So you want to work with bloggers do you? Perhaps you saw the wonderful campaign Canadian Tire recently put together featuring decor bloggers. Or you read an article that said “influencers are the next big thing!” Or maybe your competitor just pulled off the most epic blogger campaign and you’re left in the dust thinking “why didn’t I think of that!”

Harnessing a blogger’s power and credibility is not as easy as sending them a press release or a basket of free product. You want bloggers to authentically tell your brand story in order to drive engagement, sales, and conversation within their community.

Here are five do’s and don’ts you should be aware of when working with bloggers:

The Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing

1. Do Make Contact in Advance // Your relationship with key influencers & bloggers shouldn’t start as soon as you want something from them. Lay the groundwork a few months ahead of time. Start to build a relationship!

2. Do Your Research // Research the blogger before reaching out. Check out their media kit to gain insight into their reach/following and fees. See if they have used your product before. See if they are using your competitors products. Taking the time to read through their blog will give you plenty of answers.

3. Do Have Compensation in Mind // If you want high quality & authentic content created by your blogger partners, then it’s best to have a budget in mind before reaching out. You can either ask the blogger what their post rate is, or use your budget as a jumping off point.

4. Do Use a Creative Brief and Contract // Writing out the campaign details in a creative brief will ensure your vision is concise and well thought out. It will also help the blogger know what you are expecting out of the partnership. A contract signed by both parties will seal the deal, and ensure accountability.

5. Do Continue the Relationship // This is not a one night stand type of relationship. You put time, effort and money into building a relationship and a piece of content that you and the blogger should be proud of. Continue to converse with the blogger. Share their posts in the future.

The Do's and Don'ts of Influencer Marketing1. Don’t Send “Dear Blogger” Emails // Nothing says “I am not interested in getting to know you” like addressing a pitch email with “dear blogger.” Read the bloggers previous post, get to know them, address them by name.

2. Don’t Offer “Exposure” // Nothing turns a blogger off like the offer of exposure. Never tell a blogger that if they write a post about your product or service that you reward them by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. This type of pitch is not only inconsiderate of a bloggers time and talent, it’s embarrassing.

3. Don’t Keep it to Yourself // You spent time and money to partner with a blogger to create an excellent piece of content, so don’t just keep it to yourself! Share it with your followers. Help spread their word of their amazing experience. Bloggers look to you to share their content!

4. Don’t Try to “Edit” a Post // It’s important to keep in mind that you selected and partnered with a blogger because you trusted them to carry your brand message in an authentic way. You want them to tell a personal story. Don’t ask to edit their post before it goes live – it destroys the trust you’ve built.

5. Don’t Close the Doors // Keeping the doors of opportunity open after that particular campaign has ended is a great way to build an ongoing relationship with your blogger partners. They should feel as though they can come to you with more great ideas for future partnerships and you’ll support them. Keep those doors open!

And while this whole outreach thing sounds easy, it’s important to note that if you don’t have the time or energy to build the relationships with bloggers, hire a professional that already has these trusting relationships built (like GroupTalk << shameless plug!).

You want your blogger outreach program and campaign to not only be a success, but truly reflect how great your product or service is!

Don’t you find the months with the nicest weather go by in the blink of an eye? May was such a lovely month packed with fun projects, business trips, and a few all-nighters. In May I had the opportunity to travel to Nashville for a meeting (Nashville is really an awesome city – you should go!), I developed and photographed 13 recipes for some of my favourite Ontario commodity groups for Local Food Week (which is next week!), and I published a basic & easy to understand Google Analytics 101 blog post. May was a great month! But let’s dive in to why you are really here today… Social Media SOS!

If you’re new to Social Media SOS here on GroupTalk, here’s what it’s all about. This year I wanted to try something new and fun! I want to get your social media juices flowing… and nothing gets my clients more excited than giving them the opportunity to ask their burning questions, like “how many times a day should I tweet? How many words should my blog post be? What is your favourite link shortener?” Getting your questions answered makes you feel motivated, and that’s exactly what I want to do… So with that, welcome to Social Media SOS!

