I recently re-watched the show Fashion bloggers. The show is about 5 of Australia’s top fashion bloggers (Harper and Harley, Zanita, Shine by three (now known as Margaret Zhang), Oracle Fox and Katewaterhouse.com) and gives a behind the scenes look into blogger life from creating posts, to attending events, meetings with brands and shooting campaigns.
Despite the show being 4 years old many of the tips and experiences are still relevant to this day. The only notable difference is that blogging is now (for many) in the background whilst Instagram plays the more prominent role.
I decided to make a few notes on collaborating with brands that I picked up from watching the show as I thought it would be helpful to share. Although the bloggers featured in the show were predominantly fashion bloggers the things they shared can be used across an array of niches.
Pick collaborations with your readers in mind
It’s always useful to know what kind of people you have reading your blog or viewing and interacting with your content. For example, if wouldn’t make sense for a budget beauty blogger to collaborate with luxury brands where or for a food blogger to collaborate with a makeup brand.
It’s easy to want to say yes to all the opportunities that come your way especially when you’re just starting out because it’s exciting to work with brands. However,it’s important to remember that you are essentially advertising the products you post about to your readers and if you don’t have them in mind then the collaboration isn’t as likely to be successful.
Work with brands that you’ve used before
This is something that will add credibility to what you do. There’s nothing wrong with working with brands you haven’t used but I think they should still align with brands you have used or some part of your brand.
Granted if you have a small following you may not get the opportunity to work with a lot of the brands that you use day to day but that shouldn’t discourage you into just working with anyone.
It’s worth reaching out to brands you’ve posted about before and put forward the idea of collaborating. Try local businesses or brands based in your city if you’re not ready to approach larger ones. Just be wary of not coming off as someone looking for free stuff.
When working with brands you should both benefit
Ask yourself what you can offer the brand and what can they offer you. It should be a mutual exchange not just you getting a free product and spending hours creating content to promote it. Be aware that some brands will try to trick or short change you into doing something for them with no benefit to you.
There are different benefits to working with brands it might be the money, the product they send you, potential for a long-term partnership or even just having that specific brand on your list of people you’ve worked with.
On the flipside ask yourself what you have to offer the brand (especially if you approach them for a collaboration). Will your readers even be interested in the products you’re pitching to promote?
Work with brands that are in line with your brand
An obvious one but I know how easy it can be to get excited when brands approach you for collaborations.
A great question to ask yourself is this quote from Sara Crampton (Harper and Harley) ‘Are you comfortable telling your followers to go and purchase it?’. If the answer is no or there is any uncertainty, then you probably shouldn’t through with it.
You don’t want to fall into the trap of doing anything and everything because you want to‘make it big’. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for me to work with a fitness brand as that is nothing to do with what I blog about or share online.
On the other hand, brands or collaborations that come under personal-development, small ethical focused beauty brands, career, documenting life or self-expression are all things that relate to the content I create, so are a much better fit. In general, my focus will always be on promoting smaller brands because I like the idea of introducing people to a brand they may never have heard of but also just being able to support peoples’ businesses.
So, there we have it 4 tips for collaborating with brands. I think most of these tips came from Sara Crampton (Harper and Harley) who talks quite a lot about working with brands throughout the show. If you haven’t seen Fashion bloggers, season 1 is on YouTube and I’d recommend it if you want to learn more about what goes on in the blogging world.