Today’s installment of Work It is for all of my fellow bloggers out there. Working with brands is probably one of my favorite parts of blogging. The opportunities, the experiences, the amazing content – it can be a lot of fun and it can be a nightmare…for both parties involved. Check out my Top 5 Tips for a successful brand collab below and feel free to share some of the tips & tricks that have worked for you below! Not a blogger? No worries! Apply these general tips to forming successful business relationships no matter the job or project.
You’re Awesome So Become a Go Getter: It’s as simple as that. One of the things I started doing as soon as I launched Fashionably Lo was pitch myself to brands and retailers for collaboration opportunities. Now, while I had no idea what to really ask for or what brands wanted, I knew enough from my background in PR that no one was going to find out about me if I didn’t start getting my name in front them. I’d say my “no thanks”/”no reply” rate was a good 85% at first but eventually, they started saying yes or at least replying and letting me know that it was a no. And then overtime, I got the yes’s, the payment opps, the gifted goodies. Eventually, brands started reaching out to me…and that’s what we really all want. The things is, I haven’t stopped “pitching” myself and Fashionably Lo. Whether I’m looking for new collaborations or for a little press coverage on some of favorite sites like The Every Girl or Essence.com, I am constantly reaching out to get my brand in front of more eyeballs.
Get what YOU want, too: The most important part to any pitch is letting that brand or publication know what they’re getting out of the partnership. However, this should be a mutually beneficial exchange! Don’t forget that you are a commodity and in turn should be getting something out of the relationship, too. Whether it’s a gifted outfit, an Instagram repost, payment, etc. don’t forget to include that upfront when negotiating terms. Either work it into your initial pitch or start the conversation once you’ve gotten your foot in the door. Do. Not. Settle. If a brand isn’t willing to work with you based on your terms and you don’t think it’s helping build a long lasting/beneficial relationship, get outta there. Nothing is worse than a brand taking advantage of a blogger and if you let it happen, they’ll link it’s the norm and then we’re all screwed.
Take Care of Business: The key to any successful partnership is a good contract. I typically send brands my own version outlining our agreement, my deliverables, their deliverables, timing and our agreed upon payment terms. Some brands will send a contract of their own. Make sure you review in detail and if you have questions or don’t feel comfortable, run it by them or your own legal #squad. Either way, regardless of who provides it, make sure you have a contract set in place for every. single. collaboration. And make sure both parties sign it. I also send a formal invoice for each partnership. Not only is this super helpful for your records when it comes to tracking income and prepping for tax season but paired with a contract, it shows brands that you’re taking this seriously and that you are an actual business…which you are!
Make it look good: Seems like an obvious thing but you’d be surprised how many bloggers just don’t put 100% into the content they’re creating for a brand. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, I can’t stress enough how crucial it is that your content is styled well, visually appealing and highlights the product/brand in the best way possible. Believe me I get it. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew or we’ve signed up to do something for those dolla billz and then sorta half ass the project. It happens to the best of us. But, if you want your content re-shared or if you’re really looking to build that relationship with the brand, make your photos amazing. It’s important that they align with your brand while also speaking to the look & feel of the partner brand. You don’t have to use an epic DSLR and all the filters to create a good photo. Just take your time and think, “Would XXX brand repost this to their Instagram feed”? If the answer is no, take another stab at it until you work your way up to a “hell yeah!”
Follow up x 1000: This. Is. Key. I don’t know how many times I’ve forgotten to email a brand after a post went live or a package arrived at my door. Days get busy and sometimes there might be a slight delay but it is so important to follow up and keep your main point of contact updated on all fronts. Usually, these folks are working on a larger team and juggling several projects and by making their job a little easier…I promise that doesn’t go unnoticed. Share the work you’re proud of once you’ve posted on your blog or social channels. Reach out to a brand that sent you a surprise package! Consider a cute email or a handwritten thank you note