8 Mistakes You’re Making when Working with Brands

WOW. This week has been the craziest whirlwind. ICYMI, I hosted a *free* webinar the other night called #BrandOut – the 7 Keys to Stand Out to Brands as a Blogger. And it was fire. Over 400 peeps signed up, which blows my mind – it’s so so SO awesome that so many of y’all want to take your blogs to the next level of awesome and step up to the plate of collaborating with brands. *PROPS*

Today, I’m super stoked for a bunch of reasons.

1.) It’s FriYAY (TGIF!).

2.) This post is going to be droppin’ some truth bombs – so brace yo’self!

3.) I’m finally unveiling a secret I’ve had for MONTHS on months on months. You ready?

First, let’s chat the top 8 mistakes you’re making when working with brands. For any fellow bloggers in the house, listen up: If you want to be collaborating with brands you love AND get paid to do it (maybe even make it your fulltime job, like me!), this one’s fo’ you.

8 Mistakes you're making when working with Brands as a Blogger

  •  You don’t know how to effectively communicate your value in marketing speak.

Brands work with bloggers cos of this lil’ thing called influencer marketing.  Influencer marketing is not to be messed with, y’all. It’s currently the #1 most effective form of marketing, pointblankperiod. More effective than TV commercials or magazine ads or billboards – it’s the real deal. Working with influencers – bloggers who have gathered enough clout with their audience to actually inspire action in them – is more effective and cost effective than celebrity endorsements, even. So, seeing as how lucrative and booming the influencer marketing industry is right now…why the heck are you not landing the deals with brands that you really want?! Here’s why: Brands don’t see the value in working with you. This does NOT mean that you are not valuable, necessarily…it just means they can’t see it! Brands look at you + your blog as a potential avenue for advertising their product or service. They care about whether or not it makes sense for you + your lifestyle, and, more importantly, for your audience. They want your audience to become THEIR audience. And if they can’t see you as an asset to their marketing, they’re not going to want to work with you.

  • You’re not making strategic alignments with the RIGHT brands.

There are SO MANY brands out there, peeps. So how the heck is one to know who’s right for a partnership?! The answer is NOT “whoever pays me.” To be successful with brand collaborations as a blogger, you need to ensure you’re partnering with the *right* brands for your blog + your audience. There are a LOT of factors that come into play here, from the size of your blog to the pocket change of your readers. It’s important to strategically analyze the whole prospective partnership before signing on the dotted line.

  • You’re not focused on relationship building.

Y’all. The #1 most important thing in the world is relationships. I will swear by that until the day I croak. Whether it’s for your overall happiness levels or for your monthly paycheck, the quality and strength of the relationships in your life are key. If you view brand collaborations on your blog as a once-and-done thing, that’s a mistake. Every single partnership should be viewed as the start. You’ve gotta build and foster legit relationships with brands that are mutually beneficial, the same way you would if you were making a new friend or starting a new romantic relationship! It can be intimidating to work with a brand sometimes, especially if they feel “big,” but you have to remember this: Brands are run by people. Just like your blog is run by a person, there’s a human being being the email account and social media handles of any brand, no matter how big. Relationships matter.

  • You’re not being creative enough.

Holy moly, is this a mistake. Time to get really real for a hot sec. I talked about this quite a bit in #BrandOut, but y’all. You NEED to be actually creative if you want to score successful partnerships with brands! The keys to standing out: be creative, compelling, and clickable. The same way that you don’t want to READ post after post about the exact same thing as a reader…brands don’t want to PAY for the exact same thing over and over. If you want to get PAID by brands, you need to stand out. And the key to standing out? Being actually creative, unique, and valuable. Pay more attention to brainstorming content that is new and fresh and fun and valuable all the way around. Spend LESS time trying to do the same post that everyone else and their mother is doing. If you can seamlessly integrate a brand into something that’s just so creative and clickworthy to a reader for reasons BEYOND the partnership itself, that’s way more valuable (and impressive) than just writing “duh” posts that pretty much anyone can copy and paste accordingly. Brands notice (and lovelovelove) creativity.

  • You’re accepting product only as compensation.

Aiiiiiiight, y’all. Hear me out. I’ve written before about why you need to get paid to blog. Don’t get me wrong, there are exceptions to every rule. BUT. If you feel that product is appropriate compensation for your hard work, time, and influence, that comes down to your own prerogative and what you feel you’re worth. In my opinion, here’s why you should NOT just accept product as compensation, in a nutshell. 1.) Product does not pay bills. Can I pay my mortgage in shampoo and sweaters? Nope, tho Lord knows I wish I could. 2.) It hurts the entire blogging industry. I firmly believe that the only way to progress the industry forward is to do so TOGETHER. I’ve seen bloggers time and time again complain online about companies trying to shortchange them for their time and work. They do this because there are still bloggers out there who don’t value their own time and work. But if we ALL start valuing ourselves and insisting that we need to be compensated fairly for what we do for companies…there would be no one left to work for free, and companies would have to adapt or get out. 3.) You pay taxes on product. If you’re accepting product only as “compensation,” you’re losing time and resources in doing the work to put together a quality piece for a brand, AND you are LOSING MONEY, because you’re going to have to pay taxes on that product come tax time. So, you are PAYING to do work for a brand. Can we sit back and acknowledge how crazy that is for a hot sec???? 4.) It’s MARKETING. If you weren’t doing their marketing for them, they’d be paying an associate on their team to do their marketing for them. Would they dare ask someone on their own team to forego a paycheck and instead accept a free purse or a meal as their “pay”? Um, no. That would probably go against multiple labor laws.

