Brand Collaborations: Everything You Need To Know To Make It Happen

Let’s be real for a minute, the blogosphere is a ridiculously saturated and competitive industry. This makes it difficult to stand out because everyone is doing the same damn thing.

But what sets a blogger apart are the collaborations – brand collaborations to be exact. Think of it this way, you can have a degree but without a job, you can’t classify yourself as a working professional or employed – you are unemployed.

Same with bloggers. You are not a legitimate blogger until you begin to get those collaborations. Bloggers need the collaborations to take what would otherwise be termed a ‘hobby’, a job. It’s a hobby until you start making money from it.

Blogging is a job like any other and it requires dedication and hard work.  As a blogger, you’re creating content, doing social media management, photography, editing… The whole shebang, and it is a lot of work! So many people are now leaving their steady 9 to 5 jobs to focus full time on blogging.

Brand collaborations are every bloggers’ dream, but how do you get a brand’s attention when the industry is so saturated and difficult to break into?

A. Do you build your brand image and following and hope that the right brands will eventually notice and reach out?

Or

B. Do you reach out to brands and get them- no, force them- to notice you?

I’ll let you think about that for a second.

So, now that you’ve thought about it, what do you think?
A or B?

If you chose A, I ’d tell you that’s not a good idea and here’s why.

When you are unemployed or looking for a job, do you sit at home, not send your CV to companies and think a job will fall on your lap? No? So why would you apply that sketchy logic to brand collaborations?

When you’re looking for a partner, do you also sit at home or lay in bed, never go out and hope that a man will magically appear at your door and sweep you off your feet? I’d like to think not. So why should brands approach you if you’re just twiddling your thumbs, hoping for some recognition?

If you’re lucky, brands will reach out to you – yes it happens! I’ve had brands reach out to me but I ’ve also reached out to brands and I still do. 90% of the times that I’ve reached out, I’ve got nothing back but that’s due to a myriad of reasons. But you know what? As much as most doors didn’t open, I have had some doors open and all I had to do was reach out.

You won’t get every job you apply for but that doesn’t mean you stop trying.

If you want to reach out to brands but don’t know what to say, how to sell yourself, you’re not alone. I worked in PR and Marketing so I was that girl bloggers would email to work with a brand I  manage. Yet , I find it daunting reaching out to brands.

But don’t worry, I got you. You’ll be emailing brands like a pro after reading these tips.


Here are 6 things you need to know from a brand’s perspective
1. Never EVER just ask for a free product.

Brands want to know what you can offer. How can you help them generate more sales? So before you make a cold call or type that email, think carefully. What is YOUR value, not what can you get for free?

2. Show me the stats $$$

This is what brands want to see or a PR/ marketing company representing a brand. This is your currency, your value. If you want brands to give you the time of day you need to have a ‘goodlooking package’, qualitative stats. How many monthly page views do you get? Your demographics. They want to know who your audience is and how they are relevant to their brand. If your audience consists of middle-aged men then you’re better off reaching out to the company that makes Viagra as opposed to one that sells tampons or pads. You feel me?

3. Guarantee results

This kind of ties in with showing brands your stats – social media and blog stats. So a brand wants to know what you can guarantee if they give you free products and pay for space on your blog or social media posts. After showing stats of previous successes, you can just add that you’ll guarantee at least 20% of your followers will buy their products or something equally as titillating. Again, its all about the sales and awareness. If you can’t guarantee a brand that, then forget about it.

4. Be creative

Brands receive hundreds of emails a day so if you’re going to put yourself in front of a brand and interest them in working with you, you have to be creative.  Your subject line must be punchy and to the point and the content in the body of your email just be just as punchy, to the point and creative. “I’d like to do a review of your skincare product” just isn’t going to cut it. Think out the box. Try to propose an idea that not many people are doing.

5. Show passion and  enthusiasm

It is better to collaborate with brands that you love and admire. You want to tell them why you love them and why you want to work with them. Not make them think you’re down for anything so long as it is free. No, you have standards. If you only shop at Zara and Pep approaches you, and you accept (even though it is not your style), you are selling yourself short and demeaning your value. Rather prove yourself to the brands you love than work with any brand out of desperation. It will be tough in the short term but worth it in the long run.

6. Be charming and gracious

Brands are notorious for paying you the least and wanting the most. They want to see you write 10 pages of content, 5 Youtube videos, 2 Instagram posts for R500/ N13 000/ USD 36.

Instead of telling them to fuck off, you can negotiate. That can mean politely telling them no and letting them know what your rates are or do 1 thing instead of 10. Alternatively, if you really want to work with the brand and they don’t budge on how much they’re offering, take it and let them know it’s a one time thing and based on the results you get from your content curation for the brand, you can go back and propose another collaboration opportunity on YOUR terms this time. They will respect you and are more likely going to listen to you knowing what you can bring to the table based on what you have already brought.

Don’t compromise your value by working with any brand that approaches you but you also don’t want to seem like you think any brand is beneath you. No one likes a pompous ass.

With all that great advise, I have even one more to help you with your email pitches to brands. Here’s what you need to put in your email pitch to brands:

  • Punchy, short subject line
  • Qualitative stats
  • 3 to 4 short sentences of what you are proposing
  • Link your blog url and social media pages
  • Be warm and friendly

Note that it is much more challenging to get big name brands to work with you especially if your following is under 2000. So, approach the smaller brands that you love, to discuss how you plan to make your collaboration worth their while.

I hope you found these tips useful. Until Sunday.  Love, light and positivity. xo

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