The Blogger’s Guide to Working with Brands

The Blogger’s Guide to Working with Brands

“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often… Live your dream and share your passion.”
-From the Holstee manifesto

It has been a few years since I first came across the Holstee Manifesto ~ a time when I was caught in the endless cycle of finding a work-life balance in my corporate job. Today, when I read these words again, I smile and realize how fortunate I am to finally be living and sharing my passion. And I often feel that it is this zeal that has also helped me collaborate with brands that share my vision and values essential for working as an influencer, more easily and enjoy affable relationships with the marketing managers of the companies I have partnered with.

My strength lies is deep knowledge of my audience and awareness of brand partnerships that they would appreciate. As a result I enjoy great returns, and I am able to strengthen my reputation on the internet and garner the attention of a broader audience.

But how can you successfully partner with brands as an influencer?

I’ve been through the drill and in the course of my experience I have been able to create a roadmap for myself that helps me stay focused on my goals thereby facilitating collaborations with brands that incite my interest. That said it’s important to note that each influencer, from the ones who target local audiences to those who want to focus on global readers, has their own personality which is distinctively created through their blog posts. This assists brands looking for bloggers whose personality and style mimics or reflects their own brand values. But curating posts that align with your personality in order to attract brands that will be more inclined to collaborate with you is an art. So today, I am going to talk about the most fundamental principles that will help you land more partnerships and propel your blog towards greater success. Without further ado, I present the blogger’s guide to working with brands.

 

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Build an Audience and Keep Them Engaged

Everything takes time, and nature teaches this lesson very beautifully. When I started my blog I just had a handful of readers which gradually grew to a few thousand and it was only when my blog touched 15,000 page views a month did I begin to think of approaching brands and planning partnerships.

Engaging your audience and building your follower base go hand in hand. If people who read your post will like it then they are more likely to share it with others too. So focus on creating quality content which can fuel engagement from your users. And once you begin to notice people leaving comments, make sure to always reply. In my opinion, when you indulge in a conversation or promptly reply to your readers, they feel special and would hence look forward to future posts.

Brands are always hungry for greater reach. They want to tap into your reader base to increase their online presence, educate more users about their products, and strengthen their position in the market. This means that they will be interested in collaborating with you only when they see that you have a considerable audience who are actively engaged in your posts. And this engagement is generally measured by brands through the number of comments, likes, and shares your posts get on various social media platforms.

With all that said, in my opinion, you’ll need to have at least 5,000 to 10,000 page views per month to effectively collaborate with brands. As the content of your blog will play a big role, I’d advice you not to steer away from quality content.

Read this to know more about growing your follower base.
I have also written about tips to increase your Instagram followers. You can find my post here.

 

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Keep a Media Kit Ready

Once you are ready to approach brands, the first thing to do is to create a media kit. You will want the brands to know what your blog has to offer and at the same time rouse their interest. As this media kit will be used to create a first impression, you will be required to word it carefully and include adequate information.

For e.g.
• Your targeted audience
• Topics you cover
• Existing collaborations {if any} and collaboration options.
• Statistics to measure engagement, views, and number of readers.

You must aim to match the values of the brand without giving up on the true essence of your blog. This will help brands see why it makes sense for them to partner with you.

 

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Prepare a List of the Brands That will be Suitable for a Collaboration

Always stay relevant. Sometimes, your blog may just not be cut for a specific collaboration because your ideologies don’t match those of the brand, or your audience will not find it useful. This is why it helps to have a list of brands that fit seamlessly into your blog. That way, you’re still delivering the great, relevant content that your audience comes to you for, and you’re marketing the brand and their products in the most effective and organic way.

A few pointers to keep in mind when curating your list:

• Explore the industries your blog can relate with while also identifying up-and-coming brands to partner and enjoy long-standing relationships with. With smaller companies, connecting with the right person is going to be a much quicker process for you to spark collaborations.
• One thing that works for almost all bloggers is partnering with digital companies. Since everyone uses the internet, it is easier to promote digital products like plugins, apps and web graphics if that fits your niche.

 

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Finding a Way to Establish Contact

Armed with everything that you require for partnering with a brand, you are now ready to establish connections. To keep things real, I want you to know that every mail you send and every conversation you have with a brand representative may not lead to a successful collaboration. And it may be weeks before you land your first brand partnership but I’d advice you not to give up.