  • You’re not negotiating your compensation.

I cannot even count how many times I have upped my pay (doubling it, even tripling it) simply by starting an actual conversation about compensation. If you don’t negotiate, you’re missing out. You are never getting paid MORE by not negotiating. A basic rule of negotiations: Never start with your best offer. Unless someone tells you straight up it’s their best offer…it’s probably not. At the same time, as annoying as it might feel to constantly deal with total lowball emails asking you to work for free, I’d encourage ya to muster up the grace to respond kindly and professionally, trying to work something out that’s mutually suitable. Ask for more. Prove your value. If someone wants to work with you badly enough (for the right reasons, meaning they’re being strategic and truly see alignment in having you promote them), they’ll try to make it work and adjust.

  • You’re not pitching them yourself.

If you are not pitching brands yourself, you are 100% missing out on opportunities and income. You’re waiting for things to come to YOU instead of getting out there and making it happen yourself. I’m a fulltime blogger now, and I absolutely am able to do that because I know how to get out there and pitch myself in the right way. Because yes, there IS a right and a wrong way to pitch. If you’re relying on blog networks alone for opportunities, here’s the thing: Eliminating the middleman and pitching yourself will double your income. I kid you not.

  • You’re not following up effectively.

WAY too often I have bloggers tell me that they followed up “once or twice,” but stopped there in fear of being “annoying.” Y’all. It’s about HOW you’re following up. I cannot even tell you how many awesome opportunities I made happen and how many cool deals I closed because I followed up MORE. One of my favorite collaborations to date was 11 months in the making. 11 MONTHS. And you stop after one or two emails? Unless you hear “no,” it’s not a no.

I’m SUPER passionate about all of the above. Why?

Because I’m so lucky to get to work on CUR full time. And I don’t think I’m anything special – I just figured some key things out and capitalize on them time and time again.

SO…drumroll please…

I created BossPitch.

BossPitch is a game changer. And I can say that because I’ve spent THOUSANDS of dollars on online courses and classes through the years in the hopes of bettering my own game and taking CUR to next levels and new heights. I know what works and what doesn’t work in courses, and I know what works and what doesn’t work in pitching brands and creating the ultimate brand partnerships

Enter BossPitch: Pitching & (Politely) Persisting the Ultimate Brand Partnerships.

BossPitch: Pitching & (Politely) Persisting the Ultimate Brand Partnerships

BossPitch is THE course for bloggers aspiring to fulltime blogger-dom. It teaches you how to maximize your opportunities with brands, start to finish, beginning to end, step by step. There is NO elevator to success – success is a stairs-only kinda game. But think of BossPitch as your map in a crowded maze. There’s no elevator in sight – only next steps. But until you know how to actually rock the maze, you can’t get out to the other side. Here, the other side is working with brands, getting paid your WORTH, and building repeat-worthy, invaluable relationships.

BossPitch is everything I WISH I had before I ever started collaborating with brands. It simplifies the process, reveals new strategies that WORK, and unveils the things that no blogger ever truly talks about openly online (like, screenshots for proof and exact email copy, people).

If you have an undeniable ambition to work with brands as a blogger, if you feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of taking it all into your own hands, and if you feel in your heart that YOU CAN DO IT if you only knew how or had a little help…BossPitch is for you. And if you want/need to know HOW to do and fix all of the above 8 mistakes…they’re all covered inside BossPitch.

You can click here to see what’s inside every single module of BossPitch, as well as what’s in the Bonus Modules.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

For everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) who gets BossPitch before Saturday night at 11:59 pm EST (no worries, there’s a handy dandy countdown on the sales page to let you know how much time you’ve got left!), you’ll be getting *all* of the FAST ACTION BONUSES listed, too.

AND AND AND…

The first 25 BossPitches (see what I did there? 😉 ) will be getting 1:1 time with me, where I’ll be helping you personally with either your pitch or follow-up to your favorite brand. Those spots are filling up fast though, and they’ll go away with the fast action bonuses, so if you’re serious about your blog and want to get paid to live what you love everyday, you’ve gotta take the jump and trust you’ll fly.

Oh also…the price of BossPitch is going up when the clock strikes 12.

Check it out, ask me ANY questions, and really think about what your life would look like if you were able to call your own shots, on your own terms. If you were able to turn your passion project into your full time job. If you were able to truly get paid what you were WORTH instead of whatever you could manage to scrape from someone. If you were able to stop giving excuses for why your blog isn’t where you want it to be, and instead, you MADE IT HAPPEN for yourself already.

That’s all I’m sayin’.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I have 30x’d my rate for working with brands since my first ever sponsored collaboration in 2014. I want the same for you.

It’s your blog, it’s your life, it’s your choice.

Do you wish you could work with brands more as a blogger?

Let’s get real in the comments below. What’s holding you back? What do you WISH your life + blog could look like with regards to brand collaborations? What questions do you have about BossPitch?

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