Whether you blog for fun or blog full time, working with brands is sure to come up for you at some point. You’re probably sat there thinking yeah, working with brands is easy – they send you something, you pop a post-up and voila; you wouldn’t be far wrong there, however there are some great tips to make sure brands want to work with you in the future and to make sure the PR isn’t cursing your very life at the other end of the email.
Oh, disclaimer time FYI. This is not a THIS IS HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE DO AS I SAY type post, but more of a maybe some of these might help you kinda post. Plus, I know if this is down in writing & on my blog it will help me to stop being so bad at certain bits of the process too.
1 – IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU?
I have a beauty blog and most of my brand collaborations centre around beauty, however I throw the odd lifestyle and travel posts in. I don’t post kids so any opportunity regarding anything to do with children goes in the bin. But, if I found the topic of children interesting (I don’t FYI), then I might consider including a post about it. If I got an opportunity about dog food, I wouldn’t take it as it isn’t what my blog is about and it’s not something that interests me. Don’t be blinded by the giddiness that someone chose you to work with, think realistically if your readers will find it interesting, does it suit your blog and will you enjoy writing about it.
2 – WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR BOTH SIDES?
I am sure you have had those pesky blog for a chance to win competition emails, right? A collaboration should be beneficial to both parties, with the competition style collabs what is actually in it for you? You get nothing, nada, NIL, for all your hard work in creating a post, promoting it and giving the brand your readership. The brand gets a nice little back link and lots of free marketing. Never sell yourself short and always see a value in the content you produce, although demanding the world on a stick isn’t a good place to start either.
3 – ENSURE ALL TERMS ARE CLEAR BEFORE AGREEING
I have been in the situation of not having done this, and paying for it. I agreed to do a sponsored post but didn’t confirm payment terms, which turned out to be 3 months from the end of the month the post went live – I had already mentally spent the pennies. Making sure you have written confirmation of what it expected, by when and by whom is great way to make sure there are no mishaps, or fall outs, with the PR or brand further down the line.
4 – HONESTY IS ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY
This applies to your posts, your readers and with the brands/PRs you work with. As an example I might get 10 PR items each week & there is no way I am going to love them all, so if I truly hate something I won’t post about it, but I will always make the PR aware of this. I could review it and tell my readers I hated it, but I like to keep my blog full of the things I truly love. I could also pretend I loved it just to keep the brand happy, but then I am lying to my readers. Honesty to all is always the best policy, and brands and PRs actually appreciate the honest feedback.
5 – COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Now here is my downfall, communication at every step of the collab. We should be letting PRs know once we have received an item and when we plan for this to go live, we should be emailing/calling to let them know once a post has gone live and including a link to it, it would also be great practice to follow this up a week or so later and let them know how the post did. Bloggers can get a lot of emails each day, and keeping on track of who to contact and when can be hard. But, we all know I love a spreadsheet so I have decided to start logging these properly to keep on top of them. If you like you can also download the simple ‘Stay on Top of PR Samples’ spreadsheet too (it’s here, click HERE).
6 – ALWAYS BE A PRO
Sending arsey, badly written or over-personal emails is never a good idea – although I chat dating, pets and weekend shenanigans with some PRs, I have spoken with them for years now and see them as friends. There is a fine line between professional and personal and it’s a hard one to balance. I tend to think of brand/PR emails as work emails, would I really email a reply to my boss telling him how drunk I got on Sunday night and that the cute guy has binned me off? Unless you have a long relationship with the person it’s best to keep it polite and professional.
What are your tips for working with brands/PRs, or if you are a PR what do you love to see bloggers do to make the collab go smoothly?