As your blog grows, people will start taking notice of your authentic brand and thought leadership. Companies and other brands, too, may and will express interest in collaborating with your brand if you share similar audience demographics.
In fact, there are businesses and brands that hire special people just to find micro influencers within their niche to collaborate with. When your blog is in a specific niche, you can be sure that you’ll receive some attention, although it may take time to rise to the top.
Brands and larger businesses understand the power of micro-influencers, blogs, and entrepreneurs who create vlogs, tutorials, and videos around their products. This is exactly why companies want to work with bloggers. As a blogger, you’ll be able to leverage these connections in a positive way that benefits both the collaborating brand and your own. Money is not just the only benefit of collaborating, but certainly an attractive one. Other compensation could include highlights on their own website, free products, cross-promotions, guest blog positions, etc.
How much you’ll make in income with brand collaboration depends on how much traffic you have, your social media statistics, how long your blog has been around, your domain authority, and the size of the brand wishing to collaborate with you.
There’s a lot of work that goes into sponsorship deals and brand collaboration. To help other businesses and brands know whether you’re a good fit, just like a job, you need to start off with your blogging resume, aka media kit.
Let’s start off with your media kit, the first step in making brand collaboration possible.
Media kits are a lot like job and career resumes, only specific to your blog brand, your own personal brand, your statistics, and blog performance. Then again, you’re not looking for a job, so this is something where you’re citing your accomplishments and highlighting your areas of expertise.
On a resume, you list out degrees, awards, accomplishments, and the sort, so prospective employers know what you’ve done with your career, your accolades, and what you could potentially bring to their table. From a hiring perspective, it makes sense to do this so a future employer knows where your skills are and how they can be best used at their organization.
A blogger media kit, also known as a press kit or influencer media kit, is similar, but represents your digital real estate, or your blog, instead of you as a person. Really, a brand collaborator is assessing your blog and brand itself; not you as a person. You get to talk about where your blog first started, how it has grown, and the influence you’ve established in that niche.
You don’t need to list out all your skills like Word processing, Excel, Photoshop, and all of those things. Instead, you’re letting your blogging stats stand for themselves, as a means of providing a brand collaborator a form of social proof.
Suppose you’re completely new to blogging, and your blog is only about a month or so old. Your reach is not going to be very far or wide. It’s totally ok to not be as impressive when you’re first starting out. There’s always going to be someone more seasoned than you with higher/better stats. Rome was not created in a day.
Don’t wait for that moment when your monthly page views are over a hundred thousand. Even 5,000 in traffic starting out is excellent.
It’s never too early to start with a blogger media kit, no matter how big or small your blog is.
Even if you don’t think you’ll want to collaborate with other brands…someday the right offer might pop into your inbox.
Let’s discuss why installing a media kit on your blog from day one can help you gain more traffic and leverage your blogging prowess. Even if you’re new to blogging.
When you’re consistently blogging, it doesn’t take long to start accumulating unique visitors every day. It’ll happen faster than you think.
– Do you see spikes in your traffic when you blog?
– Are you blogging consistently?
– Are you using Pinterest like a badass? (If not, you’re missing out – check out my Pinterest tips on the blog)
– Is your email list growing or do you need better lead magnets and other deliverables?
If you’re doing all of the above and more, your blog traffic will start to grow. Yes, there will be peaks and valleys, and that’s normal. Not every day is going to be a ‘top day’.
Emails will start rolling in eventually asking for guest post positions, collaborations, partnerships, backlink swaps, and more. This is just part of the process of growing.
I had offers within a year of starting my blog. I turned them all down. But that was my choice, and you can choose to engage an offer or not. Creating a media kit and having a fantastic growing blog does not mean you absolutely have to go down this path of brand collaboration. It’s a choice.
All the while, that’s when a media kit comes into play. You can be ready to share your stats with anyone who wants to know. I know bloggers who have received brand collaboration requests when their blog barely had 100 views a day.
Don’t stall. It’s a rookie mistake. And don’t be shy about creating your media kit. Tiny follower counts and what seems like dead engagement and all. You can’t be a pro at every single social media type unless you have a big team. That’s the honest truth. My forte is Pinterest. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, etc. but I’m not a pro at them nor do I truly like those platforms. I probably feel the same way about social media as you do–sometimes overwhelmed.
Brands are more concerned about working with smaller blogs as they grow, and when the niche is in alignment. Who knows? Maybe they can’t afford influencer rates of the big blogs. Maybe they want fresh perspectives and new voices. The opportunities are endless.
You and brands both have something to gain. You probably have built a niche audience they want to tap into. A perspective they hadn’t contemplated before. And if you’re new, anything helps, but please be sure to be selective and make sure it’s a good fit for YOU. You’re still establishing your blog reputation, and want to have a positive one. Build your reputation, confidence, influence, thought leadership, and then you’ll see your overall reach expand.
When should you collaborate for free and when should you ask for some form of compensation?
Are you planning on asking for cash or an exchange on products?
It all depends on the situation and what you want out of the collaboration.
If you collaborate now, even with small to little experience, are you setting yourself for a liability in the long-term? Is it too soon? Or is the compensation something that should be time-limited for the collaboration?
