Recently one of my readers asked if I would talk about collaborations, working with companies, and how that all comes about. I’ve done quite a few collabs at this point so I feel like I can share my experience and my personal tips. Please take note I am in no way a consultant on the topic and still have a lot of growing to do and things to learn, myself. Below are some of my recommendations for bloggers, YouTubbers or Instagrammers hoping to work with companies, so they can share new products and services with their followers (including promo codes, giveaways, etc.).
Let me start by saying if you’re in it for the free stuff, or better yet, money, you may want to reassess your plan. Yes, some bloggers make a lot of money and are able to work full-time doing what they love but keep in mind, that’s not the case for everyone, or even most. Regardless, I would say every blogger/You Tubber/Instagrammer does it because they are passionate about their content and would most likely continue doing it even if there wasn’t a payout or free swag.

Be patient. Everyone’s path is different and it all depends on how much time, energy, and money you have to put into your blog/YouTube channel/Instagram. I started my blog without a goal of making it into any kind of revenue source. I did it because I thought it was fun and I wanted to share my favorite beauty products with my friends and family. For the first year and a half, I didn’t have blogging goals or an idea of where I wanted it to go. But I was consistent, blogging five times a week the entire time. After I moved to California I had to think really hard about why I was blogging and what I really wanted to share. I also asked myself, “What makes Pardon Muah meaningful?” After I created a platform (confidence, style, beauty) it became much more clear where I was heading and it became much easier to write content. I also decided to blog three times a week instead of five so I wasn’t just posting to post, it actually had direction and purpose. I say all of this because that was almost two years with very few collaborations and no sponsorships (meaning paid). Now, I know bloggers out there have stopped working their “normal” jobs after a year or two, to blog full-time, but they had they had three crucial pieces to the puzzle…direction, money and time. It doesn’t mean you won’t be successful if you don’t have those three, it just means you have to be patient. 

Post what you love, consistently. The blogger market is so saturated now it can be really hard to be creative. It’s natural to start taking photos and writing content similar to other bloggers you follow every day without even realizing what you are doing. But being different is what separates you from the pack! My Instagram, for example, isn’t all that different from some others out there, as I share clothing, accessories, and makeup on trend, but I speak with my own voice and I stay consistent in my message of inner AND outer beauty. Companies want to see and hear your personality and they want to see you are consistent. If you post once a week on Instagram or your blog, you won’t stay nearly as engaged in your audience as if you post three times a day on Instagram (what I’ve found works best) and three-five times a week on your blog/YouTube channel. Engagement is key! 

Increase your traffic. In order for companies to work with you whether it’s via free product or payment, they want to know you have a loyal following that interacts with you and you interact with them. It makes sense right?! They want your help sharing their product because they want to increase their own revenue, following, and buzz. There are many ways to increase traffic to your blog and social media sites, which could really be a post of its own so I will say this: be authentic, consistent, responsive, and creative and a following will come. You can also team up with other bloggers and post a Follow Friday, or a giveaway, or a collaboration between blogs so that all of their followers see you and yours see them. It’s very mutually beneficial. Also, if you’re posting great content and photos of products or services and the company you’re highlighting reposts, that can really drive new traffic.

Organic vs. requested collabs. So there are two ways you can go about collaborating. One, you can wait for organic outreach from companies that find you. Or you can reach out to companies via email stating you are interested in working with them and why they should choose to work with you. Both ways work, and I’m sure many bloggers use both approaches as they grow. To date, I’ve only done organic collaborations and that was my choice so I can measure my growth organically without my own interference. My only caution would be if you choose to reach out to companies yourself, make sure you’ve don’t your research and that you present them with valuable information and statistics so they see why working with you would be beneficial.

Be authentic. No matter how much free stuff or money you are offered, always be authentic. If you blog about beauty and someone offers to give you $1,000 to advertise baby bibs…your followers will probably know what’s up. And by probably I mean they will haha. Trust me, it can be tempting but it’s not worth risking your brand or your reputation if you share something with your followers that is bad quality or that you don’t believe in.

Always be polite. No matter what, respond with a kind answer even if the product or service is something you aren’t interested in. Well, first off, respond. It could be really easy to let emails go unanswered when you don’t want to collab, but if they took the time to write you an email of interest then you should do the same and respond. Even if it’s just to say, “Thank you so much for your email. Unfortunately, I don’t feel your product aligns well with my content, but I truly appreciate your interest in collaborating.” If for some reason they say something back that isn’t kind or is pushy that’s when you can stop the email chain. FYI I’ve never had that happen. Most people are super polite even if you don’t agree to work with them. 

Write a thank you. I love snail mail so I make sure to send a handwritten thank you note any time I collaborate. It’s an extra step but it goes a really long way. It shows you took the time to write a thought out, appreciative letter and that means a lot when someone is sending you money and/or merch and believes in your brand (meaning you)

I hope this was helpful for some of you! If you have any other questions or tips of your own, please let me know! I’ve been posting a lot of new spring oriented items on social media lately so I’ve included some of my favorites below. I shared the floral scalloped bell sleeve top, lace-up blush bell sleeve dress, and burgundy rose body-con tank dress on Instagram this weekend! 

Shop Some of My Spring Favorites

XO Amanda