Working with different brands and other bloggers was a huge goal of mine when I rebranded. I had previously offered advertising space in my sidebar for different brands and bloggers, but I really wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of creating more sponsored content on the blog as a means of producing more interesting and diverse content.
Since opening myself and the blog, I’ve received a lot of great inquires from different brands and other bloggers. In the mix of those, of course, are other offers which are totally off and a bad fit for the blog and brand.
I know many bloggers are considering offering paid advertisements, or working with sponsors to create content. When a brand is totally wrong to work with, it’s easy to say no, but what about when a brand is seemingly legitimate or fitting, but then ends up being a bit off?
There are a few steps I take after receiving an offer for sponsored content or collaboration
Review the email
You can tell a lot about the company reaching out to you just from closely observing the email they send. First, what’s the email address they mailed you from? Is it off of a company domain (ex: email@example.com) or does it seem to be a more obscure personal email (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org). Sponsorship offers are professional transactions, and should always come from a secure and professional email account. If the address seems off, I’d be skeptical of the email body.
Next, what exactly did they email you? Most legit offers that I get read something like this:
My name is Chelsea from Legit Brand, a company specializing in XYZ. I’ve stumbled across your blog and love the content you create….
We were wondering if you would be interested in working with us on creating a post around our products? We would love to be able to share with your readers, please let us know if you’re interested.
Chelsea – Director of Social Outreach, Legit Brand.
This email contains a few important elements: the name of the brand and a link to their website, the position the person emailing you holds within the company, and why they’re reaching out. You can now go in to do a quick search of the person who emailed you (I always start with Twitter) and scan the company website.
Research the brand
If the brand reaching out to you is one you’re unfamiliar with, you’ll want to do some research on them before even responding to the initial email. I always start on their website, and go over their mission statement (if they have one) and look through all of their products. What about the company and it’s goals align with my brand? Look at information they put out about themselves, and what others have said about them. Customer reviews can be very helpful here –you wouldn’t want to work with a brand who consumers haven’t been happy with lately!
Decide if you’re interested
Now that you’ve done some digging and know a bit more about what you’re getting yourself into, it’s time to go back to the original email and respond for more information. Since you know a bit about the brand, I usually use this email to thank them for reaching out, and ask some key questions like:
+ What kind of sponsored content would I be expected to produce (Instagrams, blog posts, tweets, ect.)
+ How many pieces of content would be expected (Ex: 2 blog posts, a giveaway, 3 tweets….)
+ What would the timeframe be of creating and promoting content?
The answers to these questions may help you determine weather or not you’d like to work with a brand. If they’re expecting too much, despite the compensation, it just may not be feasible for you. If you really enjoy the brand and the logistics work out, you’ve just gotten a great opportunity!
For whatever reason, talking about money tends to get a bit awkward. Still, it has to happen, and you have to be very conscious of exchanging value for value here. If you know you have a large and growing audience who is very engaged, be sure the price offered for creating sponsored content matches that. In my experiences, other bloggers are usually more than will to share their fees, many even post income reports each month. Reach out to your network if you’re struggling to know what to charge –and then charge that consistently! Don’t just take whatever is offered, always defend your value! Negotiating can be strange at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become talking cash money with brands!
Just remember –best value, not necessarily highest dollar amount, should be the goal!
Are you considering working with brands on sponsored content? If you’ve already started working with brands, share some of your experiences in the comments!