So you want to work with brands? You see other bloggers do it, and you think to yourself – Why not me? Great! If you are one of the bloggers who doesn’t want to work with brands, I would still recommend you read this post, it’s going to be interesting. I promise. We are going to discuss:
What does working with brands do for you as a blogger?
What does working with you as a blogger do for the brand?
How does it affect your readers?
How does it affect you?
Where to begin?
Let’s say you’ve been blogging for a while, and have done several reviews, or outfit posts, or any type of post where you mention a brand, company, etc. I started out like that – I would do reviews on products I bought myself, or made lists of products that worked for me in the past (for example this post). When it came to outfits, I took pictures of what I wore on a daily basis. Now, having been blogging for over 3 years, I do sometimes put together outfits just to shoot. The “brand” (and here I mean the PR/marketing person) will see your blog and think – I like the way s/he is doing that! Maybe she can do it for us? – and will contact you.
But what if you have been doing all the above, and still nothing? Reach out to local brands, smaller brands, indie brands. Don’t be afraid to pitch companies! And consider singing up for networks like iFabbo (their shop has amazing products), Brand Backer, Klout (actually everyone should go sign up for Klout! Right now! Go!), and the like. They are not affiliate programs, but more of a middle man between the brand and you. They pitch to brands, and then offer products to bloggers. Sometimes it can depend on your Social Media following though.
About the Social Media following… I have met so many people who start blogging, write a post once a month, and expect to go viral overnight. Has anyone read Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy? In the book she goes on Twitter, and is obsessively counting her followers. It’s hilarious and helps you understand that there are wrong and right ways of doing social media. Don’t expect people/brands/companies to follow you. Twitter is about discussion, interaction, meeting people. There are multiple twitter chats that you can join on a weekly basis to grow your twitter circle.
Brands do pay attention to the number of followers that you have, and while not everyone has (insert your number)K followers on Twitter, or Instagram, it’s good to have some, and keep that number growing.
About self-promotion… That can be a good or a bad thing. I had people ask me how to stop my updates from showing in their Facebook feed (Burn!), but I still post on Facebook! Why? Because there are groups, pages, communities that actually appreciate my posts and do the same thing. I see nothing wrong with self-promotion. There are millions of people on Social Media, and by the time you post a new update or tweet – the previous one is history.
That email address… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – always have your email available on your blog, some users even put it in their “about me” section of Twitter and Instagram. One of my best friends runs a successful freelance business through Instagram (she is an editorial hair stylist in New York, and her pictures are worth millions of words)
So you got that email saying brand X loves your blog and is interested in working with you. What now? Here is where the questions I asked in the beginning of the post come in. But before you begin answering them, remember this – Know your worth! Don’t sell yourself short! If a brand offers me a free product, I am going to think twice before agreeing to do the post for them. I don’t do brand giveaways unless I try the product first. I don’t do samples. I don’t do discounts. I will review a product if:
It’s a good fit for me. It’s a good fit for my blog. My readers will enjoy it. I would buy it with my own money!
That’s why I like Social Fabric, Clever Girls Network, and the other websites I mentioned above – they let me pick and choose what I want to try and review on my blog.
The next step is $$$ I didn’t start getting paid for content right away, I tried running ads for a while, but it wasn’t for me. My blog has evolved so much though, that I see nothing wrong with asking for a certain amount of money per post. Be it $100 or $500, it’s marketing, PR, and as a blogger, you can reach out to audience the brand might not have been able to reach in the first place.
Great Ideas Sell! In the end of the day, it’s all about ideas. Is there a celebrity look you want to recreate using bran’s X mascara? Are you going to a fashion/style event and want to stand out with brand Y’s necklace? Will you make a video tutorial? A vlog? Be creative, and think outside the box, and you will be successful!