As I have been doing more brand deals lately on my other blog The Happy Arkansan I have come across many things that I didn't know about before I actually started doing more brand deals with companies. Today I am going to share those things with you. I am sure that I will update this post with more things as I get further into all of this, but today I wanted to start off with three things that I never heard anyone talking about when I was gearing up to do more brand deals. These things are SO important in my mind, and I wanted to share them with you today.
Everyone always tells you that you should never, ever pay for things out of your own pocket to work with a brand, but sometimes you have to. Now, this is usually temporary, but if you don't have any money to fund these posts, it can sometimes be hard to break into sponsored content.
So, what do I mean by reimbursement?
Some companies want you to actually go in-store to shop for the products. They give you a budget for this, but this is usually not given to you until a few days into the program, or even after you have finished the program altogether. Since you are not just sent the product, depending on what you are working with, this can be a huge deal.
I like Social Fabric because even though they request that you go in store to get stuff, they have a NET5 (or within five days) return on your pre-post money. Alas, depending on the turnaround time (which I am going to discuss in just a second) that may not be soon enough for you. Instead, you may have to shift some money around to be able to afford to get product for your post before it goes live.
Related Reading: 15+ Tips For Crushing Your First Social Fabric Post
My best advice for being able to handle all the fees is to set aside some money for product purchases when you get money for any sponsored posts. Having a small bit of a money set aside for those purchases can really make a difference so that you won't be forced to turn down a role simply because it requires a reimbursed product purchase.
Reimbursements don't get bigger just because you need more room in your budget. For this reason you need to:
- Think about what you already have at the house when pitching. You don't want your post to require a ton of purchases outside the products, unless you have room in your budget for that.
- Keep track of your spending. Especially if you have to shop for the products you need at multiple stores across several different days.
- Know when it's time to contact your campaign manager to pitch something different. You may have something in mind for a partnership, but when you go to price it, you are way over budget. Contact your campaign manager letting them know about the modifications you may have to make to the post. Hopefully you priced your idea before you pitched, but if something got drastically more expensive, let your campaign manager know about the changes.
2. Turnaround Times
The next thing that no one ever talks about is the turnaround times that some brands expect.
While you are working for yourself, technically, when you work for a brand, they become your temporary boss. They are in charge of what they need, when they need it, and you just have to roll with the punches sometimes.
Most brands are pretty understanding and they have a normal timeline that gives you time to shop, shoot your photos, edit them, and write all your content. On the other hand, some brands have pretty strange expectations of what you can complete and when you can complete them by.
The most important thing you need to do when you set up a sponsored posts via email or through a network is:
- Write down the post date, whether the brand needs to see a draft (and when that is due by), and your contacts information. I write all of this down in a spreadsheet along with things like compensation, which brand I am working with, and the network it is through if I am working with one.
- Figure out exactly what you need to do to make the post a successful one. What did you pitch? What do you need to purchase at the store? Is your photographer available, or will you be taking the photos yourself?
- Start as soon as possible. It's so easy to procrastinate, but things can change at a moment's notice. One day your post draft may be due in two weeks, but then the campaign changes course and your brands need them earlier. You want to be prepared for everything!
3. How Specific You Need To Be
The last thing that no one ever talks about is just how specific you have to be sometimes, especially when you work with bigger brands.
The list of talking points can sometimes feel a mile long on a campaign. Brands want to cover their behinds and they don't want you to make untrue claims just to sell a product.
The list isn't as long for fashion brands, but when you get into things like food, makeup/skincare, medicine, etc. the list gets longer and longer. I can understand why those things are in place, but I also know they are a bit restrictive at times for creators. I don't get too frustrated, though, because I know those requests are there to protect both the brand and me.
You have to be very careful when it comes to creating content for brands. You want to make sure that you read their documents in their entirety. if you don't, that could seriously impact your income and waste your time. Try to do your blog's right the first time so that you don't have to worry about changing things later. Best case scenario if you mess up something in the post, they will ask you to fix it. Worst case scenario? They reject your work altogether and your payment is jeopardized.
When it comes to your campaign specifics you need to:
- Read through your instructions carefully. Your campaign probably has a laundry list of instructions, but they are there for a reason. Read through those before you ever write your post, and take your time. You don't want to miss anything!
- Do a long read-through of your article or social media update before you press publish. Before you ever hit publish on a blog post, social media update, or anything, read through your post. Make sure that you are following the instructions as closely as you can.
- Check your email throughout the next few days for any changes that need to be made. We all mess up sometimes, make sure you are tuned into your email the day(s) after your post goes live to correct any mistakes your campaign manager might see in your blog post or social media updates. You want to be able to fix those as soon as possible.
Working with brands can be an excellent way to make money as a blogger, but there are certain things you have to keep in mind that aren't talked about all that often. I hope that this post as shed some light on working with brands and helped you prepare for some of the things that you may have to go through as you take on more sponsored posts.