10 Things Every Blogger Should Know About Working With Brands

10 Things every blogger should know about working with brandsWorking with brands is one of the most mainstream ways to make an income through your blog, though – truth be told – it can be intimidating just to get started.

There’s so much to know: from how to find a contact in the company you want to work with, to how to craft the perfect pitch, to how to maneuver contracts and agreements, to how to implement your campaign and track the results.

A friend of mine has written a whole book on how to pitch and work with brands, but if you’re on the fence about whether or not working with brands is a good money-making strategy for your blog, here are 10 things you should know before you dive in.

It's about delivering value to companies that want to reach your audience.

If your first thought is “How much money can I make?” your focus is in the wrong place for this line of work.Β  Focusing instead on how much value you can deliver to the brands you work with will translate to a higher quality service, which – in the long run – will result in you being able to command higher fees.

What brand would want to work with you? A company that feels their product would be well received by your readers. They’re basically paying you to advertise for them and promote their products, but in a way that’s more personal than an ad on TV or one they’d place through AdSense – that’s probably not news to you.

But here’s the key: The more successful you are at proving the value you can provide, the more your campaigns will be worth to your brand partners, and the more you’ll be able to charge in the future.

Statistics aren't everything

A coaching client of mine named Emily has a relatively small following. She gets around 800 page views per day and has just upwards of 700 subscribers. At first glance, you’d say, “that’s respectable, but you can’t work with brands with statistics like that.”

Not so.

The fact is, the topic she writes about is urban homesteading – how to make your own basic household products, how to farm on a city lot, how to live as “off-grid” as possible while not having the luxury of living in the country. Emily’s audience is extremely engaged – they ask lots of questions and are looking to her as the source of information for something they’re excited about.

…and as a result of starting her brand partnership program last October, Emily is predictably making about $650/month by working with brands, with plenty of room for growth in the future.

The moral of this story?

The narrower your target niche, the less impressive your statistics have to be to make a splash for a brand. (Tweet this!)

Smaller brands can be fabulous to work with

There’s a temptation to get all starry-eyed when you’re approached by a big-name brand like Kellogg’s or Procter & Gamble to promote their products. But there are tons of mid-sized companies – and even mom-and-pop operations! – that you can really make a difference for.

Taking “vanity projects” that aren’t actually a good fit for your readers doesn’t help anyone. Look for opportunities to find a brand that’s an ideal fit for your readers, regardless of the name recognition the company already has. You’ll find that you can work much closer with that company (you may even have access to the person who owns it!) and can be creative in the way you bring value for them and for your readers.

Engagement Matters

When you say or do something on your blog – or on other social media outlets – how likely are your readers to do something about it?

That’s called engagement.

You can measure engagement any number of ways – comments on your blog, comments on other social media outlets, repins when you pin something on Pinterest, shares when you post something to Facebook, retweets or replies on Twitter…even something as simple as clicks on a link you place on your blog.

When you’re putting together that media kit, if engagement is one of your strong points, play it up! Highlight not just the number of followers, but average number of comments if that’s where you shine, or maybe the great response to a giveaway you’ve done!

Smart brands “get” the value of high engagement on a blog. (Tweet this!)

That said, not all brands are educated enough to see the value of working with a blog with lower overall statistics, but higher engagement. If you feel strongly about the engagement on your blog, don’t be afraid to teach those brands a thing or two. πŸ˜‰

10 Tips for Bloggers Working With Brands

Do you know what’s at the heart of what you bring to the table when you work with brands?

Trust.

You’ve built your blog to be your readers’ go-to source for information or inspiration on a certain topic. Hopefully you’ve been intentional about building relationships with your readers. And just as you’re more likely to buy an outfit that a friend says “would look so good on you” than you would by just seeing it in a catalog, your readers trust your judgment and bring your suggestions when they’re ready to open their wallets.

That’s why companies will pay you the big bucks to promote their products – because you own space inside your readers’ hearts and minds.

They trust you.

But there’s a huge responsibility that comes with that relationship – if you want to maintain your readers’ trust, you can’t promote products that aren’t a good fit for them. It looks false, and the appearance is that you’re just trying to “make a buck.” And in the long run, everyone loses.

If you want to read a case study about what a healthy Blogger-Brand relationship looks like, check this out.

10 Tips for Bloggers Working With Brands

I’ve already talked about how to make a media kit that rocks and given you 20 media kit examples sent in by my fabulous readers. But I can’t stress this enough – the energy and effort you put into your media kit can either open doors of opportunity for you or slam them in your face.

If you’re just getting started, then sure – go ahead and do it yourself.

But if you want to be competitive and really shine in front of brands, do yourself a favor and invest in a professional design for your media kit.

Enough said.

DIY media kit template

10 Tips for Bloggers Working With Brands

Many bloggers accept ads in their sidebar and stop there. They’re content to provide $30 worth of value to 10 companies and leave it at that. But in going the “easy route” and just working with sidebar ads, they’re leaving money on the table.

There are lots of different options for types of campaigns you can run: underwritten posts, sponsored posts, giveaways, social media promotion…and believe it or not, casual mentions of a product you honestly love and use in the context of a regular blog post can have the biggest impact of all.

If you want to provide maximum value for your brand partners, be ready to offer different packages that speak to the different levels of service you provide. It will set you apart as an experienced professional, and not as just another “mom blogger” who is content to do the bare minimum to make a buck or two.

10 Tips for Bloggers Working With Brands

If you’re new to working with brands, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of writing a post in exchange for a free pack of diapers, or a $30 gift card to a family restaurant. But be aware that if you’re not charging what the advertising campaign is really worth – both for the benefits the brand will receive AND for your time – you’ll find yourself frustrated, burned out, and deciding it’s not “worth it” in the long run.

Respect your readers (and your own time!) enough to turn down offers that aren’t really a good deal for all the work that’s involved.

