Blogging Advice

Working With Brands as a New Blogger: What To Watch Out For

Let’s be real for a second here. Times have changed in the blogging world. Where 5 years ago, it was all about writing for yourself and blogging for a hobby and now, making money through your blog and blogging as a job is a far more normalized and accepted concept. And working with brands as a new blogger can be exciting times.

Working With Brands As a New Blogger

Photo byย STILย onย Unsplash

Before I crack on, I just want to PSA that blogging as a hobby is cool if that’s what you want to do. I’m not going to get into the hobby blogging x job blogging debate here. Just stating an observation that blogging as a job is more recognized and popular now. We cool?

I remember the first sponsored post I was offered. It was for the brand Quorn and I was just gobsmacked that I was being offered MONEY to post on my blog. This was back in 2016, where I had probably less than half the followers I have now. It was exciting stuff. Lil ol’ me was moving on UP.

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But there were a lot of things I had to learn about working with brands as a new blogger. When you’re a bright eyed and bushy tailed new blogger who’s just started receiving emails from brands about sponsored posts or product reviews, it can be all too easy to get caught up in it all and start saying yes to everything.

Without really looking at what’s being asked of you or offered to you.

Turning my blog into a job was the best decision I’d ever made. And I’d always encourage and cheer you on if that’s your goal too. It’s important to remember that it’s not a quick buck and it’s not easy (although by all means, not the hardest job in the world). But it’s definitely worthwhile.

So if you’re a blogger and that sounds like you, here’s a quick guide of things to look out for when working with brands as a new blogger:

Know your worth and be wary of them under-paying you

Knowing what to charge is tricky. It’s still tricky for me now. And I don’t have a set rate really, I’m always open to negotiating with a brand or PR to find a happy medium for us both. But if a brand is offering you a tenner for a sponsored post of 2000 words, 4 insta shout outs, 6 exclusive images and your first born…

Or not paying you at all and offering exposure

What’s worse than being paid pennies? Not being paid at all. So please, I beg of you, make sure you discuss a budget BEFORE any work is done or anything is agreed. Believe it or not, some brands do genuinely believe that exposure and back links pay the bills, who’d have thunk it. The only exception to this I believe is if it’s a charity.

Asking you not to disclose paid for content

Dodgy, dodgy, doggity, dodge. Avoid at all costs. You’ll need to educate yourself on the legal requirements of working with brands and disclosing collaborations to your readers. And it’s pretty black and white that no disclosure = illegal. So if a brand is asking you to not disclose a sponsored post, run for the hills my friend.

And maybe name and shame on Twitter, if you’re sassy af.

Asking you to buy the product yourself and they’ll refund you

Why? Now this just sounds shady doesn’t it? There should be absolutely no need for you to buy a brands products off of their website, Amazon or any other marketplace and for them to refund you afterwards. That’s just not how it works. Even if they will genuinely send you the money after, it all seems a bit… shifty to me.

Asking you to pay for postage of a review item

If you’re collaborating with a brand on a product review that they have asked you to review, then they should be covering postage of that product. It’s pretty simple. But I don’t see this one a lot, thankfully but still something to be wary of if it ever arises. The next one however…

Offering you discounts on their products as part of an “ambassadorship”

Goddamn the amount of times I’ve seen brands offer “ambassador programs” or collaboration “opportunities” and they offer you a discount on their products in exchange for shout outs, reviews or blog posts. Please do not fool for this. This is not a collaboration. It’s called being a customer.

Bad word of mouth

You will definitely see and hear about some dodgy brands and companies around the blogosphere. It’s up to you to use your common sense and say no if they approach you if you’re unsure about them. And if you are approached by a company, it’s always worth doing a bit of research into them before you agree to anything!

Do you have any horror stories of working with brands as a new blogger? Are you aware of these points I’ve mentioned? And do you have anything else you’d add to this post? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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Jenny in Neverland

Twenty-something lifestyle blogger from Essex. Book lover, Slytherin, organisational wizard and enjoys Motorsport, Disney and Yoga.

