As bloggers, we pour our heart, soul, and creativity into our blogs. Founding Feeling Fit was a crazy adventure that completely changed my life and led me to a new career as a freelance content writer. The ride started when I accepted my first brand collaboration.
I started Feeling Fit as a personal blog to explore my interest in home workouts and fitness wearable technology. Almost by accident, I fell into brand collaboration almost immediately and before I knew my boundaries and about the world of blogging.
The Biggest Lesson I Learned About Both Brand Collaborations And Blogging
Over the past couple years, I learned so much about my comfort level and my personal ethics. I hope by offering a little straight talk, I can make this learning curve a little easier for other bloggers. Within just a couple months, I earned enough from blogging to prepay for my domain and for three years of web hosting.
There is no right way to blog as every path is unique. Sooner or later, we bloggers consider whether we want to monetize and whether we want to collaborate with brands. If you are facing this crossroad, I suggest we heed the advice of Public Relations rep Nancy Behrman, of Behrman PR:
“I was fortunate to listen to the advice of my lifelong friends, who often preached the importance of remaining true to your own personal convictions.”
As cheesy as this may sound, this is the most crucial first step. Consider your values and your reader’s interests. Always be true to those values. As a blogger, your most important relationships are with yourself and your readers. The right brand collaborations enhance that relationship.
How Do You Know When The Collaboration Is Right?
“Above all, trust yourself, and keep a strong circle of capable, hardworking and trustworthy people are you. It is not possible to do it all without support.” – Nancy Behrman in a Five Hundo interview.
That quote is true on so many levels. Trust yourself when deciding whether you want to work with a brand. It also applies to the next important lesson I learned. Learning the ropes of blogging is easier when you find a community of bloggers and brand reps. Each can teach the other so much.
Why Should Brands Collaborate With Bloggers
Brands work with bloggers and social media influencers because we connect with our audiences and reach particular audiences. One study indicated that readers trust bloggers’ recommendations more than they trust endorsements from celebrities. I think this is especially true when we are honest, relatable, and authentic. Sometimes this means showing the rough edges rather than always presenting a perfectly curated image.
Some brands prefer to work with bloggers with a huge following. Others find greater benefit in working with teams of micro-influencers who each offer a fresh approach, creativity to reach a more intimate audience.
In fact, if I were in the position to offer advice to advice to brands, I suggest taking a closer look at newer bloggers and micro-influencers if the synergy is right.
A Few Practical Tips For Bloggers Who Wish To Work With Brands
Now I will get off my soapbox and offer a few practical tips for bloggers who wish to collaborate with brands.
- Read up on Federal Trade Commission guidelines for endorsements. Yes, the applies to you don’t have a large audience yet. You will build your audience as you are indexed by Google and promote your blog through social media. If brands want to work with you, you already have an audience.
- Advocate for your readers and yourself. This returns to Nancy Behrman‘s advice to stay true to ourselves.
- Start networking with other bloggers through Facebook groups and social media.
- Write unpaid content about your products and brands you already love. This content demonstrates the quality of your work and makes it easier for brand reps to see you as a potential collaborator. Some ideas include a review, a tutorial, or a recipe.
- Get to know your audience so you can describe them to brands. Look at your Google Analytics and social media analytics (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) If you share affiliate referral links, look at the clicks and purchases. This information helps you create audience personas to share with brands.
- Always use the products you endorse. I enjoy reviewing products as a hobby, so I do sometimes collaborate on unpaid product reviews where I share the pros and cons of a product or service. I discovered some of my new favorites this way!
- Research options like display ads, affiliate advertising, and sponsored content (native advertising). Some bloggers also create products or offer services. Once you know the range of options, you can explore which are the best fit for you.
Thank you to Diamond Bloggers for opening up this conversation. I can’t say it all myself and am still a work in progress. I would love to hear from other bloggers about any tips that I missed!