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.
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.
Need to work on building your following? Check out my eBook here!
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!
Great tips Jenny 👍 thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you! x
It’s so hard pricing sponsored posts! These are great tips for starting out.
If definitely is! That doesn’t get easier I’m afraid haha! x
Wow how informative, Thank you I am now aware . 😊
These tips are all so true! It’s so hard as a new blogger to know what to charge. I always feel like I’ll sound silly if I overcharge because I’m quite clearly a newbie with little following but then I also think, you know what? This has taken TIMMMEEE and creativity so I should be acknowledged! So hard finding that balance. Thanks for the tips. Great post as always lovely xx
It definitely is hard!
The number of times I’ve been offered the AMAZING deal of paying for products to review them! Or, even better, just adding links into posts for no reason, with no payment and no product to show for it! It’s crazy how many companies try to exploit bloggers. Posts like this are so useful to help newer bloggers avoid falling for scams!
Beth x Adventure & Anxiety
Haha adding links for no reason for no payment is ridiculous!
I am always getting emails asking me to buy things to review!! xx
Ugh, it’s ridiculous! x
So many fantastic tips for new bloggers and seasoned ones to, to be honest! 🙂
Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post
Thank you x
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.
Glad you knew to say no!
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 ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
It’s so annoying! I still see the same people sticking “collaborative” at the very end of their post in the smallest writing!
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
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!
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 🙂 Fab post as always <3 xxxx
Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com
Sadly you’re right! Hopefully they’ll learn eventually but bloggers need to know to say no to these things otherwise brands will keep doing it! Xxx
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.
Flipping heck that’s awful!
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.
Thank you x
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.
It’s really weird and unnecessary haha x
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
Definitely worth remembering! I still get imposter syndrome! x
Thankfully I haven’t had any emails about buying a product!
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.
Some ambassador programmes might offer free products occasionally but the majority don’t. And absolutely, bloggers should ALWAYS charge for sponsored posts.
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!
You totally should reach out to them – the worst they can say is no!
Thanks for the tips Jenny. I’ve been invited by brands to collab with them, and I found this post really helpful.
So glad you found it helpful!
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
You’re welcome! I really hope new bloggers find this useful.
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!
Ugh! Bloody scammy people!
Absolutely great post 👏🏻
Thank you x
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 🌟 http://www.kayleighzaraa.com
Yep! When I started I didn’t even consider any of these things x
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.
Totally agree and that’s exactly what I was like!
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.
Ugh. I’ve had a comment from someone saying that they have done a few of them before but I’d never trust it.
I don’t either! It just seems so sketchy lol
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!!
Thank you – You could definitely work with fashion brands based off your recent post alone!
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
Don’t mean you can’t work with some brands even if you are a hobby blogger!
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.
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
I know exactly what you mean! I’ve even had some reply with “we ensure it’s a legimate link”… and?!
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.
Yep same! It’s sooo unprofessional!
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 🙂
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.
I didn’t think about having free products and not being paid for it! I don’t mind getting free products as long as it’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
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 🙂 x
The ‘ambassador programs’ scam is easily one of my biggest pet peeves! I am not going to pay to advertise your brand, that’s not how this works!
Exactly! That’s called being a customer haha x
Thanks for this, Jenny! This is such good advice and great to bookmark!
Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived
Thank you x
Loved this post Jen. Its so hard especially as a new blogger with a small following to know how much to charge. I feel like i dont want to undersell myself but also dont want to sound silly! Thanks for the tips xxx
Totally agree. Even I find it hard to find a happy medium.
Great post. Gonna bookmark it in case I need it in the future. Thanks for sharing ❤️
Thank you x
Yes 100%! When I was first starting my blog 3 years ago, I wouldn’t really tell anyone that I knew in real life because of the people I did mention to in the beginning, they were just like but why? But those same people are the ones who started blogging at the beginning of the year – so yes 100% it’s become more normalized and accepted concept for a hobby!
I was contacted by a few brands in the past to work with and one thing that was huge for me: remain true to myself. So that meant I was passing on a lot of opportunities because I knew that if I wasn’t being sent something, I wouldn’t personally get XYZ – it’s so important to remain true to yourself and what you stand for.
I am aiming to get a domain next month to make my blog more ~official~ and I always worry about when I begin contacting brands what to charge and what the normal rate is!
Of the brands I’ve been in contact with I always mention that I will be disclosing that I am working with them and that ends in one or two ways: Yes of course! OR ghosting!
I was once asked to buy the product like they were fully expecting me to buy the product and review it on my blog but fully wanted me to pay for it myself, they didn’t even offer to refund me – I jumped that ship and fast!
One thing Twitter is the best for: searching for brands before 100% committing to a partnership!
Glad you jumped that ship! I’ve been ghosted a lot too whenever I say I’m disclosing fully!
