Startup Marketing with Bloggers: May 2015 Happy Hour Recap

Startup marketing is hard.

You’re working on a shoestring marketing budget and need to figure out ways to build awareness for your brand fast (like yesterday). At our most recent happy hour event, we invited a couple of awesome bloggers and influencers as well as a couple of brand representatives to come talk about marketing strategies to help start-ups build an audience and turn it into a customer base.


For this event, we wanted to show how similar marriages are to the relationships between bloggers and brands in the marketing sphere, and what better way to do that then play The Newlywed Game?!

For those of you that are unfamiliar, The Newlywed game is where you take two significant others and ask them both a question about the other person. For example, you would ask the husband what his favorite feature on his wife’s face is and he would answer “lips,” then you would ask the wife what she thought her husband’s favorite feature on her is and she would say “eyes.”

See? Even people in the closest relationships hold different expectations of what the other thinks. Now  imagine two businesses trying to play this game in the real world…


Meet the Contestants of The Startup Marketing Edition!

Team #1

Team #2

Team #3

Round 1 Questions:

What is the preferred marketing platform for your brand?

What is the preferred way to get paid for bloggers?

As we went through the teams, the most popular answer from all our brands and bloggers was sponsored content!

Aparna added that “we have reached a point where there is an influx on editorial content and bloggers and publishers are the new brand advocates changing the content creation process.”

The bloggers could also agree that sponsored content was a great way for them to write about brands they already support in the most organic way possible.


Round 2 Questions:

What bothers you most about working with publishers/bloggers?

Shivika of Intermix was pretty adamant about not working with a blogger that has terrible writing and spelling because “it’s just not professional!”

This serves as a warning for all publishers and bloggers out there: Use spellcheck and proofread your work!

What bothers you most about working with brands?

Hallie Wilson said “Brands that don’t get the niche” — It’s important for the brand to look beyond the quantitative data of viewership and social media reach and understand why they want to work with her. As a blogger, it’s important to make sure that the brands you are publicizing on your site are ones that will reflect positively on the blog or you could lose your credibility.

Corey said he hates when brands ask to meet with him for a “coffee chat” and it turns into a multi-hour long consultancy session. The most memorable line of the night had to be “if you want my opinion on what you should be doing, I’ll send you an invoice.”


Round 3 Questions:

What is it going to take to get into bed with bloggers?

The brand side of the panel could all agree that the number one thing they look for is Return on Investment (ROI).

Caroline from IBM said that “it’s all about the analytics” and that’s what will tell you whether something is working or not. Deepa of Dagne Dover added on by saying, “ROI is the best way to measure the success of working with a blogger because you can set goals — whether it be getting 1,000 new people to sign up for your email list or generating revenue — and watch them being met.”

 What would make you most likely to get into bed with brands?

Hallie ended the game with wise words for brands looking to get into business with bloggers. She said,

“The most important thing would have to be getting repeat business with a brand, building that relationship and gaining loyalty. It was never my intention to measure my blog’s growth vertically, but rather horizontally through emphasizing valuable relationships. Blogging is about building that connection with your audience and it should be the same for brand-blogger relationships.”

So what are some key take aways?

  • The blogger-brand relationship is built on trust.
  • Brands and Bloggers need to be transparent about expectations and goals from both sides when working together.
  • Constant communication is a must for a pleasant lasting relationship.

Check out more pictures from the event here!

Stay tuned for information about our next Happy Hour!