Tuesday, 19 March 2013

It's Business, Baby - Brands on Bloggers

It's Business, Baby!

Every week I get emails from aspiring start up business owners, wanting tips and tricks of the trade. If these girls and guys are brave enough to reach out and email, I figured there must be others out there pondering the same.

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8. For Bloggers, By Brands

Ah, the topic of PR gifting in the blogger world. For some, the holy grail; did you know that in some cases, bloggers have lied about the luxury pieces they've been gifted in order to up their blogging kudos?! For others, the whole business can leave a particularly bad taste.

When conducted correctly, it can be an incredibly rewarding partnership for all parties involved - brand receives much needed exposure and SEO friendly content, blogger receives fresh, new and challenging ways to update their corners of the internet. Win, win!

However, from a brands' point of view, there is a certain etiquette that we wish would be adhered to when entering into these collaborations and partnerships. Last time, I covered the brands' guide to etiquette, so today we're going to take a look at bloggers' etiquette from a brands point of view - fun, non?

I can tell you that, on average, I can receive 100 emails requesting blogger collaboration per week. Can you imagine the state of my inbox?! And I can also tell you that 99% have clearly never even stepped foot in my internet store. Requesting samples of my jewellery, clothing and even wigs (I guess I can see the connection!) in your email to me is quite frankly not even going to get a reply. Rattling off a bogstandard, unpersonalised email just isn't going to tell me that you're genuinely passionate about my products - realistically, it's going to tell me that you're blogging to make a quick buck.

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- Establish a connection with the company before writing your initial email. Interact on their Facebook, twitter and interest pages. The first thing I check for the with the validity of the person's claim to 'love my brand' is whether or not they're following and interacting elsewhere.

- Be personal. Even with larger organisations, a little bit of digging can find you the name of the person you need to contact. And if you can't, 'Dear Sir/Madam' is never going to go down well. I think something like 'Why hey there, lovely head candy maker!' would make me smile.

- Be honest about your stats and reach! The Blogcademy headmistresses suggest creating a 'one sheet' PDF document displaying all your credentials - I love this idea, it suggests you've dedicated time and effort to your cause - you can tie the design in with your blog branding too, fun! It'll give a really polished and professional look. I genuinely received an email from someone claiming to be a 'big deal' on instagram when upon further research only had 40 followers so honesty is the best policy as that just pissed me off for wasting my time.

- That being said, not every brand is totally hooked on numbers - we look out for great style, photography and professionalism too. If you're the next big thing in blogging, of course we want to establish a connection with you when you're young! Brands that state 'minimum 1000 follower count' etc are missing a trick really, because it needs to be a broader scope than that.

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- Outline what you propose to do with the sample. An outfit post? That's great, but tell us more - will it be cross posted to lookbook? Snapped on instagram? Putting together a moodboard of how you'd style it would really impress me too.

- Be courteous! I mean this should just be a nice way to live your life, but I've even received threatening emails in the past - I'm sure you can imagine how they were treated! And don't get into twitter spats or just generally be a bitch on the internet. It doesn't appear professional or attractive to a brand. Make your mothers' proud, ladies!

- Keep to your word. If you are requesting a piece for a particular event or time then ensure you can keep to that promise. If you can't, or the piece doesn't work as you had hoped it would for you, get in contact with the company straight away to offer an alternative suggestion. It's beyond irritating having to chase someone for the coverage they've promised - especially when someone has initiated the collaboration!

I think I've covered the main bases here, but if there's anything you'd like to add - as a blogger or a brand - I'd love for you to leave a comment below!

Images by Sharif Hamza for V Magazine

If you've got a burning question about Crown and Glory or business as a whole, either email sales@crownandgloryaccessories.co.uk or if you'd prefer to stay anonymous, you can ask us anything via Formspring

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  1. Love love LOVE this post Sophie! I definitely think you've made some really valid points. As a jewellery maker I find it a little disheartening (as you said) when people email asking for samples, claiming to love your creations but haven't learnt your name or followed your Facebook / Twitter.

    As my jewellery store is still relatively small and unknown I don't really focus too much on numbers but like to hear blogger's creative ideas. It's always good if they can come up with something a little out of the ordinary, or something additional to an outfit post. xo

    1. Glad I'm not the only one Megan! I hoped the post didn't come across as beating down on bloggers too much - I really appreciate that for most people, bloggng is a wonderful hobby that pays for itself, and that it is absolutely ok. I'm hoping it'll help some bloggers who are starting out!

    2. It didn't come across that way at all! I think you gave some really good advice! It's a two way street as you've pointed out in the last couple of posts. Brands have got to treat bloggers with respect and vice-versa! xo

  2. Great post!I am so annoyed by emails that say "To whom it may concern..." or anything like that.That one who said "is big on Instagram" and then only have 40 Followers is kind of stupid,nobody need´s that!I think if someone offers to colaborate with your/your blog/your company you should be happy and take a look at the shop etc.,to check out if it fits your content.

    Have a great day :)

    1. As much as I'd love to be able to read every single one and go through each blog with a fine toothed comb, I get so many emails requesting gifting that it would genuinely take hours and hours out of my day. And it's the same on the flipside - if a company contacts a blogger, they need to make sure they're being personal and tailored to that blog.

  3. Another great post miss! I have never heard of people lying about products before, that's just ridiculous and desperate! I've had a lot of emails from bloggers wanting to review my jewellery who have definately not bothered to even check what I make and like you said, have made out they're a big deal and turnened out to have a poorly made blog with minimal followers. Of course the followers are what's most important but if you don't love your blog enough to put some effort in I definately won't be sending you free stuff!!


    1. I think it does sting more when you're a small independent, Jess - especially as we are dealing with all aspects. Since this post I've received an email from someone claiming to be 'pretty famous on twitter' - hmmm!

  4. Great post - and a worthy topic. It is a two way street when it comes to collaborations of the blogger-pr/brand variety. I am happy to deal with friendly brands who show a real interest in my site and content, and I return the favour by only politely contacting brands that I think are suitable for my blog and readers. And I TOTALLY agree, being nice goes an awful long way... xx

    1. Absolutely, and as I addressed previously, I think brands are missing a trick when they consider the street to be one way - theirs.

  5. Love this post! I would never understand why a blogger would be so rude to a brand, brands are the nice guys giving us stuff at the end of the day. In all of my collaborations I have always done my best to promote the brand via twitter, lookbook, outfit posts and even just talking to friends. If both sides play by the rules and are genuinely nice to eachother, it really is a win win situation. You should always network with brands, not just for collaborations, but to gain useful contacts for internships and possible jobs. What have you got to lose?
    Nice to hear a brands' point of view on this subject :)

    1. The networking bit is so important, Allie - especially with the twitter spats and internet bitching, I think people forget how this could look to a potential employer! Thanks for the love x

  6. Thank you Sophie! I love this post it really helped me understand how to present myself correctly to possible PR companies and brands. I had no idea since I'm a new blogger! I have no idea why anyone would be rude though, it's just so unnecessary in any situation let alone something like this.

    Amy x cocktailsinteacups.com

    1. You're more than welcome - you're exactly the type of blogger I was hoping this post would help. Of course it's really difficult to establish a tone etc over email but hopefully following these steps you'll find you won't tread on any toes! x

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  8. Really great post! Never occurred to me to elaborate on what I'd do with an outfit post, but of course it makes sense a brand would like to have all the social media platforms laid out too. Lovely to see a brand so open with bloggers too!
    I only recently discovered your beautiful flower crowns, and they are stunning! I blogged them here
    Julia x


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