I know so many bloggers who need to have a read of this! x
Hope they do! x
This is so helpful. I am so new at this …I refused a couple of companies wanting link to my blog.
Why did you refuse them?
One was Gut Dr…paying 2 cents a view
I would like something connected to my content.
These are some really helpful tips, I recently got an email saying I would get a 80% discount on their items for an ambassador programme?! What’s the point. There are definitely dodgy companies out there and I’m still new to it so this was really helpful! X
Ugh that’s called being a customer with a discount!
This is so helpful! Don’t even get me started on the Ambassador discount Instagram DM’s…
Thankyou for writing this post, it’s so interesting to read all of the different things with brands. I’m completely clueless when ur comes to it. There’s some really great tips here so thankyou ! X
You’re welcome! x
While I’ve not had a brand ask for me to not disclose, I have noticed that they hugely promoted the posts of bloggers that didn’t disclose (I presume through ignorance of ASA law) and not mine XD
I kinda was left with the impression that the brand wouldn’t ask you to break the law, but wouldn’t make sure you didn’t break it either.
Ugh that’s so annoying! Would love to know what brand this was!
Im nervous to transition my blog to paid actually because of this stuff! Like the scams and “ambassador” emails and things. I admire how clearly you state thats called being a customer! I roll my eyes at those things but i never thought of it as “customer” before lol like hotels.com- sale rate anyhow. Pinned.
It’s just important to be vigilant and question anything you’re not 100% on!
Very interesting – I’ve written freelance elsewhere but not on my actual blog. I think another thing to add to knowing your worth is with some companies asking for a deposit before as they protects both them and you.
That’s a good idea – although I’ve never done that personally!
Oh my gosh, ‘ this is not a collaboration. It’s called being a customer’ made me laugh so much! Instagram is the worst for this. I don’t know how some brands get away with it! Loved this post & I would have found this SO helpful in my first year of blogging. I remember when I was quite new to blogging a tyre company emailed me… so irrelevant to my site haha! Xx
It’s important to be true to yourself. I think with a lifestyle blog you’re much more open to different things. But like, advertising tyres on a beauty blog or something like that is a bit… eh?
That is so interesting thank you so much for sharing!! I actually fell from some sketchy propositions, like they gave me discount codes and made my pay the shipping! but I learn from my mistakes and I am happy I came across this post! I am actually really scared to start contacting brand myself, do you have any advice for that?
Awh I’ve been there too and fell for things when I first started. It’s easy to do, especially if you’re not aware of any of this! I’d highly recommend Kirsty Leanne’s Pitch Perfect eBook! She covers EVERYTHING on pitching in that!
Ah thank you very much, I’ll check it out!!
I’ve not done a collab yet. But, I kept thinking “are they stupid?” while reading a few of the methods used. Illegal definitely came to mind. Lol!
Thanks for another great post!
Illegal indeed! Especially not disclosing!
Its shocking how many expect work for free or my favourites.. pay for postage and fee for product/s.. and they expect you to write for them too? takes the biscuit.
Haha it sure does!
Thanks for writing, there are some super helpful tips in here! As a new blogger it can be tough trying to determine what is genuine and what isn’t. What I would give to never receive another brand ambassador ‘offer’ on Instagram…
It really can. And ugh I am SICK of those DM’s!
There are so many weird companies out there that want to use bloggers. You have to be so careful!
You really do!
This is going to be so helpful to so many new bloggers. I can’t believe the amount of brands that still have no budget but expect alllll the content from us. It wouldn’t be accepted in other areas so why just because it’s blogging, is it okay to take advantage of us? So frustrating xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
Totally agree, it’s so annoying!
Great post. The amount of times I’ve been asked not to disclose that a paid for ad – I turn them down every time. I had one last week who wanted it free for exposure, he said he doesn’t pay bloggers, so I told him he won’t be getting a post on my site then. Bloggers also need to be aware of prohibited products if they use Google Ad sense on their sites.
Ugh how do people think that bloggers will accept this rubbish?
Wow. You made it easy
The ambassadorship ones are the most annoying to me! I immediately delete them!
Me too – any message that starts with “Hi babe” haha!
Interesting! The one that’s getting me at the moment is campaigns to promote an app – like, I’m all for a gifted collab if it’s a worthwhile product, but a free app… Really? Also I do get the whole “refund collab” – I’ve done it a couple of times as it’s the only way for the brand to get a verified Amazon review (particularly important for authors which is who I’ve done it for), but I think it can be really hard to know whether they are trustworthy or not.
I think in the case of authors it’s a bit different. But I’d never do that for products personally.
Having just written my first paid blog post and being relatively “new” to getting back into the world of blogging, this was just the post I needed! Thank you so much! Absolutely love your content & soul, Jenny ✨💻
Thanks so much lovely! And congrats on your first paid blog post! x