In the four years she spent ‘mummy blogging’, Louisa Claire says she fended off countless pitches from PR agencies and brands that were way off the mark, as they delivered no value to her or her readers.
“I watched as brands tried to engage with bloggers, but weren’t able to create the conversations they were looking for,” Claire told Dynamic Business.
So, in 2011 she decided to do something to take up these missed opportunities, launching the Brand Meets Blog start-up, a consultancy that specialises in connecting brands with the right bloggers.
“I decided to set up something that would deliver value to the brands but also the bloggers. Ultimately everything needed to be of interest to the readership of the blogs – the people who both the blogger and the brand want to reach,” she added.
While low overheads meant that Claire was able to self-fund her Melbourne-based start-up, now the business is turning over enough to be profitable as well as allowing her to bring on new employees and invest in new infrastructure.
Although hiring the right people is something many start-ups struggle with, Claire believes she’s got the balance right.
“Our team is made up of bloggers, so we understand the landscape we work in. This gives us a unique perspective as we are able to see both sides of the brand-blogger equation and create a really targeted and yet bespoke approach for each business,” she said.
This isn’t to say it’s all been smooth sailing. Aside from the challenges of balancing family demands with those of her business, Claire has also had to work hard to cut through noise in the busy online marketplace to spread the word about Brand Meets Blog.
Targeted online and offline marketing campaigns have helped with this, as has forming good relationships with key people in the space.
“The basis of our business is solid relationships with both the bloggers and the businesses we work with. As the business has moved into a more established phase, we continue to focus on solid and reliable growth and are excited about the future.”
How not to run out of steam
As for the biggest risk facing a start-up, Claire can see how many founders battle to keep to their long-term goal – often to the detriment of their venture.
“I can see how it would be easy to run out of steam, but it’s important to keep motivated and excited about the future,” she said.
Finding a good mentor can go a long way to helping with this, according to the Brand Meets Blog founder.
“It’s so important to have people who you can trust for sound advice across a variety of areas of expertise. Those open conversations can make a huge difference when you are just starting out,” she said.
“Get good people around you and make sure your family is on board – running your own business is not something you can do without good support networks in place.”
Looking to the future, Claire plans to continue placing a strong emphasis on educating bloggers and brands on the best ways for them to work together.
Also important, is teaching them how to negotiate and continue any new relationships formed between the two.
To kick this off, Brand Meets Blog is planning a range of events to bring together brands and PRs.
“We are hosting a breakfast in Melbourne on Friday 19 October for any businesses and PR professionals who wish to come along and learn more about how they can make the most of their blogger outreach – a chance to ask questions, chat directly with bloggers, and network,” Claire added.
You can find out more about the event here.