Thursday, June 15, 2017

How Bloggers Can Work With Brands They Love

At the annual BlogPaws Blogging and Social Media Conference, you will always come away with great learnings and a list longer than your arm of take-aways to improve your Blogging and Social Media skills.  I always look forward to learning how I can grow my blog traffic and my social media channels even more.  This year's conference did not disappoint!

How to work with the brands you love as a Blogger.  Learnings from the BlogPaws blogging & social media Conference
My blog is a business, driven by a Passion for my own pets and for helping animals in need.

IS YOUR BLOG A BUSINESS OR A HOBBY?


Like many bloggers, I consider my blog more of a business than just a fun hobby.  It's a business driven by passion.  Passion for animals, passion for helping homeless animals, and passion for my own pets!

The more money I make through blogging, the more time I can justify spending on my blog and the more I can give to the causes I am most passionate about.  For this reason, one of my key blogging goals is always trying to increase revenue from my blog.  The learning sessions at the BlogPaws conference are always so helpful in working towards that goal.

As I prepare for the conference, I start by searching for the working sessions that will help me accomplish my Blogging Business Goals.  At this year's conference, one of those sessions was WHAT ARE YOU WORTH IN 2017 AND HOW TO GET BRANDS TO BELIEVE IT! presented by two great bloggers I love; Bryn Nowell creator of the blog A Dog Walks Into A Bar and Alison Reder creator of the blog Sarcastic Dog.  I was so impressed at the research Bryn and Alison compiled in the months prior to the BlogPaws Conference in preparation for their presentation! They did a great job and provided so much insight and so many helpful blogging tips!  Tips on how to work with brands you love and how to improve your blog to attract the brands you want to work with. 

Blogger Tips on working with the brands you love from BlogPaws presentation by Bryn Nowell and Alison Reder
The educational sessions at BlogPaws conferences are so helpful in achieving your blogging goals!
Bryn and Alison surveyed both Bloggers and Brands to find out what makes them want to work together.  They gained valuable insight into what brands are looking for when they select bloggers they want to work with and what makes brands NOT want to work with a blogger.   You may think the numbers are all brands care about, but you'd be wrong.  Brands don't only want to work with bloggers that have the highest number of monthly blog views, there are other things they look for. Some of those things may surprise you!


HOW BRANDS FIND BLOGGERS THEY WANT TO WORK WITH



Bryn and Alison started off by talking about how brands find bloggers they'd like to work with. The top 5 ways brands find bloggers they want to work with are:

🐶 GOOGLE SEARCH - they search for the kind of bloggers they're looking for via Google search.  That makes sense, if you're looking for dog bloggers you search for dog bloggers.  Make sure your blog is searchable for the things you want to be known for.

🐶 INSTAGRAM - this was interesting to me, I thought brands would be more focused on Facebook.  I hadn't paid that much attention to growing my Instagram account, but since Bryn & Alison's presentation I have focused on it a lot more! 

🐶 OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA - I'm a big Twitter user and have focused more on promoting and growing on Twitter much more than my other channels.  Now I'm going to focus more on my other channels for growth as well.

🐶 PR FIRMS - Yes, I know, they seem to always say whatever brand they're representing is "unable to pay" for any work you do to promote their products. Apparently, brands also rely on PR Reps to help them find blogs that are a good fit for the brand so don't ignore PR Reps, keep those relationships going! 

🐶 BLOGPAWS - this was music to my ears!  I was so happy to see that our BlogPaws community was high on the list of places brands look to find bloggers they want to work with.  If you're not already a member of the BlogPaws community, please join us - It's Free!

They talked about several other avenues brands use to find bloggers they want to work with but these were the top 5.


REASONS A BRAND WILL SELECT BLOGGERS FOR CAMPAIGNS



Next, Bryn and Alison talked about the reasons a brand may select particular Bloggers to work on their campaigns.  Here are the Top 5 Reasons a brand will choose a blogger for a campaign...


- DRUM ROLL PLEASE - 

The number one thing a brand will base their blogger selection on is, and this one is no surprise, BLOG POST CONTENT.  Obviously, if you have a dog blog they expect you to write about dogs, they don't expect blog posts about collecting model cars!

😻 QUALITY OF IMAGES -  is a very big reason brands will choose to work with a blogger - or not.  Of course images are important, but it surprised me that it was the number two reason a brand will chose to work with a blogger or not.  Bryn and Alison mentioned this many times during their presentation.  I spent much of last year working on my photography skills, and this year I'll be focusing on developing my video skills.  Time well spent, I'd say!

😻 COMMUNICATION -  from the Blogger.  Following up in a timely manner, delivering what you said you promised you would, and the quality of your communications with the brand.  This was a bit of an eye opener for me.  Of course, all these things are important but I didn't realize how important they were to a brand's decision to work with me or not.  Good to know, right?!

😻 POST ENGAGEMENT -   A brand will not be impressed by a blog post that has zero engagement.  No surprise there!  With active promotion and a good network of blogger friends that shouldn't be an issue.

