Are you a blogger? Have you collaborated with a brand before? Or do you want to collaborate with a brand in the future?
Over the last few years I’ve worked with over dozen brands to support over a hundred brand and blogger collaborations. While my brand campaigns in the beginning were gifted products, almost all of my brand collaborations today are paid.
Learning how to work with brands was definitely a process. At first, I had no idea what value I could offer to brands. I had no idea what they wanted – did they want one Instagram post? Did they want a blog post? I also had no idea that I could negotiate the amount of product I received or the amount I got paid.
In 2019, one question I receive from new bloggers is:
“What do I do now that this brand reached out to me?”
While I originally wrote, “Advice for Influencers: What to Do When a Brand Reaches Out to You” to answer that question, I realized that I didn’t outline the steps of a brand and blogger collaboration.
So today I’m sharing the 10 Steps of a Brand & Blogger Collaboration. I’m covering all the steps that I’ve personally experienced in my brand collaborations. If you’re looking to work with brands as a blogger, this blog post is for you. I hope this infographic and laying out all the steps help you have a successful brand and blogger collaboration!
10 Steps of a Brand and Blogger Collaboration
Step 1: Brand Reaches Out to You
A brand can either reach out via email or Instagram. I’ve had social media marketing managers who worked for the brand as well as their public relations company reach out on behalf of the brand.
Usually the brand reaches out to see if you’d be interested in discussing a potential collaboration. Sometimes brands will include important details like the timeline, deliverables (number of social media posts), and budget. And sometimes brands don’t include this information and just want to see if you’re interested in working together.
Step 2: Blogger Responds to Brand
Assuming that you’re interested in working with the brand,
you should ask what the brand’s timeline, deliverables, and budget.
Additionally, you should include your media kit with this response email. I typically will include a high level of my social media stats in the body of email. Here is a typical response email I’ve used to reply to brands:
Thank you so much for reaching out. I’d definitely be interested in working with you next month to support your campaign. May you please let me know the timeline, deliverables (blog post, number of Instagram posts, etc.), as well as the budget for your campaign?
Here are my current Blog/Instagram stats and attached is my media kit.
– 30,000 Monthly Page views, 27,000 Unique Monthly Page views
– 17,000 Monthly Unique Users, 20,000 Unique Monthly Sessions
-124,800 impressions and 17,900 reached last 7 days
– 4% engagement rate, 25,500+ followers
Thank you! I look forward to learning the details of the campaign!
Step 3: Brand responds to blogger request(s)
Typically, a brand will let you know how long the campaign is running for and how many blog posts/Instagram/social posts they’re looking for. The brand will also let you know their budget for the campaign.
OR the brand will ask you how much you typically charge for the number of posts they outlined. In this email exchange, a brand will also include a creative brief – which includes photos and caption examples of what the brand is looking for.
Step 4: Blogger either accepts or negotiates with the brand
You can absolutely negotiate the budget and number of deliverables. If the timeline is flexible, you also can also negotiate when you can send in and publish the content.
If you’re not satisfied with the amount of product or compensation amount the brand is offering, you can negotiate a higher rate. If you are satisfied with what the brand is offering, you can let the brand know that you are good with everything and you can ask the brand to send over a contract.
Step 5: Brand either accepts or negotiates with blogger
Don’t freak out if the brand, PR agency, or influencer marketing agency doesn’t respond right away. If you’re asking to raise the initial compensation amount offered, the brand or the company representing the brand will go back to their teams to see if they can support your request.
If the brand is able to support your request about increasing your payment or adjusting the non-compete window, they’ll let you know. If a brand doesn’t have any more budget or can’t budge on the required content due dates or non-compete windows, they’ll also let you. It will be up to you to decide whether or not the collaboration will be beneficial to you and if the brand is aligned with your brand and your audience.
I’ve gone through the negotiating period and gone back and forth with brands for up to 3-4 times before we agree to the terms, deliverables, and budget of the campaign that both parties are happy with.
Step 6: Blogger & Brand agree and sign a contract
I highly recommend documenting the required deliverables, timeline, and compensation amount in a contract. Every paid brand and blogger collaboration I’ve supported has had a formal contract provided by the brand, PR firm, or influencer marketing agency.
The contract should outline:
- Deliverables: how many social or blog posts you’re required to provide
- Timeline: when you should submit social media drafts and when you should publish them
- Non-compete windows: The length of time you’re not allowed to work with competitor brands
- Net 30/Net 60 Payment: When you should expect to receive payment for the campaign
- Product: whether or not the brand will send you the product or you have to buy the product yourself – FYI most brands will send you the product for the campaign especially if it’s a paid campaign
Step 7: Blogger creates content after receiving product
Now that you’ve negotiated with the brand and signed the contract, it’s time to create the content for the campaign. You might take the photos yourself or hire a photographer.
Pay attention to when the initial social media or blog post drafts are due because it’s no fun to be scrambling to create content.
Step 8: Blogger sends content for approval
Almost every single social media/blogger and brand collaboration has required me to submit content for approval. Brands want to make sure that what you’re saying about their product and services is accurate. They also want to make sure that your caption is free of spelling mistakes and that you have the required hash tags for the campaign.
Step 9: Blogger and brand goes through series of edits
I’ve gone through editing cycles that take weeks – especially if there’s a blog post involved with over 1,000+ words. Hopefully you only have to go through one cycle of editing because this takes SO MUCH TIME.
If a brand ask you to reshoot content, I would ask them what do they want you to specifically cover in the Instagram post or Instagram stories? I typically follow the creative brief so if there’s a line about the product that I’m supposed to cover, I’ll make sure to include it. So if a brand is asking for reshoot, I want to know what information that WASN’T included in the creative brief is covered in the new content.
Step 10: Blogger publishes content
After a series of editing, the brand will give the OK for the blogger to publish the content. Some brands will tell you a specific date to post and other brands will tell you a range of dates to post.
After you publish content, you may also have to:
- Provide all the live links to the brand, PR firm, or influencer agency
- Provide screen shots of the Instagram stories and Instagram posts after a few days
- Provide screen shots of the Google Analytics metrics of the blog post after a few days or a month
What other questions around brand and blogger collaborations do you have?
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Karya Schanilec