The following is part of our ongoing Expert Series and features Allie Wester, Fanscape’s head of Influencer and Blogger Outreach marketing.
I recently spoke at Freutcamp, a 2-day creative boot camp for bloggers run by Leah Bergman of Freutcake. From Photoshop skills to tips for better social media usage, Freutcamp covered everything it takes to be a successful and savvy blogger.
Leah invited me to speak about making brand collaborations organic to your blog and content. What follows are a couple of the top tips I shared with the bloggers at Freutcamp.
As a blogger, it’s absolutely okay to say “no” to brands that approach you – in fact, to maintain the quality of your blog, you should! Although a paycheck might be tempting in the short term, if a brand isn’t a right fit for you and your blog, you shouldn’t work with them.
Working with a “wrong fit” brand is bad for you and the brand in the long term. It will alienate your readers, and on top of that, you can be sure that your readers are not going to be convinced to buy said brand. It just won’t be an effective post for either party. By saying “no,” you’re doing both yourself and the brand a favor.
The quality of your blog should always be #1, so you need to be incredibly strategic about the brands you partner with. Readers are savvy when it comes to sponsored posts and can sense when something isn’t a genuine fit. Ideally, brand content should integrate seamlessly with your usual, non-sponsored content. If you don’t stay true to your usual content when you do sponsored posts, you will lose the very thing that drew brands to you in the first place – your readership!
It’s a delicate balance, for sure. A good guideline to follow is 70% non-sponsored content and 30% sponsored content. Of course this will vary from blog-to-blog and month-to-month, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb.
Don’t overthink sponsored posts. Focus on the content and story first and foremost, then lightly weave the brand into that. I always tell bloggers to take a step back and think about what they would write about if it wasn’t a sponsored post. Ideally I want the brand integration to be very light and natural. I want the post to tell a story. In fact, sometimes I even tell bloggers to tone down the brand in their post, because it’s too overt! I truly believe that this is key to a great sponsored post. If a brand is too “in your face,” readers will simply skim over the post.
Each and every sponsored post you create should have value for your readers. Let’s be real – no one wants to feel like they’re being marketed to. Your readers should get some sort of utility in a sponsored post, whether it’s entertaining tips or a new recipe to try out.
Not sure if you’re hitting it quite right? Think about if you yourself would want to read the post and share it with your friends.
Read Part 2 HERE.