How To Work Effectively Work With Bloggers - Zeena Xena

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 London, UK

Blogger Outreach 101: How To Effectively Work With Bloggers

How To Effectively Work With Bloggers

Chuckle all you want at the title of this post, but we both know it's true. I've come to realise that companies actually need to work on their techniques when it comes to blogger outreach these days. I feel that as the blogging industry continues to evolve, so should the approach by PRs big or small and direct companies.

Over the years, I've had a few issues with dis-organised/rude companies, however, instead of calling the out, I thought I'd do a post to educate them and who-ever else comes across this instead.

More recently I've witnessed a few miss-haps being discussed in the bloggersphere & rightly so. These situations should not be overshadowed, so yes let's discuss these matters because blogging is not just about hauls and fairy lights, let's be real. Essentially, I'm here to shed some light on what brands should/shouldn't be doing, in the hope that this will hopefully help some new, niche and well-established companies with their blogger outreach strategies.

Actually Read The Blog In Question
How many times have we as bloggers read an email stating our blog names? I mean I guess mines is a bit confusing because Zeena is an actual name (just not my real name), but referring to someone as 'pixie123' is just ridiculous isn't it? Just goes to show that you as a company have not bothered to read the person's blog or what they're about.

Once you land on a blog page and are done reading the posts, I'd suggest heading over to the 'about page' where this will give you an insight as to why the blogger has actually started their blog, where in the world their from and will often include their real name/contact details. EASY PEASY!

Get In Touch  
If you like what you've seen from the blogger, the next step is to get in touch. When sending emails to bloggers to collaborate with your company, remember to always be polite. You are emailing them for a favour so don't approach the situation like you're doing them justice! Instead have a good template in place to include;

* The bloggers real name
* Which company you're emailing from
* Why you love their blog/social accounts
* What you have to offer/why you'd love to collaborate
* Anything else you may want to include

Don't send each blogger the exact same email unless you have some sort of specific campaign running. Use a standard template, but make it personal to each person for maximum results!

Don't be rude... 
This is for everyone but mainly smaller companies. I have to say in my experience over the years. the smaller companies are often the rudest. From a professional standpoint I'm often shocked by some of the things I have witnessed in the past due to the lack of experience and professionalism.

When bloggers reach out to you who are perhaps not on the calibre you want, do not hit them with; "Sorry we only work with girls with 100k followers". In my opinion this reply is just blunt and let's me know you do not know the first thing about marketing. Instead form a template for those bloggers you feel are not suited to your brand and again tailor it each time you send it to a blogger explaining why you can't collaborate together. If the blogger has great content but doesn't have good engagement rates etc, explain that once they have worked on improving these stats, you would perhaps consider working with them in the future.

This makes YOU as a company seem more professional, you'll become more likeable and you may even gain a new customer through this approach.

Do Your Products Fit Their Blog/Target Market? 
Having spoken to a number of bloggers, we've all had emails from companies who do not fit our blogs at all. Do your research by looking at things they've posted over the last few months.

Lifestyle bloggers generally post about a wide-scale of topics so are more willing to accept campaigns from a variety of industries. Don't waste time by contacting any and every one, again research those bloggers and contact the ones you feel you can create valued relationships with.

If You Have A Budget... Use It! 
I love this point. Yes I understand times are hard and paying for promotions is not always possible, however if you have a budget... Use it!

Think about it this way, in your professional day job no one asks you to come to work for free so why should bloggers have to do the work for free? Again, as mentioned above I know as a smaller business it is often hard to compensate bloggers in this way, however if you're a bigger company or PR with a budget you should definitely be considering this.

From my experience, it's clear that with a budget and clear direction, bloggers are able to put out content done to the best of their ability, done in a timely manner!

Put agreements into place...
Now we've all seen posts on bloggers not complying with rules and companies not making payments as agreed. To avoid any of this, put things into written agreements whether these be in a separate document or an email. This should highlight;

* The parties involved in the project
* Details of the project
* Fee/Payment
* Deadline/s
* & anything else you deem necessary

Maintain Those Relationships...
I'm sure I've mentioned this point somewhere in my most recent post here on working with brands as a blogger, from a company this is highly important too. If you've worked with a blogger/influencer who has provided real value to your brand then make sure you stay in touch. Send them products from new launches, let them know about upcoming planned events, and praise them when they've written amazing posts or even share them, it'll go a long way honestly.

From both standpoints (being a blogger and freelancer), I always try to maintain relationships with those I've worked with in the past, even if it's just an email to say hey!

So these are some quick tips on working effectively with bloggers. I hope they help any of reading this and if they do... Please leave a comment below or get in touch with me.

If You'd Like My Services... 

I'm sort of a whizz when it comes to blogger outreach, so if you need a hand with any of the following;

* Outreach
* Consulting
* Advertising
* Events

Please get in touch; zeenaxenablog@gmail.com to discuss how we could work together.

Thanks for reading x


How To: Work With Brands As A Smaller Influencer - Zeena Xena

Friday, 2 September 2016 London, UK

Learn How To Work With Brands As A Smaller Influencer...

Blogger Zeena Xena Discusses How Smaller Influencers Should Be Working With Brands  (Work With Brands).

I bet you've been looking for a post like this for a while now right? I wanted to write this post because I get asked all the time "Oh Zaineb, how do you get to work with so many brands and you don't even have that many followers" - let me just tell you this, it's not all about the followers, I'm being honest. 
I wanted to write this post as I also feel like many bloggers that are "well-known" cover how they work with brands but don't offer many tips for those that are smaller or even just starting out.