Don’t settle for “free” when you can provide REAL value for a REAL fee. (Tweet this!)

10 Tips for Bloggers Working With Brands

There’s an old rule of thumb in marketing that says the average person is exposed to a product seven times before deciding to buy. So instead of settling for one-off advertising agreements (which I’ve just said are often more work than they’re worth), catch the vision for working with brands who are looking for a long-term partner. You’ll be able to provide much more value to them via a long-term relationship than by a single month of advertising, and it will be less overall work (think about the agreements, billing, and even the conversations leading up to your work!).

Over time, you’ll discover that working with more companies doesn’t mean more money. A better long-term strategy is working with a few companies that you can bring higher value for, and get more in return for the work you put in.

10 Tips for Bloggers Working With Brands

When you’re just getting started with brand partnerships, every step in the process can be intimidating. From deciding which brands will be a good match for you, to actually making the pitch, to running the campaign and reporting your results, there are lots of obstacles for a newbie to overcome.

Luckily, there are bloggers who have lots of experience working with brands who are willing to lend a helping hand. If you know an experienced blogger personally, then open up and ask them the hard questions! At the very least, you could buy an hour of consulting time from them and have clear direction for your own brand partnership program.

But if you don’t know anyone that can make it easy to get started, my friend Shannon Acheson has written a book called Bloggers & Brands: The Blogger’s Guide to Pitching and Working with Brands. It’s geared toward beginners who want to learn how to find the right contacts, craft a one-page killer pitch to help you land the job, and even how to navigate contracts and agreements.

Your Turn

Working with brands is such a big topic, 10 things hardly scratch the surface. So now it’s your turn to let me know what to talk about next.

Do me a favor and answer this question in the comments below:

As a blogger, what one burning question do you have about working with brands?

I won’t answer every question in the comments of this post, but I’ll definitely use your questions to help develop more great resources for you in the future.

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Leave a Comment:

216 comments
linda c. thomas says

Wow! I would love to read this book. I have been searching for ages on what are the necessary steps to connect with brands. Looking forward to receiving answers and direction. Cheers for writing this book.

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Jayne @ The Naptown Organizer says

Thank you for all the great tips!

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Carla says

My burning question is: What stats do brands like to see in your media kit when you pitch for the first time?

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iris says

Loved the hangout and all the tips and lessens on your blog over here! It’s really valuable information. THX!!

My question is : How can I approach ( little) companies to work with me? In The Netherlands almost everyone ( including companies) want things for free… Also blogposts or other ways to work together. … They almost never want to pay. How can I let them see that it’s a benefit for both if we work well together….

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Jean says

Great hangout with Shannon – the YouTube link worked! My biggest question is how do you decide what to charge for different types of sponsorship?

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    Wendy says

    I agree with this one. I’ve been told I don’t charge enough because my traffic has increased and I haven’t increased my rates because I really don’t know what I should charge.

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Phyrra says

I would love to know how to show the value of my engagement, since I have strong numbers.

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    Caitlyn says

    I read somewhere that a good rule of thumb is to take your unique page views and divide it by 100 to get a good monthly fee for an ad. So if you have 5000/month, you could safely charge $50/month for each ad. Wish I could remember where I read that… πŸ™‚

    I’m looking into working with small businesses to replace my google ads. I’d rather endorse companies I love and respect!

    -Caitlyn
    http://www.catonthemoon.xyz

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Leslie R. says

Looking forward to reading this book.

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Sarah says

The South African blogging world is still growing and working with brands is still very new here. What I would like to know is how should I follow up with brands when I haven’t heard back from them for a while?

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    Kendra says

    I’m with Sarah. What’s the best way to follow up when there’s not been a response?

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Morgan says

I struggle with wanting to build an audience organically, over time, vs using some of the traffic drivers that don’t result in real fans {rather, folks that stop by to win a giveaway, or something}. To that end, my numbers aren’t great… Do brands look at “quality” of traffic & engagement, in addition to the stats?

I’d LOVE to learn more about working with brands that *I* love, and that my readers would too!

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Angie Nelson says

How do you make yourself stand out and show your value as a small publisher when a brand is obsessed with numbers?

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    Crystal Green says

    You took my question right out of my mouth. This is my burning question too. I have the pleasure of working on a high end blog’s website as well as my small run of the mill blog too. So, I get to see what happens on both ends of the spectrum.However, I want to know how I can STAND out.

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Jessica @ Dear Emmeline says

Thanks for all the info and the G+ hangout! I’ve been curious about what is necessary for a successful pitch.

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Tammy Tutterow says

I really enjoyed the replay on YouTube. Thank you so much for hosting this great chat!

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Jessie says

I’m just starting my blog and am trying to learn as much as I can before I dive in

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Laura P. says

My burning question: How much traffic do you need to have on average before approaching companies about advertising?

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Tamm says

I would love to read this book and learn how to deal with brands.

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Adrianne says

My burning question is how to take that first step – I’ve never partnered with a company before so I’m not sure the best way to approach them!

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Laura P. says

How much traffic do you need to have on average before approaching companies about advertising?

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Sharon Rexroad's Bringing Creativity 2 Life says

Thanks so much for the Google+ hangout — I’m new so this is something to shoot for!

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Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers says

What are some of the package options I should be putting together, other than sidebar ad/review/giveaway?

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Susan W says

Question – Just started working with a brand for a longer term project. Would love ideas for how to create a really effective long term strategy.

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Trisha D. says

Thank you so much for the Google Hangout today! I found the information useful and very practical. I also appreciate the brand info you provided in this post. Totally pinning for future reference.

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Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen says

I was able to watch the replay on Google. My question would be in the whole negotiating aspect(of the project) because I do not have a frame of reference or examples.

Thanks –

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Erlene says

I think the webcast answered my brand question for now. I think I’ll have more questions as I actually start to work with a brand. I’m just starting my blog and want to build an audience first. Thanks for the great info.

