Are you a content creator looking to work with your favorite brands? If yes, I have 5 tips that will help guide you in preparation, contact, and follow-through with any brand.
When I first started blogging years ago, I was really eager to work with my favorite brands, because, really, who isn’t? Talking about things that I love, is something I do easily for free all of the time. How do we get to that point where we get to collaborate with some of our favorites?
Prep your blog and social media.
When you love something, you talk about it, you want to share it, and you want the whole world to know. Brands see this, so if you love something, say so! This will help build up “proof” that you actually mean it when you tell a brand you love their product.
For instance, I love Urban Decay, and their lipsticks decorate my blog and my Instagram feed. They didn’t ask me to do all of that – I wanted to. They liked one of my Instagram photos from my former beauty blog (now closed) and asked me if I would give them access to feature the photo. Of course, I said hell yes! It was such an amazing feeling!
Fine tune your Media Kit.
Our Media Kit is like our blog resume. It shows how our blog is doing, and brands use this information to determine whether or not a collaboration with us is relevant or profitable in some way. Now, if you don’t have high statistics, don’t worry, because they take a look at engagement too. If you appear to be more engaged than someone else, they also take that into consideration. However, you’ll need to prep and prime your Media Kit in the event that you are asked to provide it. Need help with yours? I have a post, sample, and free template here!
Let’s say you really want to work with a brand. The best way to go about it is to initiate contact and express your interest. However, there is a wrong way and a right way to do this. DO NOT contact them asking for things. You’ll be dismissed very quickly. Here’s an example of what you could say if you want to be put on a PR list:
“Good morning, [Brand name] PR Manager,
My name is [Name], and I have a blog about [topic here] at [blog address]. I truly adore [brand name] as I have used your products for years, and I am interested in being placed on your PR list if you have one. My Media Kit is available should you require it.
I wish you a wonderful day. Thank you!
[Your social media links]”
As for finding out how to contact a brand, you could always ask via Twitter. Send a kind tweet requesting their PR e-mail address. Also, you could check the brand website. Usually, you find social and PR links at the very bottom near the site links.
If you’re reaching to to collaborate on a blog post or feature, you’ll want to tailor your email to specify that as your goal. Provide your monthly pageviews count as well as a proposed blog post scenario. This way, the PR contact can see that you’ve given the idea much thought. Be creative.
If you want to work with your favorite brands, they are usually well-established and you’ll need to demonstrate professionalism in all aspects – your blog and social media. Remember that everything you say online is very easily viewed and captured by others, and if you always carry yourself in a professional manner, you won’t have anything to worry about.
When you mention something you don’t like online, brands pay attention to your word usage. If you completely trash the product, they’ll remember it. This does not mean you shouldn’t ever provide negative reviews. In fact, you should always be honest. However, you must be both honest and tactful in your delivery. Otherwise, you might scare them and others away. When it comes down to it, brands have a business mentality, and their priority is to preserve their image.
Stick to your agreement.
You’ve landed a collaboration! Now, it’s time for the follow-through. Whatever it is that you and the PR contact agreed to, you must stick to it. Always be careful what you agree to, because your agreement is your contract. Give yourself a day or two at the very least to go over the terms and decide if you can or cannot deliver.
Some brands ask for follow links – legally, you cannot say yes to that. Maria J. has an excellent post about “No-follow and follow links“. Essentially, all sponsored links, paid or unpaid, cannot be follow links. You should immediately tell the brand that you cannot do this. They should know, and they are probably hoping you don’t know about no-follow laws. Be wary.
When creating an agreement, be very specific about the terms. Create a list if that makes it easier for everyone, and do not start work until your PR contact has specifically said that they agree to the terms as well. Everything must be in writing/email form. This helps keep track of contracts and doesn’t become a “he said, she said” situation.
When you’ve completed your work for the brand, deliver the items as agreed. Most brands ask for a link to the post when it’s live, but some might ask for a draft to approve first. Whatever it is, make sure you deliver within the allotted time frame. Do not be late, and do not make excuses. This is your reputation and integrity on the line. Remember, you are a professional.
When you’re at the point where you can work with your favorite brands, it is such an amazing feeling. Remember – brands appreciate expressed interest and strong initiative. Follow these guidelines, and you’re on your way to working with your favorites.
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