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9 blog campaign lessons from BorderlessLive

by LaurettaCWright
9 blog campaign lessons from BorderlessLive

Having attended the debut event of BorderlessLive in London, I picked up 9 blog campaign lessons at the show – aimed at setting you apart from the competition.

The suggestions came from Eulanda & Omo Osagiede, co-founders of Hey! Dip Your Toes In. Using their wide-ranging skills the couple have helped brands like IBM, Lonely Planet and Etihad Airways tell their stories and create compelling digital content.

I was intrigued as to what the couple adheres to when securing blog campaigns with brands, so I went along to find out!

1. Be creative

The first blog campaign learning lesson that Eulanda and Omo suggested was to get creative and start coming up with ideas for your campaigns to present to brands. The more creative you can be, the better, but make sure that the blog campaign ideas are aligned with your own brand. For example, now might not be the right time to experiment with a new format for the way you present your blog posts if you are just about to start a new campaign.

Takeaway lesson: Start thinking outside of the box. Realise that you’ll have to sit down and do a bit of brainstorming before taking some of your best ideas back to the brand.

2. Communicate

Find out exactly what the brand is trying to achieve when it comes to working with you. They’ll want to see some return on investment, so make sure there's effective communication to determine exactly how they want to measure the blog campaign’s success.

Takeaway lesson: Don't just use emails to contact brands to pitch to them. Give them a call or ask for a meeting – building relationships face to face is much better!

3. Understand the chain of command

Very often brands will appoint PR agencies to work on their behalf to liaise with bloggers and content creators. It’s important to understand that chain of command and start building a relationship with the PR agency.

Takeaway lesson: You’ll create a bad name for yourself if you ignore the PR agency and contact the brand directly. Listen to their guidelines and follow them to the letter.

4. Include insightful research

To truly make a great impression on the brand (and ultimately the blog campaign), you want to work with, you should have done your research on them – and understood them. Ask them if they have any previous case studies or campaigns, along with specific content piece examples. Then you can compare what you have to offer with what has already been done.

Takeaway lesson: Your content should connect with the ethos of the brand. If it’s not a good fit, don’t try and force it. For example, I’ve been approached by a number of gambling websites for sponsored content. I’m not a gambler, I’m not even interested in gambling, so this wouldn’t align with my blog and the message I want to deliver. Integrity is really important to me and I won’t pretend to believe in something that I don’t agree with – and neither should you.

5. Remember the 3 C’s

Eulanda and Omo spoke about the 3 C’s – Creativity that taps into the desires of your audience; Creativity that leaves a lasting impression; and Creativity that makes your audience respond.

Takeaway lesson: Go back to the drawing board and make a detailed plan on the campaign. Include things like ideas, images and words that will evoke your readers’ imaginations. Make sure it’s not too time sensitive – offer advice that can be used again and again. Finally, encourage your readers to respond to your blog content and social media posts by asking leading questions, inviting them to engage.

9 blog campaign lessons from BorderlessLive

6. Think outside the box

To really make yourself stand out from the competition, when a brand starts discussing campaigns with you, they might suggest ideas and examples that you can use in yours. Impress them by coming up with new ideas. It helps if you base this on previous successful campaigns.

Takeaway lesson: Brands need to give us the flexibility to be creative, so give them examples of your best campaigns and show they how they’ve worked. Know that you are the best person to come up with ideas that your audience will engage with. Don't be shy in pushing the boundaries.

7. Organic traffic is dying!

According to Eulanda & Omo, organic traffic is dying and algorithms are working against us. Facebook, for example, has seen a 20% decline in engagement since January 2017 and the industry in general appears to be working against us. Brands need to add budgets for paid social with influencers to create an ad or boost a post.

Takeaway lesson: Have the budget conversation with brands early on and manage their expectations when it comes to organic traffic – we can’t always rely on it to work for our campaigns. Try to allocate some money to the side for sponsored promotion or work it into the cost of the campaign.

8. What’s the ROI?

Brands want insights into how blog campaigns have performed and want to see raw data. They’re keen to know what the return on investment (ROI) has been, so get into the habit of producing reports to send to the brand or the PR following the campaign. You should include things like impressions, reach and real conversations from the campaign. These conversations are important for the brand to see – even the negative comments as they need to know what they are doing right/wrong and what their competitors are doing. By producing reports for them you are demonstrating that you offer value and they’ll probably come back to work with you again and again.

Takeaway lesson: Send the brand a follow up report 2-3 weeks after the campaign has ended. If they need to see something sooner, send them what you have and then do a more insightful report at a later date. Don't be afraid to make suggestions to them.

