Have you ever had an experience with an influencer or blogger go sideways? Unfortunately, there are many ways this can happen. A sponsored post wasn't written and published as promised. They over promised and under delivered. They produced sloppy work that reflects poorly on your brand.
Have any of these things ever happened to you?
Luckily, in my online experience, the majority of influencers and bloggers have been professional and reputable. But, there has been a small minority who haven’t followed through on their commitments.
Just like in real life, there are a few bad apples. This can be especially frustrating when it affects your own reputation or your relationship with your customers, clients, or readers.
Contrary to the popular saying, all publicity is not good publicity. Just because people are talking about you, or you are getting exposure on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for you or your brand. Once something is on the internet, it’s likely out there, somewhere, forever. So, a poorly written review, a blog post with incorrect information, or an image that is less than flattering can all hurt you for a long time to come.
When marketing your business and working to get exposure for your brand, you want that to be positive in nature. It’s important that the image you (and others writing or posting about you) portray is an accurate and flattering one. The bigger your business gets, the more difficult it can be to control what’s being said. However, it’s important that you keep an eye on as much communication going out to the public as possible.
So, how can you ensure you’re working with reputable influencers and bloggers? It’s not always possible, but there are a few safeguards you can put in place to hopefully lessen the likelihood that you will get burnt. Don’t be lazy. A little time and research can often go a long way.
Here are five helpful tips for working with bloggers to promote your business and brand.
1. Get References.
Is there a way you can speak with previous clients or associates? Do they have a testimonial page with contact information? Especially if you are beginning work on a large project, don’t be afraid to ask for references. And, if you are sending them a valuable product in exchange for a product review, this is definitely a good idea. Talk with others about how prompt the posting was done, were they satisfied with the quality of the review, etc. When shipping products, be sure to track and request confirmation of delivery. This might help clear up a discrepancy later on. Be up front and honest with those you are planning to work with and make sure they return the favor. If you get a bad feeling, chances are your gut instinct is right and maybe you should pass on the opportunity.
2. Review Their Site.
Browse their site, read some posts. How does it look? Do they have comments turned off? Do they post infrequently? Is their content proofread? Are professional images used? These can be some warning signs to give you some clues about the type of blogger you are about to deal with. If you see something that raises eyebrows, don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification.
3. Google Them.
If they have an online presence, chances are some results will come up when you do a search. If the results are generally positive, that’s great. However, if you see a pattern of negativity, it may be a good sign to move on elsewhere. Obviously, not everything written and published online is the truth, but a consistent pattern is a good clue that something may be amiss. An internet search can be an amazing tool and can uncover some great information.
4. Deliver Payment When the Work is Complete.
If you can, make payment after the service is performed. Or, at least pay half in advance, and the other half when the project is completed. Ask to review the post or image before the asset goes live, this way you can gauge if the information is correct and of good quality. Honest bloggers and influencers will not have a problem with these types of requests. They will be understanding and cooperative. If you get push back, however, it may be time to look elsewhere.
5. Get It in Writing.
One of the best ways to make sure that all participants are on the same page is to create a statement of work (SOW), insertion order (IO), or legal contract. Lay out all of the details of the campaign; what's expected from each party, due dates, compensation, delivery of campaign stats, and be sure to get both parties to sign and date. This way if there is a discrepancy later down the road, you have a signed copy of the contract to fall back on. It's also a good practice to keep all email correspondence in a folder so that you can document the conversation and dates if you need to go back and clarify any information. This also helps alleviate, he said, she said scenarios.
Of course, these things help create a smoother process, but they are not always a guarantee. Despite your best efforts, bad things can sometimes happen. But, consistently being diligent can increase your chances of working with positive people. If something negative does happen, do your best to resolve the situation and then move on. Taking the high road is always better than getting into a public altercation, even if you are the one who’s right.
Have you had negative experiences with bloggers or influencers? How did you handle them? Feel free to comment below! If you enjoyed this post — please share it on your favorite social media site.
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Originally published July 2, 2013. Content updated February 25, 2019.
Dawn Berryman is the founder and owner of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University in English, communications, and journalism and has worked in the marketing/communications field since 2002. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband, three children, and their Wheaten Terrier. Dawn has operated an online business since 2006 and has worked from home full-time since 2017. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.