I’ve been lucky enough to work on a few different collaboration projects now but I was terrified at the beginning that I’d do something wrong or there’d be some miscommunication somewhere. I’ve chatted to quite a few of you who want to work with brands but don’t really know where to start, so thought I’d write a quick guide. This is by no means the right or only way, but this is what I do. (This is just a guide for blog posts in exchange for product reviews as opposed to a sponsored post.)
Finding someone to work with:
- There are so many different ways to find brands/companies who are looking to work with bloggers. I signed up to Type the Hype, The Blogger Programme and Blogger’s Required which are all websites designed to match brands and products with bloggers.
- I sometimes browse Twitter for the hashtags #bloggerswanted or #bloggersrequired and see if any brands are actively seeking bloggers.
- If a company/brand follow me on Twitter or Insta, and I really love their products, I might send them a cheeky email/DM/tweet asking them to bear me in mind if they’re ever looking to work with bloggers. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know 😉
- It might seem obvious, but only review products that fit with your blog; it’ll look so weird if you’re a beauty blogger and you’re suddenly chatting about lawnmowers or baby food if you have no children!
Approaching a company:
- Keep it professional. Don’t put kisses at the end or be over-familiar. You wouldn’t do that if you were applying for a job, would you?
- I generally go with something like “Hello, my name’s Holly and I run www.closingwinter.co.uk, a beauty, home and lifestyle blog. I was interested in collaborating with you because <I’d insert my reason here>.” I then give a couple of ideas on how I’d write the post if I was given the opportunity.
- If I’ve seen a company asking for bloggers via Twitter, I’ll usually just tweet a quick message like “Hi, I’m interested in knowing more info. My blog is closingwinter.co.uk and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.”
Setting out the terms:
- So you’ve found someone who wants to work with you, but before you get super excited, find out exactly what the terms will be. For example, I’m currently working with a brand who asked me to pick out something I liked from their website where the prices range from £1 to £200. I didn’t want to be rude and pick something ridiculously expensive so I emailed them to ask what their budget was before choosing an item.
- It’s equally as important to find out exactly what the company want from you. It’s silly signing up for something if they’re asking for 5 Instagram pics a day and you’re not able to do that because you don’t have the time or capability to do that. Don’t forget, it’s perfectly okay to say “thank you for providing more information but I’m no longer in a position to be able to fulfil your request and work with you on this project. Please bear me in mind for any future collaborations.”
- Be honest about the amount of time it’ll take from you receiving the product to the post going up on your blog. Companies are usually fine with a couple of weeks, but check with them first.
- If you’re not already, go and follow the company/brand on all their social media accounts.
Once you’ve received your product:
- Let them know you received it (I forgot to do this a few times at the beginning!) and that you’re looking forward to testing it out. If there are any problems with what you received, let them know asap and they should be able to sort things out for you. Luckily I’ve never had a problem so far.
- Equally, if you really hate the product, let them know! It’ll be up to you and them if you decide not to write a post at all or whether you’ll write a negative post.
- If everything’s okay, then tell them you’ll be in contact to let them know when the post will be going up. I just think it creates good relations and you’re not just suddenly taking the product and disappearing off the face of the earth 😛
When you’ve written the post:
- Don’t forget to disclaim on the post that you were sent the product with the express purpose of reviewing it on your blog. I tend to put an asterisk next to the product name the first time I say it (*) and at the bottom of my post, I write something like “*PR sample but views are my own.”
- If you’re adding a link to the company website or the product, you must use a no-follow link. What the hecking hell is that Hols? Well, when you add a normal HTML link to your site, it can influence search results and Google rankings, and as a blogger being given a product to review, you’re not allowed to do that. If you use WordPress or Blogger, I know there’s an HMTL tab, so if you swap to that, you can edit a link to make it no-follow. For example, my blog address usually looks like this <a href=”http://www.closingwinter.co.uk” target=”_blank”>closingwinter</a> (The target blank HTML just means it opens in a new tab when you click on it.) So to change it to no follow, just add the code rel=”nofollow” like this: <a href=”http://www.closingwinter.co.uk” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>closingwinter</a>. (Note that there’s a space after blank”) I hope that makes sense?
- When your post goes live, don’t forget to send them the link and perhaps be open to changing bits they don’t like.
- Thank them and add in a cheeky “I’d be more than happy to work with you again in the future.” You never know, they may well keep you in mind for next time 🙂
- Don’t forget to share your post on Facebook groups, Twitter and Instagram. I always tag the company/brand and often get a retweet or two out of it!
Have you started working with brands yet and if not, are you more likely to after having read this? Let me know if the guide was useful in the comments below 🙂 x