Bloggers are the new advertising– they’re influential, have a built-in audience, and can be some of your best brand ambassadors. If you find the right bloggers to work with, you can send traffic to your site, gain social media followers, and even make sales and get a great return on your investment.
Something to keep in mind is that you should be realistic when it comes to bloggers you’d like to work with. If you have a very small budget and want to work with a blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers, it’s most likely not going to happen. BUT– smaller bloggers can be fantastic to work with, and most importantly, can still give you results!
1. Buy sidebar advertising
This is the easiest, and one of the most cost effective ways to work with bloggers. If you find a blogger that has an audience that is made up of your ideal customer, then a sidebar advert can be a great way to get your brand in front of them and send some traffic to your site.
They key to this is to find a blogger (or a few) that is quite niche and that has a specific readership that is similar to your customer base. For example, if you own a salon in London’s Clapham area, if you find a blog that has a readership of mums in Southwest London, then you’re golden, as your advert will be very relevant to the blogger’s readership (although it would be even BETTER if all of her readers were in Clapham!)
2. Ask for a review
Many bloggers would love to try out your product or service and write a review of it on their blog, because they get to try/receive something without having to pay for it and they think the review will be valuable to their readers.
Each blogger approaches reviews differently, so you’ll need to work out details before agreeing to anything. It’s usually “blogging etiquette” to provide at the minimum the product or service for free and to absorb shipping costs too. Some bloggers may ask for compensation for a review (as I do, because of the time and effort it takes) so if you really want to work with a blogger that charges, just make sure you weigh up the possible return on your investment.
If you do end up getting a rave review from a blogger, be sure to share it on your social media networks— it’s great press!
3. Hire them to create content for you
Some bloggers are not just good writers but also fabulous photographers, social media gurus, and videographers, and they’ll usually be less expensive to hire than a “professional”. If you’re looking for some great shots of your products, some posts written for your blog, or help with videos for your Youtube channel, reach out to a blogger that you like and see if they’d be willing to work with you.
4. Buy a sponsored post or video
Plenty of bloggers sell sponsored posts, which typically means that you pay a fee and the blogger will write a blog post about your business in some way or another (here’s an example of a sponsored post I wrote for CitizenM hotels on Love and London) This can be a great option if you have a new campaign or product that you’d like to promote but that a sidebar advert won’t be able to convey properly.
The price for a sponsored post or video can vary depending on the blogger, but generally they cost more than a side bar advert and the fee will correlate with the size of the blogger’s audience— so a sponsored post with a more popular blogger will be more expensive.
Just as with sidebar advertising, if you’re going to purchase a sponsored post from a blogger, make sure her audience is very similar to your ideal customer.
5. Host an event for local bloggers
This is a fun one— bloggers love attending fun events, so host one yourself and invite local bloggers along. This works especially well for service-based businesses, such as restaurants and hair salons. An event could take any shape or form but the idea is that you want the bloggers to have fun, feel like royalty, and to also get to test out your products or services. Typically, at the minimum the bloggers will share photos from the event on social media, while others may write a blog post about it, which will help send traffic to your site and introduce their readership to your business.
Some fun event ideas:
• A salon can host an event where beauty bloggers learn how to create their own festival-friendly hair styles
• A children’s birthday party service can invite local mummy bloggers and their kids for a fun day of crafts and games (and some fun for the parents too)
• A restaurant can host a tasting and cocktail event where bloggers can taste popular dishes and learn how to make their own speciality cocktails
6. Sponsor a social media campaign
This is another option that can be executed in a ton of different ways, but generally speaking the blogger will create social media posts for their networks or for yours.
If the blogger creates content for your social media networks, this is usually called a “takeover”. The goal could be to get an influx of great content (such as original Instagram photos taken by the blogger) or to increase your followers by pairing up with an influential content creator.
On the flip side, the blogger can post on their channels, creating content that their readers will like and that will help you increase your followers or send traffic to your website. In my opinion this is most effective on Instagram, if the blogger has a significant following and engagement level, although Twitter can be effective as well.
Some examples of social media campaigns:
• A travel blogger can “takeover” your Instagram account by posting photos while on your London walking tour to your followers
• A fashion blogger can tweet photos of her favourite pieces from your Etsy shop to her followers
• A mummy blogger can send traffic to your website by tweeting links to her followers
Just because you’re a small business owner with a limited budget doesn’t mean you can’t work with bloggers, in fact, they could be some of your best partners! If you have any questions about how you can work with bloggers to promote your business, leave them in the comments below and I’ll help you out.