We wrote a while back about what the YouTube Beauty Gurus can teach bloggers. For your company blog, however far your topic may be from how to create the perfect smokey eye, the YouTube beauty gurus demonstrate three things you should offer your visitors:
- Quantity, or a regular posting schedule that keeps you in front of your target market and provides an ongoing opportunity to engage with and provide value to visitors
- Value, or honestly useful information and entertaining content
- Personal connection, or a real human-to-human communication rather than just ads and promotions
But there are actually two participants in their vlogs: the beauty gurus themselves and the companies that produce the products they waggle in front of the camera.
The relationships between the two participants vary. Some are showing off products on behalf of a company; they are the equivalent of a corporate blogger. Some bought the stuff at a drugstore and the manufacturers are unaware of their existence. There are plenty of variations along the continuum.
Connect with beauty gurus.
If you’d like your brand to have the equivalent of the exposure the beauty gurus give the cosmetics they tout (and trash, ’cause they do that too), how can you get it?
- Find the fans… There are many, many beauty gurus and beauty guru wannabes. Ditto foodie bloggers writing about food ingredients and kitchen gear with the same level of obsessive devotion. Pinterest boards showcase pet products and FlickR streams show favorite craft supplies. People who do this generally enjoy doing it and get some personal satisfaction even without any input from the brands they mention. The ones who are your fans will be excited to have you reach out to them; the ones who do a good job presenting information about competitors’ products will appreciate being asked to review your products.
- ..or find the skills. People who do a good job with online media have some special skills. Our blogging clients have found us by reading our blogs, our reviews, or our articles. We may not have heard of their brands before they contacted us, but once they do, we’re ready to do a good job for them. If you don’t have someone in-house who has the skills to tell your story well or to create excellent content for your online presence, find people who have those skills and hire them.
- Provide the products. Many of the beauty gurus buy products and talk about them, but providing your products makes it easier for your bloggers, vloggers, or reviewers. Paying for reviews can backfire, but as long as your bloggers “clearly and conspicuously” disclose the fact that you gave them a sample, you’ve satisfied FTC regulations and also established the transparency you need.
The screenshot below shows the disclosure phrase I use, but your company can choose any phrasing you want — there are no rules at this point about how to phrase these disclosures. If you pay a blogger for a post, however, you must use the word “ad” or “sponsored.” You should also use nofollow links in such cases to avoid action from Google, since that violates the terms of the Google Quality Guidelines.
Consider setting guidelines.
If you’re sending samples to a reviewer or to a blogger with hopes that he or she will write about your stuff, you can’t set guidelines. You can certainly contact them a time or two and ask if they’ve had a chance to review the products or have any questions. You can ask them for a link to your website if they post an article without one. But that’s about it.
On the other hand, if you hire someone to write or vlog or pin on behalf of your brand, you should set guidelines. Provide keywords you’d like to see used, keep them up to date on promotions or items you’d like to have pushed, and make sure they understand your goals for their work. Beauty gurus may choose to do anything from unpacking their latest mall haul to showing step by step directions for using a hair styling tool and your brand content can showcase your products in many different ways — don’t forget about value and personal connection, but do focus on the kinds of content that get you the best results.
Getting attention for your product online can be a matter of being in the right place at the right time — but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some efforts to get into the right place at the right time. If the right place to be is in the hands of a YouTube beauty guru or a skillful Pinterest pinner, you can absolutely accomplish that.