“When one grows… we all grow..” is the motto that inspired Ana Flores (@laflowers) to launch Latina Bloggers Connect and to create We All Grow Summit. Isn’t it true that when a member of family, a network, a community grows, the ripple effect is inevitable, immeasurable, and undeniable?
Imagine a room full of Latinas, bloggers, entrepreneurs, business executives, moms, sisters, daughters…women, all connected for one purpose: to inspire and be inspired. It’s been many moons since this sacred time with them and I still feel uplifted. It was one of those experiences that overflow your cup and fill up your lamp.
While it’s true that all blogger conferences are a ripe field for opportunities, sisterhood, and growth, the WeAllGrow summit was exponentially so, PLUS it brought such a sweetness and heart to an unarguably business-focused event. I was truly “in my element” because I wholeheartedly believe that our personal growth is the foundation for prosperity, and not the other way around.
I am so grateful. I had an emotional feast, surrounded by like-minded and like-hearted women and brands. I laughed, cried, got chills, and experienced healthy and beautiful emotions. I was pampered, beautified, and showered with goodies, too! #BloggerPerks 😉 I literally could write pages and pages of moments that made my eyes swollen, which is why I didn’t write it for so long: my heart was truly overwhelmed with greatness.
For now, I’ll share what I promised in my title: the top mistakes to avoid as a blogger working with brands… because whether you are thinking you’ll blog someday, are already doing it, or know someone who blogs, I think it is insanely amazing and cool to hear from the brands and agencies themselves how avoid doing it the wrong way…and how to fix it.
During the panel “The Next Level: How Influencers And Brands Connect,” moderated by LBConnect’s Roxanna Sarmiento @all WeAllGrow summit attendees had the opportunity to hear from Susan Stipcianos @dreamteamsusan, Jesùs Chavez @jeschv of MiTu Network, Danica Kombol @danicakombol of BeEverywhere, Holly Hamann @hollyhamann of Tap Influence, Hugo Perez @newzdude, Debra Hotaling @debra_hotaling of Ford Motor Co, and Robin Santos @robinmsantos (all pictured below, from left to right*).
There are 7 practices the experts agree are lethal mistakes when it comes to influencers connecting, building a relationship with, and working with brands:
- Not being authentic ~ A confessed pet peeve of agencies and brand PR representatives is to see bloggers copy-pasting a press release their team wrote! Your voice, your personality, your original words is what they want to see in sponsored posts, social interactions, and collaborations. Pour your heart out… you know you want to!
- Not engaging ~ I loved this point so much! The panelists all agreed that brands don’t need you to create numbers or reach… they have that… they can get that. What is most valuable to them is the engagement you can spark, because you have a real relationship with your audience.
- Not being professional ~ A “let’s shake our heads” moment of truth: many bloggers are late, too casual, and don’t do their research on the brand values to make sure the values are represented on the post. Their advice: be on time, dress appropriately, be a partner who shows enthusiasm and is in alignment with the brand’s message.
- Not being transparent ~ Are your numbers real? They can find out in a heartbeat! Are you open and honest about what you are willing/not willing to do, as well as your expectations? The 3 rules: don’t hide, don’t lie, don’t mislead.
- Not being a storyteller ~ This was an ongoing theme during the entire panel, and seems like the answer to many of the questions that were asked. Brands want you to capture your audience emotionally, not to recite a commercial. This was a relief for me because I am just wired in a weird way and I feel the burning desire to add my opinion – in my flavor – to everything I write. Sharing my stories to infuse motivation is actually why I started this blog.
- Not being responsive ~ I loved this saying from one of the panelists: “If 90% of success is showing up, in blogging,100% of success is answering your e-mail. The blogger that replies first gets chosen!” It helps to fill out your personal profiles and to have great SEO so our blog can be found if the agency, network, or brand is conducting a search, rather than sending an application. Of course, once you get the gig, they expect a quick turn around, too!
- Not being patient ~ Brands do want you to introduce yourself, let them know what you are working on, and pitch to them. Most brands practice the top of mind concept: if they know you, they’ll think of your first. However, they also demand respect, and want to work with influencers who know that things will happen at the right time. They are people and relationships matter… A LOT! Relationships are not built overnight, and I think that’s why they are the key to succeeding in any industry. The panelists stressed the fact that many bloggers confuse what it’s a great idea to them with what would be a good business proposal for the brand. Their advice is to keep in mind that campaigns are often worked on months in advance, so while you may not participate in what the brand is up to at the moment, you can choose to support them and think on ideas on how to work together in the future. As someone in the panel eloquently put it: “brands will date you off and on, but the ring is coming!”
What do you think of these tips? Which tip is the most valuable or interesting to you? If you are a blogger, I’d love to hear your tips to succeed when connecting with brands in the comment section below.
And speaking of brands, thank you Boden PR, Crest, Domain.me, Dove, Ford, Gaiam, Los Angeles Tourism Bureau, Minted, Neutrogena, Opoli, Origami Owl, Pinesol, Scholarshare, Suavitel, Tap Influence, Vive Mejor and YouTube, for partnering with Latina Bloggers Connect to make this outstanding event possible.
PS ~ *Photos by Robson Muzel and #WeAllGrow Summit 2015
Want to read other posts about the inaugural #WeAllGrow Summit bloggers’ conference? Help yourself to pure awesomeness:
Latin Blah recap | Vianessa Castanos recap | Lil Bits of Chic recap | Pink Guayoyo recap | post by PearMama | Deborah Cruz recap | thoughts by MomInLoveForEver | Dove Storytellers Playlist | article by Paty Soto | recap de Criando Ando | post by Becky La Boricua and pics of day 2 | My Friend Betty Says‘ peek | Maya‘s Beyonce moment and recap | One Latina Mom‘s thoughts | Yoly Mason‘s recap | words by Unknown Mami | En Mi Cocina Hoy recap | a post by my fellow #TeclaAwards finalist, the sweet Laliquin of Atypical Familia | Mi Caminar’s heart to heart… and my own post about my fabulous #MisMomentosNeutrogena Field Trip.