How Brands work with Blogs

Prof. Adrian has shared an interesting video on a panel from Lucky FABB West discussing about how brands work with blogs. The panel consists of editors from Lucky Magazine, corporate PR personnel, marketing manager and bloggers.

This video has brought up several discussion points from two contrasting perspectives; One from businesses working with bloggers, and another from bloggers themselves. One point to note is that the context of the whole discussion is based on the fashion industry.

How do companies work with bloggers?

Most companies have in-house people to select bloggers to represent their companies. These people search for quality editorials and popular blogs through the internet, before they contact the respective agencies/managers in charge to select suitable bloggers. The companies will set performance indicators and objectives for every partner blogger, and decide whether to pay fees to the bloggers for publishing about their products or brand. The companies may also invite bloggers to try their products or attend promotional events.

Why do companies work with bloggers?

Certain bloggers possess the image that companies think will carry the companies’ brand well. Most bloggers show themselves as strong and competent individuals who are “respected” by the industry too; Consumers look up to bloggers’ opinions, styles, fashion, story of culture of brands, especially as bloggers share their real-life experiences. Consumers tend to trust and empathize with bloggers more since they are more authentic and real than models or advertisements.

Blogs are interactive too, and bloggers react and respond to viewers and commenters. This may be a double-edged sword for companies when commenters ask about specific products or brands, but companies usually work with bloggers whom they think will provide positive publicity for their brands.

What do companies look for?

Basically, companies will either look for suitable bloggers with quality editorial content who will sign contracts with them to represent the companies, or neutral parties to write about their brands. Either way, good bloggers will be perceived as authentic and trustworthy reviewers who are consumers themselves. The bloggers have their own reach, and will take initiative in growing readership and engaging their fans. These desired bloggers need to know about the company and its partners and competitors.

What challenges do bloggers face?

Bloggers that do not get chosen by companies to present their companies, usually blog for free. It is competitive among bloggers to provide the most relevant and fresh content (They have to stay on the latest trends and preserve freshness on blogs). They have to maintain their group of followers, capture their attention and not lose them. Moreover, there are many “copycats” out there since the blogging industry has low barriers of entry. Bloggers have to stay updated on social media technology to improve their content marketing and competitive advantage over others.

When working with companies, there is high expectations of the bloggers, and the amount of fees they get may not be worth the effort: Bloggers have to attend every promotional event etc., take time and money to take photos / write about events and products; and not all of them get paid to do these.

Budget issues – what are the different opinions or stand on this matter?

For bloggers

  • Many bloggers provide free editorial content; a lot of budget would have been splurged on creating them.
  • Blogging takes up a lot of time, on top of their full time job (if any). Companies working with them should pay for this opportunity cost.

Against bloggers

  • Free products have already been provided to the bloggers for their editorials
  • Fees should only be paid for campaign driven blog post.
  • By providing fee-based blog posts, viewership may drop as the posts are no longer neutral. The blog content may seem more like advertisement.
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