I am so happy that you all have loved my blogger chat series! Today’s edition is all about sponsorships. There’s an interesting stigma in the blogging world about brands paying us for work. In any other profession, if you supply a service, you expect to be paid. But, for some reason people don’t feel we deserve the same. Grab some coffee, and kick back, while I dive into this topic!
HOW SPONSORSHIPS ARE ACHIEVED
First, let’s start with how we even get sponsorships. There are several ways for influencers to link up with brands. Some do it through networks, while others pitch brands themselves. It’s also not unheard us for brands to approach us, in fact that’s happened to me more often than not. Like any other freelancer, there’s usually some negotiating back and forth regarding pay, and what’s expected of us for the project. Unless, you’re working with a network, then all that is already set in stone. But, I’ll get into alll the in’s and out’s of networks in a different post, so stay tuned!
One popular misconception (that I often see thrown at YouTubers), is that we’re all getting paid to lie. While some people might not have great work ethic, the majority of us do. Myself, and all the other honest hard working bloggers I know, pride ourselves on being transparent and open with our audience. If you’re contracted to do a sponsorship, but the product falls flat, causes a reaction, or just isn’t what it seems, there is always an opportunity to back out. In fact, I recently had to walk away from a sponsorship for that exact reason. While the money would have been nice, the product was a bust, and I could never be okay with suggesting it to my readers.
Working with a network is a little more tricky, because there’s the agreement from the start that you’re going to post on a certain date. But, before you even begin your work, you have the opportunity to accept or deny the campaign. Trust me, the brand would rather you not post, then bash them. For that reason, I only apply to work with brands/products that I love and have used before. Which is why you’ve seen me partner with Smartwater, Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Maybelline – all of those opportunities came from networks. I was familiar with the brands, and knew it wasn’t going to be a struggle to create fun content.
Instead of attacking bloggers, or calling them “sell outs” for getting paid. Try to understand that getting paid for the hours upon hours of work we do, is not a bad thing. It helps pay for our monthly expenses, so we can keep our blogs alive. We pay for our hosting, our domains, our backups, editing software, even third party apps like Tailwind, PicMonkey, and Boardbooster. It all comes at a price, and we’ve gotta pay for it somehow. Besides, can you imagine an online job listing that states:
Must create creative, engaging content. Manage social media accounts. Be proficient in WordPress, CSS Code, Photoshop, and FTP. Be active on social media accounts at least three times per day, posting at least twice, and engaging for at least 1 hour. Must proofread, edit, and publish all content on the required platforms, including (but not limited to) WordPress, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google +. Communicate with PR firms, negotiate contracts, and pitch brands on a daily basis. Must be able to work a DSLR, and be familiar with lighting setups. Must model products, and be willing to photograph yourself for use on social media platforms. Hours are M-SUN, 3-10 hours per day. Salary: $0
The answer is NO! You would never expect anyone to work that hard for zero pay. So, why must online influencers? For many of us, this is our job, our bread and butter. Without those partnerships, we can’t afford to live. Unlike normal 9-5s, blogging never ends. I’m on Insta at midnight, I’m writing posts until 11:30PM, I spend my weekends creating looks, and photographing products. I do all of this, while taking care of two little ones.
Recently, while watching a Jaclyn Hill favorites video, I heard her say something that related to this post. She said she was scared to mention a certain brand, because they had worked with a ton of influencers, and people were pissed. She went on to say, “I promise, I’m not sponsored.” While, sponsorships can feel like a commercial, once again I want to reiterate that we’re not all lying salesmen trying to make a quick dollar. Rather than putting down partnerships, we need to accept that they are a very big part of social media.
However, if Jaclyn were to one day partner with Micheline Tires, then I’d scratch my head. That has zero to do with her audience, or her focus. But, a beauty influencer partnering with beauty brands, of even health food brands (because beauty starts from within), is not out of the ordinary. In addition, like our lives evolve, so do our passions. I’d love to talk more about mommy hood. After all, I am a mother, and it’s a big part of my life. So, if one day Huggies (the brand I’ve trusted with two of my babies), wanted to pay me…sure, I’d do it! But, only if I expanded into mommy topics. Otherwise, it would stick out just a bit on my insta feed 😉
MAKE THAT MONEY $$
To all my blogging friends reading this, continue to press on and make that money! We deserve to get paid. We put in hours and hours of work, and often for pennies. We’re told by brands (sometimes huge brands), that there isn’t a budget. They expect us to work for “exposure,” but we all know that exposure won’t pay the bills. With that said, there is a fine line when it comes to trust. So, for that reason, I also urge you to use your judgement. Accept partnerships with brands you truly love. Don’t sell your audience on mediocre products, or items you’d never use in real life.
To all the non-bloggers reading this, give us influencers more credit. We worked hard on those sponsored posts. We put in the same effort, as we do when we work for free. Most of the time, those sponsored posts are about brands we would talk about anyway, so why not make a little money doing what you love. Support us, share our content, engage with it. The more we make, the more we can improve our sites, and even host a giveaway or two 😉
What do you think about sponsorships? I’d love to hear your thoughts!