10 Secrets to a Successful Blog Ambassadorship

“Ambassadorships” are becoming more and more prevalent as companies engage mom bloggers for a promotional period as new products, movies or services hit the market.

This can be an awesome opportunity for you and the company involved. You get increased exposure as a blogger and hopefully either money or product worth your time and effort. The company gets the critical press they need to sell their product through the increasingly popular organic word of mouth of social media moms.  But, there are a couple of secrets to making this work successfully.

So, next time you get a pitch to be an ambassador or representative, consider the following: (For newbies, see below on HOW TO GET A PITCH.)

1.       How well do you know the company & their product? The definition of an ambassador is:  an authorized messenger or representative; OR better yet, a diplomatic official of THE highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative (ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiarylove that word!). You are being asked to represent this company for a period of time. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POSITION.

Note to PR/Marketing reps: Don’t be tempted to use this role lightly to get a little extra free press. It waters down the value of the word.

2         Does this product or service fit your brand or more simply put, does it fit YOU? If this connection doesn’t best portray your “brand” or the theme of your blog, don’t do it. It takes away from your authenticity as an expert or a diarist or whatever.

Note to PR/Marketing reps: Do your research also. Read the blogs of bloggers you want to pitch. Make sure they are able to represent you adequately.

3         Are you willing to do this for product or cash or both? Typically, PR representatives have the difficult job of disseminating free information and product in hopes of FREE press. To ask PR people for money goes against the grain of standard PR practices since they are supposed to be generating non-partial, non-paid, therefore non-biased reviews. BUT, before you throw me out of the blogosphere, keep reading.

4         Do you need more than free product to pay your bills? There comes a time to evaluate whether you need to be focusing on paying jobs versus spending your valuable time as mom and entrepreneur writing up freebies. For a while, you might not mind writing about fun free products coming in the mail. I still get excited when the UPS guy rings my doorbell – if I like the product.   

Note to PR/Marketing reps: {SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS WHERE IT GETS STICKY.} When you REQUIRE a blogger to post ANYTHING to get product, you are moving beyond PR. You are creating a relationship with a person that moves that blogger from the role of THEM (the outside media) to being a part of YOUR team – an extension of your promotional efforts. You get paid, why shouldn’t they (or rather, we, or rather, me)?

5         What is YOUR time worth? This is the point that you have to decide if what a company is asking of you is worth your time. When you are starting out, you may decide like in any job to do more for less. But, there comes a time that your family deserves you saying to yourself and companies – “The work I have done to build a platform, to build influence, to create a blog worthy of your pitch is worth more than you are offering right now. No, thank you. Come back after you have had a serious conversation with the person creating your PR/Marketing budget.

6         Create a media kit to be sent upon request and a media policy to post in a page on your blog. This doesn’t have to be fancy and it may even be simple numbers you keep in your head. It can eliminate a lot of confusion if companies know what you expect for each level of engagement (i.e. what you charge for a sidebar ad, a sponsored post, an ambassadorship, etc.)

7         Understand what exactly a company defines as an ambassadorship so you know exactly what you are agreeing to. Again, only you know if it is worth it to you at your stage as a blogger and social media maven to agree to what they are offering. Would saying “yes” now create goodwill for future engagements or would it start a user relationship that keeps companies in the dark ages thinking they can keep tapping you over and over for free?

8         For paid jobs, get a contract that states clearly what you are expected to do and what you will be paid. Or, send an invoice with due date if requested. For these relationships, there will be tax paperwork to fill out and there should be a 1099 generated at the end of the year to add to your freelance income. Yes, you should be saving almost half of this income for taxes.

Note to PR/Marketing reps:  If you want ambassadorships to be taken seriously, payment really should be involved. At this point, the blogger is working on your behalf since this role typically includes more than one review post. You have to decide what you are willing to spend and what you want for it. This should be clear to the blogger from the start. (i.e. “For $X, we want to see this # of blogposts with follow-thru tweets and facebook posts. Or, we’d like to see a video or your presence at an event or your work planning an event.”) Remember that bloggers are freelance writers who again – MUST. PAY. TAXES. . .  on this income which really minimizes the net profit when you are offering $20/post. Many “big” bloggers are netting anywhere from $200-$1000+ for their time & creative energy during a promotion. With some bloggers, this is a steal since you are not only outsourcing creative manpower but you are tapping into their social media relations as well. And, that's the beauty of working with mom bloggers!

9         Show up and act professional. Bloggers, I can’t say this more clearly. If you want companies to treat you like a professional, act like one. If you agree to be somewhere and do something, follow through for the sake of all of us. And afterward, do you go around blasting your employer? If you want to get paid and continue getting paid, think about what you say on your blog when you are representing them.

10     Treat your blog like a professional media outlet and disclose your relationship with the company just like newspapers use a different font for advertisements. Thank the company representative afterward and send a link to whatever posts you do. Keep their information for the future. Follow up if payment is not received in a reasonable time. Some things do slip through the cracks on their end as they are already being bombarded with the rigors of new promotions.

 

Communication, mutual respect and honesty are the keys here! Through these relationships, new ones will grow if you continue on in this bloggy world. Word spreads fast on who is easy to work with, who works hard, who looks good on camera and who understands the value of a mom blogger's time.

For Newbies, HOW TO GET PITCHED: Get involved, network, go to blogging events, have cards at events to hand PR people and follow through on emails. GET ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK if you haven’t already. They are your friends when it comes to spreading the word!

What are your thoughts on this process? Did I miss anything?

 

Update Addition: 46 Tax Deductions that Bloggers Often Overlook by ProBlogger

Comments

  1. Nikki @ Mommy Factor says:

    What are info. I’ve been part of Ambassadorships programs but still found some info I needed to pay attention to. Thanks!

  2. Excellent post Sarah. Great points. Thanks for writing it up for all us. I also think bloggers should inquire to the firm how many “ambassadors” they are working with… and who else will be ambassadors with you. You’d rather be 1 of 5 than 1 of 25 or 50. Just as you are aligning yourself with the brand, you are also aligning yourself with the other bloggers participating.

  3. Thanks! As a newbie this is good stuff to know.

  4. LOVE this info – thanks so much!

    Hillary

  5. Excellent post Sarah! Loved it!!!

  6. Good info, and of course really good for new people like me! Thanks for writing this, will be a great reference.

  7. Excellent post, Sarah. I love how you’re talking to everyone here, at all levels, on both sides of the picture.

    Getting a contract that spells out the expectations is key. And bloggers shouldn’t be afraid to renegotiate if they disagree with something on it.

  8. I just found myself nodding away in agreement here.

  9. Fantastic post, Sarah!

    The only thing I would add is to remember your audience. If you become a brand ambassador for multiple companies, competing brands, or your blog and social media become a big ad space. It’s important to maintain balance and choose your projects carefully.

  10. Well done, my friend. :-)

  11. Great post, Sarah. Right on point!

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