How to Work With Brands for Your Blog

How to Work With Brands for Your Blog

I feel like when you do research for your blog, there are a million resources out there particularly when you go onto Pinterest.  Pinterest always has “all the answers” for you especially when it comes to how to work with brands.  There are these splashy pretty pictures that are perfectly presented and then when you click on the catchy headlines, they are all fluff and no substance.  To me that is frustrating and a waste of time.  There are not enough hours in the day for me and if I’m researching, I want it time well spent.  So you know me.  I’m going to give it to you straight and well researched because it is all my trial and error.

How to work with Brands

How to Work With Brands

I get a lot of backend questions on how I work with brands.  I have also read that you shouldn’t work with brands anymore because you are your brand and the horror of having people click off your page onto someone else’s brand.  I get it.  It really does resonate and I understand the concept.  Why spend all this time promoting someone else’s product when you are spending hours slaving away on your brand and product.  Well, for one thing, let’s be honest.  We all love getting to try new products for free.  I’m just saying what everyone is thinking.  Why do you spend hours clicking away on your computer if there wasn’t an end result.  Have you read my prior post on my thoughts of the dark side of blogging?

Well, let me tell you what.

I applaud bloggers that work with brands because you know why?  We have influence.  We drive what people want to buy.  We are a platform for businesses to get their products to the mainstream.  Seriously, aren’t bloggers the most artistic and beautiful curators of beauty?  I swear, I read magazines now (on the plane) and I’m bored by the fashion spreads.  Just scroll through a top bloggers instagram feed and their fashion, styling and art blows those spreads away.  Why shouldn’t we be rewarded or compensated for our expertise and time spent!  To many of us, blogging is a job.  It allows us to be business owners.  Isn’t that such an amazing concept?  I know women are always the first to turn to the catty and petty but at the end of the day, blogging opens up so many opportunities and experiences.  I applaud it and strive to continue to grow every day.  I also try to lift up my fellow bloggers and support them.  Honestly, if you ever have a question email me.  I always respond.

 

Okay with that said, let’s get into the nitty gritty.  You want to work with brands and I’m going to tell you how to do it.  Here are the top four ways that I work with brands and you can to.

 

Be part of a network

This is probably my least favorite but most stable way of working with brands.  There are a lot of rules when you are part of Blogher, Clevergirls, Influence Central, Pollinate, Rewardstyle etc etc.  However, I will say these big companies are predictable.  You sign an agreement and that net30 day or net60 day payout, it will happen.  If it doesn’t happen, you can raise hell until it does.  I have never not been paid by them.  There is no worse feeling than working with a side company or brand, you hit publish, send that email with the live link and then radio silence.  Damn.  I just did all that work and now they aren’t going to pay me.  So, even though there are rules, you will be guaranteed in 95% of the cases that you can rely on that income.  The other downfall is they are competitive.  I never ever used to get accepted to them but the more you work with brands, then you can use those as examples to help you land that bigger gig.

working with brands

When I worked with Zappos from this post.

With that said, never work for free.  Never put your time and effort into a company that “may mention you on their social media“.  Either you get product or payment.  Don’t let them take advantage of you.  Unless you love the product and you want it to use to build your brand portfolio.  Does that make sense?  So in summary, the first entry way of working with brands is sign up for networks.  I am apart of so many I can’t even count.  One day I just googled “blogger influencer programs” and signed up for 100 of them.  I get daily emails and it’s up to me to decide what is a good fit for me and my readers.

Cold Call Email

This is my favorite way of working with brands.  Hey, I stumbled on this amazing product and want to check it out.  Just send them an email and tell them why you love their product and how you want to feature it.  I will say 50% of my brandwork is done that way.  For example, I saw Stiks via Instyle and sent an email to the website.  The owner of the company emailed me back and said she loved my site. I told her I would talk about the product if I liked it, which I did.  I then asked if she would be down with a giveaway and she was.  I did not receive any compensation but I loved the product and did get that.  The beauty of this is you can control the terms better.  You can choose to post on your social media or not.  If you want to ask for compensation, you come up with the terms.  However, once again, don’t get burned.  I like to ask for half of the compensation when I submit a draft of the post and then final payment two business days after the post goes live.  Make sure you get it all in writing and agree upon the terms.

