It’s a Sunday afternoon and I’m propped up in a chair in my Engineering Library trying (so hard) to get some work done – and all I can think about is blogging. Usually, it’s an escape for me – a way to relieve my stress and anxiety and it makes me feel successful, which temporarily banishes my depression. However, today I’m feeling more riled up than anything.
I’ve had some god awful, and some downright cheeky collaboration emails this week and I’ve been left reeling. I had a lil chat with my blogging gal squad and found out that many bloggers just don’t know where the control lies in a blogging collab, the answer is with you. You are the content creator, you are the one that shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. Here are 3 things that I think every blogger should know about blogger collabs (that no one really talks about!).
1) You Need To Learn To Stand Your Ground
Considering that I have a 35K+ following on social media, I’ve started saying a simple “no” to collabs that just aren’t worth it to me. It took me a long time to feel truly comfortable and confident enough in my blog to stand my ground and ask for more gifted products or a higher rate per post on anything sponsored.
I still get emails like “hey we’ve got this £5 lipstick can we send it to you and have full coverage on it in a weeks time please” and I’m like… seriously, wtf? When you put hours and hours into a blog post, with social media coverage, it simply isn’t okay to get paid nothing or get sent fuck all to compensate you for all that work.Technically, you become free advertising to brands.
Think about it, you need to: write the post, add links, format the post, check SEO, set up product shots. Then get the right lighting, take photos, retake photos, edit them, import them, upload them. Then arrange them in your post. The worst thing is when you preview the post and realise the edit / lighting / angle is shit and you need to start all over again.
To this day, I still get loads of PR emails asking me to do full blog post reviews in exchange for a free sample, and I simply have to decline. The whole “if you like it, feature it” approach definitely applies here, but free advertising? Hell no.
2) Sometimes a brand collab isn’t what you think it will be
I’ve had unfortunate experiences with quite well known brands, that ask so much, for so little. Two big brands that I’ve collab’d with come to mind on this topic. Not naming names, but one is a clothing brand and the other is a beauty brand. They both emailed me to say they wanted to send over £30/£40 worth of product to me to feature on Instagram. I agreed, the stuff arrived, and a week later they kept emailing me and asking where my blog feature is.
I’ve also had a fashion brand ask me to pick out a dress to recieve as a “blogger gift”, and when it arrived, I got an email listing dates and deadlines for me to feature the dress by on all my social media, and on my blog.
It’s sneaky, and I don’t appreciate it, as a hardworking blogger trying to make a living its pretty freakin’ shady. Especially from massive brands who, clearly, make enough money to compensate a blogger properly. My tip? Just make sure you have things crystal clear before you agree to recieve anything, or create any content.
3) What to do when a collaborate gets a little… hostile
There have been occasions where I’ve agreed to be gifted products to review in return for an Instagram post (#ad all the way). On a few occasions, brands have gotten a tad bit hostile if I didn’t feature them on my blog, or even do a full positive review – even though it was never agreed on! It’s the same with do follow links, some brands just make the assumption that a blogger will do all of that for them in exchange for a candle or something.
No wonder the public have a shady opinion of bloggers not disclosing #spon content, or giving false positive reviews – as there is a lot of pressure from these types of brands to do so! It goes as far as some brands refusing to collaborate any further until… x, y, z. Basically until they get the coverage they want, for free.
Withholding collaborations like this is just a it sad, as it makes a blogger like me never want to work with the brand again, and I personally don’t know how brands can’t see the negative image they’re portraying to the blogging world.
Have you been in any sticky situations during a brand collab?