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Vee says

These are all valuable tips. I like the idea of creating an entire package for the brand and not just selling sidebar Ads.

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Lori says

Hi Jeni,
I got to the Hangout late, but watching on You Tube was perfectly fine. It was actually “nice” (and you know that I mean this in the best way) to see that even YOU sometimes have trouble with these darn computers! Thanks as always for generously sharing such great information. Aloha, Lori

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Letty Flatt says

It’s a burning question–how do I attract brands I believe in and use? I know the answer–create great content in my healthy lifestyle niche. I do have a moral issue of working with brands that go against my interest in changing the SAD, Standard American Diet. I do think we will see organic, eco, and healthier food brands come more and more into the picture, brands that seek to work with vegetarian/healthy bloggers. And right now I am building up my page views so they will want to work with me. πŸ˜‰

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Gena says

I’d like to know more about money–how much brands are willing to pay and how much they think my effort is worth.

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Gina says

I want to know how to get longer-term relationships with brands or companies, like an ambassadorship. Sponsored posts are fine, but I’d rather have the consistency (for content as well as income) and really work together with the marketing people. I can learn so much that way!

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Kalyn Brooke | Creative Savings says

I find that many business get burned out from bloggers too – whether it’s not holding up their end of the deal, or being difficult to work with. It makes the job of pitching that much harder!

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SangD says

What is the best way to approach a brand to give you clear direction on what their end goals are in order for a campaign to be successful?

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Teresa @ Crafty Wife says

Thank you for this amazing giveaway! I’m just starting out and would love to know how to find brands to work with in the first place!

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Shannen says

My burning question: How do you handle working with a company that has never worked with a blogger before? It feels odd to take the reigns in the scenario, but it seems it might be helpful for them if they are willing to work with you.

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Claire says

Wasn’t able to catch today’s Hangout, but I’m looking forward to watching the recording.

I’m most interested in how to find an “in” with large brands and organizations I’ve never communicated with before. What’s the best way to make initial contact (phone/e-mail/Twitter) and what position or department would I likely have the best luck pitching?

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Bonnie Way says

I think my burning question is how to convince brands that I want to work with that I have something to offer them. I see my blog as similar to an online magazine, but it doesn’t seem like companies are treating blogs that way. For example, I get annoyed when a company says “I pay blogs this much to advertise for me” and I sit there going, “No matter their circulation?” The blog should be determining price, imho, as I doubt The New York Times would accept the same rate of pay as a local daily newspaper (they’d set their own rates). So my question is about presenting my worth to brands and not being devalued in what they’re willing to pay. (Sorry it’s a long question!)

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Pam - GetSilvered says

I’m still building up my readership at the moment but thank you for all the useful info you give us about building our blogs – It’s invaluable.

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Stephanie says

Really thankful for this great information. Thank you!

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Stephanie says

Oops, my burning question… I have a terrible time asking for money. What is the right amount to charge? I’ve based mine on pageviews and have asked around, but recently after having a great dialogue going with a company that was a great fit, I lost them when I sent them my rates and they never got back to me. I even followed up and still no response. My experience so far is that companies will give you product but not often pay for advertising, especially the type that suit my audience. How do I convince them it’s worth the expense when so many bloggers will review and such for free?

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Meredith @ unOriginalMom says

Such great tips, thanks for sharing! I’m also interested in how to get that first “in” with a company…or how best to propose a longer-term partnership after one sponsored post or product review.

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maria k says

Great tips! Thank you for sharing!
My burning question: how do you decide what to charge for different types of sponsorship?

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dija says

This was a great blog post with lots of great things to think about. I have just started monetizing my blog with ads but I have a desire to create long term relationships as well. I am also a YouTuber and shoot and edit my own videos. Can this (creating videos) work as a package for a brand? If so, how can I determine fees as I haven’t really seen this option available on other blogger’s sites?

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dija says

I just did a post on my favorite blogging resources and I included The Blog Maven because your content is so helpful. I’m looking forward to reading your suggested resource to see if I need to add another resource to the post. I’m pretty sure I will! Thanks again for all you do! Here’s the post: http://theinspiredcafe.com/2014/03/10/top-5-favorite-blogging-resources/

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LaToya says

Finding companies to work with

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Carla says

Love all your tips thank you x

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Rachel Cotterill says

I think all of this is still pretty new to UK brands – and unfortunately, US companies generally aren’t interested in engaging with international bloggers, even if your readers are mostly US-based. I’m interested in the package idea, I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms before.

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Dee @ from wine to whine says

Is it ok to run campaigns/sponsored posts back to back? (If they aren’t competing products)

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Tammy Northrup says

Is it better to approach brands via social media or email a contact directly?

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Tom Shewbridge says

I feel as a male blogger, married, no kids. That it is very difficult to get noticed. I know there are niche blogs: mommy/coupon/deals/others. I am doing better, but still find that someone who has an alexa of 280,000 when I have a 59,000 will get movie reviews and giveaway offers that I can’t get. I have joined a few groups like Best Buy’s Wolf program, and others and are getting some opportunities, but I still feel that most PR agencies and companies discriminate against male bloggers.

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Laura says

I want to build more engagement so that I can provide more for companies I work for as well as my own statistics – any tips?

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Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm says

Are there brand “types” that work more successfully than others?

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Lindsay Butler says

1st- I loved the Google Hangout. I got a lot of great information from it! Thank you for setting that up!!

My biggest question is how to get my foot in the door initially. Finding the correct representative at the company, etc…

Thank you!

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Rachel says

I want to know more about building relationships with companies even though I am not a niche blogger necessarily…

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Clair says

I would like tips on how to find a balance between promoting thoroughly for the vendor, yet not over-promoting in the eyes of the blog reader. Thanks!

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Jeanette says

I’d like to know how to create long-term relationships with brands.

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Marty Walden says

How much to say in an initial email contact. Whether you give your whole pitch, a teaser or just save it if they even respond. Of course, I have many other questions but that’s a start!

