you could proactively contribute your expertise to a team.
The challenge is that a lot of traditional marketers are really tied to the numbers and as PR they are having to educate marketers on things like reach and influence and how the market is changing.
Think about your collective reach on twitter, blog, foursquare etc….
Michael – include examples of other brands you have worked with and how
Acknowledge in your media kit how you would like to work with brands and be transparent about that. e.g. if you are flat out and busy during the day then say what are good times to connect with you. Include what your preferred method of communication is. If you don’t want packages
Include your other social media channels and other personal influence you have (or of any other partnerships, bloggers you have contributing for your site).
Andrea – think about what makes your blog unique and try to paint a simple picture of what the benefit would be for a brand to work with you. Include case studies and testimonials.
Going direct or via the PR agency?
Andrea – has worked both direct and via agencies.
How is PR changing as a result of social media growing?
Brian – in 2007 the Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics was created in the US about how to engage with bloggers. This was based on a lot of lessons learned in the industry in the wrong way.
They think about the value exchange between the brands and the bloggers. Not just money, but also experience and access to people.
Michael There has been a shift from brands as they become more willing to invest in digital. More traditional media and magazines are closing (eg FHM closed a couple of weeks ago). Digital can be a cost effective way of connecting with consumers – it’s not that the budgets are shrinking but it’s being directed in other ways – blogger engagement, events, product budgets, consulting (eg Brand Meets Blog – this was Michael’s example, not mine etc…
NicoleFind out when planning cycles for budgets are being set – can be around financial year or calendar year – don’t wait to the last minute to pitch.
Michael DEC PR agencies don’t pay cash for posts as they are after independent opinion. However there are other ways to collaborate with a brand – think outside of the square for other ways to partner.
Some brands will look at the paid post options but there are plenty of other options.
Q to Andrea, how does she feel about hearing that some brands won’t pay?
Andrea places a value on her time. Everyone needs to choose the approach that works for them. Most of the brands who approach her don’t respond once they know that she charges however if she feels that the fit is right then she talks with the company about what benefits she and her readers can receive for it.
Nicole – If money isn’t available you have to work out a value that is important to you and negotiate something that works for both.
Brian – Feels you run a risk from readers if you accept cash for posts. He feels that over time you will lose your audience and eventually lose readersPlease note: I do not agree with this comment at all. I will write a response to this in full after the conference.
Andrea She has to think about how much her readers will care about her experiences. She was invited to Copenhagen Fashion Festival but she had to think about whether her readers would actually be interested in her experience. She gave a lot of thought to what she could write about in a way that people would be interested and engage with the post.
Nicole She believes that you can earn money from brands while maintaining your credibility. Bloggers don’t have a salary and product samples and lunches don’t pay the rent. Brand alliances enables bloggers to keep blogging and can be done really well.
Andrea She read in BRW something that rang true to her – If people are shared relevant and entertaining information then they don’t care if brands are involved. Masterchef is a good example!
Q from Lisa from Madam Bipolar to the PR reps: Mainstream media has for many years being running advertorials, what’s the difference with paying bloggers?
Brian – the key difference is disclosure. You need to disclose any brand relationships you have. Look for editorial partnerships with media partners (eg BubHub) rather than running sponsored posts on your sites. e.g. They ran a blogger summit with Dupont with a media partner in the US.
Michael – having brands sign off on sponsored posts is not a good idea but when a brand is paying they feel that they ought to have the sign off rights to the post. Healthy discussion is the goal and when a post is reviewed before going live then that is lost.
Andrea If you have a good relationship with brands then you can write for them without them needing to have sign off because they trust you and what you can/will do for them.
Q from Claire Hewitt: Do you do a lot of risk management with your clients – and if so, what are brands biggest fears about social media?
Michael – Defamation. When a post goes up on a media site, comments are moderated because the poster is liable not the commenter if a defamatory comments is left.
Brian Recommends developing a crisis organisation plan – what the issues might be, how they would respond (update website, social media etc), who will be the spokeperson.
Having a social media listening strategy is the best way to mitigate risk for a company.
Question from Naomi, Seven Cherubs – really disagrees that you will lose readership if you do paid posts, and she is really upfront about it and her readers are happy for her to earn some money from her blog.
Q: She starts working with a brand, has half a dozen emails back and forth and then there’s a staff change and has to start all over again a couple of months later. How can we as bloggers keep up to date with changes that happen as it seems that the staff changeover rate is high.
Michael It’s difficult to stay up to date with the changes – you can subscribe to different newsletters. PR report is free and notes changes is agency as well as when clients change agencies. PRIA and Mumbrella are also really good free opportunities to find out what’s happening. Social Diary is also great but it is a paid one (socialdiary.com.au)
Brian Connect with the agencies you work with on LinkedIn. It’s a good way to find out who else works in an agency and gives you other ways to connect with people if you lose a connect.
Q. Question from Laney about crisis management plans – what advice would you offer to bloggers going into long term relationships to protect themselves (ie what if the brand stuffs up)?
Michael The idea conversation is “how should we work together” – be really transparent.
Q from Mrs Woog – do you think that having a blogger agent is a good idea?
Brian This could be a good idea, as someone else can keep on top of the changes for you. He is starting to see it a bit with some of the bloggers he words with.
Nicole: You are worth more than a bottle of moisturiser! Let’s help the PR guys understand how to measure and monetise that worth.
Working with Brands Key Takeaways
- Brands can help you build your own brand
- They can help you drive awareness of your blog
- They can get traffic to your blog
- Be the first with news
- Ask the what’s in it for me/my readers question
- Is the brand aligned with my blog?