How to Work with Brands as a New Blogger
On Instagram, I recently asked you guys to send me your biggest blogging questions. I got an overwhelming number of questions about blog sponsorships and how to work with brands as a new blogger. When I first started blogging, I was so clueless about how to work with brands!
I made a lot of mistakes in my first year of blogging when it came to working with brands. To be honest, I made a mistake really recently regarding working with a brand. The learning never stops, people! If you’re a new blogger and you’re ready to start working with brands, I definitely want to encourage you to go for it!
You know you want to work with brands, but you have no clue what to do first. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s talk about how to work with brands as a new blogger, even if you don’t have a huge audience!
Guess who has another video for you? This girl! There’s no wine in this one, I promise.
Do I Need a Big Audience to Land Sponsorships?
When you see those Instagrammers with 100k followers landing all these huge sponsorships, you think you need a big following to even start monetizing. It might look this way, but that’s actually not true. There are two types of influencers: influencers and micro-influencers. The “regular” influencers are those people with massive followings. They have a bigger audience, but they don’t necessarily have a more devoted audience.
Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are smaller but still have their own audience. They have followers who connect with them on a down-to-earth level. Think about it. Who do you trust? The celeb with millions of followers or the local blogger with less than 10k followers? I’d trust the smaller influencer every time because she’s more like me! I can relate to her, just as your followers relate to you. So no, you don’t need a huge audience to land sponsorships.
What Do I Need Before I Can Land Sponsorships?
Now that we’ve established you don’t need to be some mega-blogger to start monetizing your blog with sponsorships, let’s discuss what you do need. First, you need some time. You probably don’t want to monetize your blog within your first month of start it because you don’t have much to show by way of content or followers. Wait at least a few months, if you can!
What do you need? While there are no formal “rules”, there are some things you should have under your belt before you get started:
- An audience – You don’t need a BIG audience but you do need SOME audience. Who are you talking to? What demographic are you speaking to? What’s your engagement rate? How active are your followers and blog readers? These are things that matter! If you’re still only getting a few hits a day, you should focus on building your traffic before you start looking into sponsorships.
- Examples – How can you show brands you know what you’re doing? Do you have any blog posts where you feature brands you’ve already used? Brands want to know you’re comfortable talking about your favorite products in services in a not-spammy way! Basically, show them your best stuff!
- An open mind – Don’t we all wish we could work with our favorite big-name brands right out the gate! Unfortunately, this probably won’t happen. Be realistic and have an open mind! It’s exciting to learn about new brands and try new things!
Once you have the things above, you’re ready to find brands to work with!
Where Do I Find Brands?
Brands are everywhere, and they’re starting to catch on to the spreading fire of influencer marketing. How can you find the right brands to partner with? There are 3 main ways:
- Cold contacts
- Reached out to you
Networks pair blogs with brands. They do all the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on making great content! Working with a network is a great way for new bloggers to get started since you don’t have to worry about sending pitch emails or making your own contracts. Plus, they’ll make sure you get paid!
Pros: You don’t have to negotiate with the brand yourself, clear guidelines, you get paid on time, and bigger brand selection.
Cons: You might be paid less and some have requirements to join.
So which networks are worth looking at? My favorites are InfluencerHer Collective, Izea, and Real Clever!
Cold emailing is scary. It’s intimidating to email companies asking to work with them. When you’re just getting started, this feels awkward as heck. But there’s more to it than just emailing blindly with a “Hi, I’m a blogger, please pay me!”
First, you need to do your research to find brands that are a good match for your blog and that are open to working with bloggers. Next, you’ll need to find a PR contact or marketing outreach contact. Finally, you’ll need to send a pitch email that really shows what you can do for the brand (hint: not what they can do for you).
Pros: Potential to work with great brands and get paid more!
Cons: It’s a lot of work to find and email brands, plus you’ll probably hear no a lot.
Brands Reaching Out to You
Sometimes brands will email you on their own. This is exciting because hurray, a brand wants to work with you! But it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Most brands who reach out to you organically won’t have a budget, and you’ll have to do all the negotiating on your own. This can be great if you find a perfect fit, but it can also be a chore.
Pros: The brand wants to work with you, yay!
Cons: You’ll need to see if the brand is legit and whether it’s a good fit on your own.
How Much Do Bloggers Charge?
You’re ready to work with brands but you don’t know how much to charge! Don’t worry, ever blogger faces this crisis at least once. There isn’t a lot of transparency in this industry. It’s hard to know what’s fair and what’s not. The most important part of naming your own rate is to name something you’re comfortable with. Think about how much time you spend planning and creating content. How much is your time worth?
While there is no magic formula, this is a great way to start with your rate: $100 per every 10k page views. This is an average estimation, but it’s a safe starting point. You’ll want to charge more if you include social shares, styled photos, or anything else that takes up your valuable time!
It’s definitely okay to accept free product if the exchange is worth it to you. The key is that you need to feel 100% comfortable. Don’t feel pressured to work with a brand just because they’re paying well. Likewise, don’t feel pressured to work with a brand that’s charging too little! It’s okay to have a rate and stick with it!
Blog Sponsorship Dictionary
Now that you’re a blog sponsorship pro, let’s talk about some terms. No, there won’t be a vocab quiz. When you work with brands as a new blogger, there are things you should know!
Net 60 / Net 90
When you do a blog post or social post for a brand, you probably won’t get paid right away. Most networks and businesses pay on a Net 60 or Net 90 basis. This simply means you’ll get paid 60 or 90 days after the final submission. This is usually because the network or marketing company has to get paid before you can get paid! Just don’t plan on paying any big expenses the day after your post is due!
You should ALWAYS sign a contract before entering a sponsored post. The few times I’ve done sponsored posts without a contract, I’ve regretted it. Don’t feel pressured to join a sponsored campaign if there isn’t a clear contract. You can make one on your own if you need to! It doesn’t have to be complicated. It should include deadlines, expectations, and pay.
Finally, you should learn a thing or two about disclosure. If you’re doing a sponsored post, you need to disclose your relationship with the brand. Usually, this means including a blurb in the post saying that this post is sponsored by [brand name] and all opinions are your own. The same applies on social media with the #ad or #sponsored hashtag. Even if you receive a product for free, you need to disclose your relationship! Don’t work with a brand that suggests you don’t use a disclosure. It’s creepy and they’re breaking the law.
Are You Ready to Work with Brands as a New Blogger?
All bloggers of all experience levels should feel confident about working with brands! Your blog has value, and you can put that value to good use by promoting your favorite businesses. It’s intimidating to start monetizing your blog if you’re not sure what steps to take. This guide hopefully showed you exactly how to work with brands as a new blogger!
What are your biggest tips for working with brands? If you’re not working with brands yet, what brands would you like to work with?