For our latest webinar, we spoke to Phoebe Lee about how brands can work with bloggers. Here, we’re sharing the insights. Watch the recorded webinar below and get the slides and get all the tips.
What we’ll cover:
- How to develop a successful working relationship
- Ways to work with bloggers
- Why you need to brief and how to do it properly
- How to find influencers
- Top tips for getting the most out of every collaboration
Watch the webinar:
View the slides:
How Brands Can Work With Bloggers
How to develop a successful working relationship
In our experience, a successful working relationship between the brand and creator relies on communication and detail. Both the brand and creator want to produce the best possible content and doing these things is going to go a long way to making that happen.
Before you even contact a creator, you should be totally and completely prepared. You should already know:
- The type of creator you’re looking for
- The kind of content you’re after
- How much content
- When it needs to be up by
- What your budget is
You’ll also need to have your contract and brief ready to go. Don’t approach a creator with a half-formed idea.
Negotiate and agree upon all deliverables upfront
Don’t ask for more after the deliverables have been agreed on or upon completion of the project. Phoebe sets her rates based on what brands tell them they need.
Be totally upfront and transparent about ALL the deliverables. You should know what these are before you even contact the creator or start looking for the right creator. It is a negotiation so expect them to push back on some things. Go into it knowing what you’re prepared to be flexible on and what your deal-breakers are.
Establish a contract
A contract is a great way to get everything on paper so both parties can read, understand and acknowledge their responsibilities. Your contract is different to a brief and it should cover everything you’re both required to do, including:
- What the deliverables are
- When they need to be handed over or completed by
- What the brand will provide
- Any other brand-specific legal requirements (i.e. content cannot contain images of children, animals or alcohol)
Compensate them and ensure they actually receive payment
If you’re engaging a creator it’s because you need them for a reason. They’re doing something your brand is unable to do, in one way or another. They deserve to be compensated financially.
Brands and their budgets come in all different shapes and sizes and creators know that. It’s better to offer them something rather than nothing, if your budget is small. If you don’t have a budget, find another way to offer them value and be gentle in your approach.
If you do pay them, make sure they receive payment in full and on-time.
Brief them well
This is essential! Give them everything they need to do the job. Be sure to take the time to think through how the creator will actually execute the things you’re asking for.
“We’ve had experiences where a brand has come to us with a great idea but haven’t really thought through whether it’s achievable.”
- If you want them to post on social media, for example, while they’re abroad, they may need a sim card.
- If you want them to include a specific activity, you’ll need to arrange that for them and ensure they’re able to film/photograph there.
- If you want them to get 10 shots at 10 different locations in the same day, for example, make sure they have enough time to get to each spot and have enough time at each one to capture what they’re required to.
Give them time to do their own thing
Professional creators are extremely talented and will often come up with ideas you may not have thought of! So, try to give them some extra time to capture things from their unique perspective. You may find you get some unexpectedly awesome content! Give them as many opportunities as possible to get the content.
“I love when brand’s have someone on-hand to help us organise shots.”
Consider the best time to shoot and let people know they’re coming
If your creator has to go out to capture content and engage with people on-location, it’s important you factor in the best time for the shoot to take place. This could mean they need to shoot at golden hour, for example. Be sure to ask them, in your initial conversations, if they have any specific needs like this.
You should also contact on-site staff to let them know, in advance, that the creator is coming and what they’ll be doing.
Crediting and ownership
If you want to own and use the content for marketing purposes, you’ll need to state this clearly to the creator. When you re-post their content on the brand’s social media platforms, it’s important you credit them properly. The credit should be a correct, working link that makes it clear they did the work.
Ways to work with bloggers
There are many different ways you can work with creators to boost revenue, brand awareness and produce fantastic content. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Social media posts and stories
Engage creators to capture beautiful photographs and share them on their social media platforms. This could include Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or even TikTok. You can pay them per post or get them to quote for a package, i.e. 5 x posts and daily insta-story updates about your brand featuring swipe up links, hashtags or @ tags.
Commission a blogger to create a sponsored post that includes a link to your brand’s website and, potentially, makes reference to your brand or product. It’s a cost-effective and efficient option that’ll build brand awareness and boost your brand’s SEO.