In this post, I'll be highlighting what you should be doing, what you need to be doing and what you may be doing wrong and of course, offer solutions to the problem.  Please remember, this post should be used as guidance and not for you to start suddenly thinking that every brand is going to start replying to your collaboration requests. It just doesn't work like that, however hopefully you take away some great information from this post and apply these tips to your blogging life. 

Step 1. 

Overall Image + Content 

You want to make sure you have an overall good blog, instagram, twitter etc. What I do sometimes is go on my blog, and just look at it from a far and ask myself does it look good? Brands like that whole 'clean' aesthetic so make sure your images are crisp, the layout has co-ordination and that the fonts you use are easy to read. Same with my social medias, especially instagram - from a brands perspective would they want to work with someone that takes good quality photos, has a theme going etc? Hell yes

Next, the content make sure it's relevant, has a purpose and will have your readers and brands engaging with you. You want a brand to email you like "Oh my goodness the post you wrote on XXX was absolutely amazing, we'd love to work with you...". You may not have this goal for all your content but it should be the main goal for some (this is the reason why you're hear remember, to learn how to collaborate with brands). Take me for example; I'm doing this post to help bloggers work with brands not for brands to work with me. So in terms of brand collaborations I won't really benefit from gifting etc, however someone could see this and want me to a talk, interview etc. It's all about being authentic really and just knowing what you want to achieve from your writing & photos. 

Step 2. 

Consistency

This point is probably played out but so important. Consistency doesn't mean you have to be blogging ALL the time (honestly, I rarely even blog once a week anymore), however you should always be active. Keep posting on twitter, snapchat, instagram, instagram stories wherever you deem important to you and your brand, stay relevant! 

Step 3. 

Social Cleanup

Okay, I have to admit sometimes when I'm not really posting a lot of blog type stuff my twitter feed can be full of crap like funny memes, opinions from the night before (while I was in a mood) and so fourth. This point is just to be mindful of what you're tweeting/who you're tweeting, because when you reach out to a brand they'll do a lot of stalking (I do this for my clients). Remember, reaching out to them to collaborate is essentially saying "I'd like to represent you" by promoting their products etc. Put yourself in their shoes & answer this - Would you work with you having examined your social feeds? If the answer is yes, we can proceed, if no... Well we've got some work to do! 

Step 4.

Reach Out To Brands

Okay so the fun part! I'm doing a whole post on writing emails to brands so for now I'm going to keep this short and sweet. 

Don't be shy, If you want to work with companies as a smaller influencer reach out to them. How will you gain opportunities if they've never heard of you? A simple email format that I recommend and use myself;

* Introduce yourself (keep this sweet no life stories, just explain your blog)
* Explain what you want & why you want it (a product, service, feature etc)
* What you can offer the brand (only you can answer this... So what makes you stand out from the rest?)

Don't think just because you have a "small following" that you have less value, nope, as bloggers we are all equally important - people just like to put labels on others *rolls eyes*. I'm going to use LAMODA as an example, as they are a perfect example of how brands should be collaborating with bloggers. 

So if you're a blogger and follow LAMODA, you'll know that they are all about empowering women and are very into the 90s r&b type style. If you're a fashion blogger that has similar style, takes great photos you could reach out to them saying you'd love to style some items for a piece you're working on. It could centre around an all pink or baby blue theme and you could even include examples of shoots/pictures etc to help the brand in question create a vision. This is what helps you land collabs & lasting working relationships.

A statement from LAMODA's Creative Director;

"We work with smaller influencers because although a large following is obviously beneficial to a brand, it's not the be all and end all of a collaboration. A lot of the smaller influencers we work with will put so much time and effort into a collab and make sure everything is on point. I believe that everyone has to start somewhere so we want to support girls with a smaller following as much as possible and give them the same opportunities to enable them to grow. 

As you know LAMODA is all about girl power so it's really important for me to make sure the brand fully lives up to this ethos, which means supporting ALL female creatives, not just the ones with 100k followers. As a side note, some of the coolest influencers I know have less than 10k followers but still produce the best content and imagery for us as a brand! For us, if the drive to create amazing content is there and on brand, following really isn't a big issue."


Work With Brands

Sunglasses & Bag are both LA MODA 
Step 5. 

Collaborate With Other Bloggers 

Companies love to see bloggers collaborating with each-other and I do too! Whether you have a big or small following, it's nice to see girls & guys coming together to create something that is unique to them. It may be that one of you is great at taking pictures, styling, writing or being the model of a shoot... Either way brands really buy into collaborative efforts and blogging "girl gangs". 

Step 6. 

Network

This isn't as easy for everyone, I understand this and remember going to one of my first events 4 years ago with a non-blogging friend shit scared. I didn't know what to expect, but having gone to one, I wanted to go to another and then another haha. For me personally, it's so important for brands to know what I'm like behind the blog and emails, so attending events hosted by brands I want to work with in the future is a high priority and should be for you too. Once you've met with PR girls, directors etc, more time you'll be in touch quite regularly. Because of the relationships formed you'll sometimes be first in line for opportunities, not because of your following/who you are online but because of who you are as a person and the fact that they've met you in real life. 

These people then sometimes go on to becoming real life friends, where you can both help and elevate each other in your professional careers and build a great friendship too! Win win! 

Work With Brands

Outfit details
Sunglasses - here 
Top - here 
Skirt - similar here 
Shoes - similar here

So these are my tips... I seriously hope they help some of you reading this. If you think I've left anything out... Fell free to add anything in the comments below. 

As always I love writing these posts, so if you have any suggestions for me at all I'm all ears. In the meantime check out my other helpful posts; 


Thanks for reading x

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