Working With Brands - A Guide For Smaller Bloggers - How To Deal With Brand/PR Emails: Part 2 - Paid Collaborations

20 comments

Working With Brands - A Guide For Smaller Bloggers - How To Deal With Brand/PR Emails: Part 2 - Paid Collaborations


A while back, I started a little series designed to offer smaller bloggers some help and advice when it comes to working with brands. As I've said before, I don't have a huge following and I don't earn a full time income from this blog, but I have had a fair bit of experience in working with brands on both paid and unpaid collaborations, and I hope that by sharing those experiences, I can benefit others.

One of the things I found very difficult when I first started out was deciphering what exactly brands and PRs wanted from me when they approached me with offers of working together, and what exactly they were offering in return. Over the years, and through a series of experiences both good and bad, I've come to learn what is really meant by most of the emails I get sent. Essentially, brand/PR collaboration emails fall into one of two categories - those offering paid opportunities, and those offering unpaid. I talked about unpaid collaborations in Part 1, and now I'm back to deal with everyone's favourite - the paid variety!

Topshop floral maxi dress


How To Deal With Emails Offering Paid Collaborations


Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a super blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers to earn money from your blog - I am living proof of that. Sometimes, brands really do see the value in a well written piece and thoughtful engagement from a genuinely interested audience, even if that audience is small. I am still a small blogger, and definitely won't be funding a designer handbag habit from my paid jobs any time soon, but nevertheless I have had several decent paid campaigns come my way since I started my blog, and hope to attract more of them as I continue to grow!

Many of us are working hard toward a goal of earning money from our blogs, and it can be easy to get over-excited when an email comes in bearing the promise of cash. However, not every offer will be worth your while. As with unpaid collaborations, it's first necessary to figure out what exactly you're being asked before saying yes or no to it. Below, I've listed the types of emails you can expect to receive when brands or PRs want to work with you on a paid collaboration, and how I've learned to deal with them over the years. (As before, this is just a guide based on my own experiences, and how you choose to deal with each request may be different.)

girl on a balcony


1. We'd love for you to be part of our latest campaign. We'll send you products to try/clothing to style and we'd love you to post about it. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, please let us know your rate.

This is, without a doubt, my favourite type of email to receive! When a brand - especially one you love - wants to offer you paid work, it's such a great feeling. Sometimes, they'll write a very brief email first, just giving you a general idea of the campaign, in order to gauge your interest. In this initial email, there might not be much indication of what exactly they expect from you or whether this is a paid project or not, so it is always worth writing back to ask them for more information. It will very quickly become clear whether they are proposing a real collaboration, in which they pay you for your work, or whether they are trying to wheedle some free promotion out of you - something I talked about in Part 1.

Assuming it is the former, while it can be very tempting to say yes immediately, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. First of all, is the brand in question a good fit for your blog? If it isn't, you're unlikely to receive good engagement on your post and could even risk alienating your audience for the longer term as well. Secondly, are you sure you can deliver what the brand wants, within the deadline? When you are looking at a sponsored post like this, the stakes are that little bit higher, often with a contract to sign, etc. So by all means register your enthusiasm about the project, but make sure you have asked all the questions you may have before finally agreeing.

balcony scene with pine trees


Finally getting a paid project after years of working hard to grow your blog feels wonderful, but it can be slightly scary too! There is a lot more I want to share on this subject, so I will write about it in more depth in another post soon.

2. I represent a well known fashion/beauty brand and they would like to offer you £X for a feature on your blog, but they're not going to send you any products.

At first glance, these can seem slightly dodgy. After all, no blogger who values their audience is going to recommend a brand they haven't tried, and why can't the PRs just tell you from the beginning who this "well known brand" is? 

However, this type of request can be perfectly legitimate, so there is no need to write them off from the start. The first question I will always ask is who the brand is. If it is something that fits with my blog, or one that I already love, then I see no problem with creating a wish list post that includes a product from that brand. For example, if it's Topshop, or something similar, chances are there will be plenty of things I am genuinely lusting after! I will also ask if they are OK with me mentioning other brands in the post, disclosing the collaboration and the use of nofollow links. If they're happy with those conditions, then I will generally say yes.

work from anywhere

Often, with this type of collaboration, a budget is set from the beginning and it's up to you to accept that price or not. Knowing what goes in to putting together a blog post, I find it helps to have in mind a minimum figure that you'd be prepared to do the work for.

3. We would like you to publish this article on your blog. Please let us know how much you would charge for this.

While it might seem like easy money to get paid for publishing someone else's content on your blog, this isn't something I would ever agree to, or recommend. Occasionally featuring guest posts from fellow bloggers is one thing, but publishing advertorial content put together by the brand in question is very different. I have seen some blogs go down this route, and in my opinion, they lose their individuality by doing it. I tend to lose interest in their content as a result, and it wouldn't surprise me if other people feel the same. But each to their own. It could be that some find success with this method - it just isn't for me. However, if it is something you are going to consider, make sure you insist on a nofollow link. No amount of cash in the short term is worth the risk of having your blog shut down for improper practices.