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Kathi says

My question is just how to get started… how to approach a company.

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Barb says

When it comes to branding I’m a total newbie. I’d love to be able to figure out what it’s all about.
Thanks!

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Jeanie Erwin @ Frugalteer says

~~~~~~ Great post! I am a newby in a niche that promotes saving money–Frugality. Now, I know, having lived a very frugal life, that even those that have a frugal mindset DO SPEND. How would I attract brands to a blog they might perceive as counter productive to their goal? Love this site and the community around it. PURE AWESOME! ~~~~~~~~

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Bobbie says

My question would be: Out of all the inquries you get how do you decide who you will work with?

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rhonda says

I’d love to win this book!!! I don’t even know if I could put myself out there like this! Seems scary!

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Karen Hasheck says

Thanks for all the great tips and the chance to win!

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Alice @ Earning My Two Cents says

This is really helpful! I have worked with some brands but I think that the place I need to focus now is growing readership and pageviews. I need to get myself out there more!

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Danah says

I’m afraid I am still in the building stage. I am still trying to find enough support to go further. But when I do, finding sponsors will be my first burning question.

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Darcel {The Mahogany Way} says

Sounds like a great book. I would love to win this. These are great tips on working with brands…thanks for sharing!

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Ticia says

What is the balance of promising enough and not promising enough. How to best measure engagement with your posts? I can come up with about 10 more questions.

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Camille says

The very first email- what should it include- just a media kit? Ideas- what is too much and what is too little?

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Thea says

So many of my questions have been asked already as I scroll through the comments. I was wondering about timelines. When you make a pitch to a company, what is a reasonable time to wait for a response and if you don’t hear does one do a follow-up and if so, how long after the initial contact?

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Sarah@sarahtitus.com says

Thank you for this post in particular. It was very well written and I love gleaning from your wisdom each week! πŸ™‚

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Leigh Ann @ Intentional By Grace says

I would love to know from brands what is the most effective way they have found to promote their brand. How do they prefer to work with bloggers, etc.?

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Lisa at Mabey She Made It says

I’m trying to figure out how to articulate ways I can stand out in a sea of other bloggers. I know I have something to offer the right brands, but letting them know is my challenge.

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Heather @ The Soulful Spoon says

Thank you so much for this giveaway! This post was so helpful! The biggest question I have is, ” At what point do you start asking for money from companies instead of accepting free products, and what’s the most tactful way to go about doing that?” For example, what level of followers and commenters do you need to ask for money instead of free products? What about unique visitor counts each week/month? I’ve been blogging for a long time, and not seeing the results I want, despite how happy I am with the number of companies I’ve worked with, and the daily page views I get. I have been lucky enough to be able to work with some of the top brands in the health food industry, but have yet to make income from these reviews. Free products have always been a blessing to me, but I’ve often wondered at what point can you, or should you, ask for money instead, and how to do that. Thank you so much again for the giveaway!!

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Sarah Mackenzie says

My burning question: what’s the best way to treat brands like gold, once you’ve gotten some on board? I want to be my sponsors’ favorite blog to work with. What ensures that they don’t want to stop working with me?

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Nico says

What a great idea! I’ve been trying to secure advertising, and that’s a slow gig, but this could open up a new world of opportunity.

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Maurisha says

I have been blogging for awhile, and have a few small brand partnerships for things like giveaways but I am looking to take it to the next level. This post has been a great introduction, and I would love to read the book to get even more insight.

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Andrea says

My burning question is: How do I search out brands that fit with my niche when most of what I do it share info? There are a few products that would fit but I’m not sure how to go about approaching them.

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Holly says

I’ve been working with brands by doing reviews but I’d like to move into sponsored posts. I’m not sure about the right way to approach or counter. I’ve been putting it off.

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Shauna says

How do you best measure campaign results to report to the company or future companies?

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Denise says

looking forward to reading the book. great post. thanks.

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Jennifer says

I would love to read this book!!

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PendleStitches says

I’m just looking to up my blogging game and this book certainly addresses a new area of expertise for me. So exciting.

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Blair @ The Seasoned Mom says

I would love to win one of these books!

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Christina says

How can ask for $ when all the brands are offering are samples of their product?

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Leelo R says

I would like to know how to calculate how much $ I should ask for sponsored post.

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Anna@The Measured Mom says

My question: How can I find and approach brands that I think would be a good fit for my site?

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Margaret (@margswrld) says

What do they look for a in a great pitch that would make them want to work with me.

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Toia B. says

This was some great info and I hope I implement them successfully as I begin to reach out to my favorite brands.

I guess my top question would be: How do I know what price points are “fair” when negotiating with brands & how do I request a reasonable fee without selling myself short?

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Chris @ Shared Appetite says

What a great post and an awesome-sounding book! I am currently putting the finishing touches on my media kit and would love to know the next steps… how to get connected with brands!

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Gretchen Louise says

This eBook sounds excellent! Thanks for sharing all these helpful points.

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MaryEllen@ImperfectHomemaker says

I have worked with many brands, but I am just now starting to do more paid work rather than just blogging for free products. I’d love to know how to convince them that my time and influence is valuable. Most of the time they refuse to pay and move on to another blogger that will accept just a free product.

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Kim@NewlyWoodwards says

I think my burning question is how to really portray your worth. Sometimes I have a hard time putting that into words. I end up going with the numbers, and I don’t think that tells the whole story.

Really enjoyed this post and the YT video of the hangout. Great info.

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Theresa Scholtz says

