I have lots of connections in the homeschool community, so curriculum companies sometimes approach me about recruiting affiliates to review their materials and promote sales or to find brand ambassadors to partner with. These companies are trusting me to select the best bloggers to receive free samples and compensation. When I look for those ideal bloggers, there are certain characteristics that disqualify a blogger in my mind.
Your Blog is All Reviews
The best kind of promotion is native marketing — organic mentions within valuable content. On a review blog, a post about my client’s product is going to get lost in a sea of similar looking posts. I always look for real content, evergreen posts that are helpful and provide answers to a reader’s question. Too many sponsored posts are a turn off.
How many is too many? I suggest you aim for a ration of 4:1. Write at least four meaty, content-driven posts for every one promotional post (review, affiliate, or sponsored).
You Use Social Media to Rant
Yes, your blog is your online home, but think twice about venting your venom there if you want to work with brands. I recently read a scathing series of posts by a blogger about a specific curriculum company; I was horrified. The risk is too great for a company to associate with a blogger who discredits companies so vehemently in public.
Even if you keep it off your blog, if you tweet nasty quips about customer service or vent on Facebook, you are still a dangerous risk to associate with. Yes, use social media to ask for help and even to express dissatisfaction. But there is a line that you cross when you start name calling or lose control emotionally.
Your Online Persona is Inconsistent
You use different names on different platforms. Sometimes you use one last name; other times you use a different one. More often you go by versions of your blog’s name instead of your own name. It gets confusing. Who are you really?
You use radically different and unrecognizable avatars. On Twitter you are the face of your dog; on Facebook you are the image of your youngest child, and on Google Plus you use your blog logo as an avatar. Are you hiding something or just shy?
If you are not complying with the law, it sets up a red flag for me. Maybe you are unaware of the rules set out by the FTC. Or maybe you just don’t care. I have no idea of knowing, and it really doesn’t matter. Brands want to work with bloggers who have their ducks in a row already.
You Have No Contact Information
Maybe I really want to work with you, but I can’t find a way to email you, and your blog has no contact form. My only recourse is to communicate via social media (often publicly) or to give up and continue my search for another blogger. Make sure that you have contact information very apparent in multiple places on your site: in your sidebar, on your about page, on a contact page.
I am certainly not the god of blogging, and it could very well be that the bloggers I rule out would be very effective partners. But these characteristics are obstacles in my way to recommending you as a brand representative. Shore up these five areas, prepare an attractive media kit, and companies will be eager to cooperate with you.