Yesterday, I said that I’m paid by brands to blog about them, and I gave you some tips for making those relationships work.
But before that… before any brand finds you, you have to create an audience of people willing to listen to you.
It’s about gaining the right readers, reaching the right audience, and growing the right way.
Follow these time-tested strategies and they’ll help you get noticed by the right brands for your highly engaged audience.
Top five ways to become a trusted brand ambassador
1. Start small when you’re just learning the ropes
Yesterday, I said that every blogger with a few months of regular posting under their belt has the ability to become a brand ambassador for the right brands, and I very much believe that to be true. However, you do need to have the right expectations in mind.
Early on with your blog, look for smaller, more local brands, and consider offering to share about their content as an “in-kind trade”—share about their brand or product in trade for free product or a gift card.
As your following grows, you can start to be paid by brands, and then get noticed by larger, national or international-sized brands. But I recommend starting small to get a few collaborations under your belt before going big.
2. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and NETWORK
In the social media industry, using local networks is drastically under-rated. No matter how large or small your local area of business, nobody wants to support local, small businesses like their fellow local, small business owners.
And that’s exactly how you need to start thinking of yourself—you are a local, small business that is looking to grow.
Introduce yourself to shop owners, let them know that you’re looking to partner with them when they have an opportunity.
Join your Chamber of Commerce to meet other like-minded business owners that have an interest in helping you thrive. And never underestimate the power of a friendly hello when you pass by your neighbor—that could be your newest partnership just around the corner!
3. Start with a single audience niche
One issue I see with several blogs that are just starting out is that they don’t offer one topic of interest. Ten years ago, there were so few blogs that we could get away with writing about any topic that interested us that day. But now, there are SO many blogs out there on the web, which make it incredibly valuable to start with a singular area of interest.
Want to write about travel? Great! Then don’t write much about your daughter’s ballet lessons. Instead, write about every single element of travel possible. And, if you can niche your travel blog down even more, that would be great.
You want new readers to come to your blog and immediately know if they feel a connection to your material. If they relate to you on a topic they’re interested in, they’ll stick around.
As your audience begins to grow, helping to show that you’re considered an expert in your particular niche, you can share more about yourself and your additional interests. Consider yourself like an onion that, the more your follower count grows, the more you share about yourself and areas outside of your original niche.
4. Always be a credible resource
Yesterday, I mentioned several times how important it is to try products and be familiar with brands before you endorse them, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you haven’t heard about it, check out the debacle that was the Fyre Festival in 2017—a terrible disaster of a music festival where people lost thousands and thousands of dollars. The only marketing tactic they’d used was working with bloggers and other social media influencers.
If you bought a ticket for Fyre Festival because Kendall Jenner talked about it, you’d probably reconsider listening to her ever again.
As bloggers, we can’t talk about brands that we don’t already know and trust and expect to gain a following that trusts us to be honest about our experiences with products.
With this in mind, always be familiar with products and brands that you endorse, share your real experience with them, and disclose that you were asked to endorse the product according to FTC guidelines.
Your followers will trust you, the brands you work with will trust you, and you’ll go to sleep with a clear conscience.
5. Be willing to put in the work!
Be willing to put in the work engaging with potential followers to help effectively grow your brand and following. Your customized, engaged following will come with time. And, when the right followers do find you, the brands you work with will be proud to work with you time and time again.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]