How to make your blog more brand friendly

Yesterday I wrote a post outlining the ways bloggers can reach out to brands and start a working relationship. As any seasoned blogger knows, that is just half the battle. Once you have a brands attention you need to keep it. Your blog is your resume or portfolio of previous work. Every post, every picture and every campaign you have ever done has been documented and indexed on your blog. You need to make sure your blog is brand friendly and easily navigated if you want to monetize and have partnerships with brands.

So the big question- How do you make your blog brand friendly?

Before I begin you may be wondering who I think I am to be giving this info. I have been working with brands, PR reps, community managers and other networks for over four years on this blog. I have had many face to face, one on one conversations where I flat out ask what they are looking for. I feel we can always learn and grow and knowledge is power. I am hoping by sharing this with you, you can save a lot of time and energy. I know how frustrating it can be to get noticed and stand out from the crowd.

Here are my suggestions on How to make your blog more brand friendly

Pleasing to the eye

I mentioned in my previous post investing in your blog url. This means owning your domain name and starting to brand yourself. It is more pleasing to the eye and professional to not have the blogspot.com after your domain name. You should also invest in a blog design or if you are tech savvy and a bit creative you can easily do this yourself. A header and layout with a logo and matching social media buttons brands you and makes you recognizable. A design does not need to cost a fortune and you can add to it as you need. Sometimes simple is best so look a what you can afford and start from there.

Having your blog laid out so it flows easily and everything is easily found is important. If someone lands on your blog and it looks like a big old mess you will lose them before you even have a chance.

Navigate easily

As I mentioned above you want your blog to flow easily. Do this by linking to other posts when making a reference. Also when you have a link have it open in a new page to keep your readers on your blog. You do this by checking the box that says “open link in new window”

new-window

Have your contact info and social media buttons located near the top of your blog to be found easily. You want your readers, especially first time visitors to have a seamless experience while on your blog. Any tabs on your blog should be clearly named as well to avoid confusion.

Contact info

Being brand friendly means you want to be contacted. Remember you are one blogger among many and you have a short time to grab the attention of the brand. Now that you have it, do not lose it by not having a way for them to reach you.

I like my contact form but I know many who prefer an email they can copy and paste. I have both so there are options. The contact forms are free via a service but can also be added with jetpack or a plugin if you are on WP. I keep changing my contact me as I can not make up my mind what I like best. Right now it is in my PR Friendly drop down menu where a new page opens up and there is a form and my email. If my PR Friendly tab is clicked , it too opens to contact info. Either way, it is there and easily found.

contact-me

Search bars are a MUST

Having a search bar on your blog is important for your readers but also important for brands. Almost all of them will use this to see 1. If you have worked with them or a competitor before 2. If you are posting something against them 3. In some cases if you have Adult material or other posts that they do not want to align themselves with.

If you do not have a search bar on your blog get one now!!!

Recently Bird’s Eye Marketing did a presentation and showed a bunch of us how to activate the search terms in our Google Analytics so we can see what people are actually searching for on our blog. This valuable information will allow the blogger to adjust as they need.

Location and other demographics

If you want to work with brands on reviews, giveaways, sponsored posts, advertising or other campaigns you need to let them know information about you and your blog. Best way to do this is have an about me or pr friendly page. This is where you will place your location and any info pertaining to demographics.

For your location you can be as specific as you want or as general depending on what area you cover. If you are in a large city and looking to cover local events and companies, then add your city. If you want national I suggest having your state/province. Realize the more general you are the more chances you may be pitched for events that are further out. So be patient if you get these invites.

As a mom in my 30’s I find many of my readers are also moms with children at home. Women aged 25-45 with children is my highest readership. For brands that want to target moms this is important to include. You can find this info on your Google Analytics as well as your Facebook fan page.

Tabs, tags and more

Every post should be tagged for a few reasons. You can search by tag and share the URL of your posts that share that tag. As well you can add tabs to include just those tags. Tags allow readers to find posts similar to the others with that tag. When I wanted to branch out and add more family travel content I made sure to add a Travel tab on my blog and tag all travel posts. The more posts that organic readers find similar on your blog, the longer they remain.