Sometimes I won’t ask for compensation but will require that brand to use my pictures on their social media.  Like for example, when I worked with Clinique or when the Zoe Report picked up my work.  They did not pay me for it but the regramming of my work on their social media lead to hundreds of new instagram followers.  That was worth it for me.  So don’t be shy.  Start sending out those emails. You have influence!

Wait for them to email you

I’m more of a go out and get them myself kind of person but I have been contacted by amazing brands in the past and if I think they are a good fit, then heck yeah lets do it.  Like these beautiful necklaces by Hands High Designs that I featured on this post.  I loved her necklaces and asked if she would do a giveaway plus yeah supporting other female entrepreneurs right?!?!  I love opening my blogging email, I never know what opportunity is going to arise on a daily basis.  Once again, you decide if the brand works for you.  You will never see me promoting tampons or dogfood.  It just isn’t the direction where I want to go.  I want you to be able to trust me.  If I put something on here, you know I have tried it and loved it.   Not just that someone is paying me to talk about it.  Does that make sense?

BB Dakota and Tory Burch Satchel

 

Instagram

This is my best kept secret.  Some of my big fashion collaborations have actually been through instagram.  I love Amanda Uprichard. Her designs, color and the fact they are made in the USA.  I made sure to tag the label on my instagram and wouldn’t you know it, they regrammed me and sent me a private message wanting to work with me.  I have had at least 10-20 different fashion brands work that way.  I even send them messages as well.  “Dear XYZ, as you can see I am totally loving this sheath dress and see the engagement my followers have with it as well.  Have you worked with bloggers in the past?  Would you like to discuss a potential collaboration?”  I would say half of the time I get a response back.  Brands want to see you wearing their labels, how you style them and how they in turn can see how their pieces are going to look on you.  If you love Old Navy start tagging them.  Brands troll instagram.  It is the easiest pickings for them.  So get out there and start hounding the brands you like!

brand work

Fringe skirt here || Sweater BB Dakota here ||  Booties Joie here

 

I also think it has been said over and over again.  People don’t like when blogs become completely sponsored.  So make sure you pick the brands that you believe in to be a good fit for you and the direction of your blog.  Last thing.  I have a clause on my blog, that if a product is sent, it is not guaranteed a mention.  Do not feel bullied into posting something that you don’t use or like.  I have sent products back in the past when I didn’t like it or think they fit.  I think that is a very important takeaway point.  You are in the influencer.  You have the power.  Remember that.

How to work with brands for your blog! Complete tell all post. Must Read! Click To Tweet

So there you have it.  My top four ways how to work with brands.  I should also say that I keep a folder in my email, once a month I send emails to all my previous brands that I have worked with or brands that have turned me down before.  I then just touch base with them and see where they are at, if they are wanting to work with bloggers at the time.  I mean you have the emails, that is 95% of the battle right?  So what do you think?  Did you learn some tricks of the trade?  I love helping other bloggers grow and if you have any questions please feel free to comment or send me an email!  If you like this post,  I would love if you would pin it or like it on bloglovin!  xoxoxo

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42 Comments

  1. February 25, 2016 / 2:26 AM

    Awesome tips girl! Reaching out to brands can be intimidating but it really is such a great way to connect and get your foot in the door.

  2. February 25, 2016 / 5:46 AM

    I can see why reaching out to brands is intimidating…and time consuming, but when it works it’s the best feeling!!! I haven’t heard of pollinate before so thanks for sharing that one!! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  3. February 25, 2016 / 6:01 AM

    Oh Pinterest, I think I go there more than Google to find the answer to something now haha! And yes, reaching out to brands is definitely intimidating but can be so worth it! And I agree with you, never do something for free! I need to get better about joining some networks! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  4. February 25, 2016 / 7:00 AM

    What a great post, lady! You’ve done such a great job with your brand and it’s so nice you are sharing all the info with the rest of us. You are truly a wealth of knowledge and inspiration!

  5. February 25, 2016 / 8:10 AM

    Love these helpful hints – thanks for sharing all of your tips and tricks lately!!

    Christina :: Simple and Delish

  6. February 25, 2016 / 10:33 AM

    Awesome tips! I plan on putting these to use and the other tips you have personally sent me. You are such a great resource for blogging tips. And for my updated wardrobe! Thanks!

