Today let’s talk about brands! They like to give bloggers stuff in exchange for a review and/or cash. Sounds like a dream come true, right? It can be a dream but it can also quickly devolve into a hot mess. So here are my tried and true tips for how to be super amazingly awesome at working with brands, while having fun.
Brands love partnering with bloggers in several different ways. They may offer you a product to review (with or without additional payment), they may just want you to pass along info to your readers, they might want to give away a product or service on your blog, they might want you to just do social media shout-outs, etc. So there are lots of different ways brands will work with bloggers to get exposure for their product.
It’s common for some brands to contact you directly, while others work with networks such as Clever Girls, BlogHer or Sits Girls. I’ll be doing another post on networks soon (and my thoughts on them), but just know that there are several ways to get started on working with brands. So here’s how to process everything from the beginning…
When I first started blogging, my brain nearly fell out with excitement when brands first contacted me to work with them. I felt so faaaaancy. Big brands wanted to give me stuff? Consider me starstruck. So I accepted working with pretty much any brand. And then I wasn’t so starstruck. It isn’t fun (or authentic) to work with brands you aren’t really into. I still do sponsored posts with brands but I’ve been a lot pickier. I don’t want to waste my time (and my readers’ time) doing a post on something I don’t truly love or even on something I’ve been wanting to try out.
2. Reach out to brands you love
Speaking of love… Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands that you love. Some brands have information on their websites about how they work with bloggers, so that’s super helpful. If not, send them an email and tell them you’d love to work with them and why. Even if they don’t have opportunities available right now, you might be a good fit for a later campaign. Include your beautiful media kit too, so brands can quickly learn more about you.
3. Manage expectations
Once you and a brand have decided to work together, get a very clear idea of what they want, payment/complimentary items, timeline, etc. As for your end of the bargain…
Don’t under-sell – Don’t sell yourself short and undercharge. If you typically charge $100 for a sponsored post, don’t agree to do this one for less unless you think it is absolutely worth it. Also understand what the brand wants and understand the amount of time the post will take you. Maybe it’s ok to charge less for something simple but not for something that will take you a ton of time.
Don’t over-sell – If you’re super swamped and won’t have the time to do a quality post, then don’t make promises you can’t keep. Set a reasonable timeline and let the brand know exactly what you’ll be doing – photos, an honest review, will be noting “sponsored post” somewhere, social media shares, etc.
Related Post: Get Stuff Done (and Stop the Procrastination!)
4. Be honest in your review
I always like to let brands know that I will be writing an honest review of my thoughts. Because that’s the truth. I don’t want to be forced to basically lie to my readers if I end up not loving what I’m writing about. It’s not worth it to alienate your readers by writing shady reviews. Your readers will see right through you. And feel icky. And then you’ll feel icky. No good.
5. Follow up
Once your post is live, send a link to the brand representative or complete the necessary information for the influencer network. If you’re getting paid via PayPal, send a reminder of where the brand can send your payment. Also keep the channels of communication if you’re open to future collaborations. Mention that you loved working with the brand and hope that they will keep you in mind for future campaigns.
Finally, working with brands is all about finding the proper balance. Some bloggers, such as fashion bloggers, might work with brands more often by incorporating items into outfit posts. Other bloggers might just work with brands here and there. Figure out what the right balance is for you and your blog. I get a lot of emails where I could make easy money but if the brand/item isn’t a fit with my blog, I don’t bother. Plus I don’t want to bombard my readers with stuff I personally don’t even want. (But you know I do love my pug related reviews. I just can’t help it – they are the perfect helpers/models!)
BONUS: To help you out even more with working with brands, I’ve created a free printable to keep you organized. Click below to get it now –
How have you succeeded/failed at working with brands? I’ve had some great experiences and some not so great ones, but have learned from my mistakes. I aim to only work with brands I really value and that definitely helps. Any questions on working with brands?