One of the questions I get asked most often by newer bloggers is how to go about building relationships with brands, and ultimately make a living from your blog— because truth be told, you can't have one without the other. Blogging has become a delicate dance between creating the best possible content while partnering with brands that suit you, your blog and your audience, but building said relationships takes time and a lot of effort. So for today's post, I thought I would share a few tips that have worked for me over the years with the hope that it will help some of you who are just starting your blogging journey... just be patient and remember, you got this!
MAKE A BRAND WISHLISTBefore I started working with brands, I remember sitting down and making a list of all the different companies I wanted to collaborate with. I remember it being a short list because I was too scared to dream big at that time, but it helped having a few targets to shoot towards nonetheless. So make a list of all the brands you admire, big and small, and be sure to include upcoming brands on the list— they're likely to be open to trading services at the very least, and the experience will help you get used to collaborating with brands and building rapport with PRs.
Now that you have your wishlist nailed down, start reaching out with carefully thought-out pitches. You're going to want to tailor each pitch to the specific brand, offering a couple different collaboration ideas to show your diversity and eagerness to work together. Let the brand know a little about yourself and why they might enjoy working with you, expressing that you're open to any ideas or opportunities they may have. Keep things light, friendly and professional.
NURTURE EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS
When you start getting collaborations as a result of all your hard work (look at you go!), remember to periodically check in with your brand contacts to help maintain those relationships. Compliment them on a campaign that you noticed went really well, share some of their content on social, or just say hi— treating your PR contacts like friends will go a long way towards keeping you top-of-mind when opportunities arise, and it's just, well, the right thing to do. People prefer working with those they know, like and trust, so don't forget to play nice with all you encounter!
GO THE EXTRA MILE
There's a lot of competition out there in terms of brand work, so when you land a campaign, make sure you give it your all— create the best possible content you can, be on time with deliverables, and always maintain a positive attitude when conflicts or curveballs arise (because believe me, they will). You want to be remembered as a great person to work with, because as with any industry, PRs talk— give them something positive to talk about.
MEET IN PERSON WHERE POSSIBLE
One of the disadvantages of living in Edmonton is that the majority of my PR contacts live in Toronto and Montreal, so whenever I find myself out east I try and schedule a few face-to-face meetings with some of my favourite contacts. It's nice to put a face to the name/email, and it really solidifies the relationship. Similarly, visit store openings, launches and events that your PR contacts are hosting as often as you can— they'll appreciate the support and will be more likely to think of you when the right opportunities arise.
Image via Only Deco Love