I attended a Blogging Event at the weekend and one of the topics was about bloggers working with brands or PR companies and with brands. I thought it was a really good topic to touch on and felt, even though my experience is relatively limited to date, I might have something to add. The first thing I would have to point out when it comes to this step as a blogger is that patience is paramount.It does take a lot of hard work before you get to a point where a brand wants to work with you, and by work with you I mean pay you or properly remunerate you, not just give you free gifts. It’s taken me over 18 months to get to this point and at that it’s mere pennies I’m making. So focus on creating good, original content, on taking brilliant pictures, on working up an engaged social media following on all the relevant channels (which in itself feels like a full time job!).I have never pitched to a brand or a PR company but this here is probably one of the best examples of how to do it (it’s aimed at travel bloggers but it’s easy to adjust the advice to suit your own niche). What I have done though I suppose in a way to make sure I’m on the radar of PR companies is to be active on Twitter and Instagram – those are the primary platforms through which brands and PR companies have identified me as someone to work with. There are a few websites like Shopping Links that act as an online intermediary between brands and bloggers but I personally find the opportunities via these channels limited.
When a brand (it’s actually usually a PR company but to save me writing both from hereon in I’ll just refer to brand) contacts me to work with them the most important thing to establish from the start is what is expected from you. Depending of the value of the collaboration I will normally suggest one blog post and then a certain amount of social media sharing, usually several tweets and one Instagram post and one Facebook post. Obviously then the next question is how much am I worth (if it’s vouchers or products you’re going to be remunerated with) or how much will I charge. This is a question asked so, so much by bloggers as it’s obviously difficult to work out what the hours and hours spent interacting on social media are worth to a brand! I use Social Bluebook to calculate my social media value. You connect your various accounts and it works out a value for you based on X number of social media posts and types (ie posting a picture on Facebook versus just a status). I love this website because it works on number of followers and the engagement rate you have, it’s honest, clear and there’s no denying it. You can then forward the quote to the brand directly or attach it to your response email setting out what you will charge. In addition make sure to factor in the cost for you to write a blog post, I work it out based on the number of hours I anticipate it will take to create, edit and take photographs for the blog post and work it out on an hourly basis. I always attach my media kit to any emails with a company I’ve never dealt with. Keep it up to date and include examples of the style of pictures you take, a little background to you and your blog and the companies you’ve worked with before (if applicable). Include your social media stats of course and don’t forget to include the average number of unique hits your website gets per month as calculated by Google Analytics, NOT the WordPress or Blogger stats as they are not accurate!! Also remember to include your DA, or Domain Authority, which is basically a search engine rating system which shows the ‘importance’ of your website in terms of SEO. I use MOZ to calculate mine and this is probably the most popular and reputable site for this calculation. Aim to get over 25 as that is a pretty good figure for blogs. Give an overview of the demographic of the readers to your website, so age, gender and locations. Other than that always be polite, always be clear and always be professional. Whether you blog for fun or with an aim to make some money from it it is important to treat a business email with the right tone. And the only other piece of advice I’d give is that whether you pitch to a company or whether you respond to an invite to pitch, don’t sell yourself short. All they can say is no or negotiate you down a little with you but know your worth! Anyone with any more tips to add please leave a comment so this post can be as helpful as possible!