Brand vs Blogger: How to create the perfect collaboration

Social media, digital communications, influencing – whatever you want to call it, this makes up my day job and I think it’s about time we have a chat about it.

I know lots of you are bloggers who read my blog and I know (because I was the same) that you would like all of the get rich quick tips and tricks that will make brands come bouncing through your inbox door with open arms and wads of cash.

But hold on a second because I want to give you a little peek into the other side of influence where I’ve been working for many months.

Working on the other side of the fence has given me the information about what brands often look for and why they use influencers in the first place. It’s not just a fun way of burning excess cash after all.

There is often a budget that needs spending wisely. The money spent needs to work for the business and campaign objectives and most importantly the results need to prove this otherwise you are just the person that gave the wrong blogger the cash.

So why should a brand pay a blogger good money to scribble down a review or chat about a product anyway?

Read on to see the questions I ask when considering a brand collaboration and how I make them really work for all parties now that I see the full picture:


Am I sympathetic to the brand’s ethos?

Big question I know.

But simply put – do I like what this company stands for? Would I buy their products with my own money? If I would then I move on to the next question. If not, I thank the brand for their interest and politely decline. An audience can smell your fakery a mile off and will be immediately turned off by it so there would be no point partnering with a brand under these circumstances anyway.

What are the brand objectives?

“Can I work with xyz brand on this campaign?”

Well, I don’t know unless I ask what the brand is trying to achieve through using influencer management. It is always the first question I ask a brand when I am approached to work together. If I don’t know what the desired end result is then I don’t know if I can work with them.

If I just say “yes” without knowing “why” then I may as well write a post about pigs on the moon or something equally as random for all the use it will be to the brand.

Can my blog, my voice and my influence genuinely support these brand objectives?

Once I have a feel for the brand objectives, I can work out whether I can support them. I remember when I first started out, I’d willingly take anything any brand would offer me and be grateful for the chance to partner up.

With a little hindsight, I now view my brand collaborations as a service and the brand is my customer. If I can work with the brand in an authentic way (ie I would buy the product / service with my own money) and I am enthusiastic about their objectives, then I will happily collaborate. But I will make sure that my audience and sphere of influence can genuinely support that brand to meet their objectives first.

How can I make my content stand out from the crowd?

Once I’ve made the decision to partner with a brand, I want to always go over and above the brief just a little. This is simply good customer service in my opinion and original content with an extra something will often seal a brand relationship for the future. If not, I at least can be sure I had some pride in my work.

Does this content work for MY audience?

This might be the most important part of all and I have spoken about the importance of authenticity on my blog before.

A good brand collaboration should leave both the brand and the reader with something extra that they didn’t have before they began. The content needs to be interesting / topical / useful to be worthwhile teaming up in the first place.

And that fusion of brilliant, creative content that ticks all of the campaign objectives of a worth-shouting-about brand, is for me where the magic of exciting and productive brand collaborations happens and one of my favourite parts of the job.






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