A Blogger’s Guide to Working With Brands
There are endless amounts of brands and companies and groups out there, and being able to collaborate with a few of them is something of a dream come true. Besides, blogging and working with companies is something that seem to go hand-in-hand now-a-days. For a long time, to me it seemed that working with companies and writing sponsored posts was the be-all-end-all of blogging. When a company first reached out to me, I was stunned and shocked and excited! Someone wanted me?! Lemonade Press Blog to support their content??? I was blown away. It was definitely a pretty cool moment and I know I asked friends as soon as I opened the email whether or not I should work with the company. And the answer was, why not??
Working with companies definitely brings such an eye-opening perspective.
Like I said, I was humbled that someone would even ask me to write a sponsored post. Little did I know how big of a commitment some posts become! After some research and emails exchanged back and forth, I felt more comfortable with the idea of writing content on my blog for someone else. Each company I’ve worked with since then has handled things a bit differently. And because of that, I was ever-grateful for the support of my family and friends, and those awesome blog posts on sponsored content! in helping me understand the expectations.
If you’re in the boat of about to start working with companies, here are a few things to keep in mind when a company or brand reaches out to you!
1 // Do your Research and Understand the Brand
Before even responding to the email or message they send you, do some research on the company. Google them, read through their website. Look at the product or services they are selling and see if you feel like their content is right for your blog! While you’re looking through, look with an open eye to decide:
a) What is it they’re selling?
b) Do I like what they’re selling?
c) Does this product or service benefit me to write about on my blog?
d) Would I feel comfortable writing a post for this company?
By walking yourself through the company’s website, you are opening yourself up to a greater understanding of the company and you can better prepare yourself for the post!
2 // Always Know the Expectations of the Post
The door swings both ways for this. Understand what the company is asking you to write about and when they’d like it published. Do they want you to sell a specific product or their brand? But also be up front about what you are willing to write about and which days work best for your blogging calendar to publish their post. Tell them whether you’re willing to write a post and an Instagram post or just the Instagram post or blog post and what you’re willing to include in that post. I’ve had experiences where I’ve written a post for a company, and they continued to email me about how I needed to improve or change my post because the ground work wasn’t laid for what they wanted in the post. I should have asked for clearer expectations up front which would have helped. It’s so much easier to write sponsored content when you can put all those thoughts out there to begin with!
The best collaborations happen when you both are up front and professional.
Make sure you ask them what links need to be included in the post right away, and when/how you will be paid for the post. I like to keep track of these things in my blogging calendar where I’ve set aside space to calculate when/if I should be paid and when the post needs to be published.
3 // Don’t write for Free
Whether the post is in exchange for a stipend of some sort or free gear, you deserve to be recognized for your writing. If a company reaches out for you to do a post, don’t be afraid to explain that you do need to be paid. You are putting a great deal of work in to your posts and you deserve to be given credit for your work! You might think about telling them your rate for posts. Some bloggers charge money for content while others expect a product in return. This is even a great point to put on your media kit which you could offer to companies as well!
It doesn’t mean you’re a failure for not working with brands if they are unwilling to recognize your work!
If you are doing a post only to connect with the brand and show that you can work with brands to build up your blogging resume, that is also okay as well! It may be what happens for your first few sponsored posts, but after a while, you can start expecting product or payment in exchange for your posts.
4 // Work With Brands that Support Your Brand
When you find a brand that supports your brand and mirrors the image of your own blog/brand, that is the best feeling in the world!
I feel so fortunate to have worked with some wonderful brands over this past year, and I can’t wait to show you more in the coming weeks! You will feel great about the connection when you’ve found a company that mirrors what you are aiming to achieve on your blog.
Turning down brands may not be something you want to do. After all, they’re the ones reaching out to work with you and that’s exciting! I ended up turning down a few brands over the year, and as disappointed as I was to begin with (because why would you turn down collaborations, right?!), I knew that the product they were asking me to advertise wouldn’t support my brand, or I didn’t agree with it. I learned that turning down brands was really okay to do.
Your readers trust you and you want to make sure that you offer your readers a reliable source on to a new product that you agree with! I know I’ve heard this from other bloggers, but it really is so true. Do accept brands (or reach out to brands) that will help you with your image! There’s a few companies that I absolutely love and would love to work with some day, and those are the kind of posts I want to be sharing here, which are most likely the posts you’d want to read as well!
Remember, your brand and image is important, it’s not worth sacrificing your brand that you’ve worked hard to build in order to collaborate with a company.
There are still many things I’m learning about working with companies, and I’ve loved working in collaborations with other brands, companies, and bloggers. If you’re interested in collaborating, let me know!
What are some things you like to keep in mind when you’re working with brands? I’d love to know!