Today we welcome Grace from With Some Grace to the blog, as we continue to hear straight from bloggers about their experience working with brands. For those of you wondering how smaller bloggers get started and what to look out for Grace has some great insights from her early days!
Why did you decide to start working with brands on your blog?
To be honest, I initially decided not to work with brands when I first started blogging because I was wary of “selling out”.
Most importantly, I wanted to focus on my content; spend time figuring out what I wanted from my blog but to also build a strong rapport and a sense of trust with my readers.
It was around 18 months into blogging that I started feeling comfortable with the idea of working with brands. By this stage, the relationship with my readers was also well established, so there was an understanding that when brands were going to be introduced on my blog, there would be a mutual benefit for everyone involved.
How does working with brands benefit your readers?
With busy lifestyles, we’re always looking for solutions, advice and support in raising a family while juggling work and other challenges modern society throws at us.
Ironically, in our race to be super efficient, we don’t always have the time to offload or share our challenges with one another on a personal basis.
When I introduce a brand on my blog, it needs to be accompanied with a solution that can make my readers’ busy lives a little easier or simpler.
What’s been your biggest surprise in working with brands?
There are some extremely innovative and creative brands that are open to hearing ideas and feedback from a blogger.
The best brands to work with are the ones who sincerely want to know from bloggers where improvements need to be made in their services and products but also keen to hear suggestions for potential solutions.
Could you share your best experience working with a brand?
A life insurance company was keen to start a partnership and showed their commitment by inviting me to their offices and introducing me to their marketing team over a very long business meeting.
We chatted about my blog, its direction and readers but we also discussed working together on potential collaborations for their different products. One of which was a vlog production.
Throughout the project, there was ample communication in regards to what the expectations were from both parties so there were no surprises or disappointments in the end result.
Brands who are willing to take the time to understand bloggers and build a solid business partnership will always reach a favourable outcome for themselves but also the blogger.
What’s your biggest nugget of advice for the bloggers reading?
Don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Of course it needs to be within reason and with justification. There are times when intuition tells me to ask for more than what is initially offered – whether it’s product or monetary payment.
It’s not that the brand is intentionally undervaluing the blogger but because this industry has no real set rules or regulations in regards to remuneration or fair payment, sometimes the blogger has to set the bar and let the brand know what they’re worth.
When negotiating, I often let the brand know what I can offer in terms of creating specially crafted content for a post and also its potential reach and engagement from my readers. If there’s a giveaway involved, I also explain the additional administrative time it takes to run one.
Any tips for the brand reps reading?
Don’t determine the success of a blog purely through its stats and numbers!
Engagement and readership loyalty can often be overlooked yet, these two important aspects that are the fundamentals to a successful campaign.
A blogger who has a smaller but extremely loyal and highly interactive readership can have just as much impact and influence than one that has high traffic.