BlogHer Food Interviews: Brand-Blogger Relations
This week's BlogHer Food '13 speaker interview brings us the panelists from our Brand/Blogger Relations session. Working with brands is an issue that newer and seasoned bloggers alike struggle with, so I asked the speakers to share something with us:
Share one tip as a teaser to your panel how PR friendly bloggers can work better with brands. Just one!
Hana Bieliauskas shares how brand-blogger relationships are really that of co-authors.
Brands and bloggers may be co-authors of a story. What does that mean? Well, digital storytelling is a growing marketing trend. Brands are leveraging the strengths of the multitude of available online tools to tell compelling stories (many of which are increasingly visual) with the goal of building a strong base of loyal customers. That’s where bloggers come in. Brands are eager to enlist bloggers to co-write stories because bloggers are already themselves storytellers; already pros at sharing tales of their interests and passions with followers. A blogger-brand co-authorship is often mutually beneficial: Bloggers have communities of trusting followers that brands wish to reach, and brands are often recognizable and have established reputations that may assist bloggers in building and growing their personal online presence. When deciding whether to engage with a brand, bloggers should consider how the partnership will be valuable in the long-term and what opportunities it will offer. To avoid turning their blog into a giant advertisement or product endorsement, bloggers should choose to work with brands that fit their blog’s mission and personality and that allows them to tell the brand’s story creatively, in their own words, and truly be a co-writer.
You can follow Hana on Twitter.
Julie Deily reminds bloggers to be authentic when it comes to brands and reviews.
When I’m working with brands, for me, it’s very important to only work with brands that I love. If you won’t buy it, if you don’t love it, if it doesn’t go into your grocery cart, or it’s not something you would put on your kitchen counter, how is it going to come across as authentic? It’s really important to build trust with the people who visit and read your blog. We talk a lot about authenticity at different conferences and some think it’s over done but quite frankly, I think we don’t talk about it enough. Let YOU shine through and don’t try to be anyone else but yourself. Work with brands that fit your blog and your personality. And remember that it's okay to say no sometimes if it's not a good fit.
Panel Moderator Natanya Anderson points out the mutually beneficial relationship.
When brands and bloggers are working together I think it's important for each to understand what the other brings to the table and focus on a mutually beneficial relationship. For that brand that means recognizing that a blogger has both skills and a community and understanding that the blogger should be compensated for the expertise they have. Compensation can take a lot of forms, but it's important for the brand to consider this a value exchange and not simply ask the blogger to work for traffic or recognition. If a brand would pay a recipe developer or content creator they should consider treating a blogger similarly. On the flip side, bloggers need to take the time to articulate their value and expertise for the brand. What is special about their skills or community, and particularly what's different about those two things combined? How can they help the brand show ROI for their efforts? When bloggers approach a brand as a partner it changes the tenor of the relationship. And that may include both the blogger and the brand realizing the relationship isn't the right fit and saying no, which is okay on both sides.
You can follow Natanya on Twitter.
Their panel, Brand/Blogger Relations takes place on Day 2 -- June 8, 2013 -- in the 2:30-4:00pm slot. Here's more of what you can expect:
As more companies and organizations begin to engage, how can your PR-friendly blog form relationships with PR people that benefit you, the PR firm, and your audience? Get spin-free insights and tips for getting the most out of working with brands, without sacrificing your blog’s mission or alienating your readers, from experienced PR reps and PR-friendly bloggers.
If you're trying to figure out how to work with brands or have questions you need answered, you don't want to skip this session. You can also leave a comment here for the panelists to either answer now or work into their presentation.