Blogging Tips

Blogging Tips: Working with brands and businesses in an ethical way.

A blogger’s bread and butter is the ability to work with brands. Now, make no mistake, we are also an asset to a brand. It’s mutually beneficial. It is up to the brand to hire adequate personnel to handle their relations with bloggers and influencers. But from a bloggers perspective, it is your duty to have integrity in your dealing with brands and PR, not just for yourself, but for the blogging community at large. By individual bloggers working carelessly and unprofessionally with brands and businesses, the whole community gets cast in the same light. I’m not making this up, the proof is on social media in the way literally everyone speaks about bloggers and influencers. To help navigate this tricky course, I’ve compiled some important steps in how to go about your brand collaborations in a professional and sensible manner. 

Be professional in your approach to work with a brand.

At first, no brand will contact you. You have to work hard to establish yourself as influential to get to that point. So, naturally you will approach brands. DM’s and comments on their feed is not the way to do this! Take the time to get your Media Kit done (shameless advertising: PW Creative does affordable Media Kits, so give your girl a call!). Take the step and find their contact info, be it on their website or social media. Contact them formally, in the way you would when approaching any business situation. And guys please, don’t demand!

Media kits are an essential tool for bloggers.

Your blog is your baby. Someone’s business is theirs. Don’t demand their goods/services in an entitled manner.

Be tactful and ask. Their response is up to them. They are allowed to turn you down in a professional manner without you getting offended at a simple no. 

Your conduct with the products/services provided:

Ok, great. A brand said yes, they invited you to test their service or sent you a press drop of their products. Now what? How do you deliver on your end? I will definitely be offending a lot of bloggers by saying what I’m about to say. Mass unboxing videos on your insta stories is a disservice to a brand. Generic posts with no real meaning is a disservice to a brand. Low quality, rushed images is a disservice to a brand! These mass unboxing videos can come across in such bad taste. Firstly, whether you like it or not, a lot of your audience will find it as “braggy”. Not my words, just ask most people. It sends a message of self importance and “look how much I get”.

Secondly, a brand takes the time to send you what they’ve worked hard to create, not for you to mention it in 20 seconds in the middle of a ton of other stuff. I get that bloggers do the mass thing due to time constraints, but maybe work a better schedule instead of squeezing all these products into one? (I know, I would hate me too for saying this, I’m sorry ).  Even with your images and videos reviewing the products. With the tech offered just on our phones these days, you don’t need much to create good quality content. Blurry, messy pictures are an injustice to the product given to you, and it’s just unprofessional on your part. Give it your best shot, create good quality content that invites people in. 

The quality of your content should be professional and appealing to your audience.

Another valid point to add to this is that if you are working with a larger brand, you are not the only blogger/influencer doing this campaign at the same time.

So, consider that your audience are seeing the same product or service elsewhere on social media. How are you going to then sell this product or service to them, which is your job?

Firstly, create a unique perspective. Maybe try a new approach to the product. A new way to experience the service. Put your thinking cap on and try being different so as to keep your audience intrigued. For example, have you been sent a hair product? Everyone is posting their before and after, as the brand would like. Why not try using it on an isolated part of your hair only, and then show the differences on that bit only, instead of doing that usual bushy hair before image and the super sleek after? Try doing a hair look with the product. My point is , try being different. Another thing to remember is to be respectful to the next blogger and don’t rip off their work! Guys, this grates me so bad. It’s so miserable spending time creating unique content and then have someone create some slapdash crappy mimic of it. People notice when you do this! Look at all the other posts related to the campaign you’re doing and find a unique angle! Please.  (Okay, obviously I need to breathe, I’m getting worked up here). 

Your integrity is everything.

In life, you have to be a person who’s word can be trusted, right. Well, the same applies to blogging. I know a blogger who creates amazing content, but the amount of gifted products she “loves” is insane. She’s reviewed so many skin products simultaneously that either she glows with the light of Jesus or her face is falling off. Seriously, no ones face can handle that much. All that, or she’s lying just to make the brands sound good. Now, whilst her content is beautiful, I wouldn’t trust her word from a bar of soap. Which is expected, because no one can possibly be obsessed and absolutely love every single product they try. So, my point is, if you are sent a product, give it a decent try. If it’s makeup, wear it for a full day in atleast 2 different weather conditions, and then decide on your review. If it’s Skincare, it really needs at the very least 3-5 weeks constant, isolated trial for you to really determine its effectiveness. Same with haircare. Record your process, and give your audience a detailed, informed and most importantly, honest review. They are what the success of your blog depends on, and are therefore your priority. No brand is allowed to force you into a positive review. They cannot ask you to lie. If they do, guys, please don’t work with that brand. If they require posts before you have had a chance to fully review, take the steps of campaigns Beauty Bulletin does, and give weekly progress reports to your audience, even if there is zero progress. But again, don’t lie! I remember seeing everyone review a certain Makeup Revolution eyeliner as being so amazing, and I was beyond hyped to use it. Imagine my disappointment to discover that you basically had to run it under hot water to even get any product out. And no, it was not a default, other people who bought the product had the same experience, I’ve since found out. 

Transparency is key.

Lastly, you have to divulge if something is an ad, gifted to you or sponsored. Seriously, it’s the law now. But more than that, it just speaks to transparency with your audience. Don’t be sneaky and hide that little hashtag in an unnoticeable way. Be upfront.

Therefore, work hard to create trust with your audience, so that when they see that it’s a sponsored post, they can still trust your thoughts on the product and service. 

That might have been a bit of an overload, and I’m sorry. But given the state of the local blogging industry and the recent mummy blogger drama, this was information that seemed quite important to share. 

What would you like me to cover in the next part of this series? 

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