There are many different ways you can market your food products and one that you might want to think about as you start out is working with food bloggers. I should put in a disclaimer here that I am a food blogger myself but hopefully my experiences as a food blogger will help you decide if it is right thing for you and make the process smoother if you do go down this route.
Food bloggers can get you in front of an audience that you know is interested in food and often to an even more targeted audience than that. Many food bloggers write for a specific niche and if your product matches that niche it can be a good way to get your product in front of your specific customer at a pretty good price. But if you go about it the wrong way it will at the very least end up consuming time that you don’t have to waste or worst case cost you actual money.
My top tips for working with food bloggers are:
- Use sponsored posts. Sure you can probably buy a piece of advertising real estate on the sidebar of a blog (I certainly sell them on my blog) but if you can get a respected food blogger to talk about your product then that is a much stronger endorsement for your product. But beware if you do this, then you have to be prepared for negative blog posts. You are very unlikely to find a blogger that will guarantee a great review and if you do then I would question how much their readers trust their recommendations and what real value you will get. You have to believe in your product enough for it to be reviewed. If you don’t, then perhaps you should go back to the drawing board.
- Work with blogs whose readers are in your target market. There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of food blogs out there. You need to find the food blog(s) that is right for you. There is no point approaching a blog that promotes no processed foods if you are selling a speciality sauce. You are unlikely to be successful and will just have wasted your time. Instead, look for a blogger who caters to the busy parent who wants to eat well but can’t find the time to make their own food. I know this sounds simple but you would be surprised how often businesses don’t consider who the likely reader is of a particular blog. There are blog listings that provide information on what food blogs are available but often it is by name and not by what they blog about (just google food bloggers to find some of these lists). It may take time to nail down who you want to work with but it is worth putting in the effort to find the right bloggers.
- Research the blogs in depth. Once you have a short list of bloggers you are interested in working with, then your research work hasn’t stopped. Go have a look at the blogs, check out if they have done sponsored posts in the past and what they say – do they actually talk about the product or is it just a product they include in a recipe? Check if the bloggers has a work with me page where they provide information on how they work with brands. (I should say I don’t have one of these on my page but I have worked with brands so don’t be completely discouraged if they don’t have this page but you love what they write about). Ask to see the blogs statistics. How many followers do they have on social media is important but you also want to know what their email list is like as this will get you in to the inbox of your customer. I would also be asking for information about click and open rates on emails. And remember a big number isn’t necessarily the best to go for. There are some blogs out there with small niche markets that have readers who love them to bits, and you may be able to see this from the blog’s facebook page or comments section. Don’t let the numbers completely rule your decision. Growing with a blog can be a great way to build a relationship.
- Don’t expect freebies. One of the things that food bloggers hate is businesses who expect them to work for free. Some newer bloggers will work for free product and I would always recommend sending samples or providing some way for the blogger to obtain your item for free – one brand who approached me offered me a gift card for the local supermarket to buy the item. But more established blogs will expect payment for a sponsored post. The thing to remember is that bloggers are looking to earn a living through the blog, just like you want to through your product.
- Expect bloggers to disclose the relationship. One of the most important aspect of successful blog is trust. Readers need to feel they can trust what the blogger is writing about. This means they should disclose the relationship with you (and in some jurisdictions this is a legal requirement). So don’t ask the blogger to hide that you paid for the post or provided the product.
Follow these tips and you will certainly be stepping off on the right foot. And of course like all marketing you need to have goals in mind and measure whether you achieve them. Have you worked with a food blogger? What was your experience and do you have any tips to share?