106 Comments

  1. I am always getting emails asking me to buy things to review!! xx

    1. Ugh, it’s ridiculous! x

  2. So many fantastic tips for new bloggers and seasoned ones to, to be honest! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sarah ๐ŸŒบ || Boxnip || Latest Post

    1. Thank you x

    2. I’d been blogging a month or so when a brand reached out offering me a refund if I gave them a raving Amazon review. I declined as I didn’t feel we were on the same level. A month or so after that another brand reached out wasnt a product more of a service they were just touting for business but liked the look of them. This post is so relevant to so many new bloggers, hobby bloggers and maybe bloggers who want to turn it into a job. It can be very hard sometimes to turn something down because it seems amazing! Like you said know your worth.

      1. Glad you knew to say no!

  3. I know so many people still haven’t been disclosing conent and it makes me so sad, it isn’t worth it at the end of the day.

    Love, Amie โค

    The Curvaceous Vegan

    1. Itโ€™s so annoying! I still see the same people sticking โ€œcollaborativeโ€ at the very end of their post in the smallest writing!

  4. Amazing tips and I agree with all of them! I mean, gifting is fine, as long as you’re not asking for 75 links, 4 instagram posts and a daily shout out for the next 3 years. I HATE that knowing what to charge is still so hard. I wish there was a little more transparency about it. I was really fortunate that my first few sponsored posts came with a price that the brands suggested that seemed reasonable to me so it gave me something to base my rates off for the first time I was asked what I charge. I genuinely laugh out loud whenever I see someone offering a collaboration discount now. Byeeeeee x

    Sophie

    1. Yeah I lot of sponsored posts come with a price and I much prefer that cos it takes the stress away from having to think of it yourself!

  5. These are great tips Jenny! Thank you for sharing your tips and experiences! There are so many shady and dodgy ‘opportunities’ out there, it is so helpful to know what to watch out for, especially when you are new to it all. Sadly a lot of companies just want to use us bloggers for free exposure – so posts like this are so important, we gotta look out for each other ๐Ÿ™‚ Fab post as always <3 xxxx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Sadly youโ€™re right! Hopefully theyโ€™ll learn eventually but bloggers need to know to say no to these things otherwise brands will keep doing it! Xxx

  6. Ooh, under-paying is definitely a no-go for me. A while ago a brand wanted to work with me: they asked for a full length blog post, insta stories and 3!! insta posts for nothing.

    Bettie
    http://www.thewildflowerhippie.com

    1. Flipping heck thatโ€™s awful!

  7. S.S. Mitchell says:

    Excellent post Jenny! I like the numerous dodgy deals you’ve specified here to warn others I case they’re faced with such ‘offers.’ Some really valuable advice here.

    1. Thank you x

  8. This is such a great post. Knowing what to charge can be hard.
    I still struggle too.
    I hate it when they want you to buy something and then refund you. So weird.

    https://littlemissmelanie.com/

    1. Itโ€™s really weird and unnecessary haha x

  9. Lisa's Notebook says:

    I remember my first collab, I was astounded, I mean why me? The imposter syndrome was real! Some great tips here, Jenny, as usual. My only thing to add is if a brand approaches you, then you have value to offer them. We are worth it! X

    Lisa | http://www.lisanotebook.com

    1. Definitely worth remembering! I still get imposter syndrome! x

  10. Heather Nixon says:

    Thankfully I havenโ€™t had any emails about buying a product!

    1. Lucky you!

  11. Now this was interesting. I have seen many ambassadors online and I always thought that they must be getting the stuff for free at least. Didn’t know that they just get a discount. That’s rude. I believe that bloggers should charge money for writing posts, because they are spending a lot of time and efforts into it, to get them exposure. Makes sense to charge, imo. Free products are also okay, but not too often.

    1. Some ambassador programmes might offer free products occasionally but the majority don’t. And absolutely, bloggers should ALWAYS charge for sponsored posts.

  12. Thanks for this post, all these tips are super helpful! I would absolutely love to start working with brands, but I guess as a very small blogger still I don’t get many brands reaching out to me, and I’m too scared to reach out to them haha. Hopefully one day if I keep working hard at it i’ll get there!

