While influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular, it can be a little unclear exactly how brands can work with bloggers, influencers and creators. If you’re a huge brand with a massive budget and access to PR gurus, figuring it all out can be easy. If your resources aren’t quite as grand, figuring out the different ways to work with creators, specifically, the most effective ideas for your brand, can be overwhelming. For the third part in my, ‘For Brands,’ series, I wanted to share with you a few ideas on how brands can work with bloggers, influencers and creators.
If you haven’t already read them, you might like to catch up on the previous two guides:
- This is why brands really need to work with bloggers, and
- This is how to find + approach bloggers about working together.
Before you reach out to a creator and approach them about working together, it’s important to know what you want out of it. Not all of the ideas below will get the same results and which ones you decide to go with will depend on your brand, what you want to achieve and the creator you want to work with. My guide to finding and approaching bloggers covers this in detail, so be sure to read that first, if you haven’t already.
1. Instagram Posts
Engage a creator to capture beautiful photographs of your product and share them on Instagram. Look for a creator with an audience who matches your own target audience and gets great engagement with their images. You should also look for a creator whose images you love! Working with an Instagrammer is a great idea for a brand whose product performs well visually, like a delicious plate of food, a beautiful dress or picture-perfect resort. You can pay them per post or ask them to quote you for a package, something like 5 posts + an Insta-story update.
2. Sponsored Posts
Commission a blogger to create a sponsored post that includes a link to your brand’s website and, potentially, makes reference to your brand or product. A sponsored post is a cost-effective and efficient way to work with bloggers. It can build brand awareness and boost your brand’s Search Engine Optimisation. This could be ideal for a destination brand, for example, who commission a post inspiring readers to visit or a product included in a list-style post highlighting a range of products to readers. In my experience, it’s an organic, authentic way to get in front of a bloggers audience without breaking the bank. Here’s an example of a sponsored post I put together for Okinawa’s tourism board.
3. Written Review
For brands with a bigger budget who really want the spotlight on their product, a dedicated written review is a great option. You’ll be looking for bloggers with a large blog following and an audience that matches your target market. Be sure you like their writing style and supply them with all the experiences and information they need to craft a detailed, thorough review.
If there are specific things you want them to include, it’s important you provide them as part of the experience. For example, if a resort wants the day spa experience detailed, they should offer the blogger a day spa treatment. Remember, our reputations are built on honesty so it’s important our followers know we actually experienced what we’re recommending. A written review is long-form content so it’ll allow the blogger to include lots of information and images, as opposed to an Instagram post, for example. Here’s an example of a review I created for a Kuala Lumpur hotel.
4. Video Review
If the idea of long-form content appeals, a video review is another great option. Look to find a YouTube creator with an engaged audience and have them create a dedicated video review of your product. Again, they’ll be able to include more detail than a social post, so it’s great for brands like hotels or beauty products, that need more explanation and detail.
Video content really is King at the moment, with a lot of people preferring to watch, rather than read. So, if you’re looking to get ahead of the marketing game, video content could be a great option for you and your brand. If budget is a factor, you could ask a creator to come in and experience your product, including it in a larger video. For example, invite them to your restaurant for a meal as part of their trip to Singapore. Here’s an example of a video review I did of Lojel luggage:
5. Media or Press Trip
For brands looking for a big range of content over a longer period of time, a media trip, press trip or famil (familiarisation) could be perfect. We’ve only ever experienced these within the world of travel, but there are ways they could work within other industries too. A travel famil, in my experience, will take us to a destination for 1-2 weeks. Our flights, accommodation, meals, activities and all transfers/transport are taken care of and we follow a set itinerary, highlighting what the client wants us to experience and cover.
A trip like this could be a great way for a group of brands to work together to gain access to multiple creators audiences while keeping costs down. For instance, a group of resorts, restaurants and experience providers could all work together to bring a group of creators over. The cost is shared among them all and they all get exposure. If you aren’t able to pay the creator(s), you won’t be able to command specific deliverables (i.e. a written review, social posts, vlog episode etc). Here are my tips on how to survive a media/press trip.
