Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Importance of Clear Communication in Blog Collaborations





Many of you that have been following along for a while will know that I’m known for honesty and integrity when it comes to blogging, I've gone on record several times for that reason. I regularly work with brands, setting out digital strategies for working with bloggers and online ‘influencers’. I pride myself on the ability to communicate effectively and help other Bloggers do the same. It might be a surprise then, because it certainly was to me, that having worked professionally in the digital world for almost six years now that I can still be caught out.

I’ll err on the side of kindness and put my most recent debacle down to digital ignorance rather than deliberate misrepresentation but it’s a cautionary tale nonetheless and one that can be learned from. For the most part, the PRs and agencies in Ireland are some of the best in the world and adapt very quickly to our ever changing digital landscape; for the most part. 


What follows are some golden rules for professional blogging relationships, there’s something to be learned here for everyone (myself included): - I’d love to hear yours too – from either side of the coin…







Bloggers:

  • If a brand or agency approaches you, it’s because you have something they or their client want; whether it’s your audience, your level of engagement, your quality of work – or, most likely, a combination of all three. Remember this.
  • From the initial contact be clear on what you’re willing to contribute to any collaboration – bearing in mind the below instances should always be paid. 
  • Don’t be afraid to renegotiate, should you be unhappy at any stage.
  • Never be afraid to say no. Even if it’s a good fit, collaborations don’t always work, whether paid or unpaid. There will always be another offer. Trust me. 
  • You are providing a service by granting access to your hard earned audience to brands, events and services. Value that.
  • You're not 'working with' a brand if you're not being paid. Full stop. 




Brands:

  • If you want targeted advertising, you pay for targeted advertising. 
  • If you want specific wording in social posting, you pay for specific wording in social posting.
  • If you want brand coverage within a certain time frame, you pay for brand coverage within a certain time frame.
  • If you want a blogger with a large, engaged audience to work at your event, you ask and subsequently pay that blogger with a large, engaged audience to work at your event.
  • An invitation to attend is not an invitation to work. It’s understood that you may get some level of digital coverage but it’s not guaranteed. That’s a different conversation entirely.
  • At no stage is it acceptable, whether your dealings are paid or unpaid, to barrage bloggers with phone calls, emails and texts. It’s intrusive, unnecessary and hugely unprofessional.


I talk so often about valuing ourselves as bloggers and making our community a more professional environment. That rising tide that raises all boats? It needs buy in from brands and agencies too. I’ve learned at this stage to filter out the emails and offers that hope only to take advantage of the work I have put in to my platforms. I say no way more often than I say yes but that took many years. Years that shouldn’t have to be repeated again by bloggers starting out. 


That’s precisely the thinking behind my #askcherrysue series, my continued Snapchat Q&As and posts exactly like this one. It’s not to rubbish any particular PR or agency, as you know I call out the practice, not the person but the practice of taking full advantage of naive (and not so naive) bloggers has to stop.


Tell me, are you a blogger or a PR, what would you add to this conversation? 


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