Today I’m sharing some really GOOD info on how to work with brands! I get DMs all the time from young bloggers/ influencers on working with brands, so I thought I would share some of my insight. I get a lot of questions like:
- How do you find the right brands for your blog?
- How do you approach them?
- What should you share with them?
- Do you need a contract?
- How much money should I be asking for?
Being in the blogging world for over 10 years now, I can definitely answer a few of these questions and shed some light on how to work with brands, either on Instagram or blogs. Over the years, I’ve had to deal with lots of brands. Big ones, small ones, ones with big budgets, and ones with no budget. But at the end of the day, working with brands should not be taken lightly.
Whether they are a well-known brand, or a teeny-tiny up-and-coming brand, all brands deserve respect, and to be treated equally.
So, with that said, let’s get into some specifics.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT BRANDS FOR YOUR BLOG?
Before I even tackle this question, I’m assuming you’ve got somewhat of a following on your Instagram page as well as impressions/readership on your blog. If you don’t, you MUST work on that first. Big brands don’t want to waste their time with influencers and bloggers that are new to the biz. And I’m not saying that you need 100K+ followers. But you do need something.
I had a call with a Chic Confidential reader the other day. She wanted some advice on the business of blogging and how to work with brands on Instagram, and I told her two things to nail down before reaching out to companies is:
- Figuring out your target audience. Really honing down on what the ideal target audience is for your blog.
- Growing your following/readership.
When starting out, those two thing are what you really need to focus on. When you’ve got a clear understanding on your target audience you will be able to create good content. And when you create good content, your readership will grow. And in turn, brands will come to YOU.
So, let’s assume you have a following on Instagram, and your readership numbers are good on your blog. Reaching out to brands can be a nerve-racking thing. But, have confidence in your blog and what you’ve created. Don’t compare yourself to any other bloggers. There are TONS of bloggers out there, and they’ve all got their own thing going. Be confident in what you are doing.
Find a brand that you have been eyeing and wanting to work with for a while. I love to create a wish list of brands/companies that I want to work with. On that list are big companies and small ones. They are all companies that gel well with my brand and would be a natural fit for The Chic Confidential. You NEVER want to work with a brand or company that doesn’t have the same values as your brand. I always say, never ever hurt the integrity of your own brand just because a company is willing to pay you some money. I’ve turned down several partnerships because their values don’t align with The Chic Confidential’s.
So, once you found a brand/company that you want to work with, Google their media contact. Google is your best friend. ALWAYS. And you can find anything on there! So, find a media contact/email address. Don’t just email the general address. Brands want to know that you’ve put in the time to find the right contact.
Once you’ve found the media/PR contact and their name, get to emailing.
Do not, and I repeat DO NOT send a lengthy, story-of-your-life email. Brands are busy people. They have 5 seconds to skim through an email.
Start by introducing yourself in a quick one-liner – your name, your blog, and a few words on what your blog is about. Is it a food blog or a fashion blog?
Then, pitch them in a couple sentences on WHY you want to work with them. Make sure you are outlining what the benefit for them would be to work with you. Brands really only care about one thing – themselves. How will this partnership benefit them?
Don’t get too specific on what you’re offering them yet. That will come in the second email. Think about hooking them in the first email. You need to keep it short and sweet, and exciting. SO exciting, that they’ll want to respond.
Lastly, leave them with links to your blog and your social media platforms and thank them for taking the time to read this email. DONE.
This email should take them 5 seconds to read. You definitely don’t want to bore them with stats, details, or long-winded pitches in the first email. Trust me on this one. They will get bored, and your email will get trashed.
A MEDIA KIT:
A question I get asked a lot is do I attach a media kit? People always go back and forth on this one, but I say YES. If they like your short email and want to know more about your blog, they will appreciate a media kit.
So, what is a media kit?
A media kit for bloggers is a one-page document on your blog/brand that outlines a bit more detail on what your blog is all about. This can include your logo or photo of yourself, past brand collaborations, blog statistics, your social media statistics, and possibly your rate card.
Some KEY things to keep in mind when creating your media kit:
- Make sure it ‘s branded well. Branding is a whole other topic that we can discuss another time, but it’s SO important for brands to know that YOU know your own branding well. Your blog, Instagram page, media kit, etc. should all have a cohesive look. If you use a lot of colour on your blog, make sure that colour palette transfers over to your Instagram page and media kit.
- Keep it short. Again, brands don’t have the time to flip through pages and pages of your media kit. You want to give them a taste of who you are, so keep it short and simple.
- Be creative. Brands/companies see media kits and emails ALL. DAY. LONG. Give them something they haven’t seen! Be creative with your media kit.
Okay, let me tell you that for YEARS, I didn’t make a dime from blogging. I was in University, working 3 jobs and blogging on the side. HUSTLING like a muther-fucker. I didn’t even think about reaching out to brands before building my readership.
10 years ago, this was a fashion blog and wasn’t called The Chic Confidential. (Read my story here) I was buying my own outfits with the little money I had and doing lots of OOTD posts. I bought an SLR camera off a sketchy guy on Kijiji, and was teaching myself how to take good photos, learning about flatlays, making sure there was always natural light in my photos, and Googling how to code a website. Point is, brands didn’t even look at my blog until I was a bit more established.
If you think you’re going to make money right away, you’re wrong. Take the time to really build your blog and brand before working with other brands.
Once you’ve got your followers and readership at a decent number then you can start charging brands. When it comes to pricing everyone is different. Break it down:
Are you selling an Instagram post? If so, with or without IG Stories? How many IG Stories?
Are you selling an entire blog post with social media shares?
Are you selling a Youtube video?
Break it down first and then you can package things together. Always be flexible with brands. If they are willing to work with you, make sure that you respect that and work with certain things they are asking for. There’s no such thing as a ‘hard no’.
DO I NEED A CONTRACT?
If you’re partnering with a brand who is paying you, YES. Where there is money involved, it’s always a good idea to have a written contract that seals in all the details, pay, etc. If a brand is just sending over product, you don’t necessarily need one. Always use your own discretion.
To be very honest, I have never had any issues in this department, or ever dealt with a company that didn’t pay. Most companies are terrible with timing, so I haven’t always received payment on time, however, they’ve always paid.
OVER-DELIVERING IS NEVER A BAD IDEA.
This is a big one if you want to stand out from the crowd. Make sure to always over deliver a little when working with brands. They notice! If you’ve agreed to 1 Instagram post and 2 stories, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a few extra stories here and there, especially if you are really into their product. A lot of my partnership are a very natural fit for the blog because they are all products that I truly love. So, when I genuinely love a product, I will continue to share on stories. This way it’s an organic, natural way of over-delivering for a brand. Brands will notice this and really appreciate the extras! This is good for building your relationship with them and possibly future collaborations.
To round up my tips ON HOW TO WORK WITH BRANDS:
- Work on your target audience and grow your readership.
- Only email brands you are genuinely interested in working with.
- Keep your emails short and sweet.
- Create a strong and creative media kit to attach.
- Don’t expect to be paid when you’re just starting out.
- Create individual and package pricing for brands to work with.
- BE FLEXIBLE.
- ALWAYS OVER-DELIVER.
I hope this blog post guides you guys in the right direction on how to work with brands and companies because I know it can be stressful sometimes. But believe in yourself and the blog/brand you’ve created.
Most importantly, be humble and always support other bloggers during your journey. Never once in my blogging career have I felt the need to ‘compete’ with other bloggers. Instead, I’m always sharing my secrets and supporting others wherever I can.
+ If you enjoyed this post, check out my post on What I Wish I Knew When I First Started A Blog.