Welcome to our monthly feature The PR Desk! Written by PR professional Heather Travis, it guides food bloggers on the ins and outs of navigating the world of PR agencies and brands. This month, Heather busts the myth that brands only work with bloggers with big blog traffic and social media numbers.

Small Blog Numbers are No Big Deal | Food Bloggers of Canada

When it comes to working with brands and stepping up our game we’ve all heard it or said it ourselves before: “I don’t have the numbers for it …”

To that I say hogwash.

Dive In with Your Pitch

I also say the answer is always no until you ask, so that's my first lesson here. Pull up your bootstraps and dive in with your pitch.

Yes, numbers matter but they aren’t the ONLY reason a brand will want to work with you. It’s all about how you frame it, how you pitch yourself, pitch your audience, and meaningfully describe the impact your content has.

Small numbers are no big deal, and there are oodles of, quote, "smaller" blogs showing proof in the pudding on that one.

How "Smaller" Blogs Succeed

This happens for a variety of reasons, like:

  • They're willing to accept a high value item and zero payment in order to participate in the campaign (where other larger reach bloggers may be getting paid).
  • They're able to offer something others can’t (an audience niche, a unique story, a cross-promotion with another brand).
  • They've built successful relationships over a long period of time with the brand, the agency and others, making it almost impossible for the brand not to work with them. There is trust and that has huge value.
  • They've successfully communicated how their audience is likely to respond to the partnered content, showing a history of high click-through rates, or other exceptional engagement.
  • They've successfully communicated they understand the brand’s marketing goals, audience and product story. (I don’t care if you have a million Instagram followers if you don’t "get" my brand.)
  • They've worked with the PR agency before on another product partnership and their results, professional working relationship and overall quality of content was so great it's easy to partner again.
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Numbers are great, but it’s what you DO that matters more.

Relationships, Trust and Community

Focus on building quality content and quality relationships, trust and community. Once you’ve got those, use strategic words and examples to clearly show how that trust and community will help you deliver great results for the brand.

You know the old saying, “It’s not the size of the boat that matters but the motion of the ocean”? Be the ocean, not the boat. If you focus on being the boat, you’re ignoring the "ocean" of possibilities that abound all around you. Think big and don’t limit yourself to being the boat.

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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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8 Comments

Mathangi
Reply

Thank you for this! I’ve recently entered the realm of food blogging and was under the impression that this was not a myth! Good to hear from a seasoned blogger what the facts are.

Heather Travis
Reply

Thanks for the comment Mathangi:) I hope you’re enjoying the world of food blogging – so much wonderful inspiration out there:) For you, since you’ve just started, you’ll want to do what anyone should do: focus on creating great content and building a real relationship with your readers (whether that’s just 1 person or 1000). good luck!

Lori
Reply

Thank you for this encouragement. I have a small hobby blog and never even considered that partnership with a brand would even be a possibility for me.

Heather Travis
Reply

Lori – you totally can! a smaller audience doesn’t mean smaller value 🙂

Andrew Dobson
Reply

So true! I know many smaller blogs (5k-20k a month) that regularly make more money for their work than blogs with larger numbers. Professionalism, quality photo/video, WRITING SKILLS and expertise all factor in to why someone with a smaller niche audience can easily make more money than someone with huge numbers on their site. I see a lot of sites that constantly promote contests and giveaways as a perfect example of this. They have huge numbers (people visit quickly to sign up)…I call them “couponing blogs.” I equate them to those free flyers you get in the mail over something you’d actually sit down to read like the Toronto Star. Brands need to care about the time people take to enjoy the content rather than number of visitors.

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