Some publicists might remember time when bloggers were simply a new kind of writer to pitch — an afterthought on press lists headlined by editors at Vogue and Travel + Leisure.
For those of us who have seen the rise and flourish of bloggers over the last decade, the idea that brands now pay to collaborate with them perhaps isn’t surprising, but it still presents challenges in the PR world — the old publicist’s guide book doesn’t exactly cover sponsored media! And as a recent Fashionista article highlighted, many in the industry are still drawing the line between editor and influencer. At Shopping Links, we have found that the most successful brands draw a clear distinction between media exposure and influencer collaborations. The leaders of these brands have embraced the greater directional control that comes with sponsoring a campaign, while focusing on long-term relationships with bloggers whose audiences closely align with their own — thus allowing them to leverage the value of creating a strong mental connection between the brand and the blogger for their followers.
Having managed hundreds of influencer collaborations for brands, ranging from emerging designers to Fortune 500 retailers, we have had a front-row seat to what has provided the greatest ROI on a collaboration, and how agencies can help their clients get the most out of each influencer relationship. Some improvements, such as moving from a campaign-by-campaign approach to a more relationship-focused one, take time, but we have also seen brands make big leaps with small steps. More often than not, disappointment is simply a result of mismatched expectations.
Many influencers began as regular consumers with a passion project, and even business-savvy bloggers can forget a detail. Setting clear expectations, from whether or not your client will allow affiliate links in their sponsored content, to what image rights they would like to secure after the campaign, can mean the difference between real frustration and a real return.
We have created an Influencer Collaboration Checklist with strategy questions, requirements to convey to influencers, and a list of clickable resources from our library to help you cover every base and set the right expectations. Download and bookmark for your next campaign!