As I mentioned, I was at the Healthy Living Summit conference this year to be a speaker on a panel about working with brands as a blogger. A number of you said you’d find it helpful to hear what we talked about, so I thought it would be useful to do a dedicated recap post highlighting some of our main points!
There was a great group of people on the panel with me.
- Lauren from Say What You Need To Say (panel host)
- Ashley from Healthier Happier Bear
- Theodora from Loosing Weight in the City
- Kelly Olexa from FitFluential
- Valerie Elston from Porter Novelli
- Laura Stanton from Dancing Deer Bakery
Here I am with Ashley, Theodora, and Lauren after the panel was over:
Overall, I think the panel went well! We had a pretty packed room and a number of people told us afterwards that they found it helpful, which was great.
Here are some of the highlights that we touched on:
- Only work with brands you believe in.
- There will be other cool opportunities that come up — don’t take an opportunity with a company you don’t believe in just because it’s a fun one or because everyone else is doing it. Stay true to you!
- If someone pitches you for something you aren’t interested in — respond politely and say thank you for reaching out but you are not interested at this time. Often those pitching you are PR firms that might work with other brands you are interested in later, so you can add that while you aren’t interested in this brand, you would be open to other opportunities in the future and to please keep you in mind for those.
- Don’t be scared to reach out to brands. The worst they can say is no!
- When you reach out to them with partnership in mind, be specific with what you want and treat it like a professional business proposal.
- For example: “In exchange for xx (e.g. money, or product, or sponsorship to a conference), I will give you xx (e.g. x amount of tweets, x amount of blog posts, x amount of facebook mentions), and THIS is why it will be beneficial to you (e.g. I have xx amount of impressions on my blog per month, xx amount of twitter/facebook/instagram/whatever followers, many of my readers are ____ (female, xx age, athletes, moms, whatever) which is a great target audience for you because ______, etc. etc.)”
- Networking with brands when you attend conferences is also a great way to facilitate future partnerships — a lot of my partnerships have grown out of an initial meeting in person at a conference or event.
- Even if you don’t have a specific pitch/partnership idea in mind, after the event, send the brands you are interested in an email saying it was great to meet them and to please keep you in mind for future partnership opportunities.
- If you often pitch companies that you don’t know/have a relationship with already, having a media kit may be helpful in quickly giving them an overview of who you are and what your blog is all about. I haven’t made one but I’ve been meaning to for awhile now!
- Media kits usually contain information like:
- Contact information and a photo
- Short summary of your blog, title, blog address
- Links to twitter, Facebook page for your blog, any other social media sites
- Website stats (monthly pageviews & unique visitors (use Google Analytics to find this out)
- Any partnerships/press coverage
- Services offered and rates (e.g. for ads, sponsored posts, product reviews)
- For more on media kits, Katy Widrick is a great resource — check out her blog post on making a blogger media kit.
Photo via Lauren — I’m in action on the far left!
- Reach out to local companies.
- Smaller companies may not be willing/able to pay for content or product reviews, but building a relationship with them still can be beneficial in establishing yourself in the local scene (and in helping to support small, local companies you believe in!).
- In addition to local brands, local exercise studios/gyms are also often open to partnerships — e.g. free membership in exchange for blog advertising/promotion. Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself using the tips above. Be sure to show what’s in it for them!
- You can also try reaching out to local media for writing opportunities. In the past, I wrote a twice monthly blog post for Chapel Hill Magazine (when I lived there, obviously) — it was unpaid but a fun way to connect with the local community and get some new readers from the area.
- Be clear up front what the expectations are when working with a company.
- E.g. How many tweets/blog posts/etc. are expected in exchange for what they are providing (money, product, free membership, etc.)? Are there any specific requirements for the posts or tweets?
- Regarding product reviews:
- If you don’t like a product, be honest. NEVER accept money to say you like something you don’t — be clear with the company up front that your review will be honest but fair. If you really hate a product you try, try emailing the company and asking to try something else instead before you do your review — maybe you’ll like something else they have.
- End a product review with: “Would I buy this product with my own money?” Yes or no. I’m going to start doing this!
And with all of that said… write your blog like you don’t care if you’ll ever work with a brand or not. Your blog should be for you and your readers — if you’re only blogging because you want free products or money… you’re not doing it for the right reasons.
Please feel free to add any of your own tips in the comments!