05 Jun Establishing and Maintaining Relationships with Brands
On Saturday, I was invited to speak at the annual EC Meetup hosted by Eleanor from Just Ella Bella and Luchae from My Spreadsheet Brain. I was honoured to be asked to speak for the second time and was most impressed that the attendance had more than doubled since my first time speaking 3 years ago. As always, the event was impressively organized, featured lots of time to meet and network with our peers and brands and included an abundance of spoils, good eats, and lots of friendly faces.
Over the next week I will be sharing a series of blog posts that covers everything I said at the Meet Up, where I tried my best to really dig deep into the fundamentals of working with brands, covering everything from what you need to get started, how to find contact information, approach a brand, how to establish a relationship, etiquette and how to make money from your blog.
I often see new bloggers pop up in groups saying, I received a press release from this brand – do I charge? My first question is, WHAT ARE YOU CHARGING FOR!?? I mean, you and every other blogger and media outlet received that press release. It’s a bulk message, so be careful how you respond!
I think that it can be really overwhelming starting out as a blogger nowadays, in fact, I am almost grateful for being so naïve and thinking I was one of the few bloggers in SA when I started – it gave me a false sense of confidence. There’s a lot of discussions around when you should charge; some say you should be charging right from the get go, while others disagree.
I am of the mind that you shouldn’t jump straight to money talk. Again, this is an opinion and I am simply sharing what has worked for me. I sort of think of it like walking into the MAC store and how every assistant is like, HEY!!!!!!! I get really overwhelmed and angry that I just walk out and am put off. In fact, I have been so put off for so many years, that last week when I spotted that all but one of their ladies were on lunch, I FINALLY stepped inside and bought something. So, considering that MANY have received that press release, I don’t want to be yet another sales person saying, HEYYYYY! I want to make an impression – impressions count.
Sadly, I feel one of the biggest mistakes we make as bloggers is we think too much about ourselves. We want to know how much I am getting out of this deal, how much am I getting paid, who else is working on this campaign – are they getting a better deal? What about the product – what’s the value? It’s important to flip your thinking and ask yourself, what am I offering a brand, why should they invest in me, what makes me unique.
My approach is simple; if the product or service interests me and will benefit my audience. I respond enthusiastically with a few content ideas. Most times, the PR company comes back saying, wow – this is great, thank you so much! Can we please send you the product and one to giveaway.
I feel confident in this because it gives me an opportunity to prove my return on investment – something bloggers neglect to focus on. It also shows the brand that I genuinely care about them and am willing to do the work, be creative and challenge myself. Most of all, they get a good idea of how I work, what they can expect of me but also – WE ESTABLISH A WORKING RELATIONSHIP!
This might seem juvenile, but relationships MATTER! Often, I don’t HAVE to say to a brand, “Hey, look, this is a quite a big campaign, I think we need to discuss the budget.” Because they already value me enough to say, “Here’s our campaign idea, this is how much we’d like to pay you – are you okay with this?”
And relationships expand your opportunities more than you realize. PR talk to each other and I have even seen that when they leave brands and go to new ones, they take my details with them and instead of doing the initial – this is who I am, let me show you my worth – we jump straight into working together.
Next, I will be chatting more about campaign pitches – what goes into a campaign pitch
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I have great news! After so many messages, emails and requests, I have finally decided to launch my own online blogging workshop. Over the next month, I will be sharing the details, how you can sign up, and what I will be covering. Everything will be available online so that no matter where you are in the world, you can access it. In the meantime, sign up for the newsletter to get updates and follow @bloggingworkshop on Instagram.