I realized just the other day, that I have been blogging for a decade.
After someone on Twitter posted an SOS for recommendations on website hosting platforms to begin their journey of chronicling their cooking photography, I immediately gave my stamp of approval to WordPress – having been through many other platforms in my blogging journey, before settling into the comfort of this relatively easy host.
Anyway, during my 10-years of blogging, I have cycled through the popularity rise of blogging and influencing and, have acquired some insider knowledge on what to do, as well as what to avoid in order to flourish in this highly competitive arena.
5 Things Bloggers and Influencers get wrong when dealing with brands:
1. Waiting for the gigs to come to you – My country (South Africa), for example, doesn’t have an abundance of blogger and influencer agencies, as well as PR, and Marketing & Communications agencies too, who regularly use influencers and bloggers for their campaign needs, and have streamlined systems in place for retaining services, working on campaigns, oversight, and payment etc.
Bloggers and influencers need to be more proactive in seeking out opportunities from agencies and brands.
It is important to think out the box too, and genuinely do the leg work of contacting the representatives for a minute of their time, to pitch the concepts you have.
2. Not pitching ideas of substance – This is where the stigma of lazy bloggers and influencers just wanting free things, comes in.
If you are a Content Creator who believes themself to be creative and innovative, please pitch ideas that align with the brand, trends you’ve noted, gaps in the market you’ve seen, and pitch ideas that align with YOUR platform too.
Also, articulate why this idea that you are pitching, is of value to partner up on.
3. Not giving the brand slightly more ROI, as a way of relationship-building for future prospects – It’s just smart to always give a little more, in this instance. It is a way of showcasing you’re excited, appreciative, and willing to go the extra mile for your work and clients.
A way that you could go the extra mile on ROI, is by occasionally posting one more tweet, or offering up a series of Instagram Stories they weren’t counting on.
One of the ways I have done this, is by also giving a shoutout or recommendation to a client or brand weeks, months, and even years down the line – like constantly plugging or tagging in hotels and restaurants I have already reviewed, in Twitter chats, TikTok videos, and Instagram comments, etc.
Trust me: They’ll remember it!
4. Not communicating what ROI’s the client/brand gets more than you get – I have heard from friends and acquaintances who are Account Managers, Brand Reps, or Media Relations Experts, that sometimes when bloggers and influencers approach them, it’s very obvious to see the benefits from the idea lies more with the blogger or influencer.
When pitching an idea of value, always ensure that the brand seems to get more out of agreeing to this opportunity, than you do.
5. Accepting a rate below the recommended industry minimum (thereby not helping other bloggers and influencers to get paid a decent average) – This is one for the greater good folks!
I can’t necessarily fault those that accept the lowest rates, when it’s as competitive as it is out there right now.
However, if everyone adhered to being firm on their minimum rate being the same (within reason), then agencies and clients would start paying from that point (we hope). Creators would be, thus, justly compensated for their work accordingly.
There is just currently too much of a disparity between the rates paid to bloggers and influencers who are sometimes doing the same work, while at the same profile and insight level.
Now, I’ve already dropped a few tips above, on how influencers and bloggers can do better in their relations with clients. But, I have 3 Top Tips to get you working even better:
TIP #1: Know why you’re doing this!
One of the most defining things which should direct any blogger or influencer in their content creation, is a clear understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
- A Creative Outlet
- A body of work which contributes authentic content and opinions to the highly competitive arena of blogging.
One of the intrinsic missions of this blog, is also that it aids in fundamentally transforming the current global vision of South Africa, to a more contemporary image of the African motif.
So, what would your motivation for content creation be?
TIP #2: Know when to say “yes” and “no”, respectfully
Whether your platform is a website, or social media site like TikTok or Instagram – and you want to take any prospect that comes your way – do your best to ensure you agree to opportunities that make sense to your brand AND your audience.
Your audience knows when something “sounds” like you, and will be ready to call you out if you attempt to peddle something they are really not interested in because it doesn’t mesh with what they usually buy into from your recommendations and guidance, or influence.
The saga of the luxury lifestyle influencers and Life Bouy and Shield campaigns, was a shining example that people really need to know when to say no to an opportunity that doesn’t align with their personal brand.
For me, understanding the mission of my blog makes it easy to establish the boundaries of my professional prospect, such as campaign partnerships and the like.
I have said no to car insurance companies, and even some grooming brands because anything I conceptualized after researching the brand and product, just did not make sense to my brand and platforms. It also didn’t serve my creativity in any positive way, and so I declined the amazing offer – and it was one, just not an amazing offer suited to me!
TIP #3: The Benefits should weigh up for both parties
Sure you could be selfless in offering up content that is wholly geared for others’ benefit…but most people aren’t that selfless.
So, when you go about creating and collaborating, make sure that the benefits weigh up so that the parties involved all leave reasonably satisfied.
It’s not just about the satisfaction of the present too. It is important to yield something worthwhile for the brand in that campaign, for the sake of being shortlisted for future prospects.
A symbiotic relationship is facilitated between myself and brands, for example, through matching my needs at the time, and the brands’ interests. This, ultimately, usually results in the achievement of mutually beneficial goals. The industry usually calls the benefits reaped by brands “Return-On-Investment” or ROI for short.
The ROI of working with a blogger or influencer is usually measured in different ways, depending on the brand, its campaign needs, and other variables. They may use different instruments to measure whether they are getting what they need out of you; It could be from view validity, purchases, sign-ups, or more.
These means, and parameters of measurement for your campaign work, are usually referred to as “Key Performance Indicators” or KPI‘s in the industry.
Often, a briefing document to bloggers or influencers, will include the KPI specifications so that you know what to make sure you are tracking, and that you can even then make adjustments in your content output, in order to make sure you meet the requirements needed.
Got any questions?