One of my friends recently hit 1,000 followers on Instagram (which IMO is the first big milestone), and it got me thinking about how it wasn’t too long ago that I had just hit 1,000 followers and how that was the start of collaborations and brands reaching out to work with me.
Why this topic is important: Whether you’re a brand thinking of reaching out to an influencer, or a blogger considering working with a brand; what you are potentially creating together is a partnership. You want to make sure that your missions and brands (either business or personal) vibe together. While this article is specifically aimed at bloggers, I absolutely believe that if you are reading this as a brand, you can ask yourself the same questions that the bloggers should be asking themselves.
In the beginning I just felt so flattered that someone believed that I could actually be an influencer and promote something. I didn’t feel like I had any power at the table (hint: you do).
A few months ago I had brunch with Rebecca of Blogger Not Billionaire , who said something that really stuck with me.
The collaborations you don’t accept say more about you than the ones you do accept.
We can all agree that receiving “free” items (I would argue that they’re not actually free considering all the hard work that goes into photographing, styling, etc. is a pretty big commitment, but that’s a discussion for another time) is pretty cool, we can’t accept every offer that comes our way. So today I’m sharing a few tips/questions to ask yourself for how to decide if a collaboration is right for you.
1 ) Does this collaboration make sense with my brand?
This is the first question I ask myself when I receive an email from a brand. I check out their site and their social media platforms to see what they’re about. P&P is about women empowerment, trendy chic style, and bougie traveling. If the brand I’m looking at qualifies then I’m ready to get to phase 2.
2 ) Would I wear/ use this again?
Once I decide that I like the brand, I ask myself if I would wear/use the product again after the shoot. I love blogging, but there is so much behind the scenes work that goes into a post. If you don’t see yourself wearing or using the product again after the post, in my book that’s a good way to know that you should pass.
3 ) How much is this worth to me?
When I first started blogging, I didn’t feel that I was in any position to charge brands (in fact for the most part, I still don’t feel that way). But at the same time, when I get into the negotiations, I look at the cost and benefit. If you haven’t heard of Social Blue Book, the site measures your Instagram engagement and following and lets you know how much 1 of your posts is worth.
Let me set up a theoretical scenario to show you how I measure this. Let’s say a brand contacts me and offers me a bag (retail $30) in exchange for 1 blog posts and 3 Instagram posts. If 1 of my Instagram posts is worth $50, then I’m losing $$ on this deal. Especially when you add in the cost of a photographer.
You need to figure out how much a post is worth to you and then determine if what you’re getting is worth what you’re giving.
4 ) Ask other bloggers/ influencers what they think
There have been times where I’ve been unsure if I’m being offered a fair deal, or I’m not sure how I feel about the brand image or products. That’s when you should look to your blogger/influencer friends for advice. I also occasionally do some detective work, and find other bloggers who have worked with the brand and DM /email them to learn more about their experience.
5 ) And if you’ve accepted and it’s not right…
Very rarely does it happen that a product/ service isn’t as advertised and I don’t feel comfortable sharing it with my followers. In this case, I give the brand an option of allowing me to send it back (and not featuring the product) instead of writing a negative review. I think this tends to be a win-win. I don’t like bringing negativity to the blog (I prefer not writing a poor review, and only sharing things I love), and brands tend to want to keep negative reviews off the internet.
When I was in SD recently, I put this look together. I wanted something that said spring, but due to the gloomy weather and all day walking, I wanted warmth and comfort. I’ve been obsessed with statement chokers lately, and when new women’s boutique Vice Privé wanted to send me a few pieces, I was over the moon. I’ve been wearing this necklace on repeat. I also went with the pop of orange to make it a little more fun!
Disclosure: I’ve really enjoyed working with all of the brands I’ve partnered with so far. Part of the reason I’ve had so many positive experiences is because I made sure the brands I work with fit with my blog!