Lets Get Back To The Blogging Talk!
Phew… shall we take a (small) break from all the Christmas chatter for a moment?
As 2017 begins to draw to a close, I’ve started reflecting on the year’s milestones and this in turn is kicking off all manner of thoughts as to the direction I’d like to take in 2018.
I feel the need to make a few changes, rethink work priorities, examine the areas where I’m spending my time and ask the all important question – do I want to be spending as much time on this?
But there’ll be time enough for those reflections over the Holidays… no doubt closely followed by some related content after the Holidays. Thats the Think About It- Write About It blogger trait again.
my first love?
Brand work is one of my main income streams and allows me the freedom to continue blogging, be flexible with my time and focus on the area that’s really and truly my first love – content creation.
Before I began working with brands I would look around in awe at the bloggers already doing so and wonder how they achieved this seemingly unattainable goal. Now I realise there’s so much to it, it involves many (sometimes steep) learning curves and requires more than your fair share of grace and guts to start doing it.
So regardless of where you are in your blogging/brand journey, I thought it might be helpful to draw on my own experiences this year and share my five no brainer tips for working successfully with brands…
Five No Brainer Tips For Working
Successfully With Brands
Always over deliver
Be that person that the brand finds incredibly easy to work with. Be the blogger who brings a smile to the face of the already stretched PR contact/marketing executive/social media manager.
It goes without saying that keeping to promised deadlines is a given. And expectations are there for a good reason – they definitely need to be met.
But the thing that will set you apart from the competition? It’s when you over deliver on a consistent basis. I’m not suggesting you give away your services, expertise or time for nothing… but it’s worth remembering that it’s incredibly easy to give a little more than you promised.
It’s remarkably easy to exceed expectations…
If you promised ten gorgeous images for a blog post, submit fifteen. If you’re spending time shooting for the project, provide some Instagram Stories behind the scenes coverage – the brand and your readers will love this!
It’s remarkably easy to exceed someones expectations when once you’re onboard with the concept. It takes very little effort but the returns and the feel good factor for you and the brand are priceless.
Ensure your sponsored content is aligned with your non-sponsored content.
This goes without saying really but you’d be amazed how easy it is to launch into official “voice of authority” or sales pitch mode the minute a brand becomes your sponsor.
This of course is just your natural instinct to do right by them and effectively promote the thing you’re writing about.
But don’t do it in this way – it’ll make the content stand out like a sore thumb and turn your readers off.
be you and write from the heart…
I fully admit it’s a learned skill to be able to integrate sponsored content seamlessly into your own and something that if I’m honest, I feel I’m forever refining myself. Just be you, write in your voice and from the heart. That’s hopefully why the brand chose you in the first place!
And at the very core of all of this is the old adage of remaining authentic in your selection of brand sponsorship and only ever working with those who are completely aligned with your blog content and own lifestyle.
Be professional & remain so from the outset
Sounds like a no brainer – hence the title of this post – but you’d be amazed at some of the stories I’ve heard. And this coming from one on the fringes of The Blogging Elite… where tales are told on a frequent basis!
You may be just you, an individual entity, but you need to act like a business if you’re dealing with a brand. Who, shocker by the way, is also a business.
be the better person...
From the early negotiations to the final pressing send of that invoice email (Hooray!), be professional and keep your dignity in tact.
Even when maybe the brand or someone representing them has fallen by the wayside in their own professionalism… and they’re making you want to throw your toys right out of the pram.
As I tell my pre-teen daughter – be the better person and set a good example. (Feel free to insert many other mother/daughter chat cliches here – they pretty much all work!)
Stick to your principals and morals
At some point you’ll be asked to do something you feel you shouldn’t. My advice is simple – don’t do it.
The guidelines and regulations around working with brands are consistently hotting up and things will only become more stringent as influencer marketing continues to take off as a concept.
You might be asked to break a rule such as not declaring a gift or payment – although thankfully this seems to be becoming a thing of the shady past.
Or you could be asked to provide “clean” or do-follow links in paid for content. Nope – never happening here!
use the words no thank you more often
Sometimes you’ll be asked to change how you write and make it more salesy and product focused. Don’t do that… or any of the above.
Only you know what works for your readers and if you’re caught pulling the wool over their eyes or pushing something they don’t want in an officious and unfamiliar tone, they’ll leave in their droves. Ultimately doing any brand you work with a disservice… and leaving you with no viable blogging business.
Stay off the slippery slopes and learn to use the words “No Thank You” more often.
Gather good basic business knowledge
Whilst I look back and wonder what on earth I was doing working in Finance for years (being rubbish at maths will induce such questions!), I’m damn grateful for all the knowledge I picked up along the way.
Understanding things like payment terms, the importance of thoroughly reading ANY contract you enter into, basic book keeping (and I mean pretty basic for me!) skills, the need for cash flow, data protection etc. – these things are all hugely important.
it’s your responsibility to be aware
of all necessary guidelines…
All of them have helped me to build a legitimate business, chase down brands when payment becomes overdue, steer clear of anything that ties me to another entity or worse still, takes full control of my work. The work that I spend more than half my life producing.
It’s your responsibility as the blogger to be aware of all the necessary advertising guidelines as briefly touched on above, so get Google’ing. There’s thankfully much more information out there now. Just make sure your source is credible and that the information is up to date.
There you have it. No brainer they may be but I’ve found these pointers to be completely relevant when it comes to surviving in the blogging business for the long haul.
I share this kind of stuff because I say on repeat – blogging isn’t over and I believe there’s still so much room for people to either do it as a creative hobby or build a business from it.
So if you’re thinking of getting started, I would encourage you to make 2018 the year you do it!
To help speed you on your journey (someone’s clearly been watching too much Strictly Come Dancing!), here’s a few more resources that you might find useful….
10 Ways To Make Your Sponsored Content Feel Less Gross – Sara Tasker at Me & Orla
What I’ve Learned From Being A Self-Employed Instagrammer – Dominique at All That Is She
How To Prepare For Your Meetings With Brands And Sponsors – Chloe Digital
How To Brand Yourself In The Creative Industry – a great experienced based interview on Bloguettes
How To Craft A Brand Email Pitch (With Examples!) – Blogging For Keeps
And lastly a couple more from me…
Download my freebie guide here on How And Why You Should Absolutely Start A Blog!