“For example, the majority of our website traffic comes from Google Search, so SEO and backlinks are vital for our business and yours as well.”
Create content for your platforms
We’re often engaged to create content for a brand to own and use in a marketing capacity. This can include things like capturing photographs for social media posts, web and print collateral. Creating short-form video content optimised for social media and producing written posts for web.
Look for bloggers with good website traffic and commission them to review your product or create a dedicated post about it. Long-form content allows for more information, strong imagery and multiple links to your brand’s products.
If your brand or product performs best in video, you may like to find a video creator to work with. For example, we’ve worked with luggage brands on reviews as people like to be able to see the product in-use.
Media or press trip
If you’re looking for a big range of content over a longer period of time, a media or press trip is a great idea. There are more costs involved but, if you have the budget, you’ll be able to engage a larger number of creators.
“Singapore Airlines does this well, with their annual SquadSQ trip we take part in. The large number of creators means a bigger reach across multiple platforms, gaining your brand access to a wider audience.”
Social media takeover
Have a creator take over your brand’s social media accounts for a set amount of time. It takes the pressure off you to come up with fresh social content while bringing excitement and energy to your accounts. What’s more, it offers the creator exposure and they’re likely to share with their exisiting audience that they’re doing it. Which means, they’ll follow them to the brand’s account to see their content, building your following and brand awareness.
Similar to a celebrity endorsement (think, Beyonce and Pepsi), bringing on a creator as an ambassador can be a great tool! Mitsubishi took on fashion blogger, Elle Ferguson a few years ago and what’s clever about that is associating the brand with Elle in the minds of her audience. It becomes an aspiration, something they strive towards so when it comes time to get a new car, they’ll think of their favourite blogger! It also builds brand awareness, can boost sales and increase content creation as Elle shares snaps of her with the car.
Gifted gear and contra-arrangements
If you have a product like clothing, makeup, jewellery, footwear etc., you can gift them to creators in exchange for coverage. We’ve worked with brands like Mountain Designs and Lorna Jane in this way. It’s smart because it puts your product in the hands of talented creators who capture it in a way they know will resonate with their audience. For brand’s, it’s a cost-effective way to bring attention to a product.
Arrange a creator or a group of creators to run a giveaway for you! Having people ‘like and follow’ to enter + comment why they should win/tagging friends will build hype around your platforms and boost engagement and follower numbers. It also adds value for the creator as their audience may get something out of it if they win!
A clever way to get multiple creators interested in your brand is to offer a giveaway for them. For example, a 2-night stay at your luxury beachfront resort for them and a guest.
Invite a whole bunch of local creators along to an event night and spoil them! Trust me, a delicious dinner, insta-worthy photo opportunities and a gift bag will have them buzzing with excitement.
If you’re low on web content, you may like to find a blogger willing to create some guest posts for your website. Again, it’s a great way to potentially bring their audience over to your website while adding value to your website.
An affiliate program is an effective way to engage creators. They earn a commission from every booking or sale at no extra cost to the purchaser. That means there’s a financial incentive for them to promote your product because the more people who buy the more money they make too. It allows for long-term, consistent exposure on their platforms.
Why you need to brief bloggers and how to do it properly
A good brief is the foundation for any successful collaboration with a creator. It must impart exactly what you want, remove any assumptions and be a source of information for both parties.
“I’ve had a few situations where I’ve discussed a campaign with a brand in email and on the phone at length but we’ve still both made assumptions and when the final product is delivered, some things have been misunderstood or lost in translation. A great brief eliminates that.”
Here’s how to do it right:
Your brief should be a PDF document with live links where appropriate
This ensures it cannot be edited, so all the key information stays where it’s needed. Live links allow easy access to relevant websites.
“We use the brief as a reference point when we’re on the road, so we can easily find and reference something if needed.”
Give the creator a clear idea of your brand including what you do, your core values, why the brand brings value to the market and relatable facts that connect your brand and the creators.
Let the creator know the background information behind the campaign and its concept. For example,
- What led you to choose this specific campaign approach?
- What was the thought process behind it?
- What is the campaign aimed at highlighting to viewers?
- What makes the campaign interesting or exciting?
