This is a collaborative post.
One of the best ways to make money as a blogger is to connect with brands to create sponsored content.
Before I started making money from advertising on my blog, the first little bit of cash I made from blogging was through a brand partnership. It was a really exciting moment to finally see the blog bring in a bit of money!
Since then I’ve worked with some pretty exciting names including Warner Bros, Fairy, Panasonic, Lottie Dolls, LeapFrog, Scottish Widows and Trunki to name just a few.
It’s so exciting when you not only receive an offer for paid brand work, but also it’s with a brand that you really love and feel inspired to work with.
While there are a lot of positives to working with brands, the money you can make of course being a big plus, there are a fair number of downsides too.
Bloggers of all levels of experience will receive requests asking them to work for free.
Some brands will ask bloggers to work in exchange for a product, holiday or, and this one is by far the worst, exposure.
So with the highs and lows of working with brands in mind, here are my top tips for working with brands – and these apply to both brands and bloggers – to help you build better relationships.
1. Grow your brand
In order to work with brands, you first need to build up your own brand!
Be very clear what your niche is and who your audience is. Are you writing for parents of teens, or parents of toddlers? Are you focused on toy reviews, or more interested in kids fashion?
Once you are clear on what you write about, then you need to set about putting your blog out there to build your audience.
Most brands like to see a package deal when it comes to working with bloggers. They don’t just want a blog post written, they want to see supporting social media content to promote it and add an extra layer of advertising for their brand. They may also like a YouTube video in addition to this.
By having several platforms, you give yourself a stronger position from which to negotiate. You’re selling not just space on your blog, but also space on your social media platforms.
Many bloggers favour Instagram above any other social media platform these days, so as soon as you start your blog you need to have a presence on Instagram.
But Twitter and Facebook remain relevant. Plus it’s well worth working on your TikTok game too, as this platform is growing bigger by the day and brands are paying attention!
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2. Remember it’s business
Talking about money is awkward!
Even though we’re being asked to spend time working on content to benefit a brand, when it comes to asking to be paid fairly, as bloggers we often struggle to fight our corner.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks of being freelance!
It’s really important that you put your business hat on when it comes to negotiating with brands.
Some may email you pleading poverty, with statements like “we’re just a start-up” and “we don’t have any budget right now”.
Whether you work for free is up to you, but remember that your time is precious. And your time is absolutely worth something.
If you have spent time, and money, building up a blog that gets traffic and is attractive to brands, then you should be paid for producing content on behalf of a brand for that space.
Bloggers need to be brave and stand their ground when it comes to negotiating a fee. Brands need to be prepared to pay bloggers for their hard work.
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3. Make working agreements clear
Before you get started on any work for a brand, be very clear about exactly how your working relationship is going to work.
Important points to agree before you get started are:
- What exactly you’re being asked to produce – many brands want a blog post and supporting social media promotion. Be very clear on how many blog posts, social media posts (including Instagram stories) and anything else the brand wants.
- How much will they pay you – we will talk about fees in the next point.
- When will they pay you – 30 days is the typical requirement from bloggers, however some brands offer payment terms of 90 days. Be clear before you agree to do the work how long you will have to wait for the money.
- What hashtags or key messages does the brand want included in your work
- Do they want to approve content before you post it?
- Are they asking you to avoid working with competitors for a certain length of time – Some brands ask you to avoid working with competitors for as long as three months or more after your arrangement is over.
- The deadline – Being clear on when they want the work done will mean you don’t let them down by being late.
4. Set your fees
Your fees are an area that confuses many new bloggers.
They should be based on your level of traffic, your number of social media followers and the time it takes you to create content.
However there’s no industry standard or formula that sets out exactly what your fees should be.
Of course someone with more followers will be able to command higher fees.
However just because a blogger has fewer than 10,000 followers or Instagram, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be paid for time taken to create content.
In fact you often find that bloggers with fewer followers actually have a better engagement rate (the percentage of followers who engage and like content) than their colleagues with larger followings.
When setting your fees, try to think about different packages you can offer. Decide how much you’re prepared to charge for one blog post, then build on that adding in social media support and promotion.
Be prepared to negotiate these fees, and always be prepared to ask a brand what their budget is.
5. Make a media kit
A media kit is a one or two page document that sets out who you are as a blogger, your key stats in terms of audience and the services you offer.
You can put together a media kit really easily thanks to Canva.
The website, and app, offers free templates which you simply customise with your brand colours and information.
6. Make a list of brands you love
So how do bloggers find brands and how do brands find bloggers?
Sometimes brands and bloggers may connect by chance on a platform like Twitter.
But more often then not both parties need to do some proper research to find the right partner to work with.
You can find paid blogging UK opportunities in a variety of places. There are several blogger networks that will help to connect brands with bloggers, with some of these on Facebook and others with their own website.
Making a list of brands you love can help give you the motivation to go ahead and pitch to those brands. There’s no harm in dropping them an email explaining who you are and how much you want to work with them.
Many of my brand opportunities have come to me because the brand approached me. But I’ve also gotten a lot of work by using these online and social media forums that connect brands and bloggers.
So there you have it! Those are my top tips for working with brands.
I hope these tips will help you find more confidence when it comes to working with brands! Any questions at all, please leave me a comment or drop me an email.