BLOGGING ETIQUETTE ON COLLABORATING

December 30, 2015


Many of your who are interested in the blogging world will probably have a few questions into how we get 'free' things sent to us and what happens/ how it happens. There is more to it than companies sending you 'free' products and I thought it about time to show you things honestly, from an inside point of view. I've been quite lucky enough to work with brands and companies and have received products or services for review purposes (disclaimer - I have not been paid money to feature any products/ ad campaigns for any of the items featured on my blog as of yet, only gifted with the product or service for review purposes so I am not the person to give you all the angles of the process but there are some tips and tricks throughout the internet where you can find out more information about paid jobs, I shall link some of my favourites at the end of this post)

When I first started blogging, I didn;t really understand very much about collaboration or PR work or how it worked! I just plodded along writing my own content about my own things and never knowing there was another world out there when it came to blogging. I had always seen other bloggers such as Zoella and Tanya Burr with new fancy things all the time and always thought they could just afford all these new fancy makeup or skincare items or that they were just really lucky and also LOVED everything they bought. Oh how naive you were young Chloe. Turns out you can be given 'free' things to try out and share your opinion on - I was none the wiser.


The first ever taste I had of collaborations and PR work was through the website etail PR which is a system/ website dedicated to creative an 'effective online marketing campaign' which allows you as a blogger to find companies to work with who match the required 'analytics's' the company requires and to connect and work with them. Now in my early days of connecting with companies, this was a sort of middle man who did all the work for me. I simply found a company who I liked the look of and read what requirements they wanted from a blogger to work with. If I matched the requirements, I simply selected a button on the website and then Etail PR contact the brand to see if they like you as a blogger to work with. If the company agree, once you've been through an almost 'screening process' you are selected through a stage where you then are greeted by a page of items to choose from that the company are offering. Still with me?! If then once you've selected your items you are still selected by the company, they send you the product and any requirements they want for their post and you are expected to reply within 2 weeks with the completed post live on your blog. 


Now this is an okay way to connect with brands as a newer, fresh blogger but after a while it becomes a little well, stale. Although your followers may not be sky rocketing (which means companies you have yet to work will still not be available to work with) you will be more experienced in the whole process of collaborating so when less companies become available to you, it gets a little boring. More than likely once you've worked with one company, you generally don't hear from them again now matter how good the content. At least through this process this happens - there are a mountain of bloggers eager to work with them so they move onto the next ones and bam - one less company to work with. This is why I stepped away from this process and approached companies myself once I had a little experience behind me.


C O N T A C T I N G    C O M P A N I E S
My number one tip for contacting companies is to make yourself attractive but BE HONEST. There is no point in telling a company about things you can promise them or to say you're more 'attractive' in worth of stats than you are as they will research and then they will ignore you. I like to send an email if it's possible to a contact of the company (preferrably if they have a PR contact this is best!) and just explain what it is I am looking to do and what myself as a blogger and my blog can offer. Here's a little guide and template I've used in the past to contact a company who replied and worked with the blog. I like to think as the initial email similar to a job application, you're selling yourself to a company and they want to know why you should be chosen. 

1. Introduce yourself - companies what to know who they're working with and essentially why are contacting them. ''Hello there, My name is Chloe Mary Davis and I run www.lovefromlucky.com. I'm looking for brands to currently work with on my blog to help spread the word about their company and their ethos and stories.''

2. Share your stats and figures to date and show them work you've done/ name who you've previously worked with. ''www.lovefromlucky.com has been running for almost a year now and since the 24th of June 2014, I've have hit over 15,000 views. Averaging over 1,200 views a month and posting every Wednesday and Saturday, with over 2,000 followers on various platforms combined. I've worked with brands on previous posts such as Blue Vanilla who continuously send samples to be featured, small brand etsy stores, Orelia, Hairtrade, Chi Chi London and mostly recently am in the pipelines to work with another Etsy store and have recieved samples this week from Punky Pins.''


3. Tell them exactly what you're after and what you can give in return. ''In return for a sample (and if you have any discount codes you wish to provide for blog readers) I can provide a blog post including high quality photos of the samples, links to your sites and social media and if you wish to provide content you'd like on the post I can also do this.''


4. Don't be too forward but also show confidence - I like to send a little thank you message prior to a response from the company to end on a friendly note. This is so that they know that if they aren't looking to collaborate with me right now, then I'm fresh in their minds and they may reconsider in the future. ''If this is something you and your brand would be interested in, just reply to this email and we can work something out. If you want to check out www.lovefromlucky.com you can see previous posts around PR work and samples of what I can provide to your brand. If this is something you are not interested in, thankyou for reading this message and I wish you and your brand a brilliant and exciting future.

