One perk to creating and maintaining a blog is the opportunity to be able to work with companies for either compensation or free items. As you know, I run an online boutique and Kintage does a lot of marketing through dozens of lovely blogs. As a blogger and a business owner who works with bloggers, I have a unique perspective of both worlds and have some tips for bloggers who do or would like to work with companies.
1. The Introduction
If there's a company you want to work with, email them! If you get rejected you spent maybe two minutes typing up an email. When you email a company my best tips are keep it short, but also provide useful information and be genuine! I got an email from someone and as I was reading through I started to get excited about the opportunity to work with her. When I got to the bottom it said something like "I just really love your shop, the shoes are to die for!". Kintage doesn't sell shoes. It could have been an honest mistake, but what's more likely is she was copying and pasting this same email to several stores to save time. That's a total turn off. It only takes a couple of minutes to type up a few sentences about yourself, your blog, why you love the company and your idea for a partnership. Oh, and always include your stats. Honestly, the more influential you are, the more followers and page views you have, the better the chance I'll work with you. It's doesn't make sense for me to do a giveaway or send anything to a blogger who hardly has any followers. The reason we partner up with bloggers is to spread the word about our business and if you don't have many people to spread the word to, it isn't worth it.
2. Be Realistic
While some clothing companies will work with food bloggers, it usually just doesn't make any sense. At Kintage I try to work with fashion bloggers or lifestyle bloggers who regularly post about fashion. As much as I might personally love a food or fitness blog, if most of your posts are geared towards food lovers or runners, they more than likely aren't my target market.
3. Looks DO Matter
As much as I would like to say it's all about the content, it's not. I'm sure other companies would back me up here, but I like to work with blogs that look good. Your design doesn't have to be flashy or elaborate, just appealing to the eye. A blog that's scattered with no obvious design and has a million banners of different sizes is not something I want my products displayed on, it would get lost in all that virtual clutter. Take the time to either design the blog yourself or hire a designer. I promise, it will make all the difference in the world!
4. Don't Take It Personally
If a company doesn't want to work with you, try not to take it personally. I'm naturally a really empathetic person so when I have to email someone letting them know that their blog just isn't the type we normally work with, I feel bad. Just because a company doesn't want to work with you/your blog doesn't mean your blog isn't good enough. Usually it just means that your blog just isn't a good fit for their company. This goes back to the "Be Realistic" tip above, try to contact companies that would benefit from advertising to the type of readers your blog attracts.
5. Be Prompt & Professional
When your agreement is to post about an item or company, let the person you're working with know when to expect to see it on your blog. For example, at Kintage our inventory changes often and I'm more likely to work with a blogger again when they are prompt about posting. It kind of stinks when the post takes 2 months and by the time it's up the item that's being posted about is no longer available and I have frustrated shoppers asking when it'll be back in stock. Bonus: Send the link to the post to the company in an email! It only takes a few seconds and will save that company a lot of time! The easier you make it for me to work with you, the more likely I'll work with you again in the future. It's no fun chasing down bloggers or having to read through a months worth of blog posts trying to figure out if your company has been featured yet.
6. Go The Extra Mile
If you're working with a company you genuinely love (and those are the only companies you should work with!) then promote them as much as you can! If your agreement is to just post an outfit photo in a dress and all you're required to do is post a link at the end to the dress, then fine that's all you have to do. But if you want to work with a company again, drive some traffic their way. An extra link or two through social media or other posts can't hurt and if you really love that company you can still be genuine and promote without sounding pushy.
Do you have any tips that I missed? If you've worked with companies before, how was the experience for you as a blogger?