9. Make a pre-campaign plan

According to Eulanda and Omo, you are probably likely to spend more time on the pre-campaign than the actual campaign itself. But preparation is the key to taking a good blog campaign to a great campaign.

Takeaway lesson: Ask yourself about the campaign’s values and if your blog aligns; are the brand objectives clearly stated? Is the target audience made clear? What are the content deliverables and the timelines? Are the key performance indicators defined? Paid social promotion – is this included in the budget? Are the contract and payment terms in place? What’s the communication plan?

In terms of when a blog campaign is in progress, think about:

  • Execution – what are you creating?
  • Milestones – do you need to tweak anything?
  • Communication plan – is it working?
  • Do you need to escalate anything?

Another thing to bear in mind is that the post campaign is just as important as the pre-campaign. Once everything is over it’s worth looking at the lessons learned – always ask for feedback from the brand and aim to get a quotable testimonial.

I hope some of these blog campaign lessons have given you an insight into what brands are looking for – and what you should be looking to do and offer.

The key takeaway lessons for me were doing the right research, offering the brand something they might not have thought of – and following up post-campaign with data and information the brand can use.

Save this for later…

Here's 9 blog campaign lessons picked up at BorderlessLive, aimed at setting you apart from the competition!

 

17 comments

Omo 20th November 2019 - 1:44 pm

Hey Laura! Somehow we’re just seeing this excellent summary of yours from our BorderlessLive Talk. You clearly took some great notes during our session. Thank you very much for attending and for sharing these notes with your audience. We really appreciate you. – Omo and Eulanda (Hey! Dip Your Toes In)

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Rebecca Smith 7th October 2019 - 3:33 pm

What a fantastic summary – very interesting! I’ll definitely be giving these a go – especially regarding thinking out of the box.

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LaurettaCWright 14th October 2019 - 4:12 pm

Thanks for commenting Rebecca – that’s great to hear and I’m pleased you’ve found it useful.

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Rowena 23rd September 2019 - 6:37 pm

This is so interesting thank you so much, some great tips and insights. I’ve not heard of Borderlesslive. Sounds great I will have to check this out.

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LaurettaCWright 24th September 2019 - 6:39 am

Thanks very much Rowena – I believe it was the first show that they held. Good to experience what they do and compare..

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Alex Grace 18th September 2019 - 1:51 pm

This is a fantastic summary Lauretta, thanks for sharing. One of the repeated themes by a lot of the speakers at Borderlesslive was that organic traffic is dying and the slogan ‘pay to play’ was used a lot. It will be interesting to see what happens with this over the next few years.

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LaurettaCWright 20th September 2019 - 12:14 am

Yes! I was surprised to hear about the organic traffic dying and what content creators can do as well – and it’s interesting to hear that other speakers were referring to this as well, so thanks for sharing. I’ll be watching this very closely – and maybe justifying even more now why my fees are a little higher than brands would want them to be!

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Laura 18th September 2019 - 1:22 pm

Great tips here, there’s always something to think about and learn. Sounds like an informative event.

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LaurettaCWright 20th September 2019 - 12:14 am

Thanks Laura – I do like popping along to keep abreast of current issues affecting the market – but the best bit? Catching up with friends of course!

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Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too 18th September 2019 - 1:03 pm

This is very helpful for all bloggers, new and old. Staying true to your voice whilst working with brands can be difficult but a little give and take on both sides can be achieved.

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LaurettaCWright 20th September 2019 - 12:18 am

It definitely has to be give and take doesn’t it Sarah? It works both ways like you say. But I think we should all draw the line somewhere – especially when promoting experiences/products that don’t rock our boat – like with the gambling thing for me. I also think brands would respect the fact that us content creators know where we have to draw the line – it means we’re more authentic I think.

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David Jack Taylor 18th September 2019 - 12:42 pm

Staying creative and unique can be challenging, but you blog should be an extension of you in my humble opinion. I find blogging events are great to get the creativity flowing and they certainly help raise motivation levels!

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LaurettaCWright 20th September 2019 - 12:16 am

Thanks David – and I agree on the motivation levels. I always come back inspired and raring to get stuck in after an event. I think I need to attend a few more, that’s all!

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Liona 16th September 2019 - 10:07 am

These are really useful tips. I will definitely be referring to these again later.

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LaurettaCWright 16th September 2019 - 2:47 pm

That’s great to hear Liona – glad to know they have been helpful!

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fashionandstylepolice 16th September 2019 - 10:02 am

Wow lovely tips here. Being creative and thinking outside the box definitely helps.

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LaurettaCWright 16th September 2019 - 2:55 pm

Thanks Stella – I was surprised myself at the pre- and post-campaign checklists. If you’re going to be doing this though, it pays to be thorough.

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