The following article was printed in Vol. 9 of orange magazine. To download the latest issue, including feature articles not available on the Web, click here.
Kit Graham once had a singing box of Ricola cough drops delivered to her doorstep. A blogger friend received a charcoal grill.
“Some company just sent it to her without warning!” Graham exclaims, laughing. Such is the mailbox of an influential blogger.
Graham’s blog, The Kittchen, features original recipes and restaurant reviews. It generates an average of 10,300 monthly views, has 6,000 Twitter followers, and has attracted brands such as Potbelly, Popchips, DavidsTea and Sprinkles cupcakes. Here, Graham explains what it’s like to be on the other side of the equation.
Why do you think brands are turning to bloggers more often now?
Kit: Bloggers are savvy. I can tell brands that the people who read my site are women between the ages of 25 and 34, and I can help you pinpoint a specific group within that. My subscribers signed up to hear what I have to say—and they know I would never endorse a product I didn’t like. I think brands are realizing bloggers are seen as trustworthy sources of information that carry more weight than an ad on TV or a website.
For brand partnerships to be successful, first, respect my time. Be straightforward about expectations and compensation. I’ve dealt with some sketchy media agencies and PR firms that try to get bloggers to do things for free, then turn around and charge the client for it. The second thing is the assurance that the brand will live up to its word: If you say you’re going to promote the content on social media, actually do it. Word of mouth among bloggers is incredible. You can find out right away if it was a good or bad experience with someone.
The perks of being a blogger
A few examples of the freebies blogger Kit Graham has gotten from brands:
“Brands will email me to ask if I want to receive samples in the hopes that I’ll include them in a recipe, a tweet or Instagram post to let people know that I like it. Sometimes, though, they just send me free products unexpectedly.”
“I’ve also been invited to restaurants for comped meals. There’s no strict obligation to write about it, but if I hated it, I probably wouldn’t say anything.”
“Sometimes bloggers are asked to serve as a social media correspondent at events, and the group hosting the event will send an outline of how many tweets they want, at which points during the event and which topics to focus on.”
Cold, hard cash
“Brands ask me to write a sponsored post on their behalf, where I’m paid to write about a certain topic. Blogger networks, like BlogHer, are really helpful when it comes to that. The network acts as an intermediary, recruiting the right bloggers for their clients.”