The The PR Desk is a regular column on FBC written by PR professional Heather Travis to help food bloggers navigate the ins and outs of working with brands and PR agencies. Today Heather discusses how to amplify your income through successful multi-brand blogger campaigns, as the closing topic in our Show Me the Money! series.

How To Work With Multiple Brands In One Campaign | Food Bloggers of Canada

Working with multiple brands you love is really awesome. Even more awesome is working with a few brands you love at the same time and getting paid at the same time, all for one big project! This, friends, is where you can really start to scream SHOW ME THE MONEY!

It's fitting that this final column in our Show Me the Money series talks about how you can really bring in the bucks. It’s also another great way to show brands you're ready for more/bigger/integrated campaigns by doing one yourself.

What Does Working with Multiple Brands in One Campaign Mean?

First, let’s define what I mean when we talk about working with multiple brands in one campaign. It means you have contracts with and are being paid by more than one brand or company for a singular campaign effort.

Each brand knows they'll be featured with other partner brands in all social media posts and all original blog or video content.

This campaign could be a recipe campaign or series of kitchen how-to’s. The sky's the limit. It’s up to you to figure out what your ideal multi-brand campaign looks like and what you want to achieve with it.

Where Do I Start With a Multi-Brand Campaign?

This isn’t a “I want to work with you and you and you" Oprah-style hit list. It should be a well-executed and thought out campaign with a select group of trusted brand partners. The best place to start is always with your anchor.

Find Your Anchor Brand

Start by figuring out who, out of all the brands you love and work with, is going to be your anchor brand. The anchor is the highlight, the reason the whole series of posts exists.

  • What's your star feature?
  • Is it a food ingredient you use all the time or a food prep item you can’t live without?
  • What's that item or system or appliance that brings the rest of the story together?

Example:  your anchor could be a small appliance like a versatile stand mixer that has many uses (and many opportunities to showcase it's features) or it could be a tourism bureau that anchors a culinary vacation series.

Go Out From There To Find Supporting Brands

Go outward from there. Rather than starting big and listing all the things and all the brands, start with one (your anchor) and circle out from that point.

  • Who works well with this anchor brand?
  • What makes an authentic story and shares similar branding elements?
  • Is this an opportunity to go beyond and work with a tourism company or a something outside your "typical" partnership?

Make a list and do some brainstorming.

Example: Continuing on with our stand mixer idea think about how you can feature that product. Perhaps you do a series of holiday baking posts and videos and maybe even an e-book.  Connect with appropriate brands that would complement the story of baking for the holidays. You might consider a flour brand, a sweetener brand, a cookie sheet brand... those are just a few of the possibilities Consider whether or not your anchor brand has other, complimentary products that could fit into the campaign

Plant the Seeds Early With Your Proposed Anchor Brand

A multi-brand campaign is something you can easily plant the seed for early.  And you should - these types of campaigns can take months to pull together - especially when dealing with multiple companies and agencies.

Start a conversation with your brand rep or PR for a longstanding brand partner — one that would work well as an anchor brand. Tell them you’d love to work together on a more integrated campaign with partner and like-minded brands. Ask them who they'd like to partner with or have plans to partner with, and how you can help.

Remember, helping the brand is helping yourself.

Always let them know up front that forming multiple partnerships is something you’re hoping to do. Let them know what co-brands you're looking at. Make your anchor part of the decision making process … perhaps they can connect you or you can connect them to a brand! Remember, helping the brand is helping yourself. They might have a contest with a brand partner that needs promoting, you just never know!

RELATED:  16 Writing Prompts for Food Bloggers

Make Contact and Design the Brand Campaign

Once you know all the ideal partner brands you're going to contact, start to design the campaign. You want to have a sense of where you're going, what you'll deliver and your timelines, of course. Remember to focus on brand ROI!

You also want to ensure you give each of your partner brands the opportunity to help create or shape some of the narrative based on their business goals but at the same time, you need to be prepared to present them with the basics of the campaign and how their brand will benefit from participating.  You want to get them excited and feel like they must be part of this project.

Rules of the Multi-Brand Campaign Game

While each multi-brand campaign is unique, there are some general best practices or rules you should follow.

  • Make sure there's no conflict in messaging, appearance, or goals for any of the brands involved (including your brand!)
  • Clearly communicate with all parties — be a source of connection! Every brand should know all the details of the campaign, their role and the roles of others. As the connector bringing this all together, it's up to you to be the source of information and ensure the campaign runs smoothly.
  • Follow disclosure laws

What About the Money?

When it comes to multi-brand campaigns, the SUM is what you're looking at. A campaign like this would operate under more of a package rate rather than your regular fees. You'll also have different fees for different brands — perhaps one brand gets two IG mentions and the others get four, or your anchor brand has dedicated posts within the overall campaign.

This is where you really need to use your negotiation skills and ensure proper brand fit. They'll only pay to appear next to someone who fits and for the value they feel you'll deliver.

The Keys to a Successful Multi-Brand Campaign

Like any brand partnership, a successful multi-brand partnership campaign is one where you:

  • Rely heavily on clear and consistent communication to everyone, both brand partners and your readers alike
  • Ensure you clearly communicate the value you bring to the brands in your pitching/communications
  • Ensure you tell a clear (consistent and authentic!) story to your audience

Only then can you get the best return on your work: results for your brand partner and a continually engaged audience who trusts you.

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Heather Travis is a PR professional and lover of all things creative. She has extensive experience developing and implementing integrated public relations and marketing programs for agricultural brands, producers and processors, as well as high end sporting goods. She’s a DIY junkie with a mean power tool addiction, and can often be found painting, refinishing, and scouring both junk yards and antique markets for her next fix … err, piece of content for her blog heatherinheels.com. Find Heather on Twitter @heathertravis and Instagram @heathertravis.

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