Wow! I just discovered your blog and I could be here all day reading, what a wealth of information! I guess, as I’ve never monetized any of my websites in this way before, that my burning question would be: How does a young blog gather steam and attract the attention of good brands in a sea of successful bloggers?

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Angie Young says

I’ve not worked with brands persay. I’m a book review blogger. I’ve written a couple of book reviews for authors in exchange for free books. But it would be nice to learn more of how to do these reviews for money.

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Michelle @ Running with Attitude says

My biggest question as a blogger is still trying to figure out what to charge for different services.

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Carin Kilby Clark says

These are great tips – and right on time since I’m about to do my Media Kit. Thanks so much for sharing!

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BrownThumbMama says

Wow, this looks awesome. I need all the help I can get to escape the cubicle world!

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Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run says

How do you know how much you should charge for compensation?

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Mary says

I’m listening to the hang out and have a lot of questions about the WRITTEN parameters in a pitch. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win!

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Michelle says

I am new to working with brands and I would love to hear about how to pitch: phone, email or in person?

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Abagail says

I am super interested in reading this book and would love to make blogging into a business.

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Monique says

The best way to start that first email to the brand you’d like to work with.

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Kia says

Thank you for the tips. Will be printing these out for future reference.

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Brianna says

I’d love to work with brands, but I have no idea how to go about building those relationships. I already review books, but I’d love to expand my niche.

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Shawn Ann says

I would love to know how to continue working with brands more often rather than just the once or twice review.

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Sue@CountryDesignHome says

My biggest question is where do all of the company leads originate for bloggers? Do companies approach you or vise versa? I see so many bloggers with company endorsements and I am wondering how that relationship begins.

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Consie @ Atop Serenity Hill says

I never quite know what to say in the letter! So I would love examples of the best way to approach brands.

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Rosa Diana says

What determines when you’re ready to work with a company? Is it the size of your audience or the material you provide?

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Crystal says

I’d like to know how to get noticed and of course get paid for doing a review!

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Suzanne @Sprinkled Nest says

My biggest question about working with brands is my numbers! Having rebranded my blog in January, I feel like I’m starting from scratch. I want to grow my audience a bit more so I feel more confidant before pitching. But, I suppose, like Shannon said, if you don’t ask it will always be no. Guess I need to start somewhere!

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Brenda Young says

Great article! gosh so many questions really but my biggest burning question would have to be how to go about creating advertising packages, types of advertising levels, and how to figure out pricing.

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Lynn R says

Thanks for this post! I’m curious about working with brands that are new to the online world. How can I help them get comfortable with the idea of blog sponsorship?

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Jelli says

I guess my question is how to find brands without using the networking agencies.

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Megan says

My husband and I just bought a house that we are renovating. I would love to reach out to some brands to partner with throughout the renovation process, but it’s intimidating. Would love to learn the best way to approach brands and the type of partnerships that work best.

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Ricki says

Great tips–thanks so much for compiling this list! I’d love to win a copy of the book. πŸ™‚

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Ricki says

Ooops, commented BEFORE I went to the Rafflecopter box! I’d love to know the best way to approach a brand that hasn’t interacted with you before–ie a “cold call.”

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Mariko says

Great tips! I especially love the advice about making it a long-term relationship.

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Amber says

I would love to read this book! I really would like to know how to build lasting relationships with brands, quality over quantity!

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Brae Montgomery says

This is all great advice Jeni! It is not a step I have taken yet with my blog but it gives me confidence that when the time comes I will have good ‘tools’ in my kit!

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Meredith Wouters says

This is great – my favorite is #10. So many blogging tasks seem overwhelming at first, but you make it seem possible! Thanks.

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Jennifer @Blissfully Ever After says

I love both yours and Shannon’s blogs and saw that Shannon was coming out with her new book Bloggers and Brands and became very excited. I have been blogging for about 3 years now, but didn’t put the real effort into it that I needed to until about a year ago which I decided to blog as a business instead of as a hobby. I am very passionate about what I do…I absolutely love blogging and what I blog about (DIY Projects, Home Decor, Crafts, and Health). What I am finding now is that I have the content, the design, the social media influence, and blog readership…..BUT, I don’t think I am maximizing my potential in the industry. I want to branch out and begin working with brands more and so this book really would be essential for me for my personal and professional growth.

Thanks so much for the great post and to Shannon for the free book opportunity!
xo,
Jennifer

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Becky @ A Calculated Whisk says

I’m wondering what else I can do to increase my engagement. I notice that some of my most viewed posts have very few comments, while some posts that have been viewed less have garnered more responses…what factors really motivate people to share and respond?

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Lauren says

Loved the hangout! Thanks for hosting πŸ™‚

My first and foremost question that I have… which I need to get the book so I can get the answer… is simply “Where do I start.”

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Mascara mom says

I have been blogging since 2012, but this new wave of blogging is a complex maze to me. Of course I want to make some money on something I spend so much of my time on. and seeing how my blog is geared towards reviews and sharing tips from own life that most moms can relate too, I should be about ready for sponsors. But I am too much of chicken I guess, when it comes to approaching brands, pitching them …I fear I don’t have enough numbers and I might come across as too eager and aggressive in my picth. So, for the time I am laying low, till brands come to me themselves…in another lifetime most likely!

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Misfit Momma aka Missy says

Setting my rates has always been my biggest struggle and burning question πŸ™‚

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Julieanne M. says

My big question is how much to charge companies for advertising for them with a review/giveaway. Is there a kind of fee structure based on how many followers a blog has?

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Lauren @ The Thinking Closet says

Great list, Blog Maven! I guess my question is this: when you feel eager to take a one time campaign into a long term relationship with a brand, what is the best way to pitch that? Should you be specific right off the bat with what you’re hoping for or test the waters with a short email and hope it leads to a longer conversation if they are interested?

