Working With Brands And PR Companies

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.gollymissholly.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 gollymissholly.uk and my email is info@gollymissholly.uk. 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. If it’s a restaurant review, ask exactly what’s included or you might find yourself with a hefty drinks bill at the end of the night if they’re only offering complementary food!
  • 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 trying 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 that you’d rather not to write a post at all or whether you’ll write a negative post. You can always try and put a positive spin on it “it didn’t work for me, but it would be perfect for someone with darker skin” or “I personally wasn’t a massive fan but my boyfriend absolutely loved it!”
  • 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 put a disclaimer 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. I’ve written a handy post which explains all about it. You can check it out here.
  • When your post goes live, don’t forget to send them the link and perhaps be open to changing any bits they don’t like. I’ve not encountered this yet, but I know it does happen!
  • Thank them and add in a cheeky “I’d be more than happy to work with you again in the future” if you’re feeling confident. 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

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26 Comments

  1. Lots of good pointers here. I agree that it’s a good idea to be clear on expectations before you start, so no misunderstandings can happen. However, I disagree with your point about being open to changing bits that a PR might not like. A PRs job is to promote a product or brand in its best light. That’s not the blogger’s job – the blogger is there to serve the readers with an honest and independent review. And ultimately I find that PRs also appreciate a thoughtful, honest and independent review, even if it does contain the odd negative point. As bloggers we can’t be afraid of negative reviews – they’re what make our positive reviews all the more authentic.

    1. Ah, I think you misunderstood what I was trying to get across, I probably worded it badly … I didn’t mean changing a negative point or review about a product. I meant perhaps adding a bit of text to the post, for example I’ve had a couple of brands ask if I could link to a specific page rather than their front page or add in a bit like “you can also buy this from Amazon or Not on The High Street” which I was more than happy to do.
      I’d never risk my integrity and say I loved something if I didn’t x

  2. I definitely want to start working with brands, but I’m a fairly new blogger, so I don’t really feel like I’m established enough yet! This post gave me some great insight though, because otherwise I wouldn’t have a clue where to start!

    1. I’m glad you found it useful 🙂 I’ve been blogging less than a year and I’ve worked with some great brands, you never know they might be new companies too x

  3. There are some really good tips here. I’ve been working with brands for almost a year now but there are a few things on this list I don’t do that I probably should! Oops…

  4. Some fab advice here! It can be so intimidating approaching brands but honestly it’s so great when you start getting breakthroughs. Being professional and able to show what you have to offer is key I think!

    1. I definitely agree, until you build up a relationship with someone, it’s always best to keep it professional and be absolutely transparent 🙂 x

  5. Really useful blog post-thank you! When you ask them what their budget it before you choose your product, do you mean for them to pay you or for the product they can send out for review? Very useful 🙂

  6. This is a super useful post! I think there are so many points that people forget but this summarises all the point with working brands really well. I sometimes totally forget to let PRs know that written the post, but I try to tag the company on twitter as soon as I have.

    Sophie x | Essential Twenty

  7. A Fantastic, well written and explained guide Holly, some great tips and idea’s especially for anyone like myself who is quite on edge about contacting brands. It really is some useful information.
    Lisa XoX

  8. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for lovely! Thank you for writing such a clear post, so many are just a bit fuzzy haha. I’ve worked with a few brands but they’ve always approached me so I figured it was time I started being proactive and went after what I wanted haha.-Aj xx

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