How Bloggers Should Work with Brands

By Alana Brooks A few weeks ago, I shared my perspective on Blogger Outreach programs and the best way marketers should interact with bloggers. Today, I thought I'd do a follow-up discussing the other side of the story: the marketer's perspective.

As a blogger, I not only receive pitches from marketers (some relevant, most not), but I also do some pitching of my own. Although many bloggers may not feel comfortable pitching themselves as a brand, I studied PR and work in marketing. I'm no expert, but I think I've learned a few lessons along the way. Because of this, I find pitching comes naturally. If you're a blogger who needs help working with marketers and brands, here are my tips:

  1. Use Twitter- Twitter is an amazing tool! Though email is a great way to reach out to marketers and brands, your message may get lost in the clutter. Twitter, on the other hand, is an excellent way to send out a short, to the point message stating your interest in a partnership. Direct Messages are probably the best tool for reaching out, as they are private, but if the brand you'd like to connect with is not following you, send them a tweet to get the conversation going. Twitter serves as a great jumping off point to start a longer conversation, either via email, on the phone or in person.
  2. Reach out to Relevant Brands- in my last post, I mentioned how annoying it is to receive pitches from brands that are unrelated to my personal brand. In that same vein, why would a brand that sells cars, for example, be interested in your blog about cupcakes? Reach out to brands that offer products that would make sense to talk about on your blog. Remember, brands will want to know "what's in it for me," so make sure a partnership is relevant.
  3. Get Creative- you don't want to receive a template pitch from a brand, right? Well, marketers and brands don't want to receive the same pitch you send to everyone else either! Sure, your pitches to various brands can contain some of the same information, like your URL and blog focus, but add a personal greeting that pertains to the brand. Suggest unique ideas of how you could work together and explain why the partnership would be beneficial to their particular brand.
  4. Share the Pertinent Details- though part of the blogger/brand partnership is to maintain a  relationship, keep in mind that the overall goal is probably sales. With that in mind, let the person you're pitching to know off the bat what they want to hear: statistics, demographics, number of page views, number of twitter followers, etc. Some bloggers have a press kit on hand, others post a sponsorship tab- both are good options.
  5. Be Flexible- obviously you want something out of this partnership, but you have to be flexible! Not all brands are able to pay you for your services, some would rather offer a product for review. Other brands would rather put ads on your page. Keep an open mind and remember that if you're flexible early on, you may be able to get what you want in the future. It's all about maintaining a good relationship. That being said, remember that your brand is worthwhile, and don't sell yourself short. If you're doing promotional work for a brand, you should be receiving some sort of compensation, whether it's a mention of your blog, a product sample or payment.

Are you a blogger who works with brands? If so, what tips do you have for working with brands? Share your thoughts in the comments below!