Basics Of Blogger Outreach Will Never Go Out Of Style

February 14, 2014

It’s never been a better time to reject Lasik eye surgery and embrace your inner “four eyes.” But the hunt for the perfect frames is elusive, difficult, wrought with comical selfies.

Luckily, the hunt for the perfect blogger isn’t as difficult.

Blogger programs and influencer engagement hold a prominent role in many Fast Horse campaigns and I see that role continue to grow. Bloggers and influencers are critical to engaging consumers in a meaningful way, and do so through lending their authority and voice to the brand. As most know, developing relationships with the right bloggers is necessary to reaching the right audience. Success will be harder to achieve if you’re just chasing numbers.

Lately, I find myself completely taken with local Wit+Delight blogger Kate Arends’s recent post about Rowley Eyewear. And it’s not just because I was inspired to find my own perfect frames, but because it showcases strategy critical to a successful campaign and the value blogger relationships can bring to a brand, especially one entering the market against established competitors.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.03.46 PMFind a Natural Fit

This is the “basic white tee” of blogger strategy. Finding bloggers who are a natural fit for your brand is a must in blogger partnerships: Approach those who are already talking about your brand or topics related to your brand and trust their experience will create content their readers will value. Posts will feel organic, not overly branded (or laden with marketing “speak”) and will be more appealing to the blogger’s readers.

Take Rowley Eyewear, for example. It is a natural fit for Arends’s personal brand, both in topic and visual aesthetic. The frames exude the classic, chic look that Arends is known for, they’re affordable and very high quality –- all things that I expect from her posts and what made shopping Rowley Eyewear appealing to me.

 

CRW900x600Channel Honesty

Often, the most important relationship for a blogger is his or her relationship with readers, and that relationship is fostered through an honest and fair opinion about any brands or products that may have been given to them, or are sponsored on the blog. This honesty and trust is what makes a blogger appealing for partnerships, and what makes their voice and authority translate to a brand. And it’s important for campaigns to celebrate that relationship, not stifle it.

It’s apparent that Arends values her readers and their trust in her opinion. She is upfront throughout the post about her relationship with Rowley Eyewear and even includes candid remarks about her search for the perfect frames and the fact that her search has included Warby Parker and local optical stores. Her words about Rowley Eyewear’s competitors aren’t snarky. In fact, they’re generally positive. It’s an honest representation of Arends’ Wit+Delight brand, and one that will continue to deepen her readers trust in her voice and authority on style, fashion and notable brands.

I’m a fairly regular reader of Wit+Delight and I’ll be the first to admit that I trust Arends recommendations. She’s particular about the brands and products she represents. Her honesty and openness with readers about whether something is a good fit shows Arends understands her reader and values her relationship with them.

 

Be Complementary

I can only assume Minneapolis is a key city for Warby Parker – the company’s “Warby Parker Class Trip” promotion stopped in our lovely city for a couple weeks during the end of summer. But it appears Rowley Eyewear is hoping to take over some of that market share. The partnership with Arends, one of Minneapolis’ most notable bloggers, is a great start, and the brand has seemingly made an investment in Facebook advertising over the past weeks, targeting their key audience. The frequent newsfeed ads have caught my attention and the attention of friends I’ve talked to – sharing my excitement around the new optical retailer. The combined digital effort leads to greater word-of-mouth marketing and brand recognition.

In my experience, the most effective blogger campaigns contain another component that complements the bloggers’ location or audience, whether a paid media buy, local or national event, sweepstakes opportunity and more.

 

Tell the Story

Whether it’s taking photos, crafting a blog post or styling a product, the best partnerships are a result of freedom to the tell the brand’s story. (This comes back to my earlier point about selecting the right bloggers.) A partnership should be just that: an opportunity for the blogger to use their voice and visual aesthetic to really make the product sing. And Arends knocks this out of the park.

Her photos are crisp, clean and adorable. They’re candid, but have an incredible editorial look to them. Almost like I could be paging through a magazine advertorial and find those specs looking back at me.

 

The Importance of Sharing

The lessons we learned in kindergarten even apply to marketing and partnerships –- sharing is key. One of the major benefits of blogger partnerships is sharing content and leveraging reach to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship. In this case, Arends’s post and photography has a second life on Rowley Eyewear’s website and blog. She receives increased exposure, leveraging the brand’s national platform, and Rowley Eyewear receives fresh content, showcasing their product and company story, and appealing to their core customer.

 

My benefit? I’ll be the proud owner of Rowley Eyewear No. 62 in a few short weeks.

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