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Jaclyn Carlson is the Founder and Director of Blog Society – an Australian-based community for bloggers and creatives to connect, share and learn through a variety of workshops and events. She’s the queen of creative collaborations and just a general marketing extraordinaire. After meeting her at a recent networking event it was clear she had a wealth of knowledge that so many of our clients will benefit from, so we knew we had to ask her for a quick interview!
If you’ve been wondering why your company should be connecting with bloggers, or how to go about it, then read on…
1.) For brands out there who are new to the world of blogs, could you maybe explain a little about how they differ to magazines? Why should brands be looking to work with bloggers? Firstly I’ll say that working with bloggers is going to be essential for brands in the future. It’s a bold statement but as our influencer-focused society grows, bloggers are going to be able to offer more well-matched, intimate access to customers than main stream media. I’ve seen this explode in the US and slowly begin to take shape here in Australia – form those strong relationships with rising stars now and your brand will be in a better position than the competitor. To take a step back, the reason for this is the blogging (vs magazines) offer a more fluid, active medium that is updated more frequently and comes from a trusted source. The story telling aspect from a ‘real’ person implies an engaged audience that has invested their time in this space.
2.) Do you have some personal fave Aussie blogs that might be suitable for homeware or lifestyle brands? Well I’ll have to be cheeky here and of course say Blog Society as we are always looking to collaboration with brands in unique ways but I also love Eat Read Love, Emma Kate Co, Interiors Addict and Styled Canvas (which is NZ based!)
3.) How would you recommend brands/PR agencies approach bloggers for an un-paid feature? This is where research and transparency are key. Firstly don’t do a blanket call out – narrow down your list as much as possible and only approach bloggers that you know will be a good fit. Secondly look for ways to offer value – it always needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship so you want ensure this message comes across. A lot of bloggers can be put off when asked to commit a lot of time and energy only to be told there is no budget and that they will only be offered exposure. While this is most likely the honest truth, bloggers (like everyone else) want to feel their time is valued so when I’ve been approached by brands who come out clearly and say upfront that they don’t have a budget however understand the value of my time and can offer a few additional opportunities I’ve taken a closer look rather than immediately dismissing. This is where the conversation comes into play – find out what a blogger is after. It might not necessary be just cash , it could be product, services, access to your social media followers, the chance to guest blog, the opportunity to grow their list, etc. An honest, conversation about how to help each can bloom into a beautiful partnership both parties are happy with.
4.) Would you say there are plenty of free features available via blogs? Or do most of the top quality blogs/feature opportunities require payment of some sort now days? Most of the top tier blogs these days are run as businesses so the opportunity for ‘free’ coverage is less frequent however there are still ways to partner with blog and receive complimentary editorial coverage – for example bloggers want to provide their readers with value and incredible content so being able to provide information before anyone else always has it’s perks, giveaways of value are popular and of course sharing on social media is also an option which again places huge importance on strong visual images and really know if your brands align.
5.) What should brands be looking for in a blog if they are considering advertising or paying for a sponsored post? What stats/info should they ask for before going ahead? First and foremost be clear on your objectives so you know straight away if a blogger is the right fit for your brand. For example if you are only after website traffic and a blogger has low monthly traffic it may not be the right match, however if brand awareness or sales is what your after then a really engaged readership might work best. Personally I suggest asking for a collection of stats – monthly unique users, page views but also check out subscribers, social media followers and external opportunities such as event exposure, etc. It’s all about finding the right fit – on a variety of levels – that make a brand/blog partnership really click. Numbers are important but don’t always take them at surface value.
All images via Blog Society