Two years ago I decided to start treating my blog like a business. I started working with my photographers more frequently. I focused on producing content my audience cared about. I made it a goal to drive at least 10,000 unique page views a month. And last year, I earned my first paid brand collaboration of $200 (for 4 Instagram photos).
As my audience continues to grow, the opportunities to work with some of my favorite brands have also grown. This past summer I earned my first 4-figure brand collaboration with one of my favorite local brands.
I went from earning my first $50 an Instagram post last year to my first 4-figure brand collaboration. When I first started speaking to the public relations firm about this brand collaboration, I almost dropped the phone as they gave me the estimate for the campaign. I couldn’t believe that at 18,000 Instagram followers (at the time) and just under 10,000 unique page views a month, a brand would see that value in me. But they did.
So today I wanted to share the four major lessons I learned earning my first 4-figure brand collaboration. It wasn’t a goal of mine to even earn a 4-figure brand collaboration this year… but it happened!
This blog post is for any aspiring blogger out there hoping to make their blogging passions a real business one day! I’m with you on this journey. If you’re also curious what made this 4-figure collaboration different from other brand collaborations, this blog post is for you!
4 Important Lessons I Learned Earning My First 4-Figure Brand Collaboration
First 4-Figure Brand Collaboration Lesson #1:
There is real value in growing an authentic following – especially as a microfinfluencer.
For most of my blogging journey, I’ve struggled on and off about the size of my following. At 10,000 followers, I questioned if I was enough. At 15,000 followers, I questioned if I was enough. And then at 18,000 followers, I realized after being offered this campaign, that I was enough. I was ALWAYS enough.
As I shared my engagement rate, my total audience size, and my traffic to my blog, I’ve realized that almost all the brands I’ve worked with have never told me I wasn’t enough. (I’ve only had handful of brands look at my work and tell me that they’ve raised following minimums and couldn’t work with me.) But the 50+ brand collaborations I’ve completed this year have proven that they do see value in working with micro influencers. From beauty brands, to consumer package goods, and fashion brands, I’ve learned that these industries are willing to pay bloggers – no matter the size of the following!
I truly believe that growing an authentic following helped me land my first 4-figure brand collaboration and even land a few more this year. I know the 6,300 unique visitors of Emma’s Edition come back to the blog over and over again. I know that if I land a campaign, a brand will see a return on their investment.
First 4-Figure Brand Collaboration Lesson #2:
You have to take the time to outline the specific deliverables and lay out how much time it’s going to complete them.
My first 4-figure brand deal was one of my most extensive collaborations. Besides writing a blog post and 8 unique pieces of social content, I also attended two different in person events. I took the time to actually outline the time it would take to produce all of the required social/digital copy as well as the time in the event.
The scope of work required for the campaign demanded more of my time. I knew it would take me at least 20-25 hours to complete the whole campaign.
No matter the size of your collaboration, you should always take the time to outline how much time it’s going to produce that content. Time is your most valuable resource. Even if you’re excited to be gifted $500 worth of clothes, you need to remember that you’re still spending the time to create the content.
First 4-Figure Brand Collaboration Lesson #3:
Don’t run from negotiation, embrace it!
After agreeing to an initial price, the brand came back and asked to add on another deliverable. Because that ask was adding on the original statement of work, I knew I had to ask for more money to appropriately price the campaign. And guess what the brand said….. They agreed and gave me more money!
When you lay out the time it takes to produce the content and share your facts and data (social media and blog stats) with the brand, you are making it easier on yourself to negotiate. People like seeing data to make decisions. So when you openly share your stats, you are also helping the brand understand your value.
Additionally, I’ve learned this past year that a brand isn’t going to refuse to work with you because you’ve asked to get paid. Brands may come back and say they don’t have budget, but they still found value in you if they took the time to initially reach out.
If you’re looking for more tips about pricing and negotiating as a blogger, I highly recommend you check out: 15 Tips for Pricing & Negotiating as a Blogger! Please don’t be afraid to ever ask for your value!
First 4-Figure Brand Collaboration Lesson #4:
Communication is at a whole other level
This 4-figure brand collaboration required way more communication than any other brand deal. Most of my brand collaborations typically are done over email. But with this paid brand collaboration, I spoke with the PR firms when we first discussed the terms of the collaboration. Then we had a conference call to plan the two in person events. Next I met with them in person for the events. And finally met with the PR team face to face to close out the collaboration.
I’ve learned through this brand collaboration that frequent communication is key to ensuring expectations are clear from the blogger and the brand.
If you’re goal is to increase how much you get paid for brand collaborations, you should ensure that you improve your communication skills and to always be professional. If you have a phone call scheduled a week out and you have to cancel, give as much notice as possible. If you have an in person event or you’re meeting face to face with a brand, show up on time and be professional. If you have questions about the contract or the request of deliverables, be up front and ask the questions to clear confusion right away.
There you have it friends! My four major lessons I learned with my first 4-figure brand collaboration deal. This brand collaboration actually tipped the scale for me and finally pushed me to file as a business as a blogger.
What have you learned from your brand collaborations?
For more blog related topics:
5 Reasons I filed as a Business as a Blogger
7 Things You Need to Include in Your Next Brand Email Pitch
6 Tips to Help You Get Comfortable Taking Photos in Public
6 Major Tips to Build an Online Presence
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Karya Schanilec