Are you a blogger interested in working with brands? I get asked a lot about this one, as it’s a big part of being a pro-blogger. I am proud to be a brand ambassador for a few companies and work with others on regular and ad hoc basis’, either by way of reviews, give-aways or sponsored posts. I enjoy it, it gives me varied content, different ideas and of course, an income. So I’d say there’s a lot to be said for developing this aspect of blogging.
Now I’m not assuming for one moment that every blogger wants to do this, and I know there are plenty not remotely interested, so I am not suggesting this needs to happen for you and your blog. But, if you do want to move in this direction, hopefully this post will help you.
On Getting the Opportunity
1. If you’re wanting to write reviews, but are still waiting for a break in that area, start writing them on anything you want to. You needn’t have received something free of charge to write about it! When PRs are looking for prospective bloggers to work with, this then means they will have a good idea of how you write reviews and whether it would work for them.
2. If you love a company, then reach out to them. Some of my very favourite blog posts with brands have been ones that I’ve initiated myself, and I suspect that passion and enthusiasm comes across in the write ups, too. If you are contacting brands, be sure to tell them what you can do for them, it should not be all about what you want from them. You have a voice, a readership, an angle, a style and your social media presence, so be sure to talk about those things. I’d recommend creating a media pack and attaching that with any such contacts, as it gives you a more professional approach.
3. Do write a strong ‘About Me’ page, and make sure that you include there that you are open to working with brands. Alongside this, it’s useful for PRs to know such things as where you’re based, what your blogs covers and the ages of your children. My post How to Write a Brilliant About Me Page may be of help here.
4. Your social media presence and personality is huge. As such, grow these streams wherever possible (check out 10 Tops Social Media Tips From Bloggers, and my bloggers guides to Instagram and Pinterest) and please do think about what you say on Twitter and the like. Yes of course you can be yourself, swear, moan, whatever you want to do, freedom of speech and each to their own and all that. But, if you want to work with brands, please just be aware that this will have an impact. Would you want to be aligned with someone that was always moaning? If you’re a child-friendly brand, would you want Sweary Nan representing you? Nope, didn’t think so.
On Working with PRs/Brands
5. Treat your blog as your job. Whether you just squeeze in odd hours when you can and you see it as a little hobby, or you spend a lot of time on it, where PRs and brands are concerned, always remain professional. Keep them updated of when they can expect posts/social media coverage, and keep to deadlines. If for any reason there’s a problem, let them know as soon as possible. Ensure you know what’s expected of you and what they’re looking for, as well as being happy that that works for you.
6. Be prepared to negotiate and look at offers and suggestions from different angles. I’ve had PR approaches made to me that didn’t totally draw me in, so I went back to them, perhaps offering to run a competition instead or alongside it, offering a different level of social media coverage or altering payments/products received.
7. Always email the PR/company as soon as you can after publishing their relevant post, and advise them of where it is/will be on your social media channels, too. Some PRs prefer a draft copy up front, too, this I find more the case with sponsored posts than reviews. So do factor the time in to get that over to them for approval prior to your anticipated publish date.
On Managing the Content
8. Don’t saturate your blog with branded content. Do keep a diary and plan and schedule posts so that you weave sponsored posts and such-like in amongst your own content. You’ll probably write most of your paid for pieces yourself anyway, so do inject your own style and voice into them. Not only will your readers thank you for this, and really they’re the ones you want to keep happy and coming back for more, but you’re also more likely to get approached.
9. Don’t feel the need to say ‘yes’ to everything. This is tough initially, I think, as it’s exciting to be given the chance to work with people, reviewing or writing for them, and it is great for building up your repertoire. But then, do get choosy so that it is something you or your readers are genuinely interested in. Do think about the company that you’re working with. Are you happy to represent them? This is particularly the case for brand ambassador roles, as you’ll work with them on an ongoing basis and are endorsing what they do by carrying their badge and talking about them regularly. You also need to make sure that the job you’re being asked to do is and compensation offered is worth the time and effort you’ll need to put into it.
10. Always disclose. We have to let people know if we’ve been compensated for writing about certain products or including links, so please ensure you include this. It’s only fair to your readers, too. I do have people contact me asking me to write pieces without including a disclosure, but those are the ones that I’ll always turn down. Why take the risk and why deceive your readers?
I’m hoping that this has given you an insight into working with brands and some tips to take away.
Would love to hear what you think, and whether there are any other top tips that you’d add, and as always, do feel free to ask me any questions.