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.
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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!