Guest Blog By Shana Starr
Beauty blogging is a serious business. The space has grown so large and is so powerful many bloggers are now becoming “celebrities” and are receiving their own television shows and ad dollars from beauty companies around the world. The vast number of these bloggers is growing daily and for beauty companies, answering requests from bloggers for product and even sponsorship money has become a job on its own. Many savvy beauty PR contacts say they are becoming overwhelmed with requests. It seems like it would be easy to look up someone’s popularity and audience reach, but it can become a time consuming chore for beauty companies to navigate the heavy onslaught of product and sponsorship requests. We have created a strategy and tips for beauty companies to vet these requests to quickly determine if they will help the beauty brand grow or just be another free product shipped.
- First, you need to gauge how many people their blog or social media channels reach to ensure you’re sending product to those who have sites that will reach large audiences rather than only a handful of followers. If their number of followers isn’t available on their site, use an audience reach tool like StatShow.com or Quantcast to look up the bloggers’ number of website visitors, and check out their social pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.) to see how many followers they have. If we still aren’t able to locate the number of followers, we kindly ask that they provide this number, and many bloggers are pleased to share. We currently recommend sending full product samples if they have over 10,000 followers on various platforms or if they represent a niche audience that we are trying to get in front of. For followers at less than 10,000, we suggest trial sample sizes.
- Next, check to make sure the blogger communicates openly and knows how to communicate on social media. We are always surprised at the wrong hashtag used or when a blogger is using a broken link. We also suggest to our beauty clients that they make sure the blogger communicates in an interesting, fun, and friendly manner that really gives their followers insight into why they are reviewing a product or working with a company.
- Is the blog visually pleasing or are there a ton of ads that break up the blog? If you are going to be sending them product, make sure you would want your brand on that page. This is an easy way to make sure your product aligns with the blogger’s look and feel.
- Look at past reviews and confirm that the blogger actually mentions the company’s name and even goes as far as to thank the company for sending them products. Look at previous posts and see if people are engaging in their comments and reviews. We suggest companies look through the blogger’s previous posts to see what they are covering (beauty, food, clothes, etc.) and if this aligns with our client’s brand. We also check out how many views they get to videos (if they post videos or have a YouTube), how many likes or comment each post gets, and frequency of posts. Basically, make sure they are putting in effort, dedicated to their blog, and their writing is professional.
- We review their policies and terms and conditions – do they ask for an unreasonable amount of product, do they require payment, or do they look like they are into reviewing a product or just want free products?
- Lastly, it’s important to keep track of what bloggers you are sending product to. When we see a great review that was shared by a blog with a large audience reach that our clients are happy about, we will gladly offer them more product for another review, thus growing the relationship and furthering our client’s reach. On the contrary, some bloggers will continue to ask for product but then never feature a review. Keeping a record of who the product was sent to, having a follow up system in place to track down the coverage, and keeping track of who covered the product is essential so you can weed out the bloggers looking for free product and thank those who have.
All of these suggestions help vet bloggers intentions and provide a way for companies to determine if they want to work with that blogger, give them trial-size products, or commit to becoming partners to grow their brand. Work up a numeric system to rate each blogger request so you can quickly give your clients recommendations. With a detailed system in place, you can build relationships with the most desirable bloggers that your clients want to connect with and further expand their reach. It will definitely help the process and create a faster workflow for reviews.
Shana Starr is Managing Partner at LFPR, LLC