Here we are again!
If you’re reading this blog post, it must mean that you read the first blog post of this How Your Small Business Can Work with Bloggers & Content Creators series and you’re interested in reading and hopefully learning more!
As I mentioned, this blog post was originally too big so I’ve split it into two and this is the second part.
To recap –
I spoke about my experience of working with businesses and how I’m changing things up, I shared some research that I conducted on my Instagram stories of which I shared the results for, discussed what paid partnerships mean and the difference between gifted and paid work.
I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming and I hope you’ve got a nice cup of coffee or something, as we’re about to dive into the second lot of information which includes why you shouldn’t even have the word ‘gifted’ in your vocabulary, how YOUR small business can work with bloggers (without it being too costly) and lots more!
Why gifted shouldn’t be in your vocabulary
Basically, the word “gifted” is really over-used now.
If you remember me saying last time; Gifted basically means that a business has approached a blogger/content creator in hopes to send something in exchange for them creating content around it.
Granted, some bloggers and content creators will accept gifted products in exchange for creating content – but I personally think this shouldn’t even be a thing now
But I know some smaller content creators who are just starting out and who want to add a few collaborations to their portfolio will do this as, granted, it’s an easy way to build relationships.
I did and I have accepted gifts in exchange for content, so I’m not saying it’s totally out of the question.
But a lot more bloggers are seeing their value and the value they can give to a brand or business and as an industry, we are starting to realise we CAN and SHOULD charge for the time and effort it takes to create content and we shouldn’t be underestimated.
For example, if you were after a service, say… you wanted someone to come and paint your house, you wouldn’t say to them: if you paint my house for free, I’ll give you an amazing review or a nice dinner for after!
That person who has just painted your house would probably be a bit miffed. That’s their livelihood and they’ve taken time to paint your bedroom nicely. They’d want to be paid for their time and efforts.
The same applies for bloggers and content creators. We take time and effort to produce content, sometimes as a full-time job and others around their other full-time job (like me).
If you think about how long it takes for a blogger or content creator to think of the idea, plan out what they’re doing, find the time, the right lighting etc to shoot photos and videos, how many photos they’ll take, the time they spend editing the photos, making sure they look good AND writing out the caption…
We are marketing managers, photographers, accountants, writers, videographers, editors and whatever else rolled in!
Imagine if that was your day job. You’d expect to be paid, right?
So if you’re looking to approach a blogger and you utter the words: we’d like to gift you xyz im exchange for xyz… it’s usually a pretty awkward conversation if they don’t accept gifted campaigns (as I mentioned, some bloggers/content creators do but it all depends on what VALUE you want to receive).
Plus, I am very picky in what I want to accept nowadays. I can happily accept a PR Gift if it means there’s no obligation to post (are you with me from last time?) but is a freebie gift in exchange for content really worth my while?
Also, a big lesson and thing I am always thinking about is: what do the AUDIENCE want? Will this ‘freebie be something they would like to see? Is this paid partner someone my audience would find useful?
I could talk about the pros and cons for gifting, but final word: I don’t accept gifting campaigns and you’ll find many other bloggers and content creators won’t.
HOWEVER, there are ways you can still build a relationship with a content creator and blogger without diving in and spending £££ first.
How you can work with bloggers
I hope the above makes sense and you’ve gathered ways you can work with bloggers, but here are just some of the many ways you can work with bloggers/content creators:
Sponsored blog posts
This means a business has paid money for a blogger to write a blog post on their page. This could be for a dedicated blog post about their business, for an opening, a deal or an experience.
Basically, you can work with the blogger to ensure all your key messages and things you want to cover are included, but the blogger will make sure it matches their tone.
A good example of this is when I recently worked with Lemon & Bark who were fully trusting in letting me write with my audience in mind, whilst making sure I covered all the key points.
This can also cover things like sponsoring a gift guide, which I’ve had sponsors for in the past for previous content, or potentially sponsoring a blog post that covers a certain topic as opposed to a dedicated post on a business.
Sponsored social media
As I’ve mentioned before, I have had paid partnerships on Instagram and on other platforms too. This basically means you have paid a content creator or blogger to promote your product or service on social media.
Again, you are pretty in control in what key messages, type of content and even how you want the content to look as you want to make sure you’re getting the very best out of that content creator.
However, the same applies as sponsored blog posts, the tone of voice has to come from them and has to relate to their content and niche.
A good example of this is, again, is Lemon & Bark who were very trusting in letting me write my own caption, as long as I included the key points and were very happy with my direction of photography etc.
Referral codes/discount codes
This is a really good way of working with bloggers in a really inexpensive way if you want to test the waters out before diving into sponsored posts and social media.
If you still want to support a content creator/blogger who fully supports and believes in your brand, you could offer them a referral code. T
his means, that content creator/blogger can share your referral code to a specific product such as a food or fashion product, which means you’re receiving more sales for that item, thanks to them sharing it, but it means that blogger/content creator will receive a commission of those sales using that code.
For example, I could have the code ‘NAVIGATINGNORTHANTS’ for a local business who sells sauces and whenever someone checks out and buys that product, whilst using that code, I could earn 20% off that sale because of my referral code.
The amount you feel is sufficient is up to you, but this is a nice way of building that relationship and seeing if content creation/blogger marketing is the way forward for you.
A good example of this is when I had a referral code for MOOCH Northampton who gave my audience 10% off during the summer last year by scanning a QR code.
This is probably the cheapest thing you could do with a blogger/content creator to see how well their audience reacts to your product before you dive into a paid partnership.
A competition or giveaway is when that blogger/content creator will host one on their platforms, tagging you in as you would then offer a prize for that blogger/content creator to giveaway to one of their followers.
Sometimes creators can charge for this, other times, they are happy to accept a PR gift (remember that term from the last blog post?) to help host the competition/giveaway.
For me personally, I haven’t ever charged for these because I’m either happy to accept the product/whatever the prize is or buy the product myself as it’s a lovely way to help a business grow, plus it gives me a good testimonial to pitch with when I do want to join forces for a paid partnership.
This is a bit of a win-win!
This is one I haven’t explored myself, but I know is one others have and have seen success in!
Have you ever been on a website and seen those little sidebars full of advertisements for businesses? That’s basically what a blog advertisement is.
This could mean you pay a certain amount for a number of weeks, months etc to advertise your business logo or sidebar advert on a blogger/content creators website. They can then let you know, via their analytics, how many clicks it’s received, if any traffic has come from their website and has resulted in a purchase etc.
It’s an old-fashioned way of marketing, but I still think it’s relevant.
I hope that’s cleared the blurred lines. I have SO MUCH more to talk about within this topic.
I am always open to answer any questions and I am planning to be much more open and transparent with how I charge and what services I offer. You can check out my Work With Me page here if you’d like to actually follow up with something after reading this post.
Or not. No pressure.
This blog is mainly just to educate, as it’s a topic I’m always keen to chat about with people who don’t quite understand our growing industry.
I’d be interested in opening a discussion in the comments below with your thoughts.
Have you worked or considered working with bloggers & content creators to promote your business?
If you missed the first blog post, you can read it here.
Now you’ve read both blog posts, fancy getting in touch about working together?
If you’re a local business looking to showcase your business, in a cost-effective way and to a dedicated Northamptonshire audience, let’s discuss ideas for a collaboration!
Head to my Work With Me page here.