Working with other brands can be intimidating as a blogger, we all know the feeling too well! Lucky for us, Rachel Shingleton from Pencil Shavings Studio is helping us get past this difficult stage. Although you may not have partnered with a brand before or just might not have as much experience as you would like, these partnerships can differ every single time! One thing always remains, how you present yourself and your own brand as a helping hand. Read on below for Rachel’s seriously helpful advice on how you can successfully partner up with brands and keep them coming back to you!
“Working with other brands I love and admire has been a major highlight of my blogging career over the past eight years. It’s taken some time to figure out a few things and to build up my confidence to create my own best practices for how to negotiate them. To be honest, it felt like discovering a closely-guarded secret that nobody really wanted to talk about (along with a whole host of other issues, like specific numbers for compensation).
So it took a lot of false starts and stops to realize that I was approaching it the wrong way. In the end, I realized that the number one thing to understand about working with other brands is that it’s really all about them, and not about you. I know, I know – that feels counterintuitive. But you have to reassess your role in relation to the brand: you’re providing customer service in a way. It’s not really what you’re going to get out of it – it’s what specific value you are providing for them. But if you’re staying true to your own personal brand values and only aligning yourself with brands that share these values and aesthetic, then it’s going to be a win-win for both parties involved.
The best question you can ask when potentially pitching to a brand is, “What are your goals as a brand in the next quarter/year/etc?” That puts the ball in their court and keeps you from having to play guessing games. Communication is everything, so being polite, professional, and someone who’s desirable to work with is important. Listen to what they’re needing and determine how you can put your own creative spin on solving their problem.
Regardless of whether you’re being compensated in cash or in product, the brand is putting a lot of confidence in you to create something on-brand for them. Be confident in what you can deliver to them and get specific about what you’re going to provide for them without over-promising (and ultimately under-delivering). If you’re easy to work with and provide a gorgeous product in return, they’ll want to continue to work with you over and over again.
But what about if you’re pitching to brands but not getting a response? Or what if you’re receiving pitches that are less-than awesome (we all do!)? There’s a lot of pressure in the blogosphere to have sponsorship, a portfolio, or projects that you’ve done with other brands. Don’t dilute your brand with a bunch of sponsored posts by brands that don’t build your blog up. Brands would rather see no sponsored posts with loads of your own consistently creative original content than anything else. Remember that it’s way more important to say no than it is to say yes sometimes! Just because a brand wants to work with you doesn’t mean that you should do it. In order for a brand relationship to be a win-win for everyone, you’ve both got to gain from it.
Finally, keep up the good work and enjoy the ride!”
Rachel Shingleton // Pencil Shavings Studio