  7. February 25, 2016 / 10:35 AM

    Ditto your thoughts on Insta! Once I got my feed’s aesthetic in order, I started to get tons of emails from brands telling me they loved my “look” and wanted to work with me. It’s great when all you have to do is post pretty pics and people email you! I also ditto the fact that it’s better to negotiate your own terms but I hate chasing squirrels for payment. You can also get paid a lot more if you don’t go through those brand connector companies!

  8. February 25, 2016 / 11:04 AM

    Great advice and much needed. We have yet to conquer this hurdle.
    Traci
    waltzmetoheaven.com

  9. February 25, 2016 / 11:18 AM

    Love this straight forward post. I am trying to work on building my site and how to connect with brands and I really appreciate how concrete this post is. Question: when did you start reaching out to brands? I have thought about it but my following is pretty small yet so not sure brands are leaping to collaborate with me. Thanks!

    http://mymonochromaticlife.com

  10. February 25, 2016 / 11:19 AM

    Great tips! I need to join some networks and cold email as well. Speaking of Stiks, did you ever mail the package from the giveaway?

  11. February 25, 2016 / 11:22 AM

    Great post! I get emails from companies a lot who want to just have me mention them on my blog or make a post but there is no talk of free product or payment. I usually just ignore them but I may just try to negotiate instead!

  12. February 25, 2016 / 11:28 AM

    Amanda . . . you are fabulous! I love that you share your wealth of knowledge. You truly are lifting up others and supporting them and that is a beautiful thing. I’m definitely not one who enjoys following blogs that constantly promote products and do reviews . . . know what’s cool about you? You do it in such a way as that you don’t even realize it’s happening . . . brilliant! I’m just blogging of for the memories, but it’s wonderful to know that there are people like you out there willing to answer questions and help others. :-)

  13. February 25, 2016 / 12:20 PM

    great post for people who want to work with brands Amanda! i’m with you, who doesn’t like free stuff? for me personally, i’m happy to get free stuff but it’s not my end game or goal for blogging. that being said, i don’t judge those who want that. and the whole brand thing makes no sense.. yes, you are promoting your brand, but isn’t promoting a product or other brand also promoting yourself? because you are like hey look at me and how awesome i am if this brand is sending me stuff? i mean, that’s how i saw it. not in a mean way, but it’s a good thing? you know? maybe i’m clueless lol

  14. February 25, 2016 / 12:32 PM

    These are some wonderful tips, Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us! I’ve been blogging for a few years now, but have not reached the goals I have set, with that said, I just starting giving it my all this year. Thanks, again!

  15. February 25, 2016 / 12:37 PM

    I love that you email brands and ask if they want to work with a blogger. I guess since I am just a little crumb on the map type of blog, I never really thought to reach out and ask a company because they probably wouldn’t take me seriously but it couldn’t hurt to ask. I pinned this to remind myself that we are all worth something.

  16. Shannon
    February 25, 2016 / 12:44 PM

    A whole lot of yes!!!!! I cannot stress enough to bloggers when they ask me about working with brands to not work for free!! Drives me crazy when a brand tries to take advantage of a blogger because we really work so hard! I have been meaning to join a few more networks! Loved this whole post!

    http://www.upbeatsoles.com/trunk-club-women-review/

  17. February 25, 2016 / 12:48 PM

    I have blogged for 8 years & never did a paid blog post… I’ve just never joined any of those places. It all intrigues me. But I know I’m lazy with actually following through. Kudos to you for making your blog pay off for you in a small way.

    I do love the idea of contacting them & telling them how much you love their product!

  18. February 25, 2016 / 12:51 PM

    Such great tips! It’s always good to know how other bloggers work with brands I wish more of us shared because we really need a starting platform to work off of. Thanks for sharing!!

    Xoxo,

    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

  19. Amy Ann
    February 25, 2016 / 3:50 PM

    Great post! I think you have covered it. I totally agree, I love blogging because I have seen so many creative women rocking it! It is totally where I get my fashion inspiration. I love that it’s the bloggers who are getting the fashion week invites now. Talk about influence. I think it is fun to work with brands as long as I stay true to my personal style.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  20. February 25, 2016 / 4:19 PM

    I’ve actually wondered before how you have worked with some of the brands you do, because you have a nice variety and not the same thing that you see on blogs all over. This is a TON of great information and so helpful. I am part of a few networks, but need to join a few more and reach out to companies I believe in and want to work with. Totally pinning this…thank you so much!

