This blog post was originally posted on Venture & Eat on July 13, 2017, and has been edited to reflect the change in my 9-5.
WHEN COLLABORATING WITH BRANDS, DON'T MAKE THESE MISTAKES.
In my personal blogging journey, I've come across some questionable posts, mainly in Facebook groups, from bloggers venting about brand collaborations or asking pitch questions just for free products. As someone that's on the brand side of things, it's really disheartening to see. Savvy brands want to build relationships with bloggers. They don't want a collaboration to be a one and done thing, if possible.
This post is for you if you're about to pitch a brand or if you've just landed a collaboration with your dream brand. Below are a few mistakes I've seen bloggers make in the blogging community, and why you should be wary about making them yourself.
Related reading // 5 Tips For Working With Brands
DON'T ASK A BRAND TO COLLABORATE JUST FOR FREEBIES.
This is one of the biggest blogger faux pas I see in the blogging community. I get it. You're in need of a new mattress, so why not pitch a few mattress companies and see if you can score a free one (mattresses are pricy!)?
If you think about it from a brand's perspective, they're least likely to gift you with product if you've never even promoted them on your own or had some connection to the brand. Why would they take that chance?
When you're pitching brands, it's best to think past the freebie and look at the potential partnership opportunities that are beneficial to both you and the brand.
DON'T BE DIFFICULT TO WORK WITH.
Okay, hear me out. Obviously, if a brand is 100% difficult to work with or is unprofessional, don't work with them.
That being said, bloggers need to show the same level of professionalism that they would in any type of job outside of blogging. Blogging is a ton of work, so treat it like a job.
A really great tip to think about if you're dealing with a sticky situation is to always be direct, but respectful. It's so uncool to be overly sassy to prove your point. There's a real life human being behind the email you're sending to. More likely than not, your email is being shared with others in their network. This can create a ripple effect that can negatively affect you.
DON'T BASH THE BRAND.
I can't stress this enough. Don't bash brands.
You may think that your vent on social media or in a Facebook Group won't see the light of day, but you're wrong. Some of the contacts you work with are part of a large number of Facebook Groups since they're bloggers themselves, myself included.
Bashing brands just gives you a bad reputation. And heaven forbid you brag about bashing a brand! Trust me, bashing a brand will come around to you, whether it's with that brand or a brand that was initially interested in working with you.
Related reading // Bloggers, Stop Bashing Brands: From a PR Perspective
DON'T MAKE MINIMAL EFFORT BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU'RE GETTING PAID.
Just because you have a contract and are "guaranteed the money" doesn't mean you should slack off on your agreed upon work. Doing your best work is so important since it'll determine if you'll get future work with the brand.
If you aren't getting paid for the work, this is even more important because it will definitely lead to paid work down the line.
A lot of times, if you're working with an agency, they'll have multiple clients or their company has multiple clients. This means you can easily be referred to a number of new brands. But if your work is subpar, you'll be lacking in referrals by this person.
DON'T TURN YOUR WORK IN LATE OR INCOMPLETE.
This point ties into the one above, but it doesn't hurt to reiterate that you should always turn your work in on time and complete. Many brands will have guidelines on how your blog post and/or social media posts should be created. This can include the wording on products, showing other brands, word limits, etc.
If you aren't able to follow the instructions or be willing to adhere to them, then it shows the brand you're not actually serious about the opportunity.
In terms of incomplete work, would you turn in incomplete work to a boss or supervisor? A brand (client) isn't any different.
DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP FOR FUTURE COLLABORATIONS.
This isn't a red flag, but don't forget to follow up with the brand! Why wouldn't you want to follow up with a brand for future collaborations? This doesn't even have to a formal pitch either.
Once you've already established a partnership with the brand, it's much easier to reach out and ask about a new campaign or any new products that are being launched. Remember to keep it casual. You've already convinced the brand to work with you!