The next session I attended was BritMums in conversation with… Bloggers & Brands, with Claire Candler (from H&K), Nadine Hill, Marianne Weekes, Susanna Scott and Jennifer Howze, who spoke how how bloggers and brands can work together. If you want to make money from writing your blog, then this is one of the avenues for you to explore.
It was a very interesting discussion, as Claire had run a poll before BritMums Live! asking bloggers about the brands and PR companies that they worked with. The results were interesting… 87% of bloggers say brands and their agencies don’t understand how to work with them. I feel this probably harks back to a time when PRs dealt with print media – magazines and newspapers; blogs are very different.
I think PRs would have been able to take a lot from this particular session, as it showed that 71% of bloggers polled heard from up to 20 brands per week, with 78% of those saying less than a fifth of that content ever makes it to their blog. That is a real waste of time and pitches don’t you think?
Of the above reasons, a pitched idea that is not relevant to my blog is a waste of time for both the PR and me… it takes a moment to have a quick read of my about page and a quick scan of a few posts to see what I write about on my blog (number 4 on the list) and also relates to hosting events at times/locations that are incompatible with family life. For example, an event on a Wednesday morning at 9am, when you have children in primary school isn’t really going to work!
Generic emails can be annoying, but if they are of interest, replying back may bring work, so I don’t write them off completely – the same with a standard press release (these I think hark back to old print media methods).
There is nothing worse than replying to an email, and then never hearing back from them again. To me that is just rude. It’s happened to me a few times, and makes me think twice if I hear from them again, months down the line about another opportunity. Similarly, expecting to work for free is an insult to bloggers. Brands and bloggers working together, at least in the UK may be a fairly new thing, compared with the USA, but bloggers work hard, and we need to know our worth. If you are being paid to send someone an email to work for your client, and asking them to do that work for free… how does it really make you feel? What if your boss said to you – please email the blogger, we’ll pay them £100, but you won’t be paid. Would you do it? Probably not!
But despite the niggles, bloggers do want to work with brands…
There are always two sides to every story, and PRs were also polled!
When I see that diva behaviour is up there, it makes me giggle, it makes me think there are bloggers out there who come across as “don’t you know who I am??!”Don’t be that person! Yes, your blog is important, yes it has value, but don’t make an arse of yourself to brands and PRs. Just like bloggers talk to each other, so will they. You don’t want to be known as the blogger who is hard to work with.
As soon as an email comes in, I respond to it – or if I can’t respond fully, I will shoot off an email saying thank you, and follow it up when I can. If there is a genuine delay, I apologise for it and explain the reasons why, as there will be a reason, not just because I’m being a sloth in my response times.
Not showing up to somewhere you’ve said you would be is just rude. Your absence and lack of letting them know, means another blogger missed out. I know I’ve said yes to going to events, and had to cancel, I’ve always apologised for my inability to attend, and that I would love to hear from them again if something else turns up.
The question of money is a hard one, and there is no guide saying how much you should or shouldn’t be charging for your time. I’ve been self employed for years, I have always set my own fees and feel comfortable with doing so. When you are asked to work with a brand, sit down with yourself and see what they are asking – how many words, photos? How many social shares? Do you have to create something – a recipe, a craft etc? How much time will this take you to do? Only you can decide your worth!
Or, if you are really stuck, ask the PR if they have a budget, and see what they say – is that an acceptable amount, could you negotiate?
Be you in your blog posts – that’s why the brand has come to you in the first place – not just to copy paste press releases (unless they’ve asked you to do that of course!) and that’s it. You want the brand to know that they can work with you again in the future, so give them their value for money too!
Being polite costs nothing – say please, thank you, follow things up…
Check your post before you hit publish – make sure the spelling is correct, that it reads and flows well, that you’ve got the message that you’ve been asked to get across, in there. And do it all on time -and if you can’t – let them know!
So there you have it. As I listened to the discussion and saw the slides, I felt confident that I had been doing things right, and it gave me the push to reach out further to brands, than I already do! It was a very insightful session, and I did stop afterwards to chat to Claire, and of course, pass over my business card – you never know who you are going to meet, so always have them on you if you are serious about making your blog, your business!