It was my first trip to Utah, and even though I did not have a chance to experience much of the beautiful and mountainous Salt Lake City, I did enjoy three days of networking and learning from over 300 influential food bloggers. At the second annual Everything Food Conference, food bloggers from across North America gathered to learn, improve, grow and mostly feel empowered to reach their professional goals.
According to TechnoratiMedia’s Digital Influence Report, blogs are in the top five sources of trustworthy information. Since bloggers build a targeted following by producing interesting, quality articles, photos and videos, people begin to trust these sources. Over time, readers relate to them and respect their opinions, which can lead to acting on their recommendations.
Many brands are now turning to influential bloggers to reach new audiences or to engage them in a different way. From the blogger’s perspective, here are 5 important things brands should consider for a successful collaboration.
#1 Blogging is a profession
Bloggers are their own bosses and blogging is or is becoming their profession. Creative, quality content takes time, therefore, bloggers want to be compensated for it. They want to devote the right amount of time to write an article that will incorporate a brand in a very genuine way that will interest and ultimately engage their readers.
#2. Know your goal and budget
Brands ideally should have a clear understanding of their marketing goal and budget to most effectively begin a partnership with a blogger. It is best for brands to have a clear idea of what they will want the blogger to promote (i.e. online contest) and do (i.e. create a recipe) before approaching them. Budget is also important as bloggers have a variety of partnership opportunities from blog posts, social sharing and recipe videos to Facebook Live and Twitter parties. Being upfront about business goals is key so a blogger can create the most effective content with an eye to achieving them.
#3. Blogger value goes beyond their numbers
Understanding the difference between bloggers with lots of followers and those with the most interaction, engagement, relevance and fit with the brand is key. Numbers don’t always mean the best results for the brand.
#4. Bloggers go above and beyond and seek long term relationships
Because of payment for their time and effort, bloggers want to deliver the very best content they can. They would rather have a long term relationship with brands rather than catering one-off post campaigns since they know that their community will appreciate seeing the brand used a few times over a 3, 6 or 12 month period. Readers will gain a sense that the bloggers genuinely trust and enjoy the brand.
#5 Video, video, video
More and more bloggers are including videos within their content, especially when it comes to food and recipes. Bloggers are offering video production (i.e. recipe video) since they know that their video posts gain more reach and interaction that an article with photos. While videos do cost more, the reality is more and more bloggers will not commit to a post without a video element. Many brands understand the power of a video and appreciate the content for their own marketing purposes.
I had an amazing and valuable time at the Everything Food Conference, meeting influential bloggers, learning how we can potentially work together, and forming new partnerships, while sharing new products. From the newbie to those who have been blogging over a decade, there was no sense of seniority. Everyone in the business was considered the same, all finding new ways to grow within this ever-changing industry.
In addition to the incredible networking and information exchanged, putting a face to an email is invaluable. I was able to leave Salt Lake City with a targeted list of influencers, potential new partners and incredibly talented new colleagues.