All about Analytics, Professionalism and how bloggers should approach brands and handle collaborations, was being talked about over brunch, lunch and canapes in London town all day today. Zine’s CEO Caroline attended an informal, insightful and informative influencer panel discussion in Central London today focusing on professionalism and growth analytics. Organised by Abisola Omole CEO of the Apartment, and sponsored by Dell also on the panel were Nick Bain Head of social at Bacchus and Danielle Brown, Senior account manager at Iris Worldwide.

The discussion dealt with the do’s and don’ts of influencer and brand collaborations and focused on the faux pas that put brands off as well as the importance of analytics and stats for brands and subsequently bloggers. The key message? Honesty is the best policy. Bloggers be true to thyself; give it a twist or even a twirl perhaps but be unique, don’t imitate others. Of up-most importance: write well! Despite PR agencies and brands being attracted by big numbers, bloggers dare not try faking it until they make it! It’s much better for bloggers to be accurate about their following, readership and their blog. By being specific, bloggers can create a niche and so distinguish themselves from others.

Numbers matter - brands and agencies will be looking at your stats and engagement rate. Statistics are a vital tool to sell you, the blogger to clients - whilst a pretty blog or instagram can get you the attention, it's the numbers that are likely to secure the job. Providing a media kit is the professional standard and it helps PR agencies and brands making decisions quicker. Especially when writing 'speculative' pitches, including a professional media kit will help you get further. As Nick points out - we love when you do our job for us! Instead of making PRs and brands go out look for all the pieces of information, like your followers, engagement, demographics of your audience etc., submit all the information to them so they can get a good understanding of your brand within a few minutes.

Zine emphasised that "Influencers are becoming too reliant on Instagram so a blog can show you do have an audience. It's the only constant you have”. Blogging is more significant than ever, given that social media followers and engagement can be manipulated with the use of bots. Blogs have a real following to show for, unlike social media which is transient, a blog is the only platform a blogger can fully control and where all social media can be embedded. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat may come and go - but throughout any social platform hype, your blog stays always with you. As Nick also points out - your blog is the only place to pull together the content from all your media sites. And Abi adds - your blog is the only platform you can actually control. Looking back at the recent turmoil around instagram feed changes we can only agree.

Issues raised revolved around brand/ influencer collaborations and PR agency involvement. Lack of ethics and etiquette; Bloggers failing to post content on the date agreed, and brands not sticking to their agreed compensation. These were just some of the reasons why PR agencies like Bacchus would typically favour bloggers they had worked well with in the past. This not only makes it difficult for new bloggers to get their foot in the door, but also limits the pool of bloggers agencies work with. It was revealed that PR agencies find bloggers by scrolling, googling or even by chance. So a blogger being discovered could depend as much on the blog’s SEO as on serendipity. Zine takes care of all these issues. Zine makes sure agreements are stuck to, and statistics are real; drawn from google analytics and updated in real-time. Zine gives all bloggers big and small, old and new, bigger and better exposure to brands - regardless of your SEO.

We would like to thank The Apārtment for inviting us today, our fellow guest speakers for their insight and all the bloggers for listening and asking questions!