While blogging on fashion for the past 2.5 years I’ve been romanced by many brands. Some opted for long distance relationships, some for online dating only, some chose the route of a “one night stand” to hit their monthly goals. But many used the advantage of my NYC location to take the relationships to the next level – meeting face to face, building a personal connection and “dating” over time.
From fabulous events with flowing champagne, caviar bites, fresh flowers, iconic performances and breathtaking views – many of them gave me unforgettable moments that no man in my life managed to top yet. Add to that the feeling of being appreciated, included, respected, desired, pampered – and you get the picture of a perfect romance that can last years, benefiting both sides.
But I’m not here to talk about romance – unfortunately like in real life dating, it rarely lasts forever. Many times I’ve seen situations where the goals of the brand who built relationships with bloggers change over time, and suddenly a specific blogger or all together find themselves left behind – the emails, invites and exclusives simply stop coming. Whether the brand was “burnt” by the experience, didn’t see immediate results in sales or perhaps simply had to cut the resources – it’s a delicate situation which might turn once biggest brand fans into offended “Ex-es”.
There are few things I would love to share from a blogger perspective to help brands to build and manage these relationships, and hopefully prevent “bad breakups”. Any media outreach should be planned strategically, but relationships with bloggers are even more complicated because we put more of our personality in what we publish. Therefore any communication troubles may lead to negative results or simply to no results at all. Brands should ask themselves these questions before they plan any bloggers outreach:
1. What kind of relationships are you looking to build? A one night stand, friends with benefits, occasional non-exclusive dating or a serious long-term relationship? Of course some one-night stands might turn into real relationship, but if you really want to make it work don’t beg for coverage in your first contact.
2. Will you need the matchmaker and who would it be? Reaching out to millions of bloggers just to find the few who are relevant for your audience and care about your brand could be a very tiring and time consuming task. You definitely need “matchmakers” to help you filter through the clutter and make the introductions (that’s what social media strategists and agencies do these days). Make sure you pick your matchmakers and people who manage your relationships carefully. You don’t want a summer intern to ruin your potential long term relationships.
3. What is your strategy for “romancing” the blogger? Invites to fabulous events, exclusive content, added value to his/her readers or simply ongoing friendly communication via Twitter? You have to keep those relationships alive.
4. What is the level of your commitment in these relationships? If you decided on the long term, you have to be consistent. Excluding someone from the fashion week invites list after they have been invited for the last few seasons, makes them wonder what have they done wrong, and can break the relationship.
5. What are your expectations from these relationships? Sales, SEO, Publicity or simply Love? Be honest with yourself, and direct the blogger relationship in the way they will meet your expectations. If you are looking for sales, make sure to provide them the detailed product info, pricing and availability, if SEO is your top goal – make sure you use the right keywords in your pitch, if publicity buzz is what makes you satisfied – give them juicy stories, and if you simply want love – give them the reasons to love you.
The good news is – unlike romance, social media doesn’t subscribe to monogamy, so you can have as many relationships as you can handle without the need to ever “break up”. Just make sure you have the resources to keep the romance going, once you started.