:: How to Team-up successfully with influential bloggers ::
Influencer marketing was mentioned as THE digital marketing trend about 5 years ago and it has only grown ever since.
Clients often ask my advice on how to best engage with bloggers. As Digital Marketing Consultant, I have a developed an influencer marketing methodology to develop professional engagement. And so we’ll be able to guide in a tone and language where you are central.
However, as long-term blogger myself for over 14 years on a range of different blogs, my insights from my experiences here might shed light on a completely different point of view than most corporate outreach departments. As a blogger with millions of readers on social media, I’ve received many requests from brands reaching out to me. I’m in a unique position of insight by understanding the parties on both sides of the table, the influencer and the marketeer. This article is not about ‘the corporate influencer marketing methodology’ but to give Marketers a glimpse of what it’s like when a company approaches you because they want to ‘work’ with you. By shedding light on the blogger’s point-of-views, I have developed a set of tips for a successful, fruitful influencer partnership.
Win-Lose Influencer Marketing Tactics Fails
We manage a portfolio of blogs from DIY & crafts, to home decor to elite athletics. We’ll be celebrating our 15-year blogging anniversary (April 2022). Since 2014, we’ve become bombarded with ‘requests’ by ‘inbound marketeers’ who are now ‘doing influencer marketing’.
Unfortunately, most of their effort is wasted. The way companies and their ‘consultants/agencies’ have approached us as bloggers has – by and large – been disrespectful, company-centric and utterly uninteresting to us. They appear to not understand the potential power of a blogging influencer nor the Anti-Spam Act. Mostly, influencer marketing email blasts have left us as bloggers disappointed by the lack of genuine interest in us and our audience.
True, since 2021, sophistication has picked up a lot, but it still is far from 50-50.
Win-Win-Win Influencer Marketing Works
The best news is: If you do it right, you’ll stand out! The ideal influencer marketing engagement is based on a collaboration model of ‘win-win-win’. The model suits the blog audience, the blogging influencer and brands. Everyone wins.
Here are my tips for marketing managers on how to approach an influential blogger and create such professional balance in this way. Following these tips gives you a much better chance of being accepted by bloggers and so to influence your customers’ influencers!
Our Top Influencer Marketing Tips that Work
- Do basic research. Find out – as a minimum – what the name is of the blogger, the core topics of the blog, the interest and viewpoint of the blogger.
- Better still, study the blog in depth. See what events and categories the bloggers has set up. This is the same as if you were to place an article with advertisement in a print magazine: you review the advertising kit and the editorial calendar. A blog is a digital magazine of sorts, so do the same thing.
- Throw away assumptions that bloggers are philanthropists with you as beneficiary. Bloggers have spent years on learning to write, on understanding their audience and creating a large following. Many times they have put their heart and soul into their blogs and social media presence. They are much like other entrepreneurs who started building a business. Pay them for their service.
- Treat bloggers as professionals. Successful bloggers /opinion leaders are niche celebrities. How would you talk to the President? To Madonna? Your CEO? A healthy dose of respect will go a long way. ‘Hey there’ may be fun for you and your mates, but it’s not a professional way to address someone you are proposing a business relationship to.
- Understand that the blogger is an influencer, for a reason. He/she has obtained in-depth knowledge of his/her target audience, of what works and what doesn’t, as well as the when, what and why. Therefore, it makes sense to listen to the influencer when he/she suggest to do a campaign in a certain way, at a certain time. Yes, even if you are the VP of Marketing for your firm or represent a top brand. Modern marketing is audience- and customer-centric. Give it a go! Test and learn.
- Think long-term. Blogging is about building relationships with readers, followers and others in their field. This is why bloggers tend to take a long-term approach. I suggest, that you also take a long-term approach. So, rather than pitching a one-off marketing campaign to target bloggers, propose to build a relationship instead. That way, you will be able to create a win-win-win strategy that is great for you (the influencer marketing manager), the blogger and the audience.
- Be customer-centric rather than company-centric in your influencer marketing ideas. None wants to be marketed to, but everyone wants a helpful friend.
- Influencer Marketing is … Marketing. Basic marketing principles apply. E.g. Dovetail your influencer marketing campaigns with the regular, seasonal buying cycles of your business. I.e. icecream sells best in summer, Christmas decoration in winter. Promoting the right campaign at the right time is vital to achieving influencer marketing success.
- Set up a well-paying affiliate marketing program before you approach any bloggers so that you can offer that as one of the arrows on your bow. Affiliate marketing gives bloggers an opportunity to generate income over the long haul, leveraging short-term influencer marketing campaigns.
- Consider influencer marketing a competitive advantage. Influencers filter out those companies and products they don’t like and magnify those that they do like. This means, if your competition is running influencer marketing campaigns with the key decision makers in your industry, they hold the competitive advantage of likely being filtered-in and marketed. So, who would you rather not have an an ‘enemy’? Make them an ally.
These top 10 Influencer marketing tips come from our experience ‘in the trenches’. They are common sense, yet often overlooked.
Your Influencer Marketing Implementation
So while these 10 tips come from our own blogging experience, in our ‘day job’ as Customer Engagement Experts with Salesforce, Marketing Cloud and Pardot, we help companies take an integrated digital approach that is customer-centric, CRM-founded and data-driven. We can help you crystallise what to do given the tips above, and formulate strategies and campaigns with your team.
Interested to learn more?
Article originally published in 2016, updated end 2021.