And there's not much more to it really. Keep your site fresh, exciting and professional looking and if the company is interested, they will be in touch. STAY PATIENT, some companies have contacted me more than a month after my previous contact. 


B E I N G   C O N T A C T E D    B Y    C O M P A N I E S

So you've worked with a few companies, you've tested the waters. An email pings up in your inbox and it's from a company who wants to work with you. They hopefully have followed a similar process to the template we just laid out above. Here's an example of a message I got from a company wanting to work with me. Again, I'm going to break it down similar to the email above so you can see what you're looking for when you are contacted.

Hi Chloe,
 Sorry for contacting you out of the blue like this – my name’s ---- and I work at --- a new app which has recently launched in Bristol. We’re looking to collaborate with some handpicked bloggers at the moment, giving you a chance to test us out for free. I found you on Twitter and wondered if you’d be interested? Briefly, ----- is like a ------. A few quick taps and -------. We’re currently a very young business, but we’re growing fast and would love it if you’d like to review the service and give us your totally honest feedback. If you’re interested then let me know and I’ll arrange a £25 voucher for you to try us with. PS –  Your post on 'A message to my younger self' was great - I've often found myself thinking 'I'd wish I'd known that!'

So you can see similarly the email follows the same kind of guidelines you can use to contact a company yourself. It's not rocket science and we're all humans and all in the same boats. Essentially the companies/ brands want you on board so also have to show you who they are, what they can offer and follow a guide line of etiquette. If a company hasn't outlined what they can offer you in return don't be afraid to ask! Whether it's for a paid job or being paid in the product to be reviewed, be upfront and make sure you know what's on the table before accepting any offers. You are more than likely to exchange more than one email before you and the company come to an agreement but it is essentially a business exchange and that's okay.



T H E    P O S T 

So once all the exchanges have been done, you've agreed upon a product or payment and you've received the item .. it's time to get down to business. If you've promised certain things in your proposal then make sure you deliver on these. I usually state to offer 300 words minimum and around 3 images and a link but you can offer whatever you wish. Capping the offer is less pressure for you as a blogger and then the company expects a certain amount from you. There is less of a chance of the company coming back to you after your post is live saying 'no, you said I'd get this or we expected this' and you're more likely to leave your relationship with the company in their good books. 

Make sure to have a disclaimer on your post clearly stating you have been given the product for review purposes. An example of a disclaimer is as follows - *DISCLAIMER - I am the author of all content and  any content published on www.lovefromlucky.com is my own unless stated. www.lovefromlucky.com does not reflect the views or opinions of any other person, company or website. Lovefromlucky.com is a mixture of products purchased by myself and samples I have been sent from PR companies. I am not obligated to review a product I am sent in a positive way and all views are 100% my own. Any PR samples I am sent will be listed with a *.  Products not listed in this way have been purchased with my own money. 

F O L L O W I N G    U P    W I T H    C O M P A N I E S
Once your completed post is live on the blog and your happy with how everything has turned out, make sure to reply to the company. Many companies rely on you to tell them once you've completed your end of the bargain so they can then use it for social media purposes and so on. If you're sharing the post on say twitter, add the company and tag them. This shares directly with the company that the post is live but also gives you a cheeky little credit if they then want to retweet your post. 

Following up is key to working with companies as the more interaction you give to them and the better the impression you leave them with, the more likely they are to come back and work with you again. Also though, I do follow up with companies who may have contacted me about colaborating but not finalised a deal. If i've not heard from them or an item hasn't arrived as agreed a simple message will suffice such as - Hello there again, This is just a disclaimer message from myself Chloe Mary Davis to state that no item's have arrived to myself from your company for review purposes. I have contacted you on occasions to try and find out what is happening and if your company still wishes to collaborate but with no reply. This is my final attempt to contact you about the collaboration and if I am yet to hear anymore, I assume either the item is lost/ or your company has withdrawn from the previous outreach about collaborating with www.lovefromlucky.com

These are not ALL the tips but just some tips I've picked up along the way and thought may come in handy for some of you who may be new/ newer to the blogging scene. What are your top tips for PR work and collaborating with companies?

*DISCLAIMER - I am the author of all content featured/ any content published on www.lovefromlucky.com. Content on this blog does not reflect the views or opinions of any other person, company or website. I am sent products or services from PR companies or brands to feature on the website in return for my review purposes. I am not obligated to review any product I am sent in a positive way and all views shared are 100% my own. PR samples will be disclosed and marked with * and any products not listed in this way have been purchased by myself or gifted to me from friends and family.

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1 comments

  1. Great post, super useful! I've been blogging for yeeeears and still not bothered to contact any brands - definitely something I need to think about doing!

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