How to Work With Bloggers as a Fashion Brand

Working with bloggers & influencers can be a really great tool to help you build your brand and increase visibility. One blog post or shout out on Instagram can triple your website traffic, increase brand awareness and in the best case, increase sales. I’ve worked on both sides of influencer marketing: as a blogger working with brands and, as a brand working with influencers and although this relationship can be really beneficial, I've seen collaborations go wrong... really quickly.

When it comes to working with bloggers there are a few things you should always do like establish terms, discuss deliverables and timelines and decide on goals before you agree to work together.

To help save you the drama, loss of money and loss of product, here are 6 tips for working with bloggers as a fashion brand.

As with any collaboration, when choosing a blogger or influencer to work with, it’s really important that you choose someone that aligns with your brand. Meaning:

A: their audience is your target customer.
B: their brand values align with your brand values.
C: their aesthetic and style compliment your product and brand. 

"When choosing a brand to work with, number one it has to reflect my personal style and aesthetic. An integral part of my blog is creating authentic content. This means saying no to brands that are not a good fit or represent something I can't stand behind."  Lavenda Memory, Lavenda's Closet.

DECIDE ON A GOAL (before reaching out).
Working with bloggers & influencers is an investment of time and resources therefore you want to make sure the collaboration is actually beneficial to your business and helps you grow.

Influencer marketing is great on so many levels. This type of marketing can increase web traffic, drive sales, and help build your social following but let’s get specific. What specifically do you want to see happen from working with bloggers? After the influencer has posted about your business on their blog or Instagram, what is the outcome you’d like to see?

Not having a goal tends to mean that you spend marketing dollars or give away free product but at the end of the don’t feel like you’ve gained much. Set some specific goals for working with bloggers so that you can create a roadmap and specific guidelines to ensure that what you get out of the collaboration is what you want.

The best collaborations happen when both parties mutually benefit from the collab. When reaching out to bloggers & influencers, make sure to offer them value. Whether you’re offering money or product as compensation, make sure that you are clear about what the blogger is going to receive from working with you. TIP: Don't offer ‘exposure’ as compensation. Many bloggers find this to be offensive especially since you are reaching out to them which means that in theory, they already have a degree of exposure. If you don't have the budget to spend tons on influencer marketing be upfront and honest. Sometimes bloggers will still work with you becuase they believe in your product. 

One of the worst things you can do when working with a blogger/influencer….or really anyone is to go into the project without clear guidelines.

Do you want them to post about your product on Instagram? Write a blog post? Both?

How soon after receiving the product do you want to see something posted?

How long do you want the blog post to be?

Setting clear guidelines helps to ensure that you achieve the goals you set for the campaign and, helps to make sure that both you and the person you're working with know what's expected and that you're both happy in the end. Whatever it is that you’d like to see happen, make sure you share that with them. And, make sure that they agree to your terms before sending product or money. It may be a good idea to create a simple one-page document/contract outlining the details of your collaboration so that you're both on the same page. 

As you start reaching out to bloggers & influencers, don’t just look at the number of Instagram followers a blogger has to determine if they are someone you want to work with. As a brand, followers are great but engagement and influence are even better. You want to know that when they post about your business and say, “click the link in my bio to see fill-in-the-blank”, that people will actually click that link and potentially buy. Looking at the number of comments an influencer gets on their pictures and the number of comments a blogger has on their blog posts is a good indication that they have an influence on the people in their community and may be able to influence a sale. Also, something to keep in mind, sometimes bloggers with tons of followers tend to charge more to collaborate and/or are much less likely to accept product for trade. Don’t be shy to work with bloggers who aren’t as established. I can say from experience, if someone didn’t take a chance on me years ago, I wouldn’t be where I am today and you wouldn’t be reading this blog post. True story.

Some things to look for: 

  • Do they post consistency on the platform you want them to feature you on?
  • How much engagement does their content get? (How many likes AND comments) 
  • What is the quality of their followers and comments? (Do they have a lot of fake followers? Do their followers leave quality comments and not just emojis?) 
  • What is their tone/voice across their platforms? ( "Social media gives us more of a look into how people present themselves socially and professionally than ever before. Look at their content, their captions, their tweets and Facebook posts. You want to make sure that whoever you decide to work with is presentable and aligns with your brand across all platforms. Do your research." Candace Molatore.
  • Is their photography up to par? If you send them product will they be able to produce quality content that you can repurpose and share?
  • Have they worked with other brands? ( From looking at their work with other brands you can get a sense of the type of work they will produce for you.) 

As with any marketing initiative, you’ll want to track analytics. This will help you to know if working with that particular person was beneficial to your business and if you should work with them again. Two simple ways you can track analytics is to give the blogger a discount code to share with their followers so that if someone makes a purchase because of the influencer you worked with, you can see how many. Another way is to give them a specific bitly link to put in their bio so as people click the link, you can see how many people came to your website specifically because of that influencer.

Have you worked with a blogger or influencer lately? What steps did you take to make sure it ran smoothly? Join the conversation and comment below?