This is the first in a series of guest blog posts by our headline city sponsors Equator. Fiona gives us a valuable insight into the blogger-brand relationship.
With sponsored blog and social media content steadily rising over the last few years, are blogger-brand partnerships at risk of losing their impact? With a strong Glasgow blogging community, and more and more blogger events popping up, this is something that’s likely to be discussed at Social Media Week Glasgow…and in light of ongoing debates on blogger ethics, it’s a talking point that probably won’t (and shouldn’t) go away anytime soon.
So with this in mind, we’ve got to ask, can blogger-brand partnerships really work? Case studies show that when a blog’s readers are carefully considered and the approach is right, then yes it can work. But it’s worthwhile considering the following before getting started:
– Benefit both parties – Most bloggers work hard on their posts and many are time poor, so brands should offer something relevant and exciting, as well as a reward for the blogger’s time, whether it’s an experience, products or financial remuneration. If this isn’t done, you risk a poorly executed sponsored post…or no post at all. Bloggers should also remember to ask about a brand’s goals before accepting a piece of work and be clear on what does or doesn’t fit your blog content. The more relevant a sponsored post is to your readers, the more effective it is for your brand partner and your blog’s credibility – so speak up!
– Keep the readers at the core of all content – How will sponsored content benefit a blog’s readers? If the answer is fuzzy, a sponsored post shouldn’t be going up there. Blog readers are smart and savvy to brand-blogger partnerships, so remember to keep it genuine, innovative and beneficial to the blog’s following. Are you giving them exclusive news or content? Offering something truly entertaining or helpful? The chance to take part in a brand experience? A discount code? Access to a competition they wouldn’t have otherwise found? If so, you’re on the right track.
– Don’t forget the law – Most of us know how valued ethical blogging is, and many bloggers are naturally in the habit of disclaiming sponsors and advertisers up front – which of course can help readers establish a sense of trust in what they’re about to read. But disclaimers aren’t simply a courtesy, they’re required as part of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) digital remit, so remember to clearly mark all sponsored posts as being so, and hashtag paid for tweets with #sp.
Fiona Dow is a PR & social media analyst at Equator, where she manages blogger outreach programmes for a number of clients