😻 VALUES -  Matching the values of the Blogger to the Brand is important to a brand.  This makes sense.  A brand that makes high quality safe dog products doesn't want to see you promoting a product that seems unsafe such as a shock collar (Heaven forbid!)


WHAT ABOUT SMALLER BLOGGERS?



Another interesting thing Bryn and Alison talked about was why a Brand might want to work with a smaller blogger.  We tend to think that a brand wouldn't want to work with bloggers that don't have "the numbers", but apparently that's not always the case.    Your content, quality of your images, meeting deadlines, and social engagement are all factors that could sway a brand to work with you even if your numbers aren't high.  Good News, right!?


WHY WOULD A BRAND CHOOSE NOT TO WORK WITH A BLOGGER?



They also talked about why a brand would choose NOT to work with a blogger even if they had stellar numbers.  Here are a few things that turn them off:

The Alignment of a Brand's messaging with the Blogger's content was number one.  You and the brand need to be a good fit.  Content and Image quality are also important  Both of these things make perfect sense.  

The fourth reason may surprise you - having a Poor Reputation will turn a brand off!  What constitutes a poor reputation?  One thing I know will get you a bad rep is trashing any other brand online.  If you're trashing that brand, what might you one day say about them??  

I would venture to say that today's U.S. political climate has also brought out the worst in many of us. Friendships have broken up, online bickering and UNfollowing seem like they're at an all time high! Making harsh negative comments about sensitive subjects online is probably something a brand would cringe at.  You also don't know to whom a business, any business, is loyal. Many businesses are die-hard political party supporters.  If a brand sees you making harsh comments about the political party they have allegiance to and strong relationships with, it could work against you.

Why Brands choose to work with bloggers, or not from BlogPaws presenters Bryn Nowell & Alison Reder
Slide from BlogPaws Presentation by Bryn Nowell & Alison Reder: Reasons why Brands may choose NOT to work with a blogger, even if the blogger's numbers are great.
Bryn and Alison put together this slide, which shows several other reasons a brand may choose NOT to work with a Blogger, even if their numbers are great. Keep these in mind as you navigate through your online world.

Brands will search you online.  If you think they won't ever see negative things you post, think again. It's amazing what they might be able to uncover.  Your reputation is indirectly a reflection on them, so brands are careful about who they work with.  It's hard to resist the temptation to lash out against the injustices we see online, I get that.  Whether or not to do so is a decision only each of us can make. We should all proceed with caution!

There were many more tips and learnings in this incredible presentation, far too many to list here!  In closing, Bryn and Alison advised us to create our Branding Strategy and maintain focus on Integrity and Professionalism.


I want to thank Bryn Nowell and Alison Reder for all the research and hard work they put into this incredible presentation!  The insights and advice I gleaned from them will be so helpful to me in achieving my blogging goals.  I hope this excerpt from their presentation will help you as you work toward your blogging goals as well!    
Please visit Bryn at  A Dog Walks Into A Bar and Alison at  Sarcastic Dog  If you don't already follow these great bloggers, you should!!

Note: This is a PetSmart Affiliate link. If you make a purchase through this link I may make a few pennies in commission, which would be much appreciated!
PetSmart

Did you find the information in this post helpful?  Please leave us a comment and let us know - we always want to know if the information we share is helpful, interesting, or entertaining!


34 comments:

  1. Great information and it makes a lot of sense. I make it a policy to never discuss religion or politics in my blog or on social media. It is a no-win situation because you are always going to make someone upset. I just try to stay positive and give my readers information along with a few laughs. ☺ Thank so much for sharing these tips!

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    1. You're so right, it is a No Win situation. It's hard because you can sometimes get so passionate & even hot under the collar about things, but it's best to leave those discussions to family & close friends only.

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  2. Great post. I wish I'd have gone to that seminar but time didn't allow. You summed it up perfectly. I know another reason brands don't want to work with blogs is when they're written in baby speak. I don't even want to read those.

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    1. I'm so glad my summary was helpful to you! It was such an amazing session. Yes, "baby talk" posts don't usually sit well with brands - the biggest reason is because Google can't interpret most of those words! Makes sense right? I don't like it either, I find it very difficult to follow the wording and comprehend what they're saying. A few lines of it is ok but an entire post of baby speak can be exhausting to decipher!

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  3. I'm still not comfortable working with specific brands. Even if I like them - a lot. But will have to work on that. I just ... I don't want my blog to become advertising. and there is a really fine line. SO many blogs I loved I stopped following because of that. heck I don't even have cable TV because the adds drive me bonkers. It's tough.

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    1. LOL, I'm laughing about cable! I hate all those ads too. I don't like when blogs are stuffed with ads or sponsored posts, but as long as it's honest, authentic & relevant it's fine. A few sponsored posts a month will certainly not compromise your blog. It will likely help you pay for more travel and more wonderful posts!

