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4 Ways to Increase Brand Partnerships for Your Blog

Bold & Pop : 4 Ways to Increase Brand Partnerships for Your Blog

It's no secret that becoming a blogger can have some perks. It's hard to avoid bloggers in your Instagram feed showcasing brands and businesses. You know your favorite fashion bloggers who are always wearing the cutest outfits or the beauty bloggers who are always sent new products to try? Don't forget the lifestyle bloggers who always seem to get invited to the coolest events! Brand partnerships aren't just benefitting the bloggers either, influencer marketing has become a top priority for brands because it's a great way to get in front of a dedicated and niche audience. Readers often feel like they have a more personal connection with the blogs they follow vs major publications too so it can feel like more authentic content.

Not only are brand partnerships a great way to monetize your blog, but it's also a great way to network and grow your audience. So that's all great, but the real question though is, how the heck do you capture the interest of brands so that they'll want to work with you? Today we're chatting about just that! Lucky for you I have some inside scoop too because, in addition to being a Co-founder at Bold & Pop, I also write a NYC lifestyle blog! I've been blogging for nearly 7 years and in that time I've been lucky enough to partner up with some really awesome brands including HGTV, Martha Stewart, Michaels, LuLu*s, Warby Parker, Brooklyn Bedding and ANEW Wines, just to name a few. Plus, working in the PR industry I've learned a thing or two about being on both sides of the fence. So whether you've been a long-time blogger or are just starting out here are 4 ways you can increase your brand partnerships for your blog.

Streamline Your Content

One of the best things you can do as a blogger to attract brands is to streamline your content! We talk about this in branding a lot, but what do you want to be known for? Focus on a handful of categories or topics that you want to focus on and stick to those. You know that phrase, if you're marketing to everyone, you're marketing to no one? That stands true for your blog as well. Zero in on the key topics and audience you want to talk to. Your content may evolve over time but having a focus will make it easier for brands to see if they would fit into your content. 

From a PR perspective, having a niche will also allow their teams to pitch you ideas or products/events that would naturally fit into the things you're already writing about. I will say from experience brand partnerships can also have a bit of a snowball effect. Both in that PR teams may have multiple clients to pitch with you, and also once you have published sponsored content you'll often be pitched by brands in a similar industry. For example, I did a sponsored post on a mattress from Brooklyn Bedding (which is amazing btw!) and then further down the road I was pitched and included Living Comfortably's bedding products into a post. I was also approached by another mattress company and by the PR team at Bloomingdales to be featured as a bedding expert in their flagship store in NYC. All of which received interest stemming from that first Brooklyn Bedding post. Because I had written that previous review, similar brands were able to preview how I might also feature their products and then showed interest in how they could also work with me. Helloooo snowball!

That being said, I will also say it's important to make sure any brand partnerships fit within your content in someway so that everything stays streamlined. I certainly don't say yes to everyone and am pretty selective. This is because, one, I want to stay on topic for my audience. They come to my blog because they want an authentic look at what it's like living in the city with a touch of home decor, entertaining, and DIY posts. Reviewing random products that don't align will likely turn them off, and it's not much fun having a blog with no readers. Two, while I certainly get perks and monetary compensation for some of these posts, they're time-consuming. For me, my blog is my side-hustle to my business so I want to make sure things are really on-point with what I cover. So definitely keep that in mind when you start getting approached!

Showcase Partnership Opportunities

Something that can definitely increase your appeal to brands is to have a "work with me" or "partnership/collaborations" page on your blog. By doing so, you're giving brands a clear call-to-action to let them know you partner with brands. Below is an example of how I've formatted my page to highlight some of the different opportunities I offer.

Bold & Pop : 4 Ways to Increase Brand Partnerships for Your Blog

Along with having a work with me page, I'd also suggest having a media kit or rate card ready. Some brands will request one to see if a partnership is a good fit. There's a lot of different ways you can create them but I suggest including the following:

  • Key metrics (page views and social media audience)
  • Overview of you and your blog
  • List of topics you cover
  • Overview of partnership/sponsored post/advertising options and pricing

Having this on hand adds to your professional appeal and can be an easy way to give someone who inquires more info without having to go through a series of emails or calls. Kind of similar to creating a welcome kit for your business! We also offer one-page media kit templates in the Bold Boss Resource Library if you need a little help getting that set up.

