Working with Brands and Organizations as a Blogger

brandsWorking with brands and different organizations can be great–free stuff, a great support system, paid posts, etc. It can be realllllllly tempting as a new blogger to jump on the bandwagon and want all the free swag that all the other bloggers seem to have and the paid posts they’re putting up and making money.

As a new blogger, I jumped on a bunch of these, and they’re not always all they’re cracked up to be. Running Ricing has a great post entitled “No so fitfluential” on why being an ambassador wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Now, I’m not saying all brand partnerships and product reviews and blogger organizations are pure evil, but you have to be careful and make sure you aren’t compromising your brand TOO much for the free swag and money. Don’t accept brand partnerships (especially if only in exchange for a review of a product) that doesn’t fit with your brand, or you risk alienating your readers. More likely than not, they’re there for the original content and not the sponsored stuff (unless the product review fits in tightly with your brand).

Readers, however, should understand that you need to pay the bills of your blog somehow (hosting, web domains, advertising, etc) and that some sponsored posts are necessary “evils.” This goes most smoothly if you pick sponsored posts that match up well with your mission and if you space them out well and balance them with well-written content (seems like a no-brainer, right?)

Here’s some great resources on how to work well with brands and get what you need out of the relationship:

8 Things All Bloggers Should Know Before Pitching a Brand from The SITS Girls

Things like having a media kit, asking the right questions when speaking with a brand are all good things to familiarize yourself with when you’re prepping to pitch to brands.

Sponsored Post: 8 Reasons Why You’re NOT Getting Paid Opportunities from the SITS Girls

Another great post from the SITS girls (who run a pretty awesome site to connect bloggers to paid opportunities) on what you could be doing wrong when applying for sponsored posts. These include having an unprofessional looking blog design, profanity on your blog, infrequent posting, your e-mail address isn’t up on the blog, and they can’t find the region your located in on your blog. While these are meant to apply specifically to SITS program, they apply when working with brands overall as well.

5 Smart Tips for Working with Brands from Independent Fashion Bloggers

While originally written for fashion bloggers, Independent Fashion Bloggers has a lot of good resources that apply to all bloggers. These tips are especially helpful: find out who you report to (in my experience, unfortunately, this isn’t always clear), get a clear outline of your duties (again, this isn’t always clear either), get it in writing, get fair compensation, and find out their pay schedule. These are great tips for freelance writers when bloggers get paid to write for other blogs, too!

Blogger perks and pitfalls when working with brands ~ Momma Be Thy Name

I love this post. It discusses what to be wary of, especially when you’re not getting any more compensation than free swag and some great tips with how to do well with brand partnerships.

How do you feel about working with brands?

About Kristen Gillette

Kristen Gillette is a freelancer who has written for a wide variety of publications including Philly2Night.com, two.one.five. Magazine, and Cred Magazine, thINKingDANCE.net, the Philadelphia Dance Journal, TechnicallyPhilly.com and more. She runs AdultBallerinaProject.com

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