    1. You totally should reach out to them – the worst they can say is no!

  13. Thanks for the tips Jenny. I’ve been invited by brands to collab with them, and I found this post really helpful.

    1. So glad you found it helpful!

  14. Kendra | Self-Care Overload says:

    Jenny! These are really good tips and something that all beginner bloggers should take for their archive! I remember when I first started and I was bombarded with emails from all kinds of companies asking me to pay for shipping and then they’ll send something for “free”. Yeah, right!
    It’s good to have people like you to break these things down. Thanks for sharing!

    Kendra | Self-Care Overload

    1. You’re welcome! I really hope new bloggers find this useful.

  15. Thank you for raising awareness about this topic for all the young/new bloggers out there!! I’m so glad I’d heard about these before all these sketchy companies started to slide into my DMs haha. I once had a company reach out to me, and their name was pretty much ripped from from another, actually legit company, they just changed a vowel :’) I had a good chuckle at that!

    1. Ugh! Bloody scammy people!

  16. Absolutely great post ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

    1. Thank you x

  17. Kayleigh Zara says:

    These are some amazing tips girls! I remember when I started blogging that these things where so alien and new especially pricing and what was expected of a sponsored post! Thanks for sharing x

    Kayleigh Zara ๐ŸŒŸ http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

    1. Yep! When I started I didn’t even consider any of these things x

  18. Great tips! It’s so easy when just starting out to get so overcome with excitement when a brand reaches out to you, that you forget to take a step back and asses the situation.

    1. Totally agree and that’s exactly what I was like!

  19. I had one of those amazon requests the other day where they wanted me to buy the product first and be reimbursed after, and they couldn’t fathom why I would say no. I hate how these brands think they can take advantage of people.

    1. Ugh. I’ve had a comment from someone saying that they have done a few of them before but I’d never trust it.

      1. I don’t either! It just seems so sketchy lol

  20. Laura at Palette of Thoughts says:

    This was such an interesting read! As an occasionaly blogger I know nothing of this and doubt I’d ever make any money but it’s really good to hear tips from a successful full time blogger!!

    1. Thank you – You could definitely work with fashion brands based off your recent post alone!

  21. Brilliant tips, Jenny. I’ve not experienced working with brands as I’m just a hobby blogger – I’ve been sent a couple of books in exchange for reviews and that’s about it.But if I ever get asked, I now know what to look out for. Thanks for sharing! xx

    1. Don’t mean you can’t work with some brands even if you are a hobby blogger!

  22. Thanks for the tips Jenny. I’ve had a few sponsored and gifted collaborations now, but the amount of emails I get asking if I’ll post for free or without a disclaimer is shocking. The worst one was a brand asking me to pay for a t-shirt for a review, with a discount of course.

    1. Ugh! Winds me the hell up! I’ve had so many lately say “you mustn’t use the sponsored tag” and as soon as they say that I’m like BYE ILLEGAL BITCH x

      1. Kim says:

        I know exactly what you mean! I’ve even had some reply with “we ensure it’s a legimate link”… and?!

  23. Boss Babe Chronicles says:

    So many good tips! I love how you mentioned that bloggers shouldn’t have to buy products from a brand and then allegedly get a refund- I’ve seen so many brands on IG try that tactic! So unprofessional.

    Mariam
    bossbabechroniclesblog.com

    1. Yep same! It’s sooo unprofessional!

  24. Even after blogging for 7 years, I still find myself forgetting some of these things so super useful! It’s definitely making sure you don’t undersell yourself with definitely comes with practice ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sarah x
    https://www.saraheliza.co.uk

    1. It sure does. I’m not judgy at all when it comes to what other people charge – some people can’t afford to say no to a lower price.

  25. Amy Jones says:

    I didnโ€™t think about having free products and not being paid for it! I donโ€™t mind getting free products as long as itโ€™s something I actually use. For example, I got some nice-looking drinks glasses for free and still use them over a year later!

    But these are very good tips, I will definitely bookmark this for reference.

    Amy | hookedonthemusic.com

    1. Oh I wasn’t saying that – I get sent a lot of free products which I’m not paid to post about. The payment is essentially the product ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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