It is not very often you will find posts about blogging here on Naptime Natter. It is not that I don’t enjoy writing about my favourite hobby ever, it is just that I feel there are so many more experienced bloggers out there who can offer you much more valuable advice and tips than I ever could. You see, when it comes to stats and all that stuff, my blog is still pretty small. Although I may be a very small fish in the overflowing pond of parent bloggers, this hasn’t stopped me from working with brands.
I have decided to start a new mini series all about my experience of working with brands, including my top tips and lessons I have learnt. If you are writing a little blog like me and are interested in working with brands, I am here to tell you it is possible! Don’t be discouraged by slow growing followers, if you are committed to your blog, are honest and write in a style people enjoy then you deserve those work opportunities just as much as those at the top of the blogging leader boards.
So for any other little fish out there who are struggling to swim and make themselves heard amongst the thousands of others splashing along beside them, I thought I would share my experience of working with brands with you and show you it is possible, you have just as much worth as those big names out there.
Working with brands – my experience so far.
If you want to work with brands but are concerned your blog isn’t big enough, don’t be. You’re amazing. Here is my story.
I started my blog in March 2015, it was not until the November that I first received an email from a company offering me my first ever sponsored post. I was so excited, I had been blogging for 8 whole months and with Twitter followers still dwindling around 300 I really wasn’t expecting any work opportunities to be coming my way any time soon. I eagerly wrote the post, the company loved it and it actually performed really well, it was one of my top 10 most popular posts for months.
After this I didn’t receive any emails for a few months. I was blogging along quite happily, enjoying all the other things blogging has to offer, creativity, inspiration and friendship and then one day, amongst all the newsletters, another job opportunity appeared in my inbox. Again, I was super excited, more so this time as this was a brand I had actually heard of and had seen advertised on the TV. This post also did really well and is still one of my most viewed posts.
By March this year, a year after I started blogging, I was reviewing various different products fairly regularly, at least once a month and had a handful of sponsored posts proudly living on my blog. Fast forward a few months to now, July 2016, I am receiving several emails a week from PR agencies and brands, some are relevant and some aren’t but I am grateful for each and every one. I am earning money regularly from my blog, nowhere near a full time wage but enough for me and more than the £0 I expected to earn from blogging.
I know I still have a lot to learn when it comes to this side of blogging, but I definitely know a hell of a lot more now than I did 12 months ago. So, if you are a little blog or are a newbie and are interested in working with brands, here are my top tips – from one little fish to another..
Top tips for working with brands.
Always reply to emails, even if it is a no. Just because you are not interested this time, doesn’t mean you might not want to work on a future campaign with the company. No one likes to be ignored.
Write regular content and get your posts out there. Brands like to see some return on the posts you write for them, make sure you share all your posts as much as you can, the more comments you get the better as it shows people are actually reading your blog and enjoy what you have to say. My stats may not be through the roof but people do read my blog and comment lots, I have regulars as well as new readers and I am so grateful to all of them for taking the time not only to read, but write a comment as well. I can not recommend linkys enough for sharing your posts and building your regular readership.
Be honest, whether a brand is looking for you to advertise a product, review their service or help spread the word of their cause, they will appreciate your honesty, as will your readers. If you want to be sent things to review, build up a portfolio of reviews you haven written just for fun. Prove yourself to be an honest and fair reviewer that your readers trust. By doing this you will have lots of examples of your work to send to brands, with (hopefully) good reader interaction and it’s a great way to show off what you can do.
Don’t stress about a media kit, in my experience, they are not as essential as others may imply. I don’t have one, in fact, no brand I have ever worked with has asked for details of blog stats or my following. I haven’t made a media kit because if I were to send that out I doubt brands would pick me to work with. Instead of doing this I send lovely emails, explaining why I want to work with them, my ideas for a post and links to similar posts I have written before. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I think being more personal and showing them my creativity and ideas works better for little bloggers like me than a list of not very impressive numbers and stats.
Make a work with me page, I can’t stress the importance of this enough. If you are interested in working with brands then you need to let them know. A small paragraph in your side bar with your contact details or a whole separate work with me page on your blog, if you want to earn money from your writing make sure it is easy for PR agencies and brands to get in touch with you. It may also be a good idea to add your blog and contact details to blogger directories that work alongside brands. Since I updated my work with me page I have had more job opportunities sent my way than ever.
Don’t be too fussy. I am not saying work with anyone and everyone as you want to keep your integrity and not be a sell out (I assume!) but you can’t expect to work with the big brands straight away. I personally like working with smaller companies and helping to spread the word for new businesses, their budgets may not be big but they are always so grateful for the support and I always get a good feeling when writing posts for brands who really need the exposure. However, I was very shocked when earlier this year I was asked to review something for a very well known outdoor clothing brand, I was so amazed that my little blog had attracted the attention of a high street store, it just shows the big names will come knocking but you just need to put in some hard work first. If you feel a brand is not a good fit for you or your blog then it is important to say no, yes building up a portfolio of review/sponsored posts is great but it is not worth writing about things you are not passionate about or reviewing items you don’t actually want.
Don’t be discouraged and be you. Not every brand you approach will want to work with you, that’s a fact. Some of the bigger companies really do care about the numbers and will only work with the big names, that doesn’t mean you should give up though. Approach brands you love and see what happens, the worst they can do is say no. Yes you may not have 50,000 page views a month or twitter followers growing in the hundreds every day but that doesn’t mean you don’t have value or have nothing to offer. There may be thousands of other bloggers out there but there is only one of you. Show off you personality, your creativity and your talent, some brands who may never have considered working with you based on your stats may actually end up loving your voice and your enthusiasm. With so many voices shouting to be heard, make sure yours is authentic and interesting and if you are not heard at first, take a big breath and try again.
Keep working hard. If you really want to earn from your blog and want to collaborate with brands then you need to be committed to your blog and work hard. We all know you don’t get anything for free in this world. Keep trying to grow your social media following, keep writing awesome content and get your words seen by as many eyes as possible. I know this isn’t easy and is really something I need to spend time working on myself but with growing numbers comes a boost in confidence. You may never be one of those big fish but there is no harm in fattening yourself up a little bit. As I have said, it is not all about stats but boosting your numbers can’t do you any harm. All those big fish I keep talking about? The ones reviewing the cars, the holidays and earning a monthly wage from their blog, they didn’t get that successful over night. Those bloggers have spent hours working hard and it is really important to remember that, once upon a time, they were writing a little blog just like you.
To all the newbie bloggers and people with slow growing stats, I hope you find this post useful. If you are interested in working with brands then just go for it, you deserve the opportunities just as much as anyone.
If you enjoyed this post, please check back next week for part 2 in this series – Working with brands, 10 things I have learnt.
Do you work with brands? What tips do you have to offer? Are you a new blogger and interested in earning money from your blog, have you found this post useful? I hope I have shown you not to be put off by your low stats and that working with brands is possible however big your blog is. I would love to know your thoughts.