Working with bloggers has become a mainstream modus operandi for anyone looking to gain media exposure for their brand. Some communicate with their audience via copy, some via video (vloggers), and some do both. If you’re not familiar with what a blogger is, think of the names you might have heard in conversation or even in the news, like Zoella, Liberty London Girl and Bryanboy. In this article, we will tell you how to work with bloggers.
These people offer their personal reflections about trends, products, brands, food or anything that they choose. They build up unique fan bases and large followings of people who look to bloggers to inform their purchasing decisions or trend research. It’s a phenomenon that fashion brands have bought in to; bloggers are approached by companies with products and asked to share their positive feedback with their following – and sometimes the bloggers are paid to do so.
It’s important to note that not every blogger is as big as Zoella, and each blogger is individual to what they will review and discuss with their audience. Not every fashion business will need a famous blogger; some fashion businesses simply want to work with bloggers who will say “I love this product because it looks great and I feel amazing wearing it, and you could feel this way too, so you should go and buy it.”
Some bloggers require payment – and will disclose this to their audience, much like a ‘sponsored ad’ on Instagram or Facebook, for example – and some bloggers will be very niche, which can work to your advantage depending on your fashion brand.
It is vital that you do your research on how to work with bloggers to garner publicity for your brand or a particular product can work for you – and for the blogger. You need to think about the authenticity of your chosen blogger, and also look at their following in terms of size, demographics and the influence that your blogger has upon them. You also need to pay close attention to the engagement of their audience – are there lots of “likes” but very few comments, or are there lots of comments but the content thereof is extremely generic? Ideally, a blogger’s audience will be highly engaged and enthusiastic, with a great deal of genuine conversation back and forth on the blogger’s posts. Look them up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and watch their YouTube videos.
Do you like them? How do you feel when watching them? Do you think that your target customer would follow them, and moreover, would your target customer listen to them and be influenced by them? Answer these questions, decide how much PR budget you can allot to a blogger, check your stock levels, and you are on your way to truly modernising your PR & Marketing plan.
The uber-talented blogging expert Gina Jones of Style Tribe spoke at Enterprise Nation’s Fashion Exchange event and shared everything she knows about who to work with bloggers. If you weren’t there you missed out on the wealth of knowledge – but fortunately, Fashion Insiders was there and we wanted to share some of the key advice for the benefit of your fashion business.
1. It’s not just size that matters
You need to look into the influence that they have on their audience, as well as their content – it is not all about how many followers they have. The audience must be engaged, but so must the blogger themselves – so look at how much they interact with their fans. If they write a post or upload a video and don’t respond to comments, they’re not engaging with their audience.
A blogger with a smaller following but who engages and influences that audience will sell your product much more successfully, especially if their audience is specifically suited to your product.
Also, a ‘smaller’ blogger may have smaller fees or no fees at all, and although that is good for your budget, it’s also great if someone is willing to rave about how great your product is without being paid to do so. That’s not to say that paying a blogger diminishes the authenticity of the review.
2. Find the right match
You need to consider EVERYTHING before you work with bloggers to publicise your product. They need to have a following that they engage with and influence, and that following should be made up of people who you would want to buy your product. So again, do your research before you approach a blogger, and remember that there has to be a benefit to both parties.
Contact bloggers directly and discuss your requirements with them when researching, follow them on social media to see what they do, and ask fellow fashion entrepreneurs about their experiences. You can use tools such as SocialBlade to track the growth of bloggers in their usual playgrounds: YouTube and Instagram. Look for steady growth rather than sharp peaks.
3. Give them a brief, but give them a break
The whole reason that bloggers have grown to have notoriety, is that they give an authentic view of a product in a personable manner, rather than a generic “sales-y” push direct from a brand’s marketing department, with little or no warmth.
Of course, you’ll need to give your chosen blogger a ‘creative brief’ about the product you want them to review, but let them use their creativity and style to really sell it. After all, this is why you’re using them, and why their followers listen to them.
If you send them a scarf, for example, let them style it how they want, but perhaps explain why you designed it and what you had in mind in terms of how it should be worn – this will give them a hint of the personality behind your brand.
4. Aim to be BBFFs (“business best friends forever”)
Aim to build a long-term business relationship with your ideal blogger. Approach them politely, listen to their suggestions, be upfront about what you want and what your budget is, pay them on time (if you’re paying them), and generally treat them as well as you would any business associate.
It is also important that you treat the audience well through the use of your blogger if you have paid a blogger to publicise your product: we’re talking about full disclosure. Bloggers MUST disclose if they’ve been paid or sponsored to talk about a product, or it can lead to problems, as the Advertising Standards Authority states: “It’s important to note that, if advertisers and bloggers aren’t upfront, not only could they be in breach of the Advertising Code, they could also be breaking the law.”
And finally, follow up with your blogger after a ‘campaign,’ to find out how well it did statistically and also how the blogger felt it went. Find out what qualitative data they picked up from their following, and what they think would work in the future, as this is key information for your fashion business. Before you agree to work with bloggers, make sure that they are able to provide you with this information after the fact. If they can’t or won’t deliver this kind of data, you have no way of really knowing if it was a successful endeavour.