According to Growth Badger, there are 600 million blogs in the world. Each and every one of those blogs is unique in their own right, but only a small amount of these bloggers are fully established within their niche(s). The rise of the influencer is definitely the cause of why blogger opportunities are scarce. A lot of bloggers have become influencers simply as a means of maintaining the relevance of their brand, which is completely understandable.
I have years of blogging experience and have come across many opportunities that request ‘five bloggers for a sponsored lifestyle post’, only to look at the comments icon and see that 200 bloggers have shown interest in the same opportunity! I’m sure some of you can relate. It can be tough and I’ve been very vocal about this over the past few months. The majority of brands do not recognise and appreciate the value of bloggers. Small improvements have been made (mostly by digital marketing agencies) but there is still a lot of work to do.
A lot of bloggers (myself included) have 9-5’s and I think as a collective we can all agree that the time we dedicate to our blogs is precious. There are some bloggers who post content three or four times a week while others will post content twice a month. It’s so important to do what’s right for you.
Collaborations are a major part of a blogger’s journey and there are many bloggers who don’t really have an idea of what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to brand collaborations. You do not have to say yes to every brand or company that approaches you and the aim of this post is to ensure that whatever you do (whether it’s blogging, content creation, writing etc) that all of your collaborations are fruitful.
Do not pitch article ideas to any brand or agency – Imagine this. You’re online and you see that a company have a vacancy for bloggers or writers. You click on it and the list of requirements from said company are a little excessive. They want three article pitches and a 500-word article on a topic of their choice. This method of recruitment is problematic mainly because you, the applicant, will be working for a position that you haven’t even got. So basically, you’ll be working for free. If a company or agency advertises a call for bloggers, they should only request samples of work that has already been published. Don’t be afraid to challenge these requirements, especially if you feel like the opportunity is too good to miss. You could possibly make it work for you by telling the recruiter that you have a trial fee (whether it’s per word or per article that you charge) and see what they say. Most bloggers and writers have a trial fee so do keep this in mind. Never work on a trial basis for free. You deserve to be paid for your ideas and insight.
If you are asked to sign a contract, read it properly before you sign it – This tip may be self-explanatory but when a brand or company expresses interest in working with you, it is an exciting time. Before you’ve even signed on the dotted line, you’ll probably have thousands of article ideas are running through your head. Before you make anything official, read the contract you’ve been given and don’t be afraid to ask questions too. I know of bloggers who are friends with lawyers and they ask them to read their contracts before they sign them. Also use any blogger support networks that you are a member of because there’ll be bloggers in such groups that have years of experience, so they’ll be able to advise you. Unfortunately, some brands and companies take advantage of creatives and feel no way about it. Contracts are there for you and your collaborator’s protection so make sure you are happy with every term/condition before you get to work.
Do not work for free – One morning I woke up and I decided that I was never going to blog/write for free again, and I have never looked back. Any collaboration you accept should be fruitful, whoever it is that you choose to work with. Influencers are being paid hundreds of pounds for one Instagram post yet there are companies out there who are asking for 600 word reviews and top quality photography at no charge? If you choose to do an unpaid collaboration and for example, travel and accommodation will be required, it is the company’s duty to cover those expenses. I was invited by an agency to visit an attraction in Kent. After checking the journey on Google maps, I discovered that I’d need to take a cab on arrival as it was literally in the middle of nowhere. The agency refused to cover my travel expenses so I declined the invitation.
Whatever capacity you do it in, blogging takes up time. If you are going to collaborate with anyone, you owe it to yourself to ensure that you aren’t selling yourself and your talents short.
Don’t work with brands or companies who are fixated with their own agenda – When discussing the terms of a partnership with a brand or agency, you’ll need to be sure that the person contacting you on their behalf isn’t being inauthentic. An example of a lack of authenticity would be a generic email with no call to action for the blogger at the end of it. Something I have also noticed from my time as a blogger is that some people who get in touch expressing interest in collaborating with you will not mention what you stand to gain from the partnership. Blogging is a form of promotion in itself because you are using your platform to share a message. Your readers are on the receiving end of that message. Working with a brand or agency with a lack of direction is a waste of time.
Work with brands who sell offer products/services within your niche – As tempting as it is to want to blog about everything, especially for those who blog full time, staying true to your own brand/niche is so important. When I returned to blogging, I blogged about a vitamin drink and wine gums and those posts did not perform as well as my usual lifestyle and relationship posts. Blog about different topics within your niche and pay attention to what your readers engage the most with. Once you know what your readers like, do more of it. Also, by working with companies who have a direct link to your niche, you are able to write about or review products or experiences that will add value to the content you produce because you’ll have a great amount of knowledge or expertise. There’s a huge difference between a genuine viewpoint and one that isn’t descriptive and just sounds forced.
Time is money – Let’s talk about payment. Every blog has a domain authority (DA). Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score which predicts how well your website will rank on search engine result pages. Every single website has a DA. Now, in the world of blogging, your DA basically determines your monetary worth. Bloggers whose DA exceeds 20 tend to be paid more for opportunities. This is why building up your DA is important – I’ve talked about how you can improve your DA in this previous post. Content isn’t subjective: it would be better to have a blogger with a DA of 10 create high quality content about a product/service than a blogger with a DA of 40 going off topic in theirs. Every blogger has a different perspective to offer. If your DA isn’t right for an opportunity, still send your details to the brand or agency. There may be something going in the future that you could get involved in.
When it comes to how much to charge for content, this is something you have to figure out. Some bloggers charge per word while others charge per article. If you haven’t already, start working on a price list that you can include in your media kit and share with possible collaborators. I do encourage bloggers to be weary of companies or brands that pay £10 for a 500 word post. This is impractical. Reject any of these kinds of requests that pop up in your inbox. Also, negotiate if you need to – if the brand really want to work with you, they will meet your needs. A lot of us have no issue being exceptionally clear about what we want in life and work, so why don’t we do this when it comes to our creative endeavours?
Thanks for reading this post. I really wanted to share this message with my fellow bloggers especially – it doesn’t matter whether we spend 5 days a week or 5 hours a week on our blogs, we all put our heart and soul into what we do and we deserve to reap the rewards of our hard work.
What are some things that you look out for when you decide whether or not to collaborate with a brand or agency?
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