Before I dive into how to decide if you should work with a brand, I want to give you a little bit of my personal backstory since I come from both the blogger and the brand side. You see, I started my blog almost 2.5 years ago because I was working as a social media strategist for an agency doing a lot of blogger outreach and influencer campaigns. I was finding bloggers, offering them vacations at a luxury resort, a new counter top oven, a grill, and the list goes on and on. I thought to myself, “Wow, how cool is it that these babes get to blog all day, be offered cool trips and gadgets, and basically live the dream?!”…I was very naive 2.5 years ago to say the least. I had no idea how much work, commitment, and time it took to actually build a successful blog and loyal following.
So I started my blog and still remember my first sponsored post. I was SO excited because a San Diego fitness & lifestyle brand wanted to work with me! I got sent a top and capris and all I had to do was write about it, take original photos in the clothes (or find someone to take them of me), edit those photos, and share it on social media. I hope you can see where I’m going with this. I was so so wrong, but it was all a learning experience, right?
What I quickly realized, was that while it is flattering that brands want to work with me, there are other factors that must be taken into consideration when I decide if I want to work with a brand.
Questions to Ask Before Working With a Brand:
While there is no special formula, I’ve laid out a few questions I ask myself before partnering with a brand that I hope you can use too.
1. WHO is the brand? Have you heard of them? Is it a brand you’ve dreamed of working with? I have a list of my dream partnerships and always make sure that any brand I work with would not be a competitor to them that could prevent me from working with my dream brands in the future.
2. WHAT is the brand asking for? The brand and their request should be a natural extension of your voice as well as be something you’re comfortable talking about. If it’s not a natural fit, your readers will wonder why you are working with them and this may affect your credibility and trust as a blogger. I once was offered a lot of money to talk about period products. While I love you guys, I’m not comfortable talking about period products on my blog and this isn’t something I would normally talk about so I said no. Make sure that you are 100% comfortable with whatever the brand is asking of you and that it’s relevant to your readers.
3. WHERE does the content live? Is it a blog post on your site, on the brand’s site, an Instagram post, etc.? Determine where the content lives and how it affects your blogging content calendar and strategy. (And how it affects the time to create the ask!)
4. WHEN is the deadline? Determine how the ask and deadline fit into your schedule. Do you have to prioritize things, do you have to move content around, can you even attend if it’s an event?
5. WHY should your audience care about it? You don’t write for you, you write for your readers. Make sure that the content is something that would provide a benefit to them.
5. HOW does the relationship benefit you & the brand? I like to create a mental note of what the brand is asking/receiving and what the benefit is for me. Sometimes it’s experience to work with a brand I love, product, compensation, increased exposure, etc. Whatever it is, determine if the benefit is enough to satisfy you. This is a very personal decision and it may depend on a lot of factors like where you are at as a blogger, how big your audience is, how many requests you get, etc.
My point is that, while yes it is flattering to have brands that want to work with you, it’s equally if not more important to be selective about who you work with, know why you want to work with them, and understand how your decision to work with a brand provides value to your readers.