Working With Brands - A Guide For Smaller Bloggers - How To Deal With Brand/PR Emails: Part 2 - Paid Collaborations

4. We would love for you to join our affiliate programme to earn commission every time someone clicks through from your site to buy one of our products.

This is fair enough, and usually is just a case of signing up if you want to, with no obligation to post anything. Personally, I don't feel that smaller bloggers get a lot out of affiliate programmes, as you need a substantial audience to get enough people clicking through in order to earn anything more than a few pennies. That said, I am a member of Shopstyle, which I would recommend checking out as it covers pretty much all the major fashion and beauty brands. Because of this, it isn't really worth my while signing up to many others, but if you are a big fan of a particular brand and feature their products heavily on your blog, you might want to consider this type of invitation.

Working With Brands - A Guide For Smaller Bloggers - How To Deal With Brand/PR Emails: Part 2 - Paid Collaborations

5. Please let us know how much you would charge for putting an ad in your sidebar, and for a sponsored post about our website (even though we aren't going to send you any products).

Typically, brands that send this type of email tend to be obscure clothing websites (often specialising in prom and occasion dresses) and the type of budget they have available is tiny - often in single figures. Even if I was prepared to spend time writing a post for this kind of money, again, there is no way I am going to recommend a brand to my readers that I have no knowledge of. As for the sidebar ads, I have occasionally accepted the tiny offering, as it takes me approximately 20 seconds to do the "work" required. However, I stopped doing this some time ago. No matter how passively, it still felt as though these ads constituted some sort of recommendation from myself to my readers, and I just wasn't comfortable with that. Google ads or those from brands you genuinely love are a different kettle of fish, so now I stick to those.

Have you worked on paid collaborations with brands? If so, have your experiences been mostly good or not so good? And are there any types of email request that you think I've missed?

Kate x
SHARE:
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

20 comments

  1. Wow ,this long dress is so so beautiful, and i want to have one

    https://www.hebeos.it/abiti-da-cerimonia/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's from Topshop, and I agree it is fab! Loved wearing it on holiday recently but not sure if it's still available as it's a summer piece. x

      Delete
  2. Thanks so much for sharing these tips they are really helpful

    Candice | Natalya Amour

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad they were useful Candice. x

      Delete
  3. I have a couple guest writers but I'm planning on getting rid of them all soon! Thanks for sharing!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, glad you enjoyed the post! x

      Delete
  4. I recently joined some affiliate programs but since my following isn't large, I haven't had any luck with it.Great post and tips for us small bloggers! x

    Yiota
    https://pinkdaisyloves.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I think you need really high levels of visits, because the proportion that actually click through is so small. I still like shopstyle as it offers a nice way for people to access the products I talk about. A few people do click through, but nowhere near enough to earn me anything at this point! x

      Delete
  5. Great tips, Kate! I very very rarely get a sponsored post request - maybe because I've previously turned so many down! xx

    Beautylymin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's no bad thing to turn down offers if they're not right for your blog. Sometimes you have to play the long game! x

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the great tips! You look amazing in this dress.

    ​​Shang J. |​ Beauterazzi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, and thank you! x

      Delete
  7. well said, but what surprises me is the fact that some bloggers, accept payments as low as $5 FOR A BLOG POST AND BANNER PLACEMENT. I HAVE BEEN CONTACTED SEVERAL TIMES AND I HAVE BLOCKED A LOT OF EMAILS. This is because I have worked as a shop agent and online stores allocate a lot of money to advertising agents.
    THEY EVEN GO AS FAR AS SENDING EMAIL AGREEMENT PROVES BY OTHER BLOGGERS.
    https://www.melodyjacob.com/2018/09/are-you-introvert-or-extrovert.html
    https://www.melodyjacob.com/2018/09/are-you-introvert-or-extrovert.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wonderful post! I've done a few sponsored posts but not many because, on most occasions, they're just not within my niche! I also HATE being offered $5 (once even $2) because it fully takes the mick out of the time and effort I've spent building up the blog so I do just ignore those completely. Loving your dress by the way, stunning! x
    Marina Rosie x
    https://marinawriteslife.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. this was an incredibly helpful post, thankyou so much for sharing your amazing tips xx

    www.cristyjadelydia.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have worked on (very few) paid opportunitzies, both the ads in the sidebar version (stopped doing them too) and on sponsored Posts, but I make sure to choose only brands that fit my style these days, and as I don´t get many offers, I only have done one paid for collaboration for the whole year of 2018. So yeah, no designer bags for me either...

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    ReplyDelete
  11. I absolutely loved these tips Kate, you look fab as always!

    Serene XO

    http://www.surrealserene.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved this post kate! Working with brands is such a learning curve and I've learnt so much over the last year of working with brands more frequently - a lot of it the hard way so it's awesome you wrote a post sharing such awesome advice. x

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

    ReplyDelete

PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig