Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Collaborating with brands/PR companies as a blogger

A new job-site called City Calling ( jobs online with City Calling) got in touch and invited me to work with them for a post. The brief was quite open; so I decided to write about working with companies, and brands, as a blogger.

I feel incredibly lucky to say that I have worked with some fantastic brands. I worked with Newcastle Building Society to customize some clothing. Minted.com invited me to write a wishlist of products I liked, and then kindly sent some to review. And last month, I was sent some Dylon fabric dyes to create something with and then post about. As a relatively new blogger, I have already worked with a few brands and new opportunities are coming up all the time. I thought I could have a lot to say about the topic, and knew it could open up a discussion; especially since the #bloggerblackmail debate on Twitter last week.

Left to right- The skirt I made with fabric sent from Minted, the kimono I made using Dylon dyes, the recipe book which I picked out from Minted.com

Working with brands takes time

When I first started blogging, I made a serious faux pas. I contacted brands and applied for press samples, within barely two months of blogging. Hardly anyone  read my blog, besides family and friends, so I got nowhere and looked greedy or naive to said companies. Of course, you can ask about collaborations with brands, if you feel you'd be ideal for them to work with, but don't pester or do what I did, and ask when you have no followers and barely any readers. There is a reason why 'big bloggers' get to go to all the exciting events and get amazing press samples: more exposure for the brand or company they are working with. There'd be no point to a brand working with a blogger who only had 36 followers, because hardly anyone would read it and learn more about them. It takes time to build up a following, but once you do, you will find that you start to get contacted by brands, without having to go to them first. I have only recently (in the past couple of months), set up an Etsy shop selling artwork, but haven't yet sold anything, or got much exposure from it. That's the same with working with brands for your blog, (hopefully) I will get a sale on my shop soon, but I need to build up a following and make Etsy shoppers aware of my products first.

Blogging doesn't entitle you to 'free stuff'

I have noticed this before on some blogs; people who assume that blogging entitles them to free products from companies. Even if it is a brand who do lots of work with bloggers, they have a limit to how many samples they can send out, so they are allowed to turn you down if you ask to work with them. I often mention certain brands who I buy a lot from, such as H&M and Primark, but don't expect them to start giving me free clothes because I mention them on my blog a few times. This is also something I've seen before on blogs; people thinking that because they write about a certain product or brand a lot, that entitles them to blogger benefits. These bloggers don't HAVE to write about that same brand or product all the time, they choose to themselves, so can't expect to be given discounts, free samples or tickets to events in return. Brands have to make money too, so can't afford to give out hundreds of free goods to people who they may not even feel are suited to their brand image or campaign. At the end of the day, PR work, free samples and event invitations are a privilege, not a right.

Blogging is a form of journalism

Especially if you are a full-time blogger, you may have to review some products which you wouldn't buy yourself or may not particularly be for you. It is important to take a professional approach; you need to be able to adapt your viewpoint and consider the pros and cons of various products and how these might suit a different demographic. It is also important to adapt your blog somewhat, to meet changing consumer tastes and trends and to seem 'up to date' with what's going on around you. Brands prefer to work with someone who is open minded and adaptable, with a knowledge of current trends.

Blogging is fun!

Blogger benefits such as events, PR samples and awards are all great, but see them as a bonus; not an essential. If you want to start blogging, or already have a blog, just do it because you enjoy it and are passionate about it. Whether you love beauty, fashion, lifestyle, cooking or all four; blogging can be a great way to meet new people, improve your communication, photographic and media skills as well as looking good on a CV.

If anyone has an opinion on anything I discussed in this post, please share it in the comments! 
Please nominate me for 'best student blog' in the North East blogger awards- here

Until next time, 

Holly Olivia x


  1. Fantastic post my dear, that sounds really nice! The skirt you made is so cute :D love it <3 xoxo

    1. Thank you! I love the skirt too, the print is so beautiful.

      Holly Olivia x

  2. I agree, you have to enjoy BLOGGING, not getting "free stuff"!
    Way to go, girl! Thanks for sharing this great post ;)
    xox Nadia

    1. No problem, thank you for reading it!

      Holly Olivia x

  3. What a good read. :)



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