Here’s part II of how to monetise your blog and social media accounts in which I will cover some things to think about when working with brands.
In Part I (click here) I discussed using ads and selling an e-book as well as joining ambassador program and creating content for brands as a form of income from blogging.
But if you want to start working with brands it can seem overwhelming and I’m sure you have a million questions such as…
How do you decide which brand to choose?
How do you get in contact with a brand?
How much should I charge?
I am going to do my best to answer them in this post.
Also don’t forget to pin this post so you can come back to it later!
HOW TO DECIDE WHICH BRANDS TO WORK WITH
I usually consider at least a few of these things when deciding which brands to work with
- How well established is the brand?
This includes establishing the size of the company and their following on social media. Smaller start up companies or brands may be more willing to work with you if you are a new blogger, but they usually have a smaller budget and fewer followers to promote your content to than bigger and more established brands. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but just something to be aware of.
- What is the ethos of the company?
Do their values match yours? I think that it is so important to stay true to yourself as a blogger and only work with companies who share your philosophies. You can usually tell if you feel connected to the company after a quick browse on their website. Personally, I prefer to work with business owners who are genuinely passionate about their brand and believe in their products than large faceless companies.
- Have you tried their products before?
If you’ve tried their products before and are totally in love with them then that’s always a good reason to consider working with a brand. Obviously, you will want to think about other things before you approach or accept an offer from them, but at least you know that you will be happy promoting their products. On the other hand, if there is a product that you are dying to try and maybe it is a bit out of your price range, you could contact the company to see if they would like to collaborate with you on a project using that product/ item.
It can be a little bit risky to agree to work with a brand before you have tried their product. I have had a few cases where I have arranged to use a product but then when I tried it I really didn’t like it. It felt so awkward when I had to email the company and tell them, but because I was very polite and said exactly why the product wasn’t to my taste and they were very understanding. Obviously in that case I didn’t make any money but I wasn’t stuck promoting something I didn’t like either.
- Will a new collaboration conflict with any of your existing agreements?
It is worth thinking about if working with brand would fit well with any on going collaborations that you have. For example, I work with Ninja Kitchen on recipes for their website and I make 2 new smoothie recipes per month using my NutriNinja bullet blender. It wouldn’t feel right for me to agree to work with one of their competitors or start raving about how much I love a different blender.
HOW TO CONTACT A BRAND
- FACE TO FACE
My favourite way to get in touch with brands is at events, such as balance festival or the healthy bloggers community meet ups. It’s a great place to swap business cards and have a chat with key people in the brand. For example, many smaller brands will have the founder on the stall, who you can speak to directly and see if they would be a good fit for your blog and if they are interested in working together. You can also ask to speak to the person in charge of marketing/ social media/ press. If you don’t get a good vibe there is no point pursuing a collaboration.
Obviously, it isn’t always possible to meet someone from a brand face to face so sending an email is another good option. Emailing brands and suggesting a collaboration can be a bit scary, but as I said in Part I – feel the fear and do it anyway. Niki Webster from Rebel Recipes suggests that before you pitch to a brand you really take a good look on their website and social media so that you can write a personal email to them. She has a template for an email to pitch to brands, but she tailors this to each potential client.An initial email to a brand could include information on
– who you are and what you do
– why you like the company and if you have tried their products before
– how you could help them e.g. recipe creation, photography, hosting events, reviewing products
-give them a clear outline of how you would like to collaborate.It’s also nice to email someone in the company directly, although it isn’t always possible to find specific email addresses.
- SOCIAL MEDIA
You can also leave a brand a comment or message through social media. Generally I use this strategy without thinking about it and comment on the posts of brands whose content or products I like. Then I might send them a message after a while when I have decided that I would like to work with them. I wouldn’t use this option as a first choice because messages are easy to miss on social media and you can often only write a short message but it could help to establish a relationship with a brand.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU CHARGE WHEN WORKING WITH A BRAND?
There is no set rule of how much to charge but you might want to consider
- How much time will it take you to make the content?
Your time is valuable so think about how long you anticipate a project will take you and then charge accordingly.
- How much will it cost you to make the content?
For example, I would charge more for a recipe that uses lots of nuts and dates that are expensive than a smoothie bowl that uses seasonal fruit.
- Who are your audience?
Brands will often be paying to access your followers. If you have a large following on social media or a large number of subscribers on your email list then you are worth more to brands.
If you have a smaller following make sure not to under value them. Having followers in a specific niche can also be very valuable to brands as it allows them to specifically target their audience. For example, my instgram followers love posts about healthy breakfasts (or at least I assume they do because that is what I usually post!). A brand who wants to promote their new healthy granola might be better to work with me than a food blogger who has double the number of followers but posts very few photos related to breakfast or healthy foods.
- One off posts versus a series of posts
If you will be charging under £20 per post, Fab Giovanetti founder of the Health Bloggers Community, suggests you should try and arrange to collaborate on more than one post. Both the company and yourself will get more out of this longer-term collaboration. Otherwise it’s questionable if the amount of organisation and admin for a small amount of money is worth it. On-going collaborations are also great for when you have lots of ideas of how to work with a company and they provide you a reliable source of income.
HOW TO BE PROFESSIONAL WHEN WORKING WITH BRANDS
- Respond to emails promptly (even if they don’t!).
- You can and should negotiate what they expect from you and what you will be getting in return. It is more unprofessional to agree to do something that you can’t deliver.
- It’s important to be clear from the outset on your agreement. For example, if you have agreed to do a post on social media, set a deadline for it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions if you need further clarification. It’s better to ask lots of questions than risk damaging your relationship with a brand if you weren’t on the same wave length about your collaboration.
- Proof read your work and make sure it is well presented. I have found that sometimes brands copy and paste exactly what I have written to them and do not embed links (which doesn’t look very good) so always try to send a finished version of how I would want it to look online. This is also important with photos. Once I was trying to be helpful for a brand and I sent them the original size photos so they could crop them into a square for an instagram post or horizontal rectangle for facebook. But they didn’t crop the photo at all and I was mortified they shared it with loads of mess in the background, which reflected badly on me!
- Business cards are a good idea but not essential.
- Learn from your experiences.
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Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions and I would love to hear your best tips when working with brands.