As you get further into you blogging journey, you might start to become interested in working with brands. Maybe you fancy doing the odd product review or perhaps even work towards life as a professional blogger. Working with brands is one of the main ways of earning from your blog.
Bloggers need to know their worth. As a blogger, chances are you have an engaged and trusting audience. Your readers feel as if they know you. They have read stories about your family’s happy and sad times; maybe even watched your children grow up. They trust you and value your opinion. This is a lot more appealing to brands than you think and so brands are looking more and more towards bloggers to promote their business/products.
I have been blogging for 18 months, but only really properly for 11 months. In this time I have been exceptionally lucky with the opportunities my family and I have had. We have been on holiday, had days out, been for lovely meals, received fantastic goods, worked as brand ambassadors, earned cold hard cash and have built many fantastic relationships with wonderful companies.
Here are some of my thoughts on how to work with brands;
- You can work with brands even if your stats aren’t amazing. What matters is that your audience is engaged. Also, if you blog is in a narrow niche, then you can afford your stats to be lower.
- Be truthful to what fits you/family. Don’t just accept every offer put your way. Otherwise you may lose respect of your readers.
- Create a Media Kit and know your numbers. When talking to PR’s and brands, it is a good idea to know your monthly page views and unique visitors off the top of your head (roughly will do).
- Be flexible and think outside the box in terms of what you can offer. If a company or a PR emails you, think of ways you can work together. For example, if they are not offering enough money for you to create a post, offer to do some social media promotion instead.
- Don’t delete press releases – I have lost count of the amount of times I hear people saying they just delete the press releases sent to them. DON’T! I know they are sent out in a blanket fashion, but you can still use them as a conversation starter. Email back and ask the PR if they are looking for sponsored content or reviews. You never know what it might lead to.
- Be professional. This should go without saying, but if you want to represent brands, then you have to act in a professional manner.
- Create great content. Try to be original, think of how to get the story over in a different way. I still want my content to be interesting, even if it includes a sponsored link. For example, my Tired Mummy Bingo post.
- Add value –This ties in with the previous point. Don’t just take the money and print the link, but think how you can add value to the post. The link will be clicked by more people if your post is interesting or useful. So create a great post, regardless of the fact that you have to include a certain link.
- Don’t be too literal with the content/link connection – I am not advocating that you are abstract, but if you are writing a post that has to include, for example, a link to a technological product, it doesn’t have to be a detailed post about that product. Think outside the box, take this post for example.
- Use attractive and large images. Show the brand that you can show off their product.
- Make sure it is worth it to YOU. It is up to you what you work for and if you decide to have a minimum product value for reviews. Whatever your limits are, just make sure it it worth your time. It will take time to test a product, photograph it, edit the photos, write up the review and promote on social media. Make sure what you get in return covers your time.
- Ask other bloggers for advice. Blogging is such a helpful and supportive community and so if you need help, ask another blogger. Tweet them, email them or join one of the many Facebook groups for bloggers.
- Keep your social media feeds professional – Many brands will check your timelines before hiring you or agreeing to work with you. I have heard about people who have lost good projects, due to the brand checking their feeds.
- Don’t work for free, unless YOU want to, not because you are made to feel is if you should. The offer of high res images or perhaps they have written a wonderful post that you can use for free…. does not mean you SHOULD post it. It is your blog, know your worth and you should post what you want to.
- Make it easy for PRs to work with you. Make sure you have a search bar on your blog (so they can quickly find out if you have worked with a particular brand before). Include an email address, not contact form. Have your social media links on the front page. Include a picture of you on your sidebar (not your dog or your baby!). Tell them where are you located. If you are an ambassador for a brand, put badge in your sidebar. That way they can avoid any conflict with brands.
- Make your blog represent you, while remaining professionally laid out. Proof read, use clear text, don’t use music or moving backgrounds.
- Work with me page – A ‘Work With Me’ page can be a great place to summarise the brands you have worked with, how you work with brands and any other relevant details.
- Be confident and pitch to THEM – Confidence does comes with a bit of experience. However, if you want to be successful, you need to give the impression of confidence to brands. If you want to work with a particular brand, then pitch to THEM. Don’t wait until they come to you. Chances are they might never come across your blog. A prime example of this for me is my collaboration with Diet Chef. I wanted to work with a weight loss brand and so I pitched to them. I laid out why I would be a great person to work with their brand, why it would be good for them and what exactly I could offer them in return. This resulted in the longest blogger collaboration they have ever had.
- Keep in contact with brands/PRs you have worked with. Every month to two months, give all your PR contacts a quick email. Remind them of you and your blog and ask if they have any suitable opportunities.
- Search FB groups and Hashtags – For blogger opportunities. On Facebook try BlogPR (UK), Twitter #BloggersRequired, #PRRequest, #BloggersWanted.
- Join the Networks – Britmums, Mumsnet, Social Fabric, Nuffnag, Tots100 to name a few. All these networks offer opportunities to bloggers.
So there you have it, my whistle stop tour of working with brands. There is obviously so much more that can be said on all of these points, but I hope this will give you some ideas.