Welcome to the fifth post in the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series. Throughout the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series both myself and a group of bloggers will be sharing our experiences and advice upon a range of blogging related topics, this week we are focusing upon working with brands, how bloggers first got started working with companies and whether they love or loathe doing so.
Working With Brands
After having my first child back in 2009 I setup ‘Mums Baby Magazine’ an online magazine of sorts. Mums Baby Magazine was a website entirely dedicated to sharing information, tips and advice for new parents. Having found myself overwhelmed with Motherhood I began writing informative posts upon a range of topics to share with other new parents. Many of these posts included information regarding products and brands which I felt were either of use or of no use whatsoever.
I worked hard to share informative posts upon products, brands and practices through reviews and such like. A few months after launching Mums Baby Magazine I began being approached by brands and asked whether I would be willing to work alongside them to either promote or review their products. At first I felt worried that I would be unable to write professionally enough to represent such companies but after writing a few reviews I found I began to enjoy carrying out reviews so long as I remained honest.
I carried out numerous reviews for a wide range of brands and companies all of which I took my own photos for and wrote as honestly as I possibly could. However, after having our daughter four years later I found that I simply did not have the time to work upon the site and decided to close Mums Baby Magazine for the foreseeable future.
The Blogging Bug
A few years later I was bitten by the blogging bug and returned to writing from a personal point of view on this here blog. Having setup my blog and having written a fair amount of posts I was once again approached by a number of brands to carry out reviews on their behalf. I was unsure at first as to whether I wanted to include reviews within my blog but after several requests I decided to give it a shot.
I love writing especially now that I write from a personal point of view rather than from a third person perspective. Mums Baby Magazine was a brand within its own right and whilst being a blogger is similar in some respects it is a far cry from having to hide behind a brand name.
Part of the problem with review work is how to remain honest whilst trying to promote products which aren’t always what they claim to be or simply do not perform as they should. Thankfully now that I write from a personal perspective I can explain myself far easier adding light humour to posts should products or brands ever seem awkward to promote.
Working alongside brands and companies has certainly kept me on my toes over the past few months, I receive quite a lot of post so much so that my postman often asks “What are you reviewing this time Rach?”. It fluctuates randomly throughout the year, I either have piles of products to rate and review or barely anything at all.
Sticking To Timeframes
I aim to get any work for brands completed within a two to three-week timeframe and always ensure that I remain in contact with the brands/ companies to let them know when I receive any products sent and once the review is live.
Sponsored or collaborative posts I also aim to get through within a short time period also ensuring I remain in contact throughout the work and that the companies or brands requesting such posts are notified when and where posts are live.
Pitching To Brands
Since working with brands I have found myself starting to pitch to certain companies and brands which I feel that I would work well with, whose products I admire and those which would benefit our family in some way or other. I have been incredibly lucky to have the chance to work with numerous brands which have suited such requirements.
I tend to prefer reviewing products which either my children, husband or I enjoy using. I prefer to write positively rather than critically regarding products but should I come across a product I’m not particularly impressed by I try to remain positive but at the end of the day will always remain honest to myself and my readers by giving all products a fair and truthful writeup.
Working Under Pressure
I have been fairly used to working under pressure throughout the years especially having worked within Education. Blogging is a little different though as I often find the only pressure put upon me to carry out work is done so entirely by myself. I like to run a tight ship by keeping ‘to do lists’, schedules and such like neatly organised on my desktop, I also note down any ideas or thoughts I may have regarding blog posts or work either on my IPhone or in a notepad which is nestled deep within my handbag.
Working with brands is something bloggers either love or loathe I guess and whilst I have felt pressure to get certain jobs done I usually enjoy reviewing or working on specific focused posts. I find it pretty easy to write about most things and very rarely find myself stuck for words. Writing seems to come naturally to me, it’s something which I very much enjoy and wish to continue both from a personal point of view and through working with companies and brands.
I have spoken with a few other bloggers regarding working with brands, here are some of their responses upon this topic:
“I’ve worked with a few brands and I really like it, as long as it fits well with our blog. I find the brand reps very friendly and helpful, and it’s so nice to be able to give my family some little treats. There are a few Facebook groups which share opportunities, or are dedicated to PR’s looking for bloggers.”
“My work with brands is slowly on the increase. I’ve found the key to getting into it is to focus on your blog and putting out content that you’re proud of. Applying for opps on Facebook, Twitter and on PR sites helps to get your name out there but some of my best opportunities have come to me out of the blue so make sure you always have your contact details on your blog and social channels. I did a number of unsolicited reviews on my blog to practice and show what I could do, these really helped when pitching to brands or showcasing the type of coverage I can offer when contacted.
Personally I enjoy brand work. I’m quite picky about what I go for, it has to be brands that naturally fit with my content and our lives. Sometimes it can be a little pressured, I find it far harder to write when I’ve got a set brief and people I want to impress!”
“I have worked with brands a lot – it started with them contacting me and I have also pitched to many. I do like it but I have had to rein it in a lot recently as I just don’t have the time and energy. In many cases it might be so low value that I can’t justify the stress for the value, especially when I have a fulltime job that takes much of my time away as it is. “
“I’ve worked with a few brands now and always love the opportunity to collaborate with and feature our personal favourites. It’s lovely when something pops into your inbox that’s perfect for you, but other times I’ve written pitches and had good responses. It’s not always that way though – sometimes you don’t get a reply at all which can be disheartening. I’m definitely in the love camp – I only work with brands that fit my personality and lifestyle which means there’s very little to dislike! “
“I haven’t worked with brands yet but would love to one day, I love trying new things out with the kids and ourselves so to help a brand would be fantastic. “
Should you fancy being part of the series and sharing some of your own ideas or expertise then please feel free to join the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ Facebook group’, we’d love to hear from you! Alternatively you can get in touch via email, drop me a message via social media or add your comments below.