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Working with small businesses: from a blogger’s point of view

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Guest post submitted by Jessica Marr of Mom Vantage

When I started blogging almost two years ago, I was completely overwhelmed by the blog/business relationship. I didn’t know what to expect from them, or what they would expect from me. Thankfully, the first few businesses that I worked with were wonderful, and I still have working (and personal) relationships with many of them today.

I have worked with a variety of companies over the past two years, but I find that I get the most satisfaction out of working with small businesses. I love that the owners are more interested in what I have to say, my ideas on how to promote them, and their ideas on how we can both benefit by working together.

Small business owners are very creative, and often times, they have given me great ideas on promotion for both their product and my blog.

My favorite thing about working with small businesses is the opportunity to build long term relationships. This is something that is not always possible with a larger brand because you are dealing with a middle man (mostly PR agencies) not the actual business owner.

Here are a few things that I have learned while working and building relationships with small business owners.

  • Always discuss what you expect from the business, and what they expect from you. Far too often, bloggers and businesses are not on the same page when it comes to working together and this leads to a negative outcome. The business was expecting one thing, while the blogger was thinking something completely different (posting time, promotion, photos, etc). You need to discuss the expected post time, if the blogger will take their own photos, how they will promote , etc ahead of time so that each party is happy with how the review/post will go.
  • Cross promote!! The best way to get the most traffic to your post and the business is for both parties to share the link on their social media sites.
  • Share other interesting posts/products from the blog/brand. I often share recipes, new products, interesting blog posts, etc that some of my favorite small businesses post when I see them. (Yes, for free and simply because I like the content/product/info). I have found that by taking a minute to share what my favorite small businesses are up to, they take a minute to reciprocate and share a new blog post of mine. Or they say “Hey! I haven’t worked with Jessie in awhile and I have a new product I’d like to promote” and they send me an email about working together again. I know that this will get a lot of disagreement but I have also linked to small businesses in blog posts just because. If I am writing about my favorite craft projects, I always check out Freckle’s Crafts to see if she has any tutorials or craft kits that will fit my post. If she does, I link to them. Or I will link to the fabulous baking dish from Peacock Pottery that I used to make my favorite brownies.While I know some bloggers feel that this is free advertising and won’t do it, I think that sometimes it is more important to build a relationship and share a product that I think my readers will love – rather than not tell them about it because I didn’t get paid. I have found that I tend to get extra promotion for these posts because the businesses are happy that I mentioned them and they take a few minutes to tweet out the post, or share it on their Facebook page. It ends up being a win/win for both of us.
  • Be realistic. As a blogger, it is important to remember that small businesses don’t have the large budgets that big businesses do to work with bloggers. Most of the time, they cannot afford to send the most expensive product that they offer. But businesses also need to remember that bloggers don’t want to feel like they are being taken advantage of by being offered the cheapest product that is available. There needs to be a middle ground so that both parties feel valued without feeling like they are being taken advantage of.

It is important to remember that building a long term relationship between bloggers and small businesses is a two way street. Be willing to swap tweets or Facebook posts, chat with each other on your social media sites to help boost engagement, and share each others’ relevant content with your readers/customers/fans.

Do you have any tips for building long term relationships between bloggers and small businesses?

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Author Bio:

Jessie is a newly engaged mom of two that has a passion for photography and a love of animals. She is blogging her way through parenthood and life in general on MomVantage.

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