Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts: 5 Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts: 5 Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration

Are you ready for the next post in my Working With Brands series? I hope so! In the last instalment, I covered the six important questions to ask before committing to work with a brand on a paid collaboration, and today, I'm going to focus on the nitty-gritty of the work itself, by sharing my tips for getting the job done, and done well. 

Obviously, as bloggers, we want to be proud of every post we create, but when we're working on sponsored content, the stakes are that little bit higher. We've entered into a formal agreement with a brand to produce a piece of work which will be paid for, and naturally that brings with it a certain amount of pressure and expectation. Not only that, but doing a good job could lead to a continued relationship with the brand in question and hopefully more paid work in the future, so it's really important to do everything we can to ensure a successful collaboration.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts: 5 Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration

To begin with my usual disclaimer, I am not a big blogger, but I have had a fair bit of experience with sponsored posts in the (nearly) five years I've been blogging. The advice I'm offering in this series of posts has come from the trial and error of my own experience. As a smaller blogger myself, I know only too well the difficulties of trying to balance blogging with other commitments, not to mention the fact that we don't have the same resources at our disposal as the larger influencers do. That's why my advice is tailored towards small bloggers like myself, and I hope you find it useful.

So when you've agreed on a collaboration with a brand and the contract is signed, what happens next?

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My 5 Top Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration


1. Don't Panic


OK, that might sound a bit silly, but bear with me here. A funny thing happens when the negotiation process comes to an end and it's time to actually start work on the content. All of a sudden, it's just got very real! And when you think about it, it's natural to have a bit of a freak out. Most small bloggers don't work with brands on a regular basis, and we're not used to having anyone to answer to when it comes to the content we create. Most of the time, if a post doesn't turn out the way we wanted, or our schedule goes out of the window, it really doesn't matter. But with a sponsored post, it matters. There's a deadline. There are requirements to fulfil and a standard of quality to maintain. All at once, even if it is just for this one post, we are thrust into the position of a professional influencer. This can be pretty daunting for small bloggers who are used to being in hobby mode most of the time.

Experiencing this feeling of panic led me to develop the 6 points that I think are really important to have clear in your mind before committing to work with a brand. As I mentioned before, you can read about them here and I'd highly recommend doing so if you are looking to work on sponsored posts and are unfamiliar with the process. By being clear on those 6 points, you will already have a good idea of what is expected of you before you signed the contract, you will already know that you are capable of producing the work required and that you can do so within the timescale provided. You might still be a little nervous, but hopefully this preparation beforehand will save you from full blown panic!

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2. Plan Like A Demon


Speaking for myself, rushed content is never my best content, and I suspect that the same is true for a lot of people. Taking the time to plan each element of a blog post tends to lead to a more polished finished result, and you're definitely going to want to produce the best work you're capable of when a brand collaboration is at stake. I'm also of the firm belief that more effort you devote to planning a post can end up saving you time when it comes to the actual creation of it.

I would recommend sitting down with a notebook and pen and really taking your time to plan each step. If you're testing beauty products, research the ingredients and make a list of results you will be looking for. If you're styling clothing, try a few different combinations until you find a look you really love. Think about when and where to take photographs - how do you want them to look? When it comes to the written element of the post, what will your focus be? If there are certain requirements requested by the brand (again, you'll know if you followed the steps in my first post!) use these to guide you and start building a picture of what the finished post will look like.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts: 5 Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration

3. Leave Room For Error


Life is a funny old game and even the best laid plans can run into unforeseen difficulties. What if it's raining on the day you've picked to take your outfit photos? What if an unavoidable commitment pops up on the afternoon you've set aside to write your blog post? Factoring in a couple of extra days and possibly a back-up photo shoot location can make all the difference and turn a potential disaster scenario into a minor inconvenience. Do yourself a favour and work some wiggle room into your schedule. It will take some of the pressure off the creation process and make sure that you meet your deadline, even if something goes wrong.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts: 5 Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration

4. Remain True To Yourself


When you're working on a sponsored post, you can often feel as though you really need to go the extra mile to create the best piece of content you've ever produced. While it's absolutely fine (and advisable!) to want to do your best, there is no need to push yourself too far out of your comfort zone. Remember, the brand picked you to work with in the first place because they like the type of content you already create. There is no need to feel as though you need to suddenly change up the look of your photos or write in a different style from the one you normally do. It will put unnecessary pressure on you and could even backfire, as the brand will be expecting something that's in line with your usual work.