Register your Blog on Influencer Websites and Media Databases

If you want to get your blog directly in front of PR firms a sure bet is to register directly with media databases. One of the most popular ones used is called Cision and they have an option to submit your blog as a media outlet to be added to their database. This will add your blog to the different categories it's applicable for (why that niche is important) and is a top resource that teams looking to get coverage for their clients use.

You can also take the route of registering for various influencer programs that will present you with potential partnerships such as The BlogHer Influencer Network and Influence Central -- just to name a few. Usually with these platforms they will present you with different opportunities and then you can submit an application to be considered for the campaigns. These can be great options when you're just getting started too to get a few sponsored posts in your portfolio too.

Be Clear in Communication and Build Relationships

Last but not least.. make it easy to connect! This may sound SO simple but make sure you have a contact feature on your blog. Make it as simple process! I also suggest including an email in your Instagram and other social media account profiles. I've had so many brands reach out directly from Instagram so I highly recommend this. The easier you make it for people to find your contact info, the better. Another tip I have is to be quick with your communication. If you get an interesting inquiry, try and respond in a timely manner. Some of the partnerships will take a little bit of time to get rolling so this will help speed up the process. I know working on both ends of the fence I always remember people who can turn thing around quickly too. Being quick, clear and concise and easy to work with are all traits that will make contacts want to work with you again. Try and make an impression and build a relationship with those who reach out so that they'll keep you in mind for future opportunities or other clients.

Hope this has been helpful and be sure to drop any questions you have in the comments below!

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#BoldBossTribe :: Rosemary Richings

Bold & Pop : #BoldBossTribe Feature with Content Creation & Strategist Rosemary Richings
Bold & Pop : #BoldBossTribe Feature with Content Creation & Strategist Rosemary Richings

Tell us your bold boss story!: 

Bold & Pop : #BoldBossTribe Feature with Content Creation & Strategist Rosemary Richings

I’ve always been passionate about writing and helping people that are struggling with getting the words just right. 

So, all throughout school, I daydreamed about one day becoming a self-employed professional writer/ editor. And I even read a lot of books about it.

But it was always something I kind of just expected would be a “someday when I’m a lot older” sort of thing. 

I grew up believing that going to university, and working hard, and getting a “regular” 9-to-5, and raising a family was the acceptable thing to do. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll score a good client or a book deal and be able to quit your day job.

Right around the time, I was about to finish university my beliefs about what I was “supposed to do” got challenged. Every grad school I applied to rejected me, and while all my friends were getting job interviews, I got…um…cricket sounds. 

And then I had a great idea. A risky one but not a bad one. Why not start an online business, focusing on online content creation, editing, and strategy for B2C businesses? I did some soul searching and realized that this was something I was not only really good at but actually enjoyed doing. I made some sacrifices, and did whatever I could to save money, and get started. I sent pitch, after pitch, after pitch, after pitch, to businesses and publications every…single…day. And then I started to actually get a few “yes” answers.

As time went by those few “yes” answers turned into even more “yes” answers, and here I am, nearly three years later, still running the same online business!

We're all about bold boss moments, tell us about one of yours!: 

I'm proud of the fact that I've got the chance to add major brands to both my list of publication credits and my client list. I'm proud of the fact that I've got the chance to be part of the growth of some startups and small businesses that are doing really cool stuff within their communities. But most importantly, I'm really grateful that I've got the chance to do something that very few people that I know understand or thought was possible.

Bold & Pop : #BoldBossTribe Feature with Content Creation & Strategist Rosemary Richings

What advice or words of encouragement do you have for the Bold Boss Tribe?: 

Never give up, and never stop putting yourself out there. Running an online business isn't easy, and I find that the ups and downs are more extreme than anything else I've ever experienced. So it takes a very specific person, a very strong, resilient person, to not crack under all of that pressure, and be mislead by the praise of random strangers. And if you're that kind of person, then awesome! And if you're not that kind of person this probably isn't the right lifestyle for you.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

P.S. Exciting news! We launched a free #BoldBossTribe Facebook Group and would love for you to join us! Come on over!

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5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

So you’ve built your website… YAYYY! You have your homepage, products or services, about page, blog and any other pages you need and it all looks bomb digs! Whoop! Whoop! But have you taken a second to evaluate whether or not your site flows properly and allows for easy navigation? This is your website’s user experience and it is just as important as making your site look amazing! Not to worry though, we’re walking you through some of the easiest adjustments to make to improve your site’s user experience so your site not only looks amazing but also provides a great experience for your users. 

But first things first, why is this important to your site?