Purpose of the campaign
This is one of the most important parts of the brief. Let the creator know the purpose of the campaign simply and clearly; for example,
‘This campaign aims to build awareness of the brand and let travellers to Melbourne know we offer budget-friendly and mid-range accommodation options perfect for a romantic weekend getaway. The target market is Australian travellers aged 25-45, working professionals on a weekend trip away.’
This level of detail will ensure every aspect of the content meets your needs, down to the wording used in Instagram captions.
Detail all the deliverables you and the creator have agreed upon and do it in a way that’s easy to read and understand. For example, 1 x written review posted on Little Grey Box. 2 x photos posted to @littlegreybox_phoebe Instagram each day (totalling 6 posts) and 12 x high-resolution, unedited images on The Brand’s social media and marketing campaigns.
This section should also include specific details on when they must be posted or delivered and include the social media tags and hashtags that must be used.
Key information to include
If there’s something specific the campaign is looking to highlight and you want the creator to include that, be sure to specify this in the brief. For example, a new hotel might like to include information about what it offers like a brand new 24-hour gym, world-class day spa or award-winning restaurant.
Examples of what you like
It’s a great idea to give the creator insight into what you like! You may like to reference stock images or content from other creators but, presumably, you’ve decided to work with this person because you love their content so use their own work to show them the kind of thing you want to see.
Examples of what you don’t like
We love when a brand provides examples of what they don’t want to see! Of course, it’s important to be tactful and definitely don’t use their own work to share examples here but do create a list of things they should avoid.
“For example, some brands we work with specify there should be no children, alcohol or animals in the content.”
Reporting is a great way to track a campaign’s success! Be sure to include any and all reporting requirements in your brief and when they’re due by. If you’re new to reporting, using UTM campaign links together with Google Analytics is a great way to do this! UTM tracking codes are added to the end of any URL to track clicks and performance of marketing activities. We often use UTM links in sponsored content! They can track the traffic source so you know where the traffic originated from (i.e. your creator), the medium so you know what type of traffic the visitor originated from (i.e. website, socials etc), the campaign name so you can track the success of each campaign and a few other types.
Google’s URL builder is a quick, easy way to create UTM codes. Together with Google Analytics, you can track the success of your campaign and get a good sense of ROI. You can also use our way to create and track your UTMs.
The best ways to find and approach bloggers about working together
Find a creator with content you love and that matches your brand well. For example, if you’re specifically after great images, Instagram is a good place to look. If you’re after written content, a blogger may be better suited and, for video content, you may want to look into YouTubers.
Google Search is a great way to find creators! You may like to search for ‘Australian Couple Travel Bloggers,’ for example or there are influencer platforms, like Fohr, that can help you find creators.
Don’t underestimate the power of micro-influencers
Your mind may automatically want to work with the creators with the largest number of followers but it’s more important you find one who can best connect you with your target audience. Micro-influencers often have smaller followings but those people are often highly-engaged, trusting the influencer like a friend.
Your first contact should be email
Your email should set the tone for your working relationship; it should be professional and friendly. Introduce yourself, tell them a little bit about who you are and what you do and provide a brief overview of the project but don’t give too much away. You want to entice them to email you back for more information.
Be sure to spell their name and their business name correctly and don’t just copy and paste a generic email. Personalise it. Give and expect respect in return. If you are getting sloppy, careless emails from them, they may not be the right fit for you. You may like to arrange a call with them, to gauge them a little more if you’re unsure. It’s important you find creators you can trust and establish they can trust you.
How to get the most out of every collaboration
“We’ve had many collaborations but the ones that have been the most successful are those where there’s trust and respect between us and the brand.”
Trust takes time to build, of course, but a brand wouldn’t likely approach or go on to work with a creator they felt was untrustworthy. The same goes for creators. In deciding to work together, you’re establishing trust that each of you will do your job.
Position yourself as respectful and reliable. Be personable with the creator and develop a friendship with them.
“We often continue to share content long after a project ends, especially if we think of the people we’ve been talking to as our friends. A great example of this is the team at Gate 7. We continue to work with them time and time again because we know they’ve always got our backs and keep a level head if we need to push back, question or negotiate something. They do a good job of balancing the brand’s needs with ours, finding the middle ground to allow us all to achieve what we need.”
Managing your relationships with creators is going to be one of the biggest keys to a successful campaign.