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7 – How to work with brands successfully (what not to do)

Last month I saw a Facebook memory pop up from my very first Blogger outreach campaign way back in January 2014. With over 8 years of experience in working with bloggers and influencers, I thought I would share with you some of the mistakes that people make so you can avoid them in the future.

Keep the products in the box

This is an absolute pet hate of mine, how can you review something without opening it. You also can’t just rewrite the press release or consumer information available on retail sites. It is so obvious. If you wish to keep the toy for your child for a birthday or Christmas then there are ways to do that, say you have to send it back or even review it from an adult perspective (unless the brief specifies kids in the photos).

Ignore the brand chasing

We all know that things go wrong and deadlines can be missed for all sorts of reasons but keeping in touch and communicating when there is an issue makes a big difference. Ignoring messages because you haven’t done the work really doesn’t help. Just let them know an expected date that you can get it live and they will appreciate the honesty. Also if you don’t have a deadline ask, most of the time brands expect coverage within 2 weeks unless they have stated a date.

Put your name down but then don’t do the project

I have had this recently where someone commented and then decided they didn’t want to do the project but they didn’t remove their comment. They then refused to do the work, suffice to say they have been blacklisted so I won’t work with them again.

Ignore the brief (If it says a blog post is needed and you don’t have a blog you are not suitable!)

I have to say that this is a pet hate of mine. A rare comment from someone showing interest but stating they know they don’t have a blog is ok, sometimes I can swing it for the right person especially if they are passionate about the product but there are people who put their name on every thread no matter what the brief says. This actually leads on to my next item

Not understanding the brief

If you are ever in any doubt about something on a brief ask. I once worked with a large brand on some paid video campaigns. Knowing they would want approval and to make edits I spent 30 minutes on the phone with them to really capture what they wanted, I wrote down words I wasn’t allowed to use, I discussed key points they wanted me to make and I walked away knowing exactly what I was doing. I had one minor edit in some text. Others on the campaign had to refilm and have multiple edits. That 30 minutes saved me hours of work. This was for a ££££ project so I don’t expect you would put that much time and effort in but clarifying any points you don’t quite understand in an email doesn’t make you look stupid, in fact, the opposite is true and the client will appreciate your effort to get it right first time.

Over stretch yourself

If you are an Extra member and you take decent photos/have a decent following the chances are you will be pretty high up on my list when I am allocating projects. Try to choose projects you are really interested in as otherwise you could find yourself drowning in work and that isn’t good for you or the brand. Having too much work could mean you rush the project or miss deadlines. I was the worst for this but after lots of late nights, I soon learned to moderate myself and my workload.

Fail to share your links

Once you have posted your content please remember to share your links with the brand. For BlogOn work, this would be in the Forum thread but for other brands, you may want to email it to them. Remember that tagging them on Instagram isn’t enough as the person who needs your links probably isn’t the same one working on the Instagram account. I was always terrible at this and now I feel their pain every single time I have to chase people only to find their links are live (although that isn’t as bad as their links not being live).

Move house without telling people

The amount of times I allocate projects and then get told people have moved is crazy. It’s not a spur of the moment decision. Let people know in advance what date you are moving and what your new address will be. This makes sending parcels so much easier.

Approach brands in a half arsed way

You should honestly see some of the awful approaches my brands forward to me. Take your time to think about why you want to work with a brand, mention your ideal product or a previous campaign you admired. Let them know who you are and how you like to work with brands. Saying ‘ I have an Instagram and I would love to be sent your products’ is not the way to build relationships.

Bitch about them in a Facebook group

I have already mentioned communication as an important thing and this is where it is really important. You never know who will report back on what you are saying. I have phoned brands in the past to let them know about conversations I have seen and most of the time they have no idea that there is an issue. An email may have gone to spam, people may be off sick, a parcel may have gone missing in the post, communication of expectations may not have been clear, payment terms may not have been set, the person you are dealing with may be inexperienced or new. Give everyone a chance, communicate any issues in a professional manner and if in doubt pick up the phone, it is a brilliant way of building that personal connection and shows that you take things seriously.

So there you go some of my pet hates when influencers work with brands. I am sure there are many more that I can’t think of right now.

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