It’s no secret that partnering with influential bloggers can work wonders for your brand. It’s impressive to see how one Instagram photo can boost brand awareness and move product faster than you can even blink an eye.
While influencer marketing has become incredibly popular among all kinds of brands, navigating compensation isn’t as easy. Here, we provide a few tips and best practices to get the ball rolling on your influencer marketing campaigns.
First, Do Your Research
Before pitching or getting into pricing with a blogger, do your homework. Does their blog align with your brand? If the product doesn’t naturally fit into their lifestyle, the partnership likely won’t resonate with their audience either.
Bloggers don’t need to have a huge following to wield real influence but they do need to be a natural fit for your brand. Otherwise, you may regret forking over too much compensation for a partnership that flops.
Research everything you can about their blog and presence — what they write about, who they’ve partnered with, whether or not they have repeat business from their sponsors, and the quality of their audience engagement.
While their social media follower count can be an excellent gauge of their influence, it can also be misleading, so what really matters is their engagement on those channels. Thirty thousand Instagram followers sounds impressive, but you may reconsider if their followers aren’t interacting.
Pitch Your Campaign
If you prefer to find out rates before diving into campaign details, you can always ask for a media kit. After all, if you’d really like to work with a blogger but you can’t afford a full-on sponsored story, it might be worth testing the waters with a sponsored social post instead.
If, on the other hand, you’re super clear on the campaign and prefer to jump right in, be sure to carefully outline what you have in mind. A campaign that requires one Instagram post likely comes at a very different cost than a week-long giveaway hosted on their blog, so keep these varying rates in mind. Be realistic with your expectations before casting a wide net to too many bloggers if you can really only afford one solid partnership.
Be clear on all the details and requirements before you start diving into rates. This will give the blogger the full picture of what you need from her before she’s even able to formulate an accurate quote.
Inquire About Rates
Once you’ve reached out with your campaign idea and the blogger expresses interest, it’s time to dive into rates. While this can be a tricky conversation to navigate, it’s an essential one and will get easier with time.
Be prepared — and respectful — of what their rate might be. If it falls within your budget, great; if not, it will help determine what caliber of blogger you can partner with. While an A-list influencer is most likely not willing to do a sponsored post for $300, a newer blogger might gladly do so and reach the niche audience you are so lusting after.
Unfortunately, there are no rules when it comes to blogger rates; influencer marketing is run by zillions of different bloggers setting their own rates and valuing their services through their own measures. It’s basically like the wild west out there but influencer marketing is well worth the effort when you work with the right people.
Most bloggers will have a media kit ready to go with set rates but since most bloggers evaluate contracts on a case-by-case basis, their list of services and rates are often just a starting point for your campaign.
Depending on the size of the blogger, rates can vary drastically. While you should expect to pay more for a highly influential blogger, they may also offer more return on your partnership. But don’t discount the medium-sized bloggers!
Working with them is often just as lucrative as their audiences can be super niche and targeted. What’s more, the Technorati Digital Influence Report 2013 claims that 54 percent of consumers believe that the smaller the community, the bigger the influence. They put more trust in these smaller communities, which can often result in more sales.
While some bloggers may happily work with you for free, you likely won’t garner the results you are hoping to achieve. If you want to guarantee a successful partnership, you have to offer fair compensation. You will also find the blogger is far more invested in your partnership if they’re respected as a business professional.
More and more brands and publicists are seeing the value of influencer marketing and are taking it into consideration. In fact, Social Media Today reports , “74 percent of global marketers say they will use ‘influence marketing’ as part of their marketing strategy in the next 12 months.”
The great thing about influencer marketing is that it can be way less expensive than traditional marketing yet far more targeted and beneficial in the long term. Treat influencer marketing just as you would any other form of marketing — it comes at a cost that yields real results.
Wrapping Things Up
Having the conversation about blogger rates is never an easy one. Sometimes it feels like a game of tag. Once you start facing the compensation conversation with more bloggers though, you’ll find it gets easier. Blogger rates won’t be so surprising and you’ll gain more clarity in terms of what to expect from a large blogger versus a small- to medium-sized one.
Always aim for bloggers that are hyper-targeted and do your research before reaching out with your pitch.
Navigation  Photo via Shutterstock