I love how so many amazing people on Twitter can become an inspiration source. The muse for Blogging Tips: Part 1 – How To Get Noticed By Brands and today’s Part 2 – How To Work With Brands came to me after reading a message. One lovely blogger sent me a DM and asked if I got an email from so-and-so company because “it looks like everyone else did”. I told her that I had been contacted by them but not planning to go any further. While there are many ways we can collaborate with businesses and brands, every blogger needs to establish for themselves what route they are willing to take. While one can “make” you, the other one might “break” you. Some might say there’s no right or wrong in the ever-changing blogosphere as it’s evolving non-stop. Others might reminisce about the “good ol’ times” of blogging. Nevertheless, bloggers today (either one wants it or not) are influencers and our voice matters. Working with brands is almost an essential part of showing that voice – in the most honest and genuine way – with the aim to display your expertise, improve your knowledge and skills, share and help. In my last week’s post here I attempted to remind us all why you started blogging and how to go down the road of getting noticed with the right motivation behind it. Next move is to learn how to work with brands and businesses in order to help you to represent YOUR brand better and to be a respectful and trust-worthy professional.
We all have heard the old story about a rude and unprofessional blogger on one side and not the most polite and arrogant PR Coordinator on the other. You wouldn’t want to be in either camp or receiving end. Without making any excuses (age, status, popularity, self-confidence or the lack of it and million others), remember that any outreach has to be personal, approached with respect and appreciation.
We are insanely busy. Period. Even if you’re a (very lucky) full-time blogger, you still have other commitments. So far I have personally connected only with one lovely lady who could call blogging her main and only job. No matter what age you are, whether you go to school or uni, work full-time or if you’re a wife and/or a mother, there are gazillions other responsibilities on top of that which you probably have to take care of. But! Not only your email has to sound professional (I mentioned it here in Tip #4) but also you need to check it. Daily. Sometimes it’s not easy to get back to everyone right away. It’s OK to take a bit of time to think an offer over, browse the suggested website, check out the products and evaluate. Make sure your email is included in your contact form and is a part of your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook profile. If no one is reaching out, take the first step and present yourself to the PR world. Next couple of tips will help you to do it in the best way possible.
Before I even start gushing over building your media kit, let’s go back to the basics. How do you start or finish an email? Is it formal or informal? The writing style you are using and the words you choose DO matter. Before you address the brand, it’s good to do some research. Find out the name of the person you’re contacting (if possible) or brush up your knowledge about the company. Look up online how to write formal letters – it should help you get started. Now, as for the media kit, if you don’t have one, make sure to start creating it right after you finish reading this post. Media kit is able speak volumes when it comes to brand/blogger cooperation. It should include: 1) brief intro about you and your blog, 2) your social media icons and updated following, 3) blog reach stats such as Monthly Page Views, Monthly Unique and Return Visitors, Average Bounce Rate (Google Analytics is your bestie), 4) previous collaborations and links to those posts, 5) your contacts (blog URL, email, other social media channel links and 6) price list for the services your blog offers (optional). I personally wouldn’t include prices but I know some bloggers prefer to get that across right off the bat. Important tip: if you are a new blogger, try to include the stats that will be able to show your progress and represent you positively. Instead of Monthly Unique Visitors you might want to highlight how your Instagram or Twitter following has boomed.
This is probably one of the key tips when you are contacted or when you approach the brand / company / business. No matter how “big” a blogger might be, it doesn’t give them the moral right to be rude, ignorant or greedy. Even if you are just starting out on your blogging journey and get contacted by someone about writing a review on a completely irrelevant product – think before hitting ‘reply’. No one cancelled respect in 2016. Always stick to three “P”s: politeness, professionalism and positivity. Not every email you get might be written in a personalized and attractive manner. Sometimes you might even get a sharp response to your email. Or dead silence on the other end. Remain polite: under no circumstances talk about how great you are and how you are to be treated as a queen. It’s an exaggeration but you get an idea. Be professional: don’t start an argument or push your point too far. You’re a businesswoman and the author behind your blog – save face. Stay positive: it’s intertwined with politeness – even if there’s a “no” on their behalf or something doesn’t work for you, make sure to continue with positivity and good attitude. Worst case scenario: if someone is being awfully disrespectful to you, reply briefly but make sure your reputation is immovable.
Either you are getting back to the brand or taking courage to contact them for the first time, writing a brief “cover letter” of an email and attaching your media kit is not enough. But here comes the fun part – IDEAS. That’s when those numbers (stats and followers) can easily be overpowered. Your high-quality content and your fresh out-of-the-box ideas get their chance to shine. What is it that attracts you to this particular company? Do you use / Have you ever used their products or services? Are you passionate about the brand? Express your genuine interest and suggest a few fun ideas that still work in sync with your blog.
Now we get to that “make it or break it” point. Keeping it professional, what do you reply to a collaboration offer? While it might sound like a no-brainer, you need to be careful who you agree to work with. As much as it is oh-so-tempting to say yes to a sponsored post, ask yourself these questions:
1) Does this product interest me?/Have I tried it?/Am I excited about it?/Do I trust it or believe in it?
2) Does this product agree with my blog?/Is it relevant?/Does it represent my blog well?
3) Would this product interest my readers?/Is it something they could relate to or enjoy?
If you answer “YES” to each of these, then go ahead and agree to that offer. If you are in doubt or you know it won’t “look good” (aka fake advertising) and you are only doing it for the money, then it might be better to pass. In a case with a sponsored post you lose those few $ now but you don’t bring your blog’s reputation down. The story is different with the unpaid product reviews: you get a product you know you will love or you take a risk testing out something new. The positive side of it is that you get to share your genuine opinion which would be extremely helpful to others. As for the wishlist, I would only do the one I actually believe in. Avoid false advertising at all cost. Being money-hungry or hunting after freebies won’t get any blogger very far. Brands wouldn’t want to deal with that kind of person. Followers will be able to tell the difference between a ” so you” post and phony promotion. Stick to what you FEEL and KNOW would be ultimately right to do for your blog, its progress and future.
I hope you enjoyed Part 2 as much as Part 1 and that it was helpful in your blogging journey.
Even if you think you got this, it’s still a great reminder to “filter” everything that comes your way.
At the end of the day, the right choices ultimately get us closer and closer to our dreams 🙂
The main aim behind writing these kind of posts is to take us all (newbies and experienced one) back to where it all started, the core reason why you joined the blogosphere – your blog and your voice.
We are the influencers.
On a small or a large scale.
Therefore, I hope I could help us all (especially those new to blogging)
to avoid most common (and often underestimated) traps and mistakes,
to learn the basics of how to connect with brands while being respectful and polite
and to represent the worldwide blogging community in a good light.
Your voice matters.
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Leave a comment and let me know what you think about these tips.
What is your personal approach when you deal with brands?
Do you often have to turn down a collab offer?
Please share your own tips on how you work with brands.
Happy weekend, loves!