My favourite Christmas film is Jingle All The Way – a truly terrible 90s flick starring Arnold Swassenburger, or however you spell his name.
It’s about a father who lets down his son , a comic book character called TurboMan and a reindeer with a chip on its shoulder. Like I said, really, really bad. Somehow, however, one of TurboMan’s kid-friendly catch phrases seems to have worked its way into my everyday vocabulary: “Always keep your promises if you want to keep your friends” Sure, it’s pretty slushy, but for the purposes of this post, it’s pretty important.
Being a blogger can be brilliant – there’s certainly a lot of perks if you put the work in. Hard work, in the blogging world, is usually rewarded with a loyal and engaged readership, meeting new friends and potential new opportunities, and the odd freebie or two. But as the world of PR and digital marketing in general wakes up to the authority and voice you have in these spaces online, there’s more and more ‘siris biznis’ (as Snoop Dogg would say) up for grabs. Companies and brands are looking to recruit bloggers for projects, campaigns and advertising. They want to harness your creativity and your reach – it’s part of the reason we started doing what we do.
For many bloggers, being approached by brands to work on paid projects can be totally new – and many brands can often assume bloggers are all experienced freelancers. So allow us to tell you the key to making all this work: keep your promises.
There’s an odd dialogue happening online at the moment as everyone works out how this whole thing is going to work – every other week we cringe as a PR company sends an email starting ‘dear blogger’ and they are hung out to dry on Twitter. We’ve always made a point to stay out of these discussions, hey, we’re not perfect ourselves – and instead implore bloggers to follow simple rules to make sure they get what they want from working with brands. This includes being honest – whether that’s about your readership levels or your ability to meet deadlines, your expectations – whether that’s monetary or something else, and your availability – for example, can you really write fourteen blog posts on dental floss? Even if the money’s right? Even if you’re going travelling round Europe for six weeks? Really?
The relationship works two ways too, and whilst we’ve always been anti-contract (we don’t believe in tying bloggers down into exclusivity as we don’t want to stifle their potential), we will always lay out our expectations and deadlines clearly and as early on in the relationship as possible. Brands expect these to be met, but aren’t inflexible – communication is key to any relationship, just ask your Grandparents. If you take product samples and don’t respond to e-mails, or continually miss deadlines without notice, further opportunities might not come along as often as you’d like.
It all comes back to this idea of keeping your promises and it’s fundamental in making this whole thing work. Being realistic, being communicative and being honest will all ensure that brands remember you, and use you again – just ask the bloggers we repeatedly return to for work. It’s fine to be new to this, it’s fine to not be sure exactly what you’re doing 100% of the time – we’re always an email away if you have any questions: email@example.com