It is no secret that working with bloggers can help boost brands and aid their online exposure – this it is no different when it comes to fashion. There are lot of really influential fashion bloggers out there that have built huge communities, and collaborations offer some real opportunities for exposure.
There are a few guidelines that fashion brands should bear in mind when outreaching to fashion bloggers however. And although these are often common sense, they can’t be stressed often enough because they keep being done and consequently, a brand’s outreach efforts might fail massively.
So how should brands approach bloggers in the first place?
I spoke to some fashion bloggers from across the globe, including those from the UK, France, USA and Australia to find out how they work with brands, how they get approached and to get some advice on how companies should (not) approach them. Here is what some of them said:
Julia from Stylonylon, UK
“Tailored emails with genuine reasons as to why there is a fit with my blog make my heart jump!”
Julia says it’s so important that you need to bring across in your outreach email that you’ve done your research properly and that the intention of why the brand wants to work with her is clear.
When you approach bloggers, make them feel special and justify that there is a good fit with your brand, as this is half the job done. PRs should take plenty of time getting informed about bloggers’ interests to make sure they are a good match with their brand to fully amplify the potential blogger collaborations offer.
Julia also told me that another big potential for brands is offered by Instagram and that some companies have been able to generate huge sales leads from her followers. She has been able to generate real interest for particular brands among her audience. On top of that, Instagram is usually the first platform she uses to showcase a particular product – even before she talks about it on her blog itself.
Through showcasing brands and their products to her Instagram followers, she’s also had inquiries from them about specific products and their availability, which shows that there is definitely a potential there that brands should try to take advantage of. Julia recommends that it’s definitely something brands should consider as part of their blogger strategy.
Lara from Pretty Connected USA
“Don’t be lazy and do your research before pitching to a blogger!”
Is a particular blogger right for my product? Will my product be of interest to the blogger’s audience? Can we provide content that fits in well with the blogger’s style and audience demographic? These are all questions companies should ask themselves before getting in touch. Lara explains that there needs to be a value for both the brand and the blogger and it needs to be clear what the brand’s goals are and if they can be realised through a collaboration with a blogger. This is why it’s indispensable to check out the “About” page and try to find out as much as possible before pitching.
And here some more do’s and don’ts from Lara:
Spell people’s name right!!! It is amazing that this sort of thing keeps happening over and over again – it’s so simple, yet so many get it wrong. This minimises the chances of even hearing back from the blogger.
Don’t mess about with them!!! Another thing she mentioned is that some PRs even promise to send samples for review, and once she agrees to it to fit it in her editorial calendar, they say it’s no longer available, which is obviously pretty annoying for the blogger, and is likely to be put off from a future collaboration. And apparently, this happens to a lot of bloggers.
Other emails Lara deletes immediately are those from PRs request her statistics first to see if it is worth sending her a product at all. Of course, brands want to see a value in working with a blogger, but they need to be careful how they approach this, as only agreeing to a deal for your own benefit is just patronising.
Take Instagram into consideration! Also, Lara thinks that Instagram is great for brands to get their products out there and to the right target audience. Before doing so, brands are advised to look at how many followers a blogger has, how many likes the blogger receives and if there is an engagement among the audience. Instagram has become such a powerful tool – especially in the fashion industry.
Dana from The Fashion Tag, UK
“I love talking to brands who understand bloggers.”
Dana has given me some really insightful opinions on how she has been working with brands and overall, she has been very happy with how those collaborations have gone. If brands make an effort with the bloggers and understand what blogging is all about, half of the work is complete.
However, she’s also had approaches from brands that weren’t too positive. She also gets tonnes of emails about disguised advertisements, which don’t offer her any kind of compensation. In Dana’s opinion, this is one of the worst things you can do when outreaching to bloggers: expecting her to work for free!
She says that brands need to realise that blogging can be a full-time job and the blogger needs to spare time for writing the content and organising the photography etc.
Another common faux-pas that many brands commit is assuming it’s the blogger who wants to work with them, so they think she would pay for the shipping cost. After all, it’s the brand that gets in touch with her to look for some product exposure – so why would it not be the brand then that bears the expenses?
It’s all just common sense and yet many brands believe bloggers haven’t been around for long enough to see what it is the brands are after and simply take bloggers as fools by bluntly asking for a link.
What’s particularly cheeky in Dana’s opinion is that some brands want to collaborate with her, but once she brings up compensation, they say they don’t pay for links to justify that they’re expecting a free promotion. Dana explains that they need to realise that they don’t pay for the link, but all the work that the blogger puts into the collaboration and the provided platform for the brand to expose itself to a huge target audience.
Dana’s ultimate tip for brands:
“Come clean, be clear and concise, tell me what you want, respect my job and we are in business.”
To cut a long story short…
…the potential in blogger cooperations is huge – provided the brands get it right. Once you’ve built trust with bloggers and shown that you can provide something of actual value to their audience, “they will become your biggest advocates, increasing your brand’s awareness amongst their loyal followers, and generating a new fruitful revenue stream.”
Do spell their names right – it doesn’t take long to get hold of a blogger’s name!
Do your homework and research the blogger before getting in touch!
Do put yourself in the blogger’s position – would you work for free?
Don’t send out generic emails – tailor them!
Don’t just contact bloggers for the sake of it – is there an actual fit with your brand?