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Holly S. says

Mostly, how to start! I’m pretty darn new at this and don’t really know where, or when, to begin approaching brands.

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Danielle M says

Hi! I’m kind of stuck on how to offer other types of advertising packages! Please help! Lol. Pick me!!

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Angel says

Your blog is so helpful, I love reading it. This looks like a great book, it would be awesome to win it! Thanks πŸ™‚

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Vohn McGuinness says

I’m doing well working with brands in return for complimentary products and experiences. I’m finding it impossible to know how to take that next step to actually getting pain for my work – a girl can’t live on free mustard! Vohn x

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Bridgett Lee says

I love the blogmaven! Topics and information on how to deal with brands is so important and I myself so appreciated this information.

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Zhenya says

Thank you for these tips! Love them! Here is my post on how to work with brands – http://beingzhenya.com/working-with-brands/
Zhenya
http://beingzhenya.com

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Gemma says

Great tips! Would love to get a copy of Shannon’s book. My biggest question? How to find the right contact person!! Seems simple.. but can be tricky! πŸ™‚

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Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says

My question for you: How do I make myself a brand’s favorite go-to blogger?

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Demetria says

Oh wow- this is EXCELLENT! Thanks for these tips on working with brands. It might be easier to do bare minimum but definitely not beneficial in the wrong run (and I completely understand the frustration of burnout).

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David Cunningham says

You give some really, really good advice here. I have never really thought of a lot of the things you have said, but I will now and I will try to implement them on my blog. Thank you for sharing this!

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David Cunningham says

I agree with #5, if you loose your reader’s trust you have lost everything. But would you also say that building reader’s trust is extremely difficult as well?

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Stellatyler says

I have worked for so many brands, however now I’m starting to do more paid rather than just blogsopt or wordpress for free Products. I’d want to know how to persuade them that my time and impact is significant. But issue is that most of the time they decline to pay and move to another blogger that will accept just a free product. From this article, I really found helpful information.
http://www.hostoople.com/vps-hosting/

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Giveaways 4 Mom says

You have shared some great tips. I work with brands on my blog. Majority is free work and it is a lot of effort that goes into spreading the word about their brands.

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Toni @ Finding Myself Young says

It’s taken me almost 2 years to build up my blog enough to attract brands and PR companies. I’m very specific about choosing only brands my audience would also love though because I don’t want to lose my engagement that I’ve worked so hard to build up.

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Mark Barnes says

Hey Jeni, I love the part about engagement. I took your advice and started using CommentLuv (still working out the kinks). Thanks for the advice. Now, I’d like to ask about your in-post “Tweet This” button. Is that from AddThis or another service? I use pull quotes like you do in my blog, and I’d love to add this feature. Thanks again.

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    jeni says

    Hi Mark,

    I’m doing that manually through clicktotweet.com, but there are plugins that will do it as well. The one I see implemented most is CoSchedule. Hope this helps!

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Stephanie@themadchatters.com says

I am still leery about placing ads on my blog but I am going to get this book to help me understand the process a little better. Thanks!

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Andrew M. Warner says

Hi Jeni,

This is a really interesting post and I agree with alot of the points that you made here. Probably, I agree with points # 4 & 5 the most.

First off, engagement does matter. I’ve been blogging for a year now and didn’t really start engaging with anybody else until February of this year 0 and really started to pick up the pace in the last few months. To my shock and amazement, all the engaging that I’m doing is really paying off. I’m connecting with more bloggers and building relationships with them by sharing their posts and commenting on their blogs, etc. If there’s one thing every blogger needs to do is engage with other bloggers and with their readers.

Secondly, if you lose your readers trust it’s darn near impossible to get it back. Trust is so hard to gain online and you have to do everything in your power to maintain that trust factor. But once you gain that trust, they’ll be loyal to you and your blog.

Really great post here, Jeni. I’m really loving the blog here and alot of the posts that you come out with is spot on and interesting. Keep up the great work.

– Andrew

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Hanna @ Soulfulceramics.com says

I’ve read many articles written for companies on how to work with bloggers. This article was interesting to me because the angle is aimed at bloggers actually πŸ™‚

I launched my new online store about 10 days ago and am now looking to work with bloggers to promote my store.

I have a questions to bloggers here. When companies and brands approach and ask you to write about them or their products, what are the requirements?

I don’t expect bloggers to work for me for free. That’s simply not fair for their precious time. But here’s my concern.

Due to the nature of my products, I am not quite sure how many products I can/should offer to bloggers who are willing to write for me. My products are heavy and breakable ceramic wares and arts directly sourced from Korean ceramicists. All handcrafted and hand-painted. Limited edition (meaning not enough inventories on hand per sku). The costs I had to pay the artists were very high. Shipping costs are high (heavy, breakable).

In this case, how should I respond to bloggers who request for products in return? How can I benefit bloggers? Is offering products the only way to work with bloggers?

Again, I highly appreciate bloggers’ efforts and time put into each article. I want to learn different ways to compensate for their works.

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Hi Hanna,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I don’t know that the actual quantity of the product you’re sending a blogger is as important as the fact that they get to experience the product itself, know what it’s about, and appreciate it for themselves. I’ve written another post that should help you, but here’s one thing to keep in mind from a sponsor’s perspective: if you sold ONE more of your product because of your relationship with the blogger, how much would that be worth to you (in terms of profit)? If you sold two? Ten? 200? The more you focus on developing a relationship with the blogger – rather than a straight “goods” transaction, the more likely your success. Hope this is helpful!

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      Hanna says

      Oops Jeni, just read your comment here. Thanks so much for your advises. I will try to build a long-term relationship with bloggers instead of looking for instant profits. Your blog has tons of helpful tips and resources. I’m so glad that I found The Blog Maven πŸ™‚

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Hanna says

I’m actively looking for right fit bloggers to promote my new online venture. I’m not sure where to start. I know this website is to help bloggers but it would be great if you can write an article for brand companies on how to approach bloggers. The tips listed here are excellent points. As a brand company, I would be more than happy to work with bloggers who practice the tips given here.

