I was recently asked the question, “How do you decide what companies to collaborate with on your blog?” This question is so important because it is something that I wish I would have thought about in my earlier blogging days. After a few years of blogging you become more knowledgable about your blog and about what types of companies you should and should not be working with because it can be tricky to figure this out when you are just starting. Over the last two years, I have worked with some companies that did not have my blog’s best interest at the forefront of their goals or they expected something for nothing. At the end of the day this is a business, and no one really loves (it’s not really about you). It is about your reach. I am fine with that, but their are some guidelines that I had to develop for my blog, so I am sharing those with you today in effort to eliminate some of the frustration that I have had to experience. Here are five questions that you should ask yourself before you collaborating with a company.
1) Is the company reputable? Every company that you choose to work with should have a reputable website and a good reputation. If you do not verify these things you are risking the reputation of your own blog. In addition, the company should relate to your specific niche. You should not be reviewing items or collaborating with brands that have nothing to do with the topic of your blog or your audience.
2) How will collaborating with this brand benefit your blog? There are many good reasons to collaborate with a company, but you should have a clear indicator of how it will help to expand or grow your blog. This answer will be different for everybody because you have to think about the unique needs of your blog. You should be asking yourself: What does my blog need (i.e. exposure, sponsorship, contacts)? The most important thing is to stay true to your brand and your blog demographic. No one will view as an expert if you collaborate with companies that are not beneficial for your brand.
3) Is the collaboration worth your time? There is no greater investment than time. Time is one of the things that you can never get back, so you have to use it wisely. Long gone are the days when a company can send me one item and expect me to create an entire blog post about their business. Creating a high quality post and photographing takes a lot of time and effort. If I am passionate about an up and coming boutique then I may make an exception, but I will never be taken advantage of.
4) Is the company trying to advertise with no compensation? Like I’ve stated before, I don’t always request compensation from every company that I work with, but there are a few guidelines that must be followed. The issue comes when a public relations consultant or a brand wants a guaranteed social media mention, write-up, coverage, or video in exchange for sending me an item. When PR companies send items to magazines and other media outlets they do not expect guaranteed coverage, and this is the same system that you will eventually have to apply with your blogging (after you have some experience). Put simply, a company cannot make demands or set expectations if you are not being compensated. You both have to come to a mutual agreement and you should use contracts.
5) Is the brand oversaturated in the blogosphere? One thing that you will notice if you have been blogging for awhile is the saturation of certain brands among bloggers. This has become quite a pet peeve of mine, especially within the plus size blogging niche that I am apart of. You will never see this with higher-end companies because they understand that it lowers the value of their product, and you should feel the same way about your blog. Obviously most brands are not going to have an exclusive agreement with you, but when it appears that they are sending their items to every blogger on the face of the earth, I have to decline to work with that company. Having a unique brand is important to me, and I don’t want to be just another blogger that is reviewing an item that a company sent because it was free.
I hope this post helps you with developing a plan on how to decide what companies to collaborate with! Please tweet me or leave a comment below with any advice that you may have.