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5 Types of Blogger Collaboration & How to Get Started

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Phil Grossman

17 Apr, 2020

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Blogger collaboration is the magic that happens when brands and blogs work together to create and publish a piece of content. This can come in the form of blog posts, interviews, or product reviews, but the goal is always the same: to increase brand exposure (and sales) for the brand and boost revenue for the blogger.

What are the benefits of blogger collaboration for brands?

Ok, so maybe blogger collaboration isn’t always magical, but it definitely can be. If you’re a brand, you stand to benefit from an increase in brand awareness and sometimes even a direct increase in your profits — or sometimes both at the same time!

If a blogger writes an affiliate post about one of your products, for example, not only will it get their audience’s eyes on your brand, but it’s also likely to lead to sales right away. Guest posts and sponsored posts can also have the same effect, but keep in mind those posts may not have direct revenue generators, i.e., affiliate links, featured as prominently. 

What are the benefits of collaborative blogging for a content publisher?

As a blogger or publisher, your goal is to release high-quality content for your readers. When you enter a collaborative blogging partnership with a brand, you’ll likely have someone write great content for you, that, ideally, is valuable to your niche. 

The main benefits to bloggers come in two flavors: revenue paid directly by the brand for hosting the content, and/or increased traffic from a well-written post.

Types of blogger collaborations

As you can probably tell by now, there are multiple types of blogging collaboration you can engage in and each has their own unique benefits. Here’s what we’re working with:

Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts are blog posts that a brand pays for. These are extremely popular on Instagram, but they’re also commonplace in the blogosphere as well. 

In short, a brand approaches a blogger or influencer and offers them money to make a post about their product or company. Sometimes, the blogger will have to write the content themselves, but oftentimes the brand will create the content and the blogger just has to publish it. 

Unlike some of the other types of collaborative blogging we’re going to look at, sponsored posts are clearly marked as such to maintain transparency with readers. They’re basically paid advertisements. But unlike most advertisements, they don’t just build brand awareness — they help your link building efforts too. 

Here’s an example of a post sponsored by Boost Media:

In a nutshell, Boost Media reached out to Search Engine Journal and paid to make a post on their blog. It becomes clear pretty quickly that the focus of this post is almost entirely on Boost’s software, which makes it a lot more like an advertisement than some other types of content. Had they not sponsored this post, Search Engine Journal readers may have ended up never hearing about them. 

Guest posts

Guest posts are similar to certain types of sponsored posts, but there’s more of a tit-for-tat agreement going on. Unlike sponsored posts, guest posts are not paid advertisements. 

From a blogger’s perspective, the idea behind guest posts is that they get high-quality content to publish, and that’s payment enough. As such, the posts that they feature are more likely to be articles that provide value without being tied to a specific brand. 

For example, a sponsored post might be entirely about a new brand of mulch, while a guest post would more likely be an article about how to use mulch in your garden, written by the mulch brand. 

From a brand’s perspective, this gives businesses the opportunity to increase their brand awareness through blog posts without spending a dime. Plus, just like sponsored posts, it can help with SEO.

Here’s an example of a guest post we made on the G2 Learning Hub. Unlike our previous example, this post wasn’t paid for. Instead, we simply wrote a post that G2 would have published no matter what. So, what’s in it for us? We got to put our name on it. 

Now, that’s a win-win situation if you ask me. G2 gets a super relevant post for their readers, and we get some backlinks and our name at the bottom. 

Shoutouts

Shoutouts are pretty self-explanatory. In short, a blog gives a shoutout to a brand which is basically recognition and a vote of confidence for its readers.

Blogs approach this in different ways: they could, for instance, add a shoutout to a brand on a sidebar or perhaps in a popup. They could also do so in an email, but that’s a bit outside of the bounds of collaborative blogging and into the sphere of collaborative email marketing

Affiliate posts

This one’s a biggie. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for bloggers to make income and, likewise, it’s one of the best ways for brands to build awareness of their products.

Affiliate posts are blog posts that include unique links to products or services. When a reader clicks one of those links and makes a purchase, the blog, aka the affiliate, gets a commission. Sometimes, blogs will use coupon codes instead of links, but the concept is still the same: blogs make money by promoting products and earning a commission.

From the brand side of things, affiliate posts provide a great opportunity to generate sales. When a blogger or influencer recommends products, their audience is more likely to view that as a personal recommendation from a friend, not some type of anonymous advertisement. That means that affiliate posts often have a much higher chance of converting, which means more dollars in your brand’s pockets.

Here’s an affiliate post from Authority Hacker. Many affiliate posts follow a similar form: the blog makes a list of various products for a certain purpose, reviews or compares them, and posts the affiliate links. Whenever someone clicks on a link and buys the product, Authority Hacker gets a kickback. 

One thing to note is that Authority Hacker has a disclaimer saying that some of the links are Affiliate Links, which is good to note in any affiliate posts. Honesty and transparency is always the best strategy and many affiliate powerhouses (like Amazon) require it.

Interviews

If you’ve ever watched a late night show, you understand this business model. Interviews make for great educational and promotional content.

For bloggers, a good interview will give your readers insight into whatever it is you’re discussing. If you run a blog on starting your own business, for example, conducting interviews with business owners in which they discuss their journey is a great way to pump out relevant content that your readers will appreciate. 

And for brands, an interview gives you the opportunity of putting your brand in the spotlight and growing brand awareness among a potentially new audience. 

Here, ESL Authority interviews Cara of Leo Listening. By inviting Cara for an interview, ESL Authority is likely to drive some of her audience to its site, and vice versa for Cara. Plus, the interview has a lot of information that’s useful to ESL Authority readers which means they get valuable insight into Cara’s expertise.

How to start collaborative blogging

Like what you hear and ready to get your feet wet? Here are a few tips to help you get started with collaborative blogging plus how to be a good collaborator. 

Stay within a similar niche

For brands, the idea of collaborative blogging is to target people who are already in the market for your products or services. For blogs, it’s to get more high-quality content to post to keep readers coming back. 

So, if your business is clothes, look for fashion websites to collaborate with, not tech blogs. If you’re a tech company, don’t pursue a collab with a home and garden blog. 

Set a publishing schedule ahead of time

Sometimes, knowing exactly when and what you’re going to post can be a huge relief and also remove some of the tension between you and your partner. By planning ahead, you avoid shortages of what topics to write about and you set clear expectations of what will and won’t happen.

Write a killer proposal letter

You only have one chance to make a first impression so it’s important to put your best foot forward when it comes to writing an email to a blogger or business asking about a partnership.

If you want some ideas on how to send collaborative marketing emails, take a look at our article of cold email templates that you can reference and use. 

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