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IBA | 10 Blogging Articles Worth Reading This Week says

[…] 10 Things Every Blogger Should Know About Working with Brands […]

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Karen Farber says

I just started a fashion blog about 3 weeks ago and I’m trying to educate myself on every aspect of the business. At the moment I don’t have many followers, and only get about 100-200 views a day. My question is, when is a good time to start approaching companies and other bloggers to do collaborations? I’ve read in several places that you can start right away, and others that it’s best to wait…but wait until when?
When do you think it is the ideal time to start working with others and make some revenue?

http://www.littleblackshell.com

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Anita Utami says

I was going to approach a brand that I like, and see if they want to work with me. And then I got nervous even before I send an email to them. I have never worked with a brand before!

Now, I think I need to step back and read your article again before I make a move. Thanks for sharing your thought about this matter πŸ™‚

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Yogita says

One point that i would like to add is “Don’t make fake promises to get business from brands”.

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Mai Lyn says

The one question I have is what is good standard for rates for beginner bloggers? I have no idea what is fair for my time, what’s too cheap or too expensive.

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Kellie says

You are so right that it can be intimidating to get started. My blog is fairly new but I have a great niche & my numbers since launching in November are steadily growing so I figured, strike while the iron is hot. As soon as I sat down to put my pitch together…I froze. I have no idea what to put in it. My media kit is solid (read your post on that before putting it together) but these tips are definitely helpful. I am working on making sure what I put together shows that I can indeed provide value to the brands I want to work with. Thanks for the great advice!

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Megha Gupta says

Very detailed, honest writeup. It answered all my questions. Great help to newbies like me

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Julie says

In regards to #8, I definitely agree that even us who are starting out shouldn’t work for free. I just haven’t figured out how to respond back to a PR person who contacts me for a great post idea and includes their content to provide as well as their link, but doesn’t offer compensation. I don’t know how to start the “don’t ask me to work for free” conversation politely to get something changed.

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Yep, just *love* those friendly emails from reps who want to spam the universe and pay you nothing. I used to respond to those…now I just hit delete. It takes up too much energy – and they definitely know what they’re doing (it’s not like they’re oblivious!). If you really did feel like educating them, you could create a canned response that you use every time that happens. That way it won’t take up any of your additional brain space when it happens again.

    I appreciate your thoughtful comment, Julie.

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      Julie says

      Ooh good idea about the canned response. You’re right – they definitely know what they’re doing. It is hard to just ignore when usually I just get an email with an idea and asking for a reply if I’m interested for more information. I think I might just need to put up a good ‘hire me’ page and point to that in any correspondence heh. Thanks for the reply πŸ™‚

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Faith says

Such a useful post! Thank you! As with the questions posted by many commentators here (without being answered), I have similar ones too! Most burning one is how much traffic can I start approaching sponsors ? Guess I will have to figure out myself soon!

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Hi Faith,

    Thanks for your note! Sponsors usually like to see a site that has 1K or more unique visitors per month, just because they want to reach a decent-sized audience. Your pageviews don’t have to be incredibly high – you just have to be able to prove that sponsorship is “worth” whatever your rates are. I know that’s not super specific, but depending on your niche (and how well you know your readers and are developing relationships with them), the work you can do for brands really varies. πŸ™‚

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Silvitra says

Thanks for these tips, Jeni. I’m looking forward to your new posts as I always get some new and helpful information that I can apply to my blog.

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Shauna says

Really great, truthful advice! Just discovered this blog but really like it so far.

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The Beauty Brethren says

This probably one of the most useful blog posts about partnering with brands that I’ve ever read.. Thanks for the tips xx

P.S. I just started a new beauty blog recently and put up my second post yesterday, so please come check it out and like it if you – well, if you like it πŸ˜€

https://thebeautybrethren.wordpress.com/

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Kathleen Post says

Hello! I am a new lifestyle blogger and I am wondering how I can reach out to brands and try to do a collaboration. I don’t even know how to approach that. I don’t want to it for the money right now. I just want to get started and have some great brands to feature. Let me know what advice you have for how I can start!

Thanks,
Kathleen

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Kathleen! So sorry I missed your comment when you left it here! We’re in the middle of a cross-country move, and it’s a doozy. πŸ™‚

    The best place for that info is a resource guide called Bloggers and Brands. Shannon has info for every step you need to take to start reaching out to brands, deciding on your pricing structure, making the pitch, and actually delivering the campaign. You can’t do any better than to read that book.

    Wishing you abundance as you move forward working with brands! xo

    Reply
Samantha says

Hi! I found your post extremely interesting and useful and I would like to know how a blogger can find and obtain a partnership with a brand.
I’m an Italian blogger and I write my posts both in italian and english and I don’t get a lot of traffic on my blog. Do you have any tips for me?
I’d really like if you could reply!

Sam.

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Hi Samantha,

    I don’t have any content on finding a brand partner here on the Blog Maven, but you should check out the Bloggers and Brands resource I mentioned at the top of this post. Shannon lays out, step by step, how to research and reach out to a potential brand partner. Hope this helps!

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Liza says

What an interesting post! Jenni, I wanna ask your opinion about brands which provide you $5 per blogpost? It is worth?

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Hi Liza,

    My opinion for $5 a blog post? It depends – how much do you value your own time? Here in the U.S. you could work at a gas station and make $5 in 30 minutes. You’re much better off investing your time creating a product (book, course, premium resource, etc.) that you can sell yourself for 100% profit. And that way, you’re building your own brand rather than building someone else’s while making just pennies.

    Thanks for reaching out, Liza – I appreciate you. πŸ™‚

    Reply
Savita says

Great Write-up. I am doing blogging since 2012 having nice responses but i am looking for more collaborations. I hope this write up will help me out. Thanks.

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Sheena Neil says

Such a great article. I was thinking it would be much easier but glad I got a good scope of what’s involved. I have opened every link you’ve attached and will be doing loads of research and preparation. Thanks so much πŸ™‚

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Styloce Blog- A fashion blogs for women says

Hello! I am a new Fashion blogger. Thanks for such a great blog post with lots of great things to think about.

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Manillenials says

