Storytelling is a vital part of marketing strategy for travel brands. The demand to produce and share compelling visual-based content is so high, some have turned to bloggers for support. Bloggers have the unique ability to produce stories using words and visuals that feel genuine and authentic, especially when compared to traditional forms of advertising. As such, bloggers have emerged as one-stop shops for content production. Their shares on the web and on social resonate deeply with consumers, which helps build brand recognition.
Hiring a content creator or blogger for a freelance project is an easy, relatively low-risk way to explore what content marketing and storytelling can do for your brand. As someone who might be unfamiliar with the concept of outsourcing creatives, how do you know if the blogger or influencer you’re talking to is the right person to work with?
- They ask informed questions about your brand and the objectives for the project. They discuss realistic deliverables and can provide examples of past work (and better yet - clients who can act as references).
- They use professional gear for their work, and it shows. They have access to secure, cloud-based digital asset management platforms for the storage of their visual assets (in addition to keeping physical back-ups). They're organized, and even if they aren't, they never let you see it.
- They know when to say "no" to an assignment or partnership with you brand. Maybe it's because they know their audience isn't the right fit, or, maybe there is a conflict of interest with another project they are working on. They won't accept an assignment they can't deliver results on. Keep in mind, some content creators are willing to team up with other creatives to achieve the reach or timing you're looking for, so don't be afraid to suggest it.
- They understand Federal Trade Commission guidelines around endorsements and affiliations and adhere to them on their blog and social media. Consumers are increasingly more aware that partnerships and affiliate marketing are how bloggers and influencers earn income, so this shouldn’t be viewed as a deterrent to your campaign's success. The FTC penalizes both brands and creators who don't comply with their guidelines.
- Some influencers have tens of thousands of followers on social media. Others have a relatively small amount of followers, but an engaged and loyal following (see Adweek's the rise of the millennial female influencer). Both kinds of influencers can drive results for your brand - it just depends on what your goals are. Use tools like Social Bearing, Klear, and Iconosquare to compare and contrast creator engagement.
For more insight on working with different kinds of influencers, see: Who Is the Millennial Female Micro-Influencer? and Bulls’ Instagram, Snapchat feeds get big boost from Chicago creative community.
- They treat their ability to create great content like the business that it is. They are prepared to negotiate and sign a contract, plus, they charge and invoice for their services. If they're a photographer, they know the difference between rights-managed and royalty-free image licenses. They also know what a 1099 tax form is and when to ask for one as an independent contractor.
Last, make sure you’ve got an overall content strategy and plan for promotion that your freelance content creator fits into. If you work with an influencer, be sure the digital spaces they will drive traffic to, like your website and social media pages, are prepared for their campaign. Be ready to track the coverage and be sure to share (and celebrate) feedback and success with them. In this hectic world, a word of mouth referral can go a long way for both your brand and the content creators you work with. Remember to keep in touch when a project is complete. You just never know where you (or they) might end up.
Do you have any tips for working with content creators? Share them in the comments below.