A lot of us have been on both sides: the one sending the ‘we would love to work with you!’ email, and the one receiving it. Personally, I still work in blogger outreach and of course, in case you hadn’t guessed it, I am indeed a blogger (hi!). Having experienced what it’s like to work from both standpoints, I’ve come to understand what does and does not make for a happy working relationship between the two parties. Whether it’s working on communication or being punctual with responses, I’ve rounded up a few do’s and don’ts from both perspectives which should not only give you a glimpse of what it’s like to be the other person, but should also help you improve your current and future working relationships.
From the Blogger
- – Be thorough with your contracts and clear with the clauses. I’m always very careful when it comes to signing contracts, and I always take the time to read them through and clarify any points that stand out to me via email. There have been a few instances where clauses were included which could have come round to bite me in the ass if I didn’t flag them and get them changed, so it’s always best to be super upfront about every term of the agreement straight away.
- – If there’s no budget, be honest, and don’t try to offer ‘shop coins’ or ‘credit’ as payment. The big one – budget. If there’s no budget for a project, I’d rather the initial correspondence stated so. There’s nothing more frustrating than being sent a long, descriptive email with a campaign brief and requested deliverables, to only be told that sorry, there is no budget. If the brand or company can’t offer monetary compensation, that’s fine – that’s how it works sometimes – but please don’t try and offer credit, shop coins, exposure or the prospect of future payment as an equal alternative. No amount of sugar-coating will make a pair of jeans equivalent tot £££.
- – Don’t say you’re gifting something for “free” when you expect coverage in return – that’s not free. Gifting, by it’s nature, is giving without the expectation to receive back. Most of the time when I work with brands of a gifting basis, I’m sure to make them aware that since there is no budget, I can’t guarantee coverage. If you’re reaching out to a blogger or influencer and offering to send them something for “free”, just so long as they post x, y, and z on their channels, that’s not free. In fact, in most cases, the fee of the social posts would be greater than the gifted items. This one is all about terminology and use of language, but it’s important not to make people feel like you’re undervaluing them. Furthermore, don’t try and push the organic spiel of not paying because you’re only seeking “organic partnerships”; if you’re asking for coverage in return for a gifted item, that is in no way organic.
- – Don’t micromanage us. There’s nothing worse than a brand asking you to re-shoot one image three times over, and requesting you shoot against this specific background with this specific edit in this specific location. If you’re reaching out to a blogger or influencer to collaborate, appreciate and respect their personal style and creative direction. Don’t try and micromanage them into something their not, otherwise it becomes entirely transparent that you’re using them for their reach and their reach alone.
- – Do your research and don’t tell us we’re a great fit for a sequin mini dress company when we only ever post wearing black jeans. Seek out bloggers and influencers who are actually a good fit for the brand, not just those who have the highest following. Reaching out to a blogger who is known for having a minimal aesthetic and trying to engage them in a collaboration for unicorn adorned fluorescent jumpers is not going to work, and claiming that you think they are a “great fit” is going to come across as forced as it is.
- – Don’t be rude if there’s no budget. We know it’s frustrating, but it’s probably out of our hands, and we’re already fighting a losing battle by trying to achieve coverage for a client who doesn’t understand influencer marketing. If in the initial email we’ve been honest and upfront about not being able to pay fees, please don’t reply with a sarcastic comment or jibe about us being paid for our job. The truth is, we are trying to get paid, and all we ask for is a little understanding. Believe us, we get it, but ultimately the decisions come from above and we’re just trying to make the best of a bad situation.
- – Post on time and don’t be annoyed when we chase you. There’s nothing more frustrating as a blogger outreach exec than bloggers and influencers not posting on time, or simply not posting at all. A couple of times I’ve had to chase girls for weeks on end, trying to get some kind of response as to when they’ll be posting the Instagram shot they agreed – by contract – to upload. Bear in mind that you have to explain the dead silence to your client the whole time too. We don’t want to chase you – trust us, it’s precious time in our day that we won’t get back – but if we have to do it, at least be kind.
- – Don’t make us use “breach of contract”. Following on from that, please don’t make us pull out the “breach of contract” line. We don’t like doing it – especially if we know you in any shape or form – but if you sign a contract and agree to deliver a certain amount of content, then you have to do it. At least reply to us and give us a heads up of what’s going on.
- – Get in touch if you want to work together, but don’t be offended if it’s not the right fit or time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bloggers and influencers reaching out to brands and companies to see if they can work together. If anything, I encourage it – it often makes my life easier by not having to seek out new names and faces. If you are sending that first email out from the blogger side, a good thing to do is to include your media pack from the offset and explain what kind of collaboration you had in mind. With that being said, don’t be offended if it’s not the right time or you’re not quite the right fit. We often have strategies/schedules going on behind the scenes that you might not slot into.
- – If we’ve asked you to use hashtags/account tags, please take two minutes to double check they are right so we don’t have to chase you. Make a note of the hashtags and tags that a brand has asked you to use, and double check before you post that they are right. I understand that getting these wrong often comes down to human error and/or being extremely busy, but those two minutes of checking the campaign brief or the original email saves us emailing you to chase it up. It’s a nice slice of common courtesy.
- – Don’t delete your posts! That’s shit. Don’t delete your posts. We do check, and it’s awkward for both of us when you have to explain why it’s gone.