I wish I’d had a post like this when I first started out blogging, because I’m not afraid to admit that I pretty much accepted anything and everything 4 years ago. I had nail decals, clothing I had to send back because LOL I didn’t think that one through and a liquorice all sorts dress that I accepted because I didn’t want to say thanks, but no thanks. I guess you could say it was a learning curve.
The early days of blogger collabs were more about obtaining that holy grail backlink rather than a little mention on Insta. So 4 years back in time I used to get sent a lot of stuff to review. I was in correspondence with my fair share of PRs, I played the field a little. I learnt when not to sell myself too short and when to run at the opportunity with open arms. Most importantly, I’ve learnt when to say no, and why I should be saying no.
My Blogger Collab Criteria
Is it on brand tho? Now I know where I am and who I want to be, I know whether something is on brand or not. So maybe I did before, but I was desperate back in the day to get sent something for free, because if that didn’t make you a proper, profesh blogger what did?
I’m not even talking about plugging e-cigarettes if you’re a fashion blogger, those are the obvious ones that you hopefully won’t touch with a barge pole. You need to be asking yourself the following 3 questions before even thinking of going any further;
Do I like the products & their brand?
Will I wear/use the products after the review? (WILL THEY BE ON DEPOP 1 WEEK LATER THO)
Is it something that I would buy?
This is the make or break for me, because if it’s not something I would normally buy then why the hell am I doing it. You need to be enthusiastic and excited about it, as this is what is going to show through in your content and photos. So here I am laughing to myself about that bright yellow tracksuit that your nan would have bought you in the 90s and turning up to what I thought was an evening of theatre, which involved 10 other people over the age of 70 and a meal that you’d expect at the school canteen. Then there’s nothing worse than that follow up email, ‘hey hun, when is your post going live?’ – it’s this email that still haunts me now. How am I gonna write about an event/product I don’t even like. You know the content won’t be good, but you feel too bad to say ‘sorry, I just don’t like it enough to blog about it’, so you push bad content out, move on and *hopefully* won’t make the same mistake twice.
We have all been there and it’s the worst. My love for writing has grown to an existential level over the last few years where I blog because I like it and not for those freebies we all become accustomed too. I will probably only say yes or even reply to 1 out of 5 things I get approached on now. Even if I was being offered dollar dollar bill for something I didn’t feel happy about, I’d still probably say no and that’s probably the most important thing.
I get asked by a lot of non bloggers how collabs work. When products are involved there is always your two classic ways, 1) You’re sent the item for free in return for a review (no payment is exchanged) 2) You receive an item for free and are expected to review/post on Insta in return for an agreed payment. You *may* even have to chase said invoice for 4 months, or more, so that’s nice.
I do not do any blogger collabs for free, in the sense that I will receive something for any work I do, my time is money. I will not plug products in return for nothing. I used to be bashing blog posts out left right and centre for that potential chance of ‘exposure’ and being shared across their social channels that only have 70 followers. Nah, you’re alright.
It’s hard when you’re a new blogger, everyone does it, and that’s okay. It’s about learning and finding what your worth within the blogging world is, and that always is worth something.
I do more ‘here’s something in return for a review’ than ‘here’s something free and £343647’. It has to be a mutually beneficial partnership in my eyes too, the terms have to be right for both of you. Don’t sell yourself short, and always ask for more if you see fit. I work very closely with a few brands that I absolutely LOVE, and It’s not like I’ll ever say no to a free packet of Chocolate Digestive Biscuits or a jar of Marmite for a blog post, because priorities. Gurl gotta eat something during those Netflix binges.
As soon as you’re being asked to write a blog post to be entered into a competition, have the potential to get social exposure and basically receive nothing, that is when you say no. Tbf most of these emails go straight to my junk now, but just a heads up that however small or big your blog is, know that your blog is always worth more than giving some PR a lil freebie.
How To Say No
If you’re a bad blogger like me and sometimes go days before you remember to reply to an email, you’ll probably not even end up replying. It is courtesy to reply, because these PRs may have potential opportunities for you in the future that could be more suited to you. Plus, it’s just rude.
Always email back if you can, or in my case also apologise that it’s taken you a month to reply. You’ll know what is right to reply, but you can never go wrong with ‘I’m really sorry, but I don’t have the time to take on any blogger collabs at the moment, thanks for the opportunity though hon’. Or something like, ‘Thanks so much for your email, the opportunity sounds great but it’s not something that currently fits into my blog content’. Keep it short, simple and to the point. It’s better to be honest than accepting and getting your knickers into a twist 2 weeks later about how you’re gonna plug waxing strips on your fashion blog. It’s not pretty.
So there we go, a tiny insight into blogger collabs, hopefully this also answers when to say yes. If it’s Kate Spade, Marmite and any kinda chocolate then yes. It’s always a yes from me. Stay true to yourself when you start dipping the toes into paid content, as it will always shine through in your content.
Jumper – Primark
Jeans – Hollister
Bag – Zara
Brogues – Dune London
Flowers – Lidl