User experience (UX) design focuses on the functionality, usability and efficiency of your website rather than the visual aspects (although they should go hand-in-hand when designing your website). Creating a positive user experience helps users quickly and easily find what they are looking for which ultimately helps:

  • Encourage them to stay on the site longer
  • Encourage return visits
  • Encourage referral traffic
  • Increase sales and/or inquiries

Alright now let's get into the nitty gritty -- Let’s improve that UX design!

Navigation

Take a peek at your navigation. What do you have in it? If you have a ton of links in your navigation this can be completely overwhelming for your user! An easy way to clean this up is to either combine some into a dropdown menu or to move them into your secondary navigation in the footer.

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

We suggest having no more than 7 main links in your navigation (excluding a customer login or shopping cart link). This will keep things concise allowing you to highlight the main points of your website with all your other information in dropdowns or the footer. 

Another point when it comes to your navigation is to rename and/or reorder your navigation. Make sure your navigation titles are clear and to the point. If you have an online shop, title it Shop instead of something like Catalog or Lookbook so users know they can buy directly from your website. It can be tempting to get creative to add a little personality but just make sure they clearly define what that page is about if you do! 

Also keep in mind that we naturally read from left to right so make sure the most important pieces of your website are listed first in your navigation. This is why most website navigations are in the order of Home, About, Services/Shop, Blog, Contact. This is because most new users will come to your website and want to learn more about you then your services and then contact you. However, really take some time to think through how your ideal client would flow through your website since every industry is different. This may affect how you decide to order your navigation.

Above the Fold

You want to keep your most important information on each page above the folder. Above the folder means the part of your page that your users see before they begin to scroll. This will give your users a quick view of what they can expect from that page ultimately help keep them on that page to explore longer.

This is where your web design meets UX design though. You don’t want to load the top of the page with so much information that you overwhelm your user either. Consider if there is a way to rearrange your content to provide the important information upfront in an aesthetically pleasing way. Finding a balance can be tricky but this will ultimately help improve your UX while still keeping your site beautifully designed!

Call-To-Actions

This is so insanely important in creating a positive user experience. Your call-to-actions (CTAs) direct your users around your website so you want to make sure they flow in the best way possible. While your navigation will help with this, implementing call-to-action buttons and graphics throughout your website will help encourage users to click through and explore your website even further. This can be as simple as creating buttons saying “Learn More About Our Services”, “Shop Now”, or “Check out our portfolio” in appropriate areas on your site. You typically want these after content that has already explain a little more though. For example, at the end of your About page it may make sense to add a CTA to direct users to your portfolio. Something along the lines “Interested in learning more about how we can help? Take a peek at our portfolio!”

Take a look at each page on your website and see where it makes sense to add some CTAs so you can help direct your users around your website and ultimately land a sale or inquiry! 

Homepage Design

Your homepage is a snapshot of your overall website so you want to make sure you are highlighting the main points of your business right up front! Chances are most of your new traffic is landing on your homepage first so the design of this page is essential to directing those users around your website to keep them on your website longer to learn more. (Because nobody likes to land on a site that they 1) have no idea what it's about and 2) can't easily navigate to the information they are looking for!) 

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

We suggest evaluating the main pages you’d like your users to visit and then create graphics for the homepage to direct users to those pages. This can be graphics for a homepage slideshow and/or various buttons. Consider your various services or product categories and how you can direct users to these pages. You may also have seasonal or holiday specific promotions you’d like to offer meaning you can swap these graphics out when applicable!

Search Bar, Summary Blocks, and/or Category Buttons

Now that you have everything else all set, you might want to consider implementing additional features to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for or similar content. This can be as simple as implementing a search bar and displaying it in a prominent area so users can easily search your entire site and/or blog.

Other options would be to add category buttons. This makes the most sense for your blog and/or your shop. You want to make sure your blog posts or products are first categorized appropriately. Then create your category buttons (custom graphics or simple buttons through Squarespace) to add to your blog sidebar or on your shop. This will make it seriously easy for users to click on that necklace category button to see all the necklaces you sell increasing your chances to sell even more (Score!).

Similarly, you can use the summary block on Squarespace to add related blog posts to the bottom of each of your blog posts. This will show your user related posts they may be interested in helping them get more of the information they are already interested in.

Bold & Pop : 5 Ways to Improve Your Website’s User Experience

As you can tell any steps you take to make it easier for your website visitors to navigate your website so they can find the information they are looking for is essential for improving their user experience. Take your time going through your website page by page evaluating where you can implement some of the tips above. This way you can have a beautifully designed website with a great UX design as well!

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