Topshop Midi Skirt

5. Relax, And Enjoy The Creative Process 


Once everything has been planned, you know what you need to do - knuckle down and create that content! The best piece of advice I can offer at this stage is to relax and enjoy it. You have already done the necessary preparation, so now it's time to put out of your head the idea that this piece of content is different from any other, and let your creativity flow. Simply enjoy the process of creating a blog post as you normally would, as the results are likely to be better than if you put too much pressure on yourself. So trust that you are ready for this, and just go for it. Once you reach the editing stage, you can double check everything against the brand's requirements and make any tweaks that may be necessary.

The Small Blogger's Guide To Sponsored Posts: 5 Tips For A Successful Brand Collaboration

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I hope you found these 5 tips interesting, and I hope they will help to make your future brand collaborations a success! For my next post in this series, I'll be writing about the latter stages of the process of a sponsored post, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the coming weeks.

Do you have any tips of your own when it comes to sponsored posts? I'd love to know, so do share in the comments.

Kate x

Some links may be affiliate links. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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22 comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your tips

    Candice | NatalyaAmour.com

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  2. I don't do sponsored posts so I enjoyed reading this to learn about your process! Very helpful xx

    Beautylymin | Makeup Bundle Giveaway

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  3. These tips are very useful. There is always some pressure to be as good as the big bloggers. But like you said it's important to stay true to yourself while working with brands.

    Ngumabi xxo | ngumabisglam.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely. I think a lot of us feel that pressure, but without the resources of the big bloggers it's unrealistic to expect that of ourselves. x

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  4. Yess I love this!! I'm currently having an issue with one that's suppose to be posted in Instagram next week and no one is replying to me. I think I got it figured out though. Good think I already had the product and could use mine!

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

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    Replies
    1. Oh goodness, glad you found a way around it! x

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  5. These are really great tips! I wish I've read something like this when I was just starting.

    xx Alyssa | STYLE VANITY

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    Replies
    1. I would have loved something like this when I was starting too, so hopefully it's helpful for new bloggers now! x

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  6. Such wonderful tips, thank you for sharing :)

    http://innapishtoy.com/

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome, glad if they were helpful! x

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  7. My only tip here would be to be very clear with the time frame. I had a sponsored post once and due to a delay in shipping the items needed hadn´t arrived a week before the deadline was there and the brand was not willing to move the deadline.. That was stressful, I assure you.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

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    Replies
    1. Oh this is a great tip, and a good one to bear in mind for the future. I haven't actually experienced this but of course it can happen, and it's very difficult to create the post on time if you don't have the products! x

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  8. Absolutely loved this post Kate, it's really important to remain calm when doing sponsored posts, and not to worry if it doesn't turn out 100% perfect! I think keeping a good relationship with you and the brand is also important to keep up with future collabs as well!!!

    Serene XO

    http://www.surrealserene.com

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    Replies
    1. Yes that's also a great tip, and one I'll be talking about in the next instalment! x

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  9. These are all such great tips. Staying true to yourself is so important. The readers and viewers can tell when something isn't authentic and it kind of ruins the trust. Thanks for sharing! XO, Ellese


    Rock.Paper.Glam.

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    1. You're welcome! And I agree, forcing content that doesn't feel natural can be detrimental to your blog. x

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  10. This look is perfect especially the skirt.

    Asha xo Age of Youth

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    1. Thanks Asha! It was one of my favourites through the summer so it's been brilliant to enjoy it in the cooler weather too. x

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