6. Social Media Takeover
Have a talented creator take over your social media platform(s) for a set amount of time! You’ll find your social media accounts get an injection of creativity, bringing fresh, unique and engaging content to your platforms. It’s also a great way to gain access to the creator’s audience, hype their association with your brand and build brand awareness. I’ve worked in this way with the guys at Haka Tours, who allowed me to take over their Instagram for around a week, sharing two photos per day. It was fun and easy and was a cool, organic way to highlight the places I was visiting, without it being over-the-top advertorial.
You’ve heard of celebrity endorsements, right? Where a big celeb puts their name to a brand a la Beyonce and Pepsi, Rihanna and Puma or Ellen DeGeneres and CoverGirl. Well, engaging a creator as ambassador is the 2018 version of that! A recent example of this I’ve seen is the gorgeous Elle Ferguson coming on board as an ambassador for Mitsubishi Motors Australia. The benefits of ambassadorship are many, but perhaps the most relevant is the aspiration that comes from a beloved creator being associated with the brand. People who love Elle, for example, might see driving a brand new Mitsubishi as a goal. Of course, it also builds brand awareness, can boost sales and increase content creation.
8. Gifted Gear
Gifting gear is an easy way to work with creators of all shapes and sizes. If you have a product like clothing, makeup, jewellery, footwear, outdoor gear or just cool travel accessories, you can gift them to creators in return for coverage. I’ve worked with loads of brands this way, like Mountain Designs, Kathmandu, Lorna Jane, Lululemon and Antipodes. It’s a great way to put the ideas back in the hands of the creator, allowing them to use and share the products in a natural way. For brands, it’s also pretty cost-effective and, if you choose the right creator, can be fantastic for brand awareness.
While gifting gear doesn’t always equal huge amounts of coverage, a giveaway usually does! Contact a creator and ask them if they’d be interested in running a product giveaway. Usually, entry takes the form of, ‘follow us and follow the brand + comment why you should win/tag 2 friends.’ The creator will receive additional new followers as will you, building your own brand awareness. Because the creator wants the giveaway to be successful, they’ll be more likely to hype it, giving you extra promotion. It offers value to their audience and creates desire and interest around your product too.
10. Influencer competitions
If you want a clever way to get multiple creators to express interest in your brand or product, an influencer competition is a great idea. For example, a resort could offer creators the chance to win a 2-night stay at their luxury, beachfront resort for them and a friend. To enter, they should post a photo of their favourite beach destination and say why they would love to visit the resort + @ tag and hashtag using the brand’s preferred tags. This will bring brand awareness by putting your brand in front of multiple creators audiences and the caption entry will highlight specific reasons your resort is so desirable to them!
11. Event night
Invite a whole bunch of local creators along to an event night and spoil them! Trust me, creators love to brag so there will be no shortage of Insta-updates, vlog inclusions, social media posts, tweets and blog posts about the invite. For restaurants, you could host a decadent, intimate 3-course dinner, while fashion or beauty brands could host an exclusive cocktail party with goodie bags. Invite the most prominent local creators and prompt them to share with Insta-worthy photo opportunities at the event and specific tags and hashtags for them to use too. Here’s an example of a blog post I created for Brisbane Airport after an event night.
12. Guest posts
A great way to access the audience of an influential blogger is through guest posts. This can, in my experience, work one of two ways. A brand can contribute a guest post to a creator’s blog or request the blogger contribute a guest post to theirs. I worked with Mitsubishi in this way last year, contributing a fun post about a couples road trip to the Mitsubishi Motors Australia blog. It is by far and large the most viewed post on the Mitsubishi blog, by tens of thousands of views. Coming from an experienced blogger, the content related to their target market and, combined with some marketing budget behind promoting the post on Facebook, it really went off! Here’s a link to the guest post I wrote for Mitsubishi.
13. Affiliate Marketing and Banner Advertising
Many creators choose to work under affiliate marketing and banner advertising programs. For banner ads, you simply contact a blogger and find out their rates for purchasing banner ads on their site. You pay them, they place the ad for a set amount of time. For affiliate marketing, you’ll need to work with an affiliate marketing program or network. Essentially, the creator receives a small commission for each sale that is made by a person clicking a link and purchasing your product. Because they receive payment, the creator is more likely to encourage people to purchase through their links, which boosts your sales and exposure.
Pro Tip: If you’re interested in working with a creator in more than one of these ways, you should contact the creator and ask them to put together a packaged quote. You’re more likely to get a discount on the rate and, of course, more exposure.
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