If you had said to me a little over 4 years ago I would be sat here at my kitchen table discussing the best way to work with brands as a blogger I would have scoffed. After all, back then blogs were just a site I used to enter competitions and being a blogger was something I could never do.
But a long time has passed since I hastily bashed out my very first blog post on the WordPress app on my Blackberry sat on the stairs. The only thing that is still the same is that sometimes I do still sit on the stairs when inspiration hits and tap out a rough draft of a post. It is safe to say that I have learnt a lot over the past 4 years and experienced a lot of things I could never have dreamed of, good and bad.
My blog is now like my baby and I miss it if I don’t write something each day and I still get excited everytime I see an email notification pop up on my phone. I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing brands on some fabulous campaigns and I will never take that for granted or stop putting in as much effort as I can when I am chosen to work on a campaign.
So let me give you a few little tips I have picked up on how to work with brands as a blogger and the best ways to approach a blogger you would like to work with.
There is most definitely a right and a wrong way to approach a blogger. The best pitches come from companies/individuals/PR agencies who know and value the work a blogger puts in.
If you are looking into working with bloggers you would be best to do some research on not only blogging as a whole but also on the individual blogger themselves. Once you know what they do and get a feel for who they are, you can then tailor your pitch to them with a good idea of what to expect should you start working together.
Be upfront with the blogger on exactly what you want in return and what you have to offer them. Some of my most successful campaigns with brands have started with an email which has told me exactly what is on the table and how they envision us working together. We both know from the start what is expected and what both parties can offer.
Learn their names. Silly but an important point. If you address your email to me personally, not my blog name, or even my daughter’s name, it will make me want to open it that little bit more. This is how I know I have been specifically chosen for a campaign and not included in a mass email hoping someone will take up an offer. I’m not saying it works 100% of the time but it is definitely a good way to start.
If you don’t have the time or resources to do this but would still like to build a good relationship with bloggers, maybe look into outsourcing blogger outreach by letting an experienced and reputable company handle this for you.
Don’t forget, bloggers put a lot of time and effort into creating posts for each and every person they collaborate with. This may mean that your offer of a ‘free (insert product or link placement text)’ may not be enough incentive for each blogger to produce a post or social media campaign for you. In fact, let’s just not call it ‘free’. Speaking from experience if you want us to promote you, use our time and effort on something for you, it most definitely isn’t ‘free’ more of an exchange of services. I know it is cliched but if you wouldn’t expect your plumber to fix your blocked sink for ‘exposure’ or the offer of a cup of tea, then don’t expect the same from blogger too.
Collaborating with Brands.
Of course, we should expect this relationship to work both ways and bloggers should always remember to be as professional as possible when collaborating with brands. After all, it is a two-way street.
When replying to brands I always make sure to check out the company first. Click their website link. Is it someone who I know of or like the products of? If so and I feel it is a good fit for myself and my blog, then I will reply back as soon as possible and make sure to provide any information I have been asked for in a courteous and polite manner.
Also, if I feel I can’t do the brand justice I always try to pass them the details of another more suitable blogger when I turn it down.
Be clear with what you can realistically offer a brand and know your timescale. Taking on work with a quick turnaround time isn’t an easy task to make sure before you accept any work you can meet any preset deadlines or you are able to give an indication of timescale. This is so both parties know when to expect the work to be completed by. If this changes, always, always keep in touch. A quick email takes seconds to write up and lets all parties know of any issues. This is the same on deliverables too.
If a company would like video footage and that isn’t something you would normally do or can do. Be upfront about what you can offer from the start. This also applies when pitching to brands too. Don’t just ask for their services and/or product but tell them about you and why you love their product and how you can work together successfully.
Be prepared to negotiate. Be it on your fees or the work included. Know exactly what work you are happy to carry out but don’t be afraid to say no or discuss the terms in more detail. Know your worth but also work with the company to make sure you are both happy with the terms before agreeing on anything. You can walk away at any time or decline the work should you not be happy with the terms at any time. This is the same should you be taking on paid blogging jobs or product reviews for brands.
I know it seems quite simple but following these tips has really helped me to negotiate when working with brands and create better relationships with the people I work with. For me, this isn’t my full-time job, however, I still make sure that I am happy with the work I am offered and I am more confident in my abilities when dealing with brands to work with these days.