How does it work? On the last Friday of every month I invite you to leave a question, concern, a link, and I will reply with a simple tip, how-to, and/or instructions on how you can improve! Questions will be taken between 9AM and 5PM ET, afterwhich I will go through and provide an answer. Easy, simple, fun!

So let’s go ahead and get the May’s Social Media SOS started! Ask me your questions!

How many times have you opened your Google Analytics dashboard only to become flustered and confused by the numbers? You sit there asking yourself, “what does bounce rate mean, and is a 62% good?” Sometimes numbers are confusing, but of ALL the numbers you track (ie: followers, reach, etc) the numbers associated with your website are the most important!

But what does it all mean!? Why track these numbers? The answer is simple; the more you know about your site’s performance, the more capable you become in making informed content decisions that propel your success. Simply put, once you know what your audience likes, you can create a better experience for them! And we all want our visitors to enjoy their time on our site, right?

In an attempt to make this as painless as possible, I’ve created the following Google Analytics 101 guide. I suggest you start using Google Analytics by taking a look at these four sections in order to gain a better understanding of your audience. Here are the sections and here is what you should look for:

Audience Overview Google Analytics 101

AUDIENCE OVERVIEW // This is the most basic report; it gives a very general outline of what happened on your site over a specified period of time.

Sessions: This number tells you the total number of times your site was visited (within the specified time period). This number includes all visitor types (new + returning).
Users: This is the total number of people that visited your site (within the specified time period).
Pageviews: This number represents the total number of pages that were visited by users (within the specified time period). For example, you can see here 21,323 users looked at 56,490 pages (which means the average user looked at 2.36 pages – which is good because it shows they looked around).
Avg. Session Duration: The average length of time a user remained on your site. Anything over 60 seconds is ideal!
Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who land on your site and then leave after only looking at one page. As a rule of thumb, a bounce rate in the range of 26-40% is excellent (this means people find your site and continue to browse). 41-55% is average. 56-70% is higher than average, but should not cause alarm as it really depends on the content of the site. Anything over 70% might signal a need for a content re-write.
% of New Sessions: The percentage of people who visit your site for the first time.

Audience Geography Google Analytics 101

LOCATION // This report tells you where in the world your visitors are coming from (within the specified time period). You can drill down by country, province, and city by clicking the list below the map. Regardless of the nature of your business, it’s important to understand where your site visitors are coming from.

New and Returning Visits Google Analytics 101

NEW VS. RETURNING // The percentage of people who visit your site for the first time (within the specified time period). This number is important to note because while you always want to be acquiring new visitors, it’s important to always be enticing visitors to return to your site.

Visitor Acquisition Google Analytics 101

ACQUISITION OVERVIEW // This report shows you where your site’s traffic is coming from (within the specified time period), and breaks it down into six categories: Social, Direct, Referral, Organic Search, Other and Email.

Social: The number of click-throughs to your site from social media. If you click on “social” it will break the numbers out into all the individual networks (note: Instagram does not allow live-linking within posts, so it will not show here).
Direct: The number of visitors who simply type your URL directly into their browser (or have your site bookmarked) and are taken to your site.
Referral: Referrals are visitors that come to you from another site. If you click on “referral” it will show you the top referring sites.
Organic Search: This report shows you some of the search terms people have used to find you via Google. (note: not all keywords that drive traffic to your site are listed here, as seen in the “not provided” section.)
Email: This is the number or visitors that have come to your site after clicking a link within an email client.
Other: If you are setting up UTM parameters for custom campaigns the numbers will appear in this section (<< a little too advanced for this 101 email!).

With this very basic understanding of Google Analytics and the goldmine of data it shows you, I hope you are able to understand your visitors and take a deeper look into their actions on your site. There is definitely a lot more to Google Analytics, but this 101 should get you started!

And for those of you who check everything from their mobile device (like me!), there is a handy Google Analytics app which you can download! It’s perfect for getting a snapshot while on the go!