  21. February 25, 2016 / 5:02 PM

    As you can see I was finally able to read this post!! Haha. Thank you so much for sharing, I will be saving this! :-)

  22. February 25, 2016 / 5:25 PM

    Such great advice. The networks have been huge for me and so has the cold-emailing. I like the initiatives that brands are using on Instagram as well!

  23. February 25, 2016 / 5:50 PM

    I can’t stand those random e-mails that ask you to write a post about a product and then say they may feature you on their social media, etc. Uhm… NOPE!

  24. February 25, 2016 / 9:02 PM

    Great tips!! I love that you always keep it real. ;)

  25. Kristina @ Medicine and Manicures
    February 25, 2016 / 9:42 PM

    This post is great.. you get it, girl!! And I’ve finally started emailing companies myself and most of them have totally agreed to collaborate- all they can say is no :)

  26. February 25, 2016 / 10:02 PM

    This post is all sorts of amazing! I’ve reached out to brands in the past and have gotten some great results. Great Tips about IG too – do you come up with your price? How do you tell them you want to get paid? You’ve done such an amazing job with your blog/following – you kick ass! I think that’s part of my problem, I don’t always feel as confident and like I’m part of a particular niche.

  27. February 25, 2016 / 10:21 PM

    I love this post. Thank you for providing these great tips. I’m definitely going to use some of your suggestions.

  28. February 25, 2016 / 11:51 PM

    Wonderful, honest, and helpful post. I love that I can come to your site and always get honesty. Love you!!! xoxo

  29. February 26, 2016 / 9:02 AM

    Great tips!! I wish I had known all of this BEFORE my post today (although it’s a service I personally love and use already)! Live and learn for sure!! Make today work, Rachel –CubicleCouture

  30. February 26, 2016 / 1:16 PM

    Awesome tips lady! It’s amazing how much Instagram has changed for bloggers since it started. I rarely reach out to brands, but really should more. Thanks for that!

  31. February 27, 2016 / 6:23 PM

    Great post and advice. I like the attitude of, “If you want it, reach out and ask for it.” I think working directly with brands can give you more flexibility.
    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamode.com

  32. February 28, 2016 / 9:43 PM

    Such great advice! Some times it is hard to get through with the networks but once you do it is totally worth it and always leads to more.

  33. February 29, 2016 / 7:25 AM

    I’m loving your IG tips. There are so many times I want to be like – “uhh… hello – do you see how much my audience loves your product?! Let’s collaborate.”

  34. February 29, 2016 / 12:20 PM

    I am loving this post Amanda! I always love learning about what’s working for other bloggers and this was so helpful! I do a mix of all of these as well, but never thought to use IG – definitely going to work on upping that game. Thanks so much for sharing – pinned!

    Annessa
    http://www.seekingsunshine.com

  35. February 29, 2016 / 1:48 PM

    This is a fantastic post! I definitely learned a lot and will be taking a lot away from it – I definitely need to start putting myself out there to brands. You’re right, we are influencers!

  36. Julie Joy
    February 29, 2016 / 3:22 PM

    Seeing as I am a complete blogging amateur, this was a very informative and helpful post! I love that you are so willing to share your tips and tricks to help others succeed and grow!

  37. March 1, 2016 / 7:06 PM

    Saving this one– thank you for the tips and encouragement! I think the next step for me is going to be reaching out to individual brands, so you may be getting a “help!” email from me soon :)

  38. March 3, 2016 / 5:29 PM

    Okay how did I miss this post?! This was amazingly helpful, thank you so much for providing the great resource & inspiration. I just signed up for a bunch of networks last month but haven’t done my first sponsored post yet (I have turned down several offers for products which just aren’t me). P.S. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person frustrated by instagram click bait!

  39. March 9, 2016 / 10:50 PM

    I always enjoy reading posts that give such incredible insight! I’ll definitely be putting a few of these to use! Xo, Stephanie

  40. May 24, 2016 / 6:05 PM

    Love these tips! Thanks for being a blogger that isn’t afraid to share.

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