In a world where top bloggers oftentimes have the final say over a consumer’s purchasing patterns, the question of paying for blogger promotion comes up quite frequently. Before influencer marketing with top social media influencers, businesses primarily had two press options: 1) either hoping for a story regarding the brand to be covered in the news, or 2) pay for an advertising spot that may or may not be reaching your target audience.
With the advent and massive proliferation of niche blogs in every industry vertical, businesses now have a more realistic and authentic way to reach their target market. When considering whether to pay top bloggers for sponsored blog posts, there are three primary questions to consider:
A blogger’s reach determines how large of an audience they have, as well as their influence over that audience. Make sure you choose a blogger whose audience is on par with who you imagine your buying (consumer) audience is. Further, make sure their audience and followers engage with the influencer on multiple levels. Cost for blogger promotion is greatly determined by reach, so a small blogger with a smaller audience would cost less to promote your brand than a top blogger with a huge reach (also see our post on Four Steps to Picking the Right Influencers For Your Brand). Reach is a big determination in what it’s worth paying a top blogger.
Though brands have successfully worked with top bloggers to promote their products, services, and/or launch events without compensation in the past, this type of unpaid promotion is infrequent today due to competition and demand for top bloggers. Top bloggers are consistently sent products for review from a myriad of brands, but when they are not receiving compensation for promotion, it is up to them whether they like the product enough to feature it on their blog and spend time promoting it to their audience. Compensation for a review guarantees the promotion will happen, usually with higher quality, and allows for a more collaborative approach between the brand and blogger. Although it’s best to leave creative control to the blogger, brands will have more control when it comes to messaging points, links, imagery, and social promotion, if the brand pays for a sponsored blog post. (Also see our post on Three Things to Remember When When Making Branded Content).
Before collaborating with a blogger, decide what you’d like for them to include and how you’d like for them to promote your brand. Research and evaluate other sponsored posts on a variety of blogs to get an idea of how bloggers integrate the brand, what they talk about, and how they engage with their readers. That way you can specify exactly what you’d like for the blogger to do, and the blogger will let you know exactly what they’re willing to do.
Researching each social influencer’s blog or working with an established intermediary will eliminate the likelihood of miscommunications or a poorly executed post, and will result in a beneficial working relationship for both parties. Unpaid promotion is usually not full coverage, and is likely just a singular link to your website with a shout-out among the rest of their own content. It’s best practice to discuss a paid opportunity with bloggers especially if you’re expecting custom photos, long text dedicated to explaining your brand, explanations on why they recommend it, and links to where readers can purchase the product or browse your site and your social media channels.
If you’re willing to allocate time, product, and budget to working with proven successful influencers, and expect a thorough review and promotion of your brand, influencer marketing can be one of the highest driving ROI channels amongst advertising spends.