How to Work With Brands To Create Sponsored Blog Posts: A Social Media Strategist's Tips And Tricks

 

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Have you ever wondered how your favorite bloggers get connected to big brands? It’s one of two ways: either the brand finds them, or they find the brand. When put this simply, it almost seems easy – but there are a few essential components to keep in mind if your goal is to write sponsored posts.
In this post, I’m sharing all the best practices, tips, and tricks I have learned from working on both the brand side and the blogger side.

Having worked in social media at a Fortune 50 company since 2012, I hope I can share my experience and knowledge with you to help you grow your blog and create content and connections with your favorite brands!
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How To Get Found By A Brand You Love

1) Be active on social media
Social media is a great discovery tool, and often a brand will discover you because of your social content. In my role, I have found some wonderful, genuine bloggers out there via Instagram and Pinterest. And on the flip side, through Fashion To Follow, I often hear from brands who have found me via my social channels. Be sure to maintain an active social media presence. It’s not necessary to be active on all channels, but if you have accounts that you’ve linked to on your blog, make sure that you manage them professionally and update them regularly.
Brands are likely to check the social media accounts of blogs they find interesting. Social accounts will give insight into a blog’s following, image style, and posting frequency. It is critical that you are active and not only post outbound content, but interact with your followers as well.

2) Beautiful images will take you far
Images are the currency of social media – particularly on Instagram. Provide a brand with great imagery and they will be much more likely to share your content. To attract brands to your blog, demonstrate your capabilities through photography. A brand will likely be grateful to work with you if your photography can be used on their own channels. They may use your images in emails, posts, etc. This type of exposure is great for your blog.

However if a brand does not tag you, do not take it personally. Not all brands are allowed to tag other accounts (large brands use social media publishing tools and some of these tools do not have a tagging capability. In fact, tagging an account will only be cumbersome for the account manager.) Additionally, there may be liabilities around tagging, or concerns about setting a precedent for future collaborators who may expect a tag as well. While this is more of a rarity than a norm, it is very possible, especially for large brands with conservative approaches to social media.

3) Make it easy to contact you
An easy-to-find contact information page is essential. Leave contact info in your social media bios as well.

4) Blog consistently
You don’t have to blog daily, but to keep your blog fresh, I suggest posting at least once per week. A blog post can take a few hours to create, so build that time into your weekly schedule. Note: Mosts post take over an hour to create. When creating videos or photography, it will likely take a few hours. For reference, this post (which has 1,400+ words and minimal photography) took me over two hours to write.
Consider replacing TV time with blog time – those GoT and Bachelorette episodes can wait! 😉

5) It’s not all about a big following
Yes, there are search tools out there that help brand managers source bloggers based on following, rank, city, etc., but remember that it’s not always a numbers game. A strong following count may look great, but if your posts don’t generate engagement, then a strong following may be considered more of a vanity number than an actual metric. For this reason, a brand may see more value in an account with a lower following that has more engaged fans, than one with an account that has a large following but low engagement.

6) Your favorite brand hasn’t found you? Reach out to them
If you’re passionate about a brand, but have a smaller following, don’t let a fear of rejection stop you from reaching out to a brand. If you have a quality account, often they will see the value in your content and be happy to work with you!
As a social media strategist, the work is constant and the days are busy – especially when you have a small team and work for a big brand. With a large brand that has thousands of people sharing photos per week, it may be rare that the social team will see your content unless it really generates a lot of buzz. No matter how frequently you post about a brand, if someone on their social team isn’t actively monitoring UGC (user-generated content), then the chances that they’ll see your content is small. For that reason, it’s much better to send an email.
Send an email to the brand to see if there is an opportunity to work together. More than likely, the brand will appreciate your enthusiasm, as well as the fact that you took the time to reach out. Be mindful that not all brands have large social media budgets (even large brands may not have large social budgets!) and thus may not be able to offer the compensation you’re looking for. If you’re truly interested in working with them though, don’t let that discourage you.
With that said, do not undersell yourself either. Blogging is an effortful job. Writing content, editing videos, and styling and editing photo shoots takes a lot of time and energy, so don’t undervalue yourself. Imagine the cost of outsourcing each job and the value that you bring to the table by being able to do all of them at once.In addition to that, you provide a brand with an audience they may never have been able to reach otherwise. Essentially, bloggers are advertising + content production in one package. Realize how much you have to offer.

7) Join a blogger or influencer network

Join influencer networks. They’re free to join and will connect you with the right brands. Here are a few I recommend:

Colelctively – Connecting high quality influencers and brands

Full Bottle – Paid campaigns with high paying brands

Octoly – Gifting campaigns with amazing high-end beauty brands

Fohr Card – Paid and gifting and an overall great resource for bloggers

Obvious.ly – Paid and gifting

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