We developed this presentation for bloggers at AdventureCon, SeaWorld San Antonio's annual conference for Texas bloggers and its Wildside Ambassadors that we help organize, earlier this summer. At Zoetica we do a lot of brand ambassador programs for large brands and nonprofit organizations. One of the things we look for in a brand ambassador or partner is a win-win proposition. Both the blogger and the brand should get something out of the interaction. Today, I am serving on a panel at Blog Elevated, a new conference for blogger aimed at taking your blog to the next level and I thought I would revisit these tips with a little more written detail to share with the audience there, and share with all of you, too.
- Build a Community
Brands are looking for you to connect them to a wider community. They look for comments and engagement in all of you social media streams as well as your blogs. Feed your community with great information and balance paid content, if you have it, with great stories and articles that leave your readers with a lot of value.
- Know Your Numbers
Cosider adding some code from Quantcast on your blog to give both brands and you more information about your readers. Of curse beands will check Alexa to determine your traffic, but these can be very inaccurate, and brands don’t like taking your word for it Put together a media kit with all your stats and links to the proof. Take a screenshot of your Google Analytics Dashboard and add it to your media kit (don’t leave out the results of the social dashboard). We also use Open Site Explorer (which is free) and InkyBee to get a birds eye view of bloggers and their social profile. We do look at Klout as a general point of reference, but don’t use it in our decision making.
- Don’t Fake It
Sometimes it may be tempting to buy followers. There are services that will sell you likes for your Facebook page and followers on Twitter. Don’t take the bait. I usually can tell if someone has bought their following. I always run a Twitter address through Twitter Counter which shows the growth of a Twitter account and can usually tell if a number of followers were added in close proximity. Also, the engagement (or lack of) often tells the story. If I am suspicious, I run it through Status People’s Fakers tool and it gives me an idea of how many people fllowing a blogger are fake.
- Hone Your Craft
Blogging may be a hobby for you, but you can get good at it without practice and lots of help. Be sure to attend conferences when possible, and put together your own group to meet and keep you sharp. This is exactly what I did when I first moved to Houston and started the Social Media Breakfast of Houston. Now the people in that group help me grow every day, and we get to have amazing speakers come and teach us what they know every month. Never be afraid to ask questions and read as much as possible.
- Be Approachable
There have been many times when I find a blogger I would love to work with but can’t find an email, or a form or any real way to get in touch with them. Have a page that explains what PR opportunities you are open to being approached with and how brand representatives can reach you. Also, make sure you have your location (even a general city area) as some of the opportunities are based on location.
- Be Passionate
One of the things that make a blog so valuable over a general media mention is that you are passionate about your subject matter. Don’t lose that as you get more sponsorship opportunities. Blogs that are nothing but a collection of paid posts and sponsored content are less valuable than those with a personality. Keep a balance.
- Know Your Value
Knowing your numbers is a good way to start with this, but also knowing how you can help a brand and communicating that clearly is key. Always look for ways to deliver results to a brand that go beyond eyeballs and reciting the number of followers you have. Also, know how high is too high when you look to get sponsorship dollars. You are competing against other kinds of marketing like AdWords. Are you delivering traffic to the advertiser or sponsor, can you prove it?