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10 Ways Bloggers Can Work More Effectively With Top Brands

We’ve talked a great deal here at MomCrunch about Brands and Bloggers working together and some of the best practices for bloggers that want to work with brands, but it’s clearly a subject that still needs to be covered.

This week HighTechDad wrote a great ten-point list telling brands how they can better work with “top tier” bloggers. I knew I was going to like his post when it started with the sentence, “Bloggers are not second class citizens.”

Here’s how he introduces his list.

“Anyway, as I have worked on a variety of programs, campaigns, product launches and awareness programs for many brands and PR firms around the globe, I have obviously developed some opinions on strategies that I think work (and a few that don’t). So I have compiled a top-10 list, specifically for brands and their PR firms, to help guide them when approaching and working with top-tier bloggers.”

I loved his article, and I asked it he’d be okay with me do a response piece about the other side how bloggers can do a better job working with brands. He said, “Great!” so here is my response (be sure to read his first!). Let me know what you think in the comments!

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  • 1. Understand How Brands & Agencies Work 1 of 10
    1. Understand How Brands & Agencies Work
    The #1 thing I have found that bloggers don't understand about big brands is that budgets are set at the beginning of each fiscal year, and then the individual PR folks have absolutely ZERO ability to change it. It's easy to say, "Hey, Huge Brand X has LOTS of money, why won't they send me to that conference next month?" It's not because they don't want to, really. It's because they don't have it in the budget. Spend this year building relationships, and ask when the deadline for pitches for the next year is, and you will find brands far more receptive although, of course, they STILL might not send you to that conference.
  • 2. Create a Quality Pitch 2 of 10
    2. Create a Quality Pitch
    Yes, we get our fair share of crappy pitches from brands, but from what I hear, PR folks get JUST as many crappy pitches from bloggers. Finding out what a PR person wants in a pitch is part of that relationship building I mentioned in the first item. I've heard every thing from "a multiple-page proposal highlighting your stats and the advantages to working with you" to "please send me an email that is no more than five sentences long." Get to know the brand reps and you'll know what to send them. I'd suggest creating a basic media kit you can send them when making inquiries about when you can send in pitches, and then keep the pitch short and sweet unless they ask for more.
  • 3. Be Responsive 3 of 10
    3. Be Responsive
    This means, yes, responding to those crappy pitches (I confess, personally I fail on this one, I just don't have time) with a quick "thank you, but no thank you." This is how you build those relationships. Generally, great opportunities to work with brands do NOT fall out of the sky.
  • 4. Think About The Long-Term Relationship 4 of 10
    4. Think About The Long-Term Relationship
    I know, we've already covered this, but like HighTechDad's article, this is CRITICAL. Remember that each agency has multiple clients so today's crappy pitch from an intern could be the excellent pitch you get from an account manager in eighteen months. Insult them for their crappy pitch now, and they WILL remember you when they've figured out how to be better at their jobs. If you're in this for the long haul, think long term.
  • 5. Respect Your Deadlines 5 of 10
    5. Respect Your Deadlines
    As someone who has crossed over from blogger to brand rep, I gotta tell you, the most frustrating thing in the WORLD is when a blogger blows off their deadline repeatedly (and if you've worked for me, it wasn't YOU; you told me why you had to postpone, don't worry). I can't say this clearly enough: if you want to be TREATED as a professional, you have to ACT like one. That means getting your stuff in on time. PS: I tried to find an image of a woman with a clock, but I decided these women look like they were on time and in style, so it worked.
  • 6. Be Reasonable About Compensation — and Consistent 6 of 10
    6. Be Reasonable About Compensation — and Consistent
    Figure out your hourly rate, and base all your pay requests on that rate. Be consistent. Don't jack up your rates because it's a bigger brand. Really. Agency people talk to each other, and switch agencies. They will likely find out if you are charging them twice your normal rate. Also, try to avoid going under your preferred rate; that gets around too (and I've been guilty of doing that when I needed quick cash trust me, it bites you in the ass later). If you have trouble determining an hourly rate for yourself, ask other bloggers. Or come back here, because I'll write about that next week. PS: Don't you love how the woman in this photo is all, pay me now, beotch?
  • 7. Be Creative 7 of 10
    7. Be Creative
    You want brands to notice you, and readers to enjoy your sponsored content? Get creative. Do something more than a basic review. Challenge yourself to make the content more interesting. Trust me - everyone will notice. Okay, this woman isn't necessarily being creative in the photo, but I love this early wordprocessing system!
  • 8. Let Them Help You 8 of 10
    8. Let Them Help You
    Got the product in hand and you're stumped about the review? Ask for help! Tell the agency you're feeling challenged and let them guide you. Each review or sponsored post isn't an audition or a solo effort it's a team proposition, and they will absolutely offer you some suggestions. This might help or might not, but still better to reach out your hand then blow off the review or post.
  • 9. Promote Your Work 9 of 10
    9. Promote Your Work
    It's likely you've been hired not JUST for your blog, but for your other social channels as well. Tweet, post on Facebook, and let folks know about your work. If you don't want to use your various social channels, be sure to make that clear when you agree to the post. I often put stuff on my review blog and then tweet about it, but don't share elsewhere, but I make that clear from the get-go. A great way to disappoint a brand rep and ruin that long-term relationship thing is to go ahead and toss up a post and then say, "Oh, you want me to tweet it too? That's EXTRA." (Oh, I know YOU don't do that, but I've heard some folks do.)
  • 10. Take a Moment and Thank Your Brand Rep AFTER You Do The Work 10 of 10
    10. Take a Moment and Thank Your Brand Rep AFTER You Do The Work
    It doesn't take much to send a quick note to the person that has just hired you for a quick job to let them know you appreciated the opportunity. Really. It goes a LONG way to being remembered kindly, and is a huge part of turning a single opportunity into a relationship.

writes here at MomCrunch as well as at her own blog, Uppercase Woman. She is an utter social media geek.

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