Thank you. This is a great guide for newbie bloggers. My friends and I started a zine, and we often feel lost when we receive offers for sponsorship and event invites. We’re so clueless about this! This post definitely helps!

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Lori @ Intoxicology says

Found this blog post to be really helpful. I am wondering if this applies across many brand industries? I own a cocktail blog that gets between 20-24,000 unique visitors a month, a subscription of about 700 a month, but don’t get much engagement from readers. Alcohol Brands are constantly sending us things to feature (reviews, recipes, holiday themed ideas) for them and Im wondering if we should start charging them or how to start asking after featuring many things in the past for free just to have content.

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Taislany Gomes says

This post was so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

I struggle on finding a fair price for a blog post as well as social media posts. How did you come up with your rates?

Kisses,
BLOG | Taislany

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Becca says

As a blogger, what one burning question do you have about working with brands?- As a comic artist, children’s illustrator, my blog reflects these passions. I am geared towards teaching others how to do what I do, and reviewing art supplies that are strongly relevant to their interests. How do I get brands to take me seriously? It seems like my loyalty is expected (as I’m an artist) but unrewarded.

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Debbie says

Thank you so much for this tips

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LovishMahey says

These are great tips on working with brands…thanks for sharing!
Lovish recently posted

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Gaurav Verma says

great tips. I thinks every blogger should follow these tips. Your social engagement tricks is good

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lh. louis says

Definitely a great post, value, trust and building relationship with company or any companies will help.

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Rootsbridge says

Your blog are so nice very useful tips you written in this blog. Thanks for the wonderful blog.

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liam hawes says

This year I went full time on my site and it’s interesting to see how with the growth of my site I’ve seen an increase in brands and PR companies getting in contact with me. I think setting out a decent media kit would be a good next step for me to take.

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Laura Thomas says

Hi Jeni,

This was really helpful thank you. I have quite a niche area (sugar) but my engagment has been lowish to date. I know people do read and are engaged 1-2-1 by e-mail but not so much on visible channels. Do you think this poses a problem and might make things more tricky when starting out?

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Sanjay says

This is great! Literally just finished listening to your episode on The Food Blogger Pro Podcast (which is why I’m commenting – to offer direct feedback!), and so excited to explore your blog. Thanks for posting this.

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Janelle Lineisy says

I love this post so much! My blog is just starting to grow and this is such a helpful post that will come in handy when my audience has grown a bit more!

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Rebecca says

Hi! I am a newbie and guilty of a lot of the above, reviewing for simply free products and not asking for much compensation, however I am a VERY new blog and feel like I can’t ask for anything more, I wouldn’t know where to start when asking for money in return for a review or link on my blog!

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Sahil Bimal says

The is Awesome. I mean this Is what I was looking for.
In fact I got a package πŸ™‚
Thanks a tonne !

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Nansera Cissy says

As a beginner at blogging, my interest is not monetary but rather advertisement for me in return. Is that a wise move to make?
https://nansera.com/2016/10/14/african-chic-korabhai/http://

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Amanda says

The blog maven is such an inspiration! Thank you so much for the tips!

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Chakradhar says

Hello,

Thank you for sharing this use information with us. I agree with all your 10 points and mostly the 9th which is relevant to the relationship with the brand partners. I really enjoyed in reading your piece of content.

Thank you

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Fristine Chua says

This is really helpful! I was wondering how you determine the rate of your posts? πŸ™

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Siddhant M says

Hey, do brands check the stats of the site, I mean no. Of visitors n all before partnering with us, or they just believe in whatever stats we tell them.?

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    Jeni Elliott says

    Hi Siddhant, brands typically accept the numbers you present on your media kit at face value, then if they decide to pursue a working relationship, will ask for screen shots and/or viewer-only access to your Google Analytics.

    Reply
Ramon Smothers says

Great post! And I’m definitely getting the book. It’s new to me but I’ve found that just simply reaching out to brands will go better than we sometimes expect. I’ve had some really good opportunities come my way from simply reaching out. Thanks for this post!

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Liv says

Thank you for those great tips ! But I just don`t know wich companies to ask to work with me. I don`t have much traffic on my blog and also my followers on IG are not too many. But blogging makes me so happy and I want to come further with it and I think working with a company would improve my blog traffic. So do you know any brands that work with “new” bloggers ?

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Daniella says

Wow! Thanks for these tips. You’re right about not looking for huge companies at first but starting with smaller brands. Can i still create a media kit if my monthly page views are still below 5000?

OOTD : Peplum + Burnt Orange Bodycon (Slay On A Budget)

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Fashion Influencer says

This is such a great resource– I keep coming back to it! Just wanted to say thanks πŸ™‚

CR

https://www.creationdespite.com

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Catia says

This is useful information, thanks for sharing it.

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Sonali Mishra says

Great tips collection by you & thanks for sharing with us. You covered each & every important thing which should consider before working with famous brands.

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Adi Brown says

It’s wonderful information. This information helpful and useful for many people and in this post gives some points in detail that helpful for easily understand this. It’s great post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

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ANAMIKA says

Nice articles. I am also looking for a sponsor for my blog. I am very new in this field and your article is very useful for me.

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Ariel Cunningham says

thank you for sharin this article.

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Jes Mejia says

I loved this post! You’re spot on with all your advice, and I appreciate the book recommendation- I’ll be picking it up. Cheers!

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Aayush says

Thank you for these tips, these are really helpful.

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Lineisy Kosenkova says

As a freelancer, these tips will definitely help me. glad to see this informative article. Thanks for sharing the article.

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babloo says

thanks for sharing this. its good to know

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Kay @ The Solo Alliance says

I loved this article! The breakdown was motivating. I felt that working with brands was very achievable. Thanks for this information.

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Kanyi says

Awesome! thanks for writing out these tips. Very helpful

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Aayush says

looking forward to reading the book. great post. thanks.

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