As bloggers, we tend to look at the relationship between bloggers and brands in terms of what the relationship can do for us. But like any relationship, there are (at least) two parties involved and each party must receive something of value in return from the working relationship.
Today, I’d like to take a look at what brands expect from a relationship with a blogger and what they look for when deciding whether to work with a blogger. This is the second part of the BarkWorld presentation which provided viewpoints from three different perspectives. In the last post, we presented Jaime Derringer’s (Design Milk and Dog Milk) presentation from a blogger’s perspective. Today, we’re going to talk about the portion of the presentation by Kat Smith, from PetCo, who provided a brand’s perspective and Danica Kombol (Everywhere), who provided an agent’s point of view.
What a Brand Wants
Brands might work with bloggers on projects such as release of relevant stories, new products, trends in the industry or industry niche, and various types of campaigns.
A brand’s ultimate goal in using social media is to build a community. (A community was defined by Matt Meeker in his keynote at BarkWorld as a group or society which helps each other.) Bloggers can help with that goal by being advocates, influencers, subject matter experts or by providing entertainment. Areas where a blogger may be asked to participate with a brand include on a blog through co-creation of content or through guest blogging, on social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like, and through live chats.
When examining a blogger, brands look for many different things. Bloggers that are known to be influencers, that have built a community of their own, that have expertise in their niche, that are well aligned with the brand in question, that have a unique point of view and that have a sizable share of voice are likely to have an advantage. When pitching a brand, a blogger can further increase her chances of success by including examples of previous pitches with the results of the ensuing campaign or case studies of previous blogger/brand partnerships.
Blogs and Brands from an Agent’s Perspective
Danica also had some useful tips presented from the point of view of an agent. She suggests building a relationship first before you pitch to a brand, which is a useful tip in itself. After all, who would you rather do business with? Someone you’re familiar and friendly with or someone you’ve never heard of before?
She also reminded us that brands work based on editorial and marketing calendars. For example, Petco is now planning campaigns for the summer of 2013. (It’s fall of 2012 right now.)
There are several questions which Danica urges bloggers to ask as well.
- What is the brand looking for?
- What kind of relationship does the brand have with other bloggers currently?
- What campaigns or projects does the brand have coming up in the near future?
- How can the blogger keep in touch with the brand or brand’s agent?
Lastly, Danica urges all bloggers to be aware of the Word of Mouth Advertising guidelines.