Let’s start with explaining today’s picture. I could have had a headshot seeing me type an email, pictures of t-shirts I’ve received as a volunteer (yes, charities are brands) or, well, the list is endless of pictures linked to today’s topics, but when working with brands, I want to be drawn out of my cave and engaged in every aspect of their communication. Why?
YOU ARE A BRAND! EVERYTHING WE DO IS BRANDING!
Are media kits relevant? No! Are we so caught up with working with brands, we forget who we are? Yes!
Well, now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s explain my thoughts on working with brands, and why staying true to you is the key to engaging the RIGHT kind of brand.
Yep, there are the WRONG kind of brands and I think the numerous tweets we see in the blogging world relating to this justifies this very thought.
Let’s start from the beginning. Why do you blog? Puzzling thought, right? How is this relevant? Understanding why you blog and where you want to take it is an opportunity to have a clear outlook in who you want to work with, how you’re going to work with them, and how the original conversation will start?
Brands want to see confidence. Those that don’t, will use you. I’ve been used so many times it’s not possible to count on my fingers, but this taught me to stand for what I wanted.
So many bloggers turn around to every opportunity and gets involved, for what? For freebies. We all know it’s true!
When a product is offered to you, you take it. Why? Free stuff! Who doesn’t love free stuff?!
There’s a problem with it though. Future brands will expect you to team up with them, no matter the relevance they have to your passions, your blog or your community.
All of this doesn’t have to happen if you use your voice. The more JRTV grows the more I’m looking at specific collaborations, guest bloggers and content, as I know from speaking to readers, what they want to read.
Knowing where your blog is going will make you only agree to the opportunities worthy of your time. Bloggers forget this so often! We forget to be true to ourselves, resulting in a negative outlook from bystanders.
If you want to work with brands, think like a brand. Think like your time is worth a million pounds, so every opportunity you get sent; email, phone or by post, isn’t necessarily going to be turned into content.
Too varied content and your readers will find flaws in your authenticity. Bloggers think with their pocket. Yep, I said it! When there’s free stuff, you’d be mad to turn it down, right?
You’d be mad to speak up! That’s my opinion.(Yes, sarcasm!)
When you’re wanting to stand out, stand out with your voice, not who you work with.
The relationship with any potential brand starts from the original contact. When you first hear from a brand or you take the plunge and email first, never and I say NEVER,
I know for some. fees are a must with working with a brand, but brands want to hear about your passion for their work, not the money you want.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS REALLY ARE IMPORTANT!
Set boundaries from the start
Yep. By putting limitations on potential collaborations, you’re showing anyone interested that you know what you want.
I now have a disclaimer for collaborations, guest bloggers and anything I see fit, including public speaking, as I know what I want and how to deliver it.
Branding doesn’t just occur in the behind the scenes content i.e. logos, layouts, business cards etc, branding also happens in the way you deliver your content.
Don’t change you and your goals, just because you have a brand willing to give you free stuff.
Think about the future, not the present
Do you think about what you want at this present time? Think about the future, not the present, when it comes to working with brands.
Thinking about the present could limit future relationships being developed. Thinking long-term with working with brands can lead to more work being offered in the future.
Remember, not everything has to be short-term, yet not everything has to be a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with one-off opportunities. I’ve done many myself.
Does the brand relate to current content? I know, I’m contradicting myself considering the above, but whether you think about the present or future, you have to make sure the brand is relevant to your blog, your passions and your community.
Remember me saying this earlier? When working with brands, follow these 3 rules;
- Make sure they’re relevant – Irrelevant and no-one will engage in your post
- Stand up for yourself – Don’t like something or the way they want the collaboration to work, tell them!
- Be authentic – Always stay true to you and your community
I know today has been a rather long post, but I really could double, maybe triple the length of this, but I’ll save my other thoughts for the next few weeks.
I’d love to hear your experiences…comment below with your tips for those wanting to work with brands and let’s educate others in making sure their collaborations are worth their time.