Two short weeks from today we’ll be in Salt Lake City for what’s sure to be an amazing Alt Summit 2016! Back in December, we conducted a search for a Collectively Correspondent who would join us at Alt and take part in our roundtable discussions all about brand collaborations.
We asked interested candidates to submit their answers to two questions and received an outpouring of thoughtful responses. While we were sad to narrow our selection to just one collaborator, we were delighted at the many brilliant pieces of advice in our inbox. Naturally, we thought it best to share some of our favorite answers with you!
Take a gander at what fellow Collectively Collaborators had to say, and congratulate the chosen correspondent, Amanda Holstein of Advice from a Twenty Something! She’ll be helping us share learning’s and insights gathered at Alt, so stay tuned for more here and on her blog.
Q1: What is the most important question you ask yourself when considering a brand collaboration?
“I ask myself if it's going to give my readers what they want to see/read and determine whether or not it's going to benefit them in some way.”
“Will it actually be a partnership? Will I actually have room to voice my opinions, provide feedback, etc.?"
// Aimee Rancer | The Ohio Transplant
“Do our brands share the same aesthetic?” At first, the prospect of working with any brand can seem so enticing, especially to a new blogger who is so excited to partner with anyone! But over the past four years of blogging, I’ve learned the importance of knowing when to say no and staying true to your brand — your readers will be able to sniff out a partnership that doesn’t match your blog’s brand in two seconds flat.”
// Emily Piskulick | Dear Serendipity
“Can I provide a unique POV or value to the client/campaign/product through my channels?”
// Megan Davies | Chasing Davies
“Be true to yourself. Seek out and work with brands you love (and may already use/promote). Do not promote brands for the sake of promotion or garnering readers or money. Write posts that make you happy about brands that make you happy. “
// Megan Tsang | Megan Tsang Studio
"If I wasn't getting paid, or if the brand didn't approach me, would I willingly feature this brand in my content if I discovered it?...If the answer is NO, then the collaboration isn't authentic and my readers would know that, too."
// Sylvie Esmundo | Sylvie in the Sky
“The most important question I ask myself when participating in a brand collaboration is, "Is this partnership aligned with my brand's messaging?"
// Ty Alexander | Gorgeous and Grey
"Will I be able to bring value to my readers and the brand? It has to be a win-win situation. My readers want to be introduced to new and relevant ideas, and brands want to reach those who care about their message. Both pieces of the puzzle have to be a fit in order to make a match. I guess it's a little like match making!"
// Stephanie Rose // Garden Therapy
Q2: What advice would you give to a new blogger who’s interested in partnering with brands?
“Produce quality, consistent content while staying true to yourself and your readers. If you have great content and quality engagement then you have the most important parts of working with brands. Once you establish these two things then you can start being proactive by contacting brands and joining networks that mediate brand collaborations.”
// Alicia Rodriguez | Between the Pearls
“… I would share that although sometimes blogging seems like fun and games (and it can be SO much fun!) it is truly a business. Each party, the blogger and the brand, need to get something out of the relationship. Which means, a new blogger should not be taken advantage of and pressed to do something that doesn't fit their brand. It also means that the blogger should know their value, but not be overinflated with ego.”
// Sharon Garofalow | Cupcakes and Cutlery
“My biggest advice would be to have patience and allow partnerships to happen naturally. There is no need to say yes to every opportunity or pursue partnerships that aren’t genuine. Ultimately, those projects will do nothing to advance your blog and you risk losing credibility by aligning yourself and your brand with companies that do not have your best interest, or the best interest of your readership, at heart. With that in mind, a connection to an agency intended to connect bloggers and brands is your best bet at weeding out those non-contenders.”
//Chelsea Tubbs | Hazel and Scout
“The piece of advice I would give a new blogger interested in working with brands is: you never know until you ask. If you aren't being approached by the brands you want, take ownership and approach them. I'm newly pregnant, and before our news was public, I reached out to a variety of brands I loved to see if they were interested in partnering on baby gear, and most of them have graciously agreed to work together. Had I not taken the initiative I would have missed a lot of really great opportunities.”
//Allie Seidel | allieseidel.com
“Be authentic, find your voice, and most of all be yourself. Once you find what makes you unique; hone in on it. The right brands will find you for that reason, and through that you’ll build long lasting relationships.”
//Josh Johnson | The Kentucky Gent
“Follow up! Whether it is after meeting a brand for the first time or after a collaboration is over, I've learned through marketing professors and people who are successful in marketing that it is important to keep the relationship going, because you never know what kind of opportunities you can have with the brand in the future because of your genuine relationship with them.”
// Kriselle Mendoza | Livin & Lovin
“I would tell them that its very attainable and that you just have to work hard and never give up. Consistency is key and to be passionate about what you are talking about and to align yourself with the brands that you feel represent what you want to promote.”
// Olia Majd | Love, Olia
"Know your numbers, produce good content and just start reaching out! Even if your audience is small, make sure you have Google Analytics installed so you can present brands with the stats of your blog if they ask (bonus points for having a media kit). They'll be looking for those numbers when considering working with you, and also looking at past content to see if you are a good fit for them. This brings us to the key of always producing good content! Brands want to make sure their product will be displayed well."
// Kara Harms | Whimsy Soul