As a business owner with a small marketing budget, collaborations with bloggers and local influencers can be an effective, cost-efficient way of marketing your business. But, before reaching out to a blogger or influencer, you should know about the types of content collaborations out there to determine the best way to go approach this type of relationship.
When a blogger or social media influencer is compensated in some way to write content in their own voice and post it to their blog and/or social media pages, this is considered sponsored content. Different types of sponsored content require varying amounts of time, effort, and consideration on the part of both you and the blogger and serve different purposes. Here are some types of collaborations for sponsored content with bloggers.
A feature blog post is a unique and custom piece, often upwards of 1000+ words and usually includes photographs taken exclusively for the post. A feature blog post is also accompanied by multiple promotional posts across various social media channels. With all this unique content being created and shared, a feature blog post collaboration is a great way to build awareness and name recognition for your growing business.
With that in mind, you can imagine that developing this quantity of custom content takes a lot of time and effort on the side of the blogger. If you are not paying for a sponsored feature blog post, you should always propose a generous offer in exchange for this level of content and promotion.
A product/service/business roundup is a blog and/or social media post that includes a number of different companies and calls out top competitors in a given niche or local area. These types of posts have become increasingly popular, so it is likely that you have seen many of these in your own social newsfeeds. For example: “7 Top Salons in Houston for Brazilian Blowouts” or “Best Lobster Rolls in New England.”
One strategy to get yourself into a product or service roundup is to find relevant roundup blog posts that have already been written. If you find a recently published roundup blog, consider asking the blogger to add you to their existing post. Or, if you find an outdated roundup blog post, consider asking the blogger to do an update and include you in the new post. Roundup blog posts are a great way to get your name alongside your top competitors.
A product of service review is a great way to leverage the social trust that bloggers and influencers have built with consumers. Consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from their own friends and family. So, consider providing a blogger with free products or a voucher for free services for them review and give honest feedback about.
Keep in mind, the type of sponsored post that you get in return must be consistent with the generosity of your offer. A review could be as simple as one social media shoutout on Instagram or Facebook. For example, $10 worth of cookies would most likely only be worth one sponsored Instagram post.
There are several different ways that bloggers and influencers can run a sponsored giveaway; a popular social channel for giveaways is Instagram. Consider providing samples of your products to be given away to a few lucky followers of the blog or social media channel. A product or service giveaway will not only get your company’s products in front of more people, it will also allow the blogger to build more hype and buzz for their post and help grow their own audience.
If you don’t have products to give away, consider giving away a small free service. For example, if you have a fortune telling business, you could offer to give away a few free 5-minute phone readings.
Like a giveaway, custom discount codes also help bloggers build hype and buzz around a feature post. These codes can also be promoted on their own with a more simple blog or social media post.
Discount codes can directly help you bring in more business, especially if you have an ecommerce business. Offering a small discount code in a blog or social media post featuring your products can encourage more sales.
A custom discount code is also a great way to track the results of your influencer collaboration. If collaborations with certain influencers drive lots of sales, you may want to consider establishing some type of ongoing relationship with the blogger.
Sometimes bloggers will specifically ask about including an affiliate link within their posts. What this means is when someone buys a product on your site through that link, the blogger earns a commision. Typically, this is not an ideal relationship for you to embark on if you are also providing the blogger with a generous offer. An affiliate link may be something that a more established blogger with a large and engaged following will request, in order to make the sponsored post worth their while. That being said, an affiliate link could prove very beneficial if it comes from a highly influential blogger and ultimately drives the sales that you need.
If you’re hosting an event, consider reaching out to local bloggers beforehand and offering them press passes or media tickets as a way to promote your event. Bloggers rarely travel alone, so make sure to offer at least one extra ticket for them to bring along a friend (or fellow influencer). If your goal is to build buzz, request sponsored posts leading up to the event as well as live updates across social channels like Instagram and Twitter.
Also, remember to offer some additional incentives to attend your event. This does not always need to be money or gifts. For example, if you have hired a professional photographer for the evening, offer to have some shots taken of the blogger. Bloggers and influencers love getting photos to use on their own blog and social media pages!
Sometimes, influential bloggers also have small businesses of their own. For example, your blogger may be trying to get a modeling career off the ground or just starting out their own clothing line. Consider proposing a creative cross promotion campaign. You could get together and co-host an event or share a booth at a trade show. You could both donate products and team up to run a contest that you cross promote across both of your social media channels. Often, bloggers and influencers are looking for ways to grow their own followings, so leveraging your own network could be an appealing offer to them.
Remember, you want to give your blogger enough latitude with the scope of the collaboration that their posts sound authentic and naturally fit in with their other content. That being said, it is reasonable to ask to see a draft of a feature blog before it goes live. Don’t be afraid to ask for minor edits to make sure that the content is authentic, that it conveys the core messaging of your business, and that all facts and links are accurate.
There are also a few technical components to keep in mind when embarking on blogger collaborations. Many bloggers will disclose upfront if a post is sponsored, but you should always make sure that you are working within the FTC guidelines. Keep in mind, this disclosure does not need to be super obvious. Bloggers can often use creative language to indicate that products or services were gifted to them.
On another technical note, you should always provide the blogger with accurate usernames, tags, custom business hashtags, and tracked links that you want included within a given post. So, make sure that you know all of the social media channels on which your bloggers is planning to post content. For example, if you know that they are going to post a tweet, make sure that you tell them your company’s Twitter handle.
Lastly, it is important to remember that the sponsored content created by bloggers for influencer collaborations is also additional user-generated content for you to post as well. When a blog post goes live, post a link on all of your social media channels, including your Facebook feed.
Repost sponsored Instagram posts to your own feed with a screenshot. Also, make sure to retweet, pin, and share Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook mentions related to your business. This not only shows your customers that a blogger loves your business, but it also works to get more exposure and followers for the bloggers. Original content about your company is extremely valuable and should be leveraged in every way possible.
Have you worked with bloggers or influencers on collaborations? Let us about it in the comments below!