Here are my thoughts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned blogger, or new. Only work with brands you already use, trust, and believe in. If a brand approaches you without a lot to offer in terms of compensation, think about if you’d be mentioning this company to your audience anyway. Will. they benefit from this company? Will their products be a good fit? If so, you might want to go ahead and work with them anyway.
However, you’ll want to be cautious in what you’re being asked to do. Some brands will try to get a lot out of you. Demanding posts every so often, a certain number of mentions on social media, etc.
I’ve been approached to write product reviews in the past. I’ve been told a brand’s affiliate program was exclusive (it wasn’t). I also had a brand reach out with a proposed schedule of ‘demands’ for posting, scheduling mentions, links, images acceptable, etc. all before even asking me if I was willing to commit (Hah! I’m not a blog mule.)
So bottom line, it all depends on the situation and the level of compensation being discussed.
So let’s start from the top.
Your media kit needs to have all the details outlined below. Pay attention to the design (no trouble here since you’re getting a snazzy one for free). Everyone loves a beautiful visual. After all, beauty and creativity is more important than stats. You either have that talent (or use someone who does) or you don’t. Stats can always be improved, and growth can be a mutual experience when you collaborate.
When you’ve finally hit ‘publish’ on your media kit, you have the option of putting it out on your website for brands to find (like I do) or you can start reaching out to brands for opportunities. (As an introvert, this is a no-go for me). There are also matchmaking companies for bloggers and brands, too. Compensation depends on what you’re requesting, your stats, and the level of the match.
Can you have more than one media kit? Absolutely. It helps to have a few niched out for purposes, just like you would for various types of jobs and tailoring the wording for those kinds of positions. Customize a few of them, but keep a general, detailed one available for viewing to cover your bases.
Fashion bloggers tend to work with a lot of styled images from the original photographer. This is more demonstrative of their work. Personal blogs and financial advice-types might use their own image so people can put a face to the name.
Let’s go over the components of a media kit so you can cover your bases:
You have endless space on your blog pages, but that’s not the case for your media kit. This is one of those situations where you must be succinct in your about section, or offer a mission statement or clear sentence of purpose for your blog. From the start, a CEO of a brand should know your name, what your mission is, and the purpose of your blog.
If you’re like me, you might talk about one thing in particular, but your shop offers solutions to get that all done. That’s perfectly acceptable. Mentioning both is totally fine.
As a blogger, you’re developing a niche. You might be writing to a specific audience demographic, like women still in college, or even men retiring. Or, new bloggers, whatever the age or gender. Whatever the case, your media kit needs to reflect who your niche audience is by providing some stats or insight. I tend to use keywords on my topi page so companies and brands know what my subjects are.
Alternatively, you can extract specific demographic data from your Google Analytics.
Monthly page views and who you reach matter to brands. You can include your monthly page views, unique visitor stats, your email list, and such. Highlight the types of posts that get the most traffic and hits to your blog. Define the source of where that traffic is coming from. Is it Pinterest? Your email list? Google search? Knowing the source of that traffic will help brands determine how to best work with you and the kinds of content assets to share for best effect.
If you’re active on social media, knowing the accounts you’re using to bolster your blog’s traffic can be useful to a brand.
Some brands only want to work with Instagram influencers. Some brands prefer the lengthy, wordy writers. Some brands prefer the in-depth reviewers. And others prefer the traffic beasts who dominate with quality visuals. It all depends on their own strategy, as well!
Don’t wait to accumulate (or buy them) followers before listing your stats of social media. Sometimes smaller accounts reflect authenticity. and lack of risk for fraud. You’ll be able to collaborate even with a smaller following for small compensation or free products.
Some companies will even judge you based on engagement rather than total followers. So even with small counts of followers, engagement with those few followers could matter.
What do you offer? Ads? Ad space? Blog posts? Reviews? Sponsored posts?
Make sure you mention what you offer, how much you charge, whether posting to social media is included or free, how many mentions, links, etc. How you price your offers depends on your authority and size of your overall presence.
Full disclosure, I have yet to be offered a collaboration I actually felt comfortable with. Don’t make a move until you do.
What’s the overall ROI for the company in working with you? Generally speaking, conversion is typically 2-3% for performing blogs. My own is around 10% and that is what makes my blog an attractive for many brands who contact me. My conversion rate is simply higher than average. Some say this is the result of working more on high-quality content rather than a lot of it.
Knowing the conversion rates helps your interested brands know what the potential ROI is. If your blog is getting 100k views a month to one blog post, and you convert 10% of the time on your side bar ads, that’s 10,000 hits to their site, with about 1,000 purchases. For a $20 item, that’s $20,000 for them. So be sure to price your offers accordingly, based more on your conversion record (use your Pinterest or Google Analytics for proof).
Make sure you have your media kit contact information on it. I keep mine simple with my website, and I have contact forms there in case a brand wants to connect (I’m not taking on any requests for collaborations right now – too much on my plate this year!)
Also, they can reach you on your social media accounts if you leave your social tags there. Links to your YouTube channel are also helpful if you offer videos so they can get an idea of your personality and how you talk.