Blogging is having a huge impact on the digital marketing space, especially in the world of fashion. So much so, in fact, that top brands from Marc Jacobs to Mulberry have collaborated with some of the world’s top fashion bloggers in well-known campaigns.

And it’s easy to see why. In the UK alone, we have bloggers such as Susie at Style Bubble, who, at the time of writing, commanded an impressive 276k followers on both Twitter and Instagram, and just shy of 79k Facebook fans. Head to the States, and you’ll find even more impressive figures: Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad boasts over a million Facebook fans and a whopping 5.4 million Instagram followers. It’s clear that bloggers can hold a huge amount of sway when it comes to influencing the public. As a result, numerous fashion brands are keen to tap into this source of influence, attempting to work with bloggers to spread the word about their lines. It’s not as simple as just emailing a blogger and asking them to write about you, though, as these eight tips from four UK bloggers show…

1. Clarity is key

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Clarity comes in many guises, from being clear about exactly what you’re after to clarifying the story behind your brand. If you’re looking to work with fashion bloggers, it’s important to be clear about every single element of the project.

Marta, who blogs at This Is Simply Me, agrees – especially when she’s approached by newer brands who are looking to gain some exposure. “When working with a newer brand, it’s good to give information about the brand, its history, the meaning behind it, where it is based and anything else that might be relevant. This is a great way to gain a bit more exposure and share your brand with readers. I always find it interesting to get a bit more knowledge about the brand before buying anything from them”.

She also highlights how important clarity is when it comes to deadlines. “I’ve worked with brands before who didn’t let me know when they wanted the blog post to go live. It’s good to be clear about your expectations from the beginning. Also – give the blogger a chance! Sometimes I want to double check the products I receive and test them out before writing a post about them.”

2. There needs to be benefit for the blogger too.

It’s unlikely that simply sending a press release to a blogger will gain you any coverage for your brand. While most bloggers run their blogs as a hobby rather than as a source of income, many brands tend to underestimate the amount of work that goes into a blog’s upkeep, and the time it takes to carefully craft each post.

Emma Campbell of blog What Emma Did says that it’s not all about money. “Fashion bloggers aren’t always interested in monetary value, as most are really passionate about clothing and styling. Therefore anything in the form of vouchers or gifting benefits both the blogger and the brand – the fashion blogger can use this to style up and create some effective and stunning style photography. The brand can use the imagery to promote their brand, and give exposure to the blogger too. A win-win way of collaborating.”

Which leads us to our next tip…

3. Exposure works both ways.

The reason for wanting to work with bloggers is clear: it’s a great way to reach a new audience that has an interest in fashion. After such a collaboration, you should see a link to your website in the blog post, and the post itself shared across multiple social media channels.

Emma tells us that the best way to show your appreciation after the post has been written is for the brand to do the same. “Be supportive to the fashion blogger and retweet or repost any images or mentions the blogger features on social media. This shows appreciation of the social sharing.”

4. Give something to blog readers too.

Are you giving blog readers a good enough reason to choose your products over others that they may have seen on either the same or different blogs? Are you encouraging them to interact directly with your brand?

Offering incentives for readers of the blog post can have multiple benefits: you’ll give the blogger something else with which to lure in readers, you’ll give their readers the chance to enjoy an exclusive, and you’ll hopefully benefit from an increase in sales: an increase which can be trackable, if you use a different exclusive code for each blogger.

Marta tells us that offering either a competition or a discount is a good idea. “It’s always a good idea to give a code or voucher to the blogger”, she says, “so there is something you can give back to your readers which may also secure sales.”

The promise of a competition prize will attract bloggers, who often see significant increases in traffic to posts that lure readers in with a prize. They can also prove popular to brands looking to increase their reach and web traffic.

5. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Bloggers all have their own ways of working – and fashion bloggers all have their individual sense of style. Show that you’re genuinely interested in what they think and what they have to say, and you may well be rewarded.

Emma explains further: “Use the fashion blogger’s passion and enthusiasm for style by suggesting working together for any style tips or personal fashion advice/opinion. If the tips are used as part of the brand’s blog posts or online content, the fashion blogger will be flattered to be featured as an ‘expert’ and will more than likely link back to the coverage or share it on their blog’/social media, meaning exposure and promotion for both the blogger and the brand.”

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Photo: The Lenovo Fashion Night Out: a chance for international fashion bloggers to mingle

6. Do something a little different.

For many brands, the standard approach is to email a blogger with the offer of items of clothing, vouchers or a giveaway, and to wait for the blog post to appear. Offering something completely different – an experience that they wouldn’t get elsewhere – can make it more likely that they’ll agree to take part, and could even make positive coverage more likely too.

Charlotte Corner, who blogs at Crunch Corner, enjoyed a La Redoute Christmas blogger event in December 2015 and firmly believes that such events stand out.

“Here, 20 or so bloggers had the chance to meet, look at the brand’s Christmas collection, try on some clothes and keep an item. On the night, there was a photographer taking snaps of all the bloggers wearing the clothes, along with an open bar and buffet-style food. It was an intimate and friendly social. A gift bag containing accessories from the brand was given to each blogger too, and several days later, all the photos from the night were sent across to the bloggers.”

7. Think outside of the fashion niche.

You may be a fashion brand…but should you exclusively target fashion bloggers? Not necessarily. Think about your target market, and establish what type of blogs they may be reading. Whether it’s lifestyle, food, mummy blogs or others, approaching bloggers outside of those specialising purely in fashion will extend your reach.

That’s precisely what Penny Alexander at Wayfair’s A Residence Blog recommends: “Consider working with blogs outside the fashion niche too. Mixing up blog niches can help you to reach different communities and spark new content ideas. 65% of consumers trust word of mouth on the Internet more than content produced by advertisers, so blogging is a great way to tap into lots of engaged communities.”

8. Show how much you care.

If you’re looking to build long-term relationships with specific bloggers, then it’s well worth showing just how much that relationship means to you.

Charlotte not only blogs, but also works for a digital marketing agency that includes blogger outreach in its offering. “It’s important to genuinely value the importance of the relationship you are building with a blogger”, she says. “Over Christmas, we sent our bloggers gifts and hampers to say thank you for working with us in 2015. We didn’t expect anything in return, it was purely a kind gesture and a way to let them know we value their work.”

It’s clear that working with bloggers can be hugely beneficial to fashion brands: it can build awareness, increase positive sentiment towards a brand and help to build social media and website traffic. Long term relationships with specific bloggers can guarantee that brands will see a steady stream of content being produced, which will keep the brand top of mind for blog readers. The key is to ensure that things are done the right way: bear in mind that blogging takes time and effort, so a mutually beneficial offer is by far the best way to proceed.

Fashion brand looking to increase your web appeal? Contact The Filter to find out how best to optimise your site to appeal not just to fashion bloggers, but to your target audience as a whole.

Photo credit: Lenovophotolibrary – flikr