If a tourism board wants to invite me on a media trip they will be looking on my blog for any travel content I may have. The Travel tab, my tags and the search bar makes this super easy for them to find and navigate. Again you can be very general or very specific depending on what you cover. If you cover a broad range of travel then “travel” works. But if you are more area specific, I suggest adding in names like “Canada” or “Toronto” and “Mexico” etc. This goes for food, products and other categories that you may specialize in and want to stand out in.

Tabs can be general topics you cover with drop down menus to be more specific. You can have them displayed under your header or in your sidebar. It often depends on your theme, layout and preference to where they are displayed.

Social media

Your blog is just one part of you and your readership. Have your social media buttons displayed and linked in an easy to find spot on your blog. Chances are they will click on them to see your following and engagement on each. If a brand is looking to increase their presence on a certain platform they may want to make sure you too are on there.

ON your social media platforms be sure to have them link to your blog. Fill out your profiles as best as you can and include a way to be contacted. Direct messaging often opens doors to email communication and pitches.

Brand mainly look for Facebook and Twitter but many are asking for Pinterest and Instagram as well. More and more are asking for others like Google + and klout as well. I find not all readers are on all so sharing info across many sources keeps everyone up to date and informed. I just change it up as needed.

I have #PRFriendly on my social media, I know some who say this is tacky but I also know many brands who say it helps save them time. This way they are not wasting time on pitching people who do not want to work with brands. For me I like it, but for you, you need to make that choice.

Content is key but own it

Of course you own what is on your blog because if you did not, well that would be a whole other issue. What I mean by this is stay true to you. If you swear on your blog expect to be excluded from some companies campaign. A G rated company is not going to want to partner with a X rated blogger who posts adult content and drops F bombs.

A meat company will not partner with a Vegan blogger and a male dominated brand will likely not pitch you if you only cover women’s issues. So keep this in mind when you align yourself with advertisers. Relationships now will reflect your blog in the future.

If you want to specialize in an area write about it. I wanted more family travel so I started covering local attractions and writing tips for travelers. This put me on the radar for travel PR.

Google analytics

If you do not have this on your blog STOP and go install it now.

I am amazed how many bloggers do not have GA installed on their blogs. If you have not yet been asked for your Unique Monthly Visitors you will soon and the best most reliable industry standard for this is Google Analytics. Yes blogger and Jetpack and Statcounter show stats too but some will argue what visitors they show. Bots, spammers, YOU may be included in those numbers. You want GA as it shows would wide visitors and breaks everything down for you. This can be installed in HTML in a widget or as a plugin but it is a must.

Often when a campaign is over we will be asked for specific stats on that post. How many people visited your blog and how many visited just that post.

It takes a day or two to register and track so add it before you are asked. Add it now!

How to make your blog more brand friendly

You may have noticed me using the word easy quite a bit. The thing is there are a lot of bloggers and you want to make things quick and painless to increase your chances. Even though I feel I have been at this for a while I am still learning what works and what does not. Whenever I have the opportunity to ask a rep why I was passed over or what I can do to improve my blog and chances of being chosen, I do. If you are not yet that courageous maybe ask a friend to look over your blog. A mini critique and have them test out how user friendly it is. Their feedback will be very useful for you and the future of your brand partnerships. Good luck!

Comments

  1. You shared some valuable tips, thank you! I really like your suggestion of asking friends to do a mini critique of my blog ~ I'm going to implement that!
    My recent post Last Week’s Value-Priced Food Score: Chicken Hearts & Giblets

  2. These are good pointers Kim. Several are super simple to do and implement. I remember being a newbie blogger and not activating GA for a couple of years I think. That was silly. Now I also have a lot more people and connections who can advise me if I am missing something or help me to add it or activate it. New bloggers sometimes just need to make the right friends and ask the right questions politely and they will get help.
    My recent post Flash Giveaway

  3. Ah I was guilty of not having Google analytics installed a few months ago, but got that taken care of ASAP. Thanks for sharing these great tips!
    My recent post Thinking Out Loud…Learn More About Salata

  4. themixinpot says

    I love your blogs and appreciate them. These are the questions that I have and this is a big help!

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