Now, here’s how you can personalize your email.

The most basic form of personalization is addressing your reader by name; an etiquette that I always lean towards. It may not be easy for you to find the marketing representative’s name on the brand’s website or their social media platforms, but this is where you will have to do a little sleuthing. Send an email to the mailing address mentioned on their website, use direct messaging on different social media platforms or use the contact form on the website to request for the contact name and email address of the marketing representative for the brand. Brands are usually considerate enough to send an email address, and if you get lucky you may even have a name to mention on your email.

 

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What to Include In That First Email

The span of attention of any marketing representative or social media manager is usually very low when it comes to reading emails from potential collaborators. They get too many of these and they may not have time for long mails. So your aim is to keep your initial email precise, rouse the interest of the reader, and position yourself as a strong contender.

You will get time to discuss collaboration ideas at length when you will have their undivided attention after successfully striking a deal. For now, you must be able to mention in just a few sentences how the collaboration can be useful for the brand.

A framework that can work if you are running out of ideas:
• Begin by telling the brand about yourself and your blog.
• Transition to your love for the brand and its products.
• Explain that you want to collaborate with them and why it will be good for the brand.
• Enter a clear call to action like “Would you like to hear the ideas I have thought of?”
• Conclude by attaching your media kit which can be in the form of a Google Doc.

Altogether, your email should not exceed 5 to 7 sentences~ short and sweet.

Keep in mind that brands take time to respond. Wait for 7 to 10 days before sending a follow up message. I have noticed that brands usually give you a chance to share your ideas. This is when you can send a more detailed email with your specific collaboration ideas and why they’d be a great fit for you and for them.

 

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End note: With most influencers reaching out to as many brands as possible, companies crave uniqueness in collaboration ideas. It may take time for you to land your first collaboration especially because you will want to partner with a brand which is the right ‘fit’ for you. Send out several emails and keep at it until you’re able to find a brand who is interested in partnering with you. With your first partnership behind you, you will realize that success succeeds and it will take no time for you to land more brand collaborations.

 I hope you have enjoyed reading the blogger’s guide to working with brands, and have found value in my words. Do you have more questions about working with brands? I will be glad to answer them in the comments.

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* I love bringing together a bunch of conflicting items and weaving my own sense of one-ness to them. *

28 Comments

  • Urban Diaries has so many helpful tips… thank you for sharing! I need to begin working with brands; however I still have to develop my blog’s following.

    • Absolutely, Nurli. 🙂
      Any blog’s success comes from strategy, as well as the community, and engaging with every one of them as frequently as would be prudent.

  • Hello Tanya, great post! This has been enormously useful. I have been an avid follower of Urban Diaries since I started blogging a year back, and receiving newsletter updates from you has been the absolute best!!

  • Thank you for such a detailed and exhaustive post! I am beginning to grow my Instagram and acquire followers, and am looking at obtaining more sponsorship as well…

    • Instagram is certainly where it’s at from an influencer standpoint, so you’re in the right place, Ruby. 🙂

  • Hello Tanya, this post has been super helpful! I only just received an offer from a brand that would like to include my work in their travel guide… thrilled to bits!!

  • Fantastic post, Tanya! A lot of information that I didn’t know about turned out to be completely obvious from this one post!

  • Any tips on the best way to help my web-based social networking? I generally post a photo on Instagram right after I post on my blog, and I use specific hashtags.

    • You’re on the right track using hashtags, Pamela. Additionally, I’d suggest engaging with people in your intended target group, regardless of whether they are following you or not. Good luck!

  • Much obliged to you for sharing this informative post! It was precisely what I was looking for and addressed numerous questions that I had in mind, Tanya.

    • Love hearing this, Holly. 🙂 Thank you for reading and here’s wishing you the very best with all of your collaborations!

  • Thank you for this amazing post! It provided me with what I needed to define my reply to a brand that wants to work with me.

  • I am so eager to gain knowledge from you, Tanya! I have been attempting to develop my following “organically” and it has brought me up to this point but now I have to put elbow grease into it and learn strategy!

  • Hey Tanya, awesome advice on the best way to associate with different brands! This article was absolutely brilliant and informative.

  • So arbitrary but I just couldn’t leave without saying it ~ I adore how unassuming and supportive you are in the way you respond to all our comments, Tanya!! Lotsa love

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