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  4. Sounds like it was a GREAT presentation and I'm sorry I missed it. However, you've done a wonderful job recapping it. I'm definitely in the smaller blog category, so this is good to hear that brands don't automatically discount smaller ones. I definitely try and have good images for reviews. Great post!

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    1. It really was one of the Best sessions at this year's conference! I'm so glad you found my recap helpful, so much great information in that session, I was super impressed w/ Bryn & Alison. They really knocked it out of the park!

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  5. I just got pitched by a shock collar company today... I try not to mention controversial non-animal topics on the blog or on social media.

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    1. GASP!! No! How awful. Shock collars are such hateful things, not any kind of positive tool at all. I'm surprised they would pitch you, you are all about POSITIVE reinforcement training! I'm trying to steer clear of controversial topics too, especially on Facebook. I never mention them on the blog though.

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  6. There are only a couple of brands out there I'd be willing to work with, actually - picky me. I have bet on trying to sell my own book ... so I'll see how that goes.

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    1. That's fine Jana, it should be authentic and honest. If you only love a few brands, that's fine. I'm sure you'll do well with your book, you have so much knowledge & information to share!

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  7. Bryn and Alison did a fantastic job! I thought it was really interesting that photos ranked as high as engagement in terms of what brands are looking for. One thing I really learned at BlogPaws this year was the importance of choosing brands to work with who really match your blog's mission and strategy. This seems like common sense, but I guess I never really thought about it. I'm now really working on my brand strategy and will be a little more selective going forward.

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    1. They really nailed it, their presentation was one of the best at the conference! I was so surprised at how important images were, sometimes an image isn't perfect but I've used it in a blog post anyway. I'm not going to do that anymore! Choosing brands that fit your strategy is so important, stick with that!

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  8. I really enjoyed their presentation. They did a lot of research and it showed! There are so many things I need to do to improve my blog.

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    1. They really did such a great job! I just loved their presentation. I'm always learning & trying to improve. I've always got a giant list of things I want to improve. That's how it should be; always learning, always raising the bar & improving!

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  9. I absolutely loved this session at BlogPaws and found it so useful. I've been blogging less than a year and this answered many questions about what I was doing right, and what I could do better. Great recap!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked my recap Heather! I love this session too, I've been blogging for 3 yrs but I learned a lot too.

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  10. Thanks for this rundown. It was such a great blogging conference. I am so glad I attended. We all always have things to improve and focus on. I've picked a few to concentrate on after the conference. :)

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    1. The BlogPaws conferences are always so helpful, jam packed with learning session! I always come away with so much. I have several areas to focus on improving as usual too!

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  11. I really enjoyed this presentation! Alison and Bryn did such a great job. I really need to work on my SEO.

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    1. OMG, they did a fantastic job! The two SEO sessions with Jill Caren at the conference were great too. I did a recap of that as well about a week or so ago. My next big thing is Video! I must work on improving my video style.

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  12. I started my blog as a hobby and have not thought about the money side of it as I have a job plus thanks to my blog and review I have the job with the dog food company now, they asked me to work for them :) I might change that this year but have not yet decided.

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    1. It's so great that you got a job with a food company! They're lucky to have someone who is so passionate about pet health and animal welfare.

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  13. I really loved Brynn and Alison's session and walked away with a few things to think about and consider. I wasn't surprised that good photos kept coming up as a theme, but it definitely made me realize I need to keep pushing on this front for sure. I've got my eyes peeled for their new collab sharing even more info for bloggers. They're awesome.

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    1. I loved their presentation too, Alison & Bryn did such a great job! I hope they collaborate more to help other bloggers, I'd love to see that too.

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  14. Excellent summary. Unfortunately, I missed this presentation. I wish there was a way I could attend every session when at BlogPaws. I wonder if they've ever thought about offering a session more than once...

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    1. I know, it's so hard not being able to attend every session! They're all so great and chock full of valuable information. I'm glad this summary was helpful to you Paula!

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  15. Great post Cathy, and a lot of good points! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Amanda! I'm so glad you liked it.

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  16. Thank you for the summary, Cathy! I am just starting out so I was particularly interested to hear about how brands may still want to work with smaller bloggers. I am very hopeful! Maybe I will make it to Blog Paws next year!

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    1. I'm happy to share Stephanie! I was happy to hear that as well, there's always someone with higher numbers so I'm glad that's not all they look for. You should definitely get to the BlogPaws conference, you'll learn so much and connect with so many other bloggers and brands.

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  17. Unfortunately, I missed BlogPaws and this was one of the sessions I wanted to attend. I was speaking to Alison Reder today and she told me you had a great write up on your blog and she was right. My blog does pretty well with SEO and Google Search, but I find it very interesting that Instagram is so high up on how brands find bloggers to work with. That's something I definitely need to work on. Thank you for the great write up. Hopefully I can make BlogPaws in person next year.

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    1. I'm so glad you found my write-up helpful! Alison & Bryn did a terrific job. I hope you do get to BlogPaws next year, it's a great conference. I was really surprised that Instagram was a popular channel for brands to locate bloggers too! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

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