how do i start working with brands?
Want to know the blogging question I’m asked the most often? “How DO you go about working with brands?” The short answer would be, how much time do you have…as my answer will be L O N G!
Before the advent of bloggers freely sharing advice on their own blogs, this was definitely the question I asked the most often…both of others and myself! So I thought I’d kick off a new series here in Hints & Tips to cover some of the most common points about working with brands, all broken down into bite sized pieces.
Whether you’re just starting out as a blogger or are a bit more established and ready to take that next step towards generating an income, the question as a whole can honestly feel a bit daunting. I had no clue and so just tried a number of things over the years to see how they worked out.
Some fell flat, some flew and I aim to keep figuring out better approaches and strategies as the landscape continually shifts… but honestly, I don’t see it as a one size fits all secret formula.
So in an age where plenty of brands are realising the value in hopping on board the good ship Digital Influencer, I’m happy to share my own tips for you to try if you wish. I hope you find them useful!
The media kit
Having thought about how to structure this series, I decided that a media kit makes a good jumping in topic. It is after all your CV as far as your blog and social media channels are concerned and should give a stylish snapshot of what they, and you, are all about.
This has been one HUGE learning curve for me – my own media kit has had many incarnations and caused me more than my fair share of frowns and cursing too!
It’s been a Word Document, a PDF and an expensive third party design that I couldn’t actually edit myself because I have a blind spot when it comes to certain Adobe applications. See above re those frown lines and all the cursing.
Eventually light dawned on marbled (& furrowed) head – I’ll use Canva! Having come across this design software after reading another helpful hint post about creating graphics, I started to use it for making collages a couple of years ago but didn’t appreciate you can do so much more with it. It’s web based and its free!
My mistake was not signing off from all other blog tasks for a day and allowing myself enough time to explore Canva and it’s options to see what I could come up with. Its no good trying to fit in designing yourself a quick media kit whilst flitting from one daily task to another and getting distracted by deadlines, emails and social media etc. Duh!
And finally, it was when I read Ella Gregory’s e-book, The Ultimate Guide To Blogging, that I realised I was over complicating my media kit – her helpful tips were the catalyst in finally helping me to get it right. If you haven’t yet downloaded Ella’s book and you’re serious about blogging, download it here now!
And so to a quick Canva overview that will hopefully help to get you started with a media kit design. I’ve tried not to go into too much detail as it’s very intuitive and if you allow yourself that day to get acquainted, you won’t need any hand holding.
Said by one who is NOT technically minded at all! Just sign up and off you go!
A few screen shots to help get you started…
Once logged in, have a browse and select a design. Keep in mind that some are free and some have a small download cost for as little as $1 per design. This is something to think about if you want to update yours monthly.
Personally, I find the free ones to be brilliant once you gain confidence in adapting them.
Upload any images you’d like to include by dragging and dropping from your hard drive and then arrange and re-size.
Play about with your design until you get the look you’re after, making sure it’s in keeping with the aesthetics of your blog and incorporates your logo if you have one. Use the Elements section over in left hand bar to add text, shapes, colours etc
The headings and info that I now include is the “to the point stuff” that I consider to be important to communicate to a brand. How you populate yours should be unique to your own blog and give an instant snapshot of your brand.
If in doubt, look to your About page for reference. Which reminds me – I REALLY need to update mine!
Don’t forget to include any text links for blog landing pages, social media accounts etc. A link option appears over in the right hand top bar when you click on a piece of text or heading.
Download as a PDF, save to your hard drive…
NB – this one looks a little blurry as I’ve put it into an image format for the blog but it does come out nice and clear once downloaded in PDF format.
Make sure you proof read as many times as needed and check that all the links are working before sending out.
It’s super easy to update with any changes or your stats as and when needed. You can save any creations to a folder – I set up Branded Docs and keep everything there.
Each time you want to update, find your previous version, select File from the menu bar, click Make A Copy and then rename over on the top right hand side before downloading again.
Once I had the format for this profile document part of my media kit nailed down, I used similar documents and adapted their design to create other elements to go with it. These might be a Pricing Structure, Gifting Policy and a Collaboration Portfolio showcasing past brand work.
Having them filed separately means that you don’t have to send everybody everything and can mix and match as appropriate to the situation.
And there you have it – a simple, free and effective media kit. Its really up to you how far you take it – the sky’s the limit!
For the next post in the series, I’ll be covering what I’ve learned (so far!) about pitching ideas to brands you’d love to work with and what to consider when they approach you.
Let me know what you think of the series – all feedback and ideas welcome in the comments section below!
📝 STYLE CREDITS: Marble Mouse Pad – Etsy | Bulldog Clip – Kikki K | How To Style Your Brand book | Stapler – Kate Spade | Pencil Cup – Kate Spade | Scissors by HAY at Amara Living | Baies Candle – Diptyque