There are a lot of questions about how connecting with brands, and moving forward with collaborations work. So, let’s talk about that some today, specifically about sponsored posts (aka #sponsored #ad).
In general, just because someone is posting about a brand doesn’t mean they are being paid to do so. There are plenty of times that I, in addition to other bloggers/influencers I know, have shared something on our feed simply because we love it. This definitely happens more so when you first create your IG account or blog. So these may be products that you’re sharing because you are trying to grow your brand initially–you need content to post, right?! Also, while you may not have a large enough following to have paid collaborations, brands may also be interested in sending you product in exchange for a post (assuming you end up liking the product). In addition to giving you content to share on your page, it allows you to start connecting with brands, so it’s a win-win! Plus, the product is free as opposed to paying for it and sharing it on your own, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like free stuff?! Just saying.
After you’ve been able to develop your brand and have more of a substantial following, you will have more opportunities to do paid collaborations with brands. A disclaimer: not all brands pay for posts. There are plenty of brands, no matter how successful, that do not pay for influencers and bloggers to share their product (you’d be surprised). So just keep that in mind…just because someone is posting a product doesn’t mean they are being paid.
But let’s actually talk about what a #sponsored post or #ad means. In short, a brand has paid an influencer or blogger to share their product. That’s it! Although sometimes a brand will require you to put something like, “Post sponsored by…” if they are solely giving you product (but not actually paying you). But if you see the hashtag #ad or #sponsored that means it is a paid collaboration. I should also say, that not all brands require that you put #ad or #sponsored for a paid post. A brand will let you know if you need to include it based off their criteria. Kind of confusing, I know. Although recently the FTC has been “cracking down” on making sure you clarify if it’s paid. Influencing is still a relatively new way of earing an living so there are still a lot of grey areas (at least this is my understanding)!
Now for whatever reason, I feel like sponsored posts can get a bad rep. I say this because typically sponsored posts have lower engagement (likes) than other posts. And I’ve heard some people refer to #ad posts negatively. Which, I can totally understand if you feel like someone you looked up to and followed is all the sudden promoting a bunch of BS for a paycheck lol. But what needs to be understood is that this is how influencers are able to make a living and blog full time…aka share the content we all love on a regular basis! If sponsored collaborations didn’t exist, then you wouldn’t be able to get nearly as much content from your favorite bloggers. Also, hopefully the people you follow are only sharing products that they genuinely love! So, yes, while a brand is paying you to promote their product, you are also sharing it because you love it and think your readers will too.
So on that note, how do sponsored posts come to fruition? Well, it can happen a few ways. Sometimes a brand will go ahead and send you their product(s) for you to try out and see if you like it. This happens fairly often, and if it’s something I like I’ll go ahead and share it on IG stories or something along those lines, although I am under no obligation to. If I then want to move forward with the brand, we may discuss in further detail about a sponsored post. Other times, a brand may just email you and say right away they are interested in a sponsored collaboration. In this case, I’ll look up the brand and do my research on them, and if it’s a brand I can see myself working with, I’ll have them go ahead and send me the product. Then, as long as I like the product upon receiving it then we will move forward!
Someone once asked me, “Selfishly, how can we get more content from you??” Well, the honest answer is to just be supportive and engaging with my, and any of your favorite influencers content! I mean, that is just the reality of it. The less sponsored posts someone has (or the less they are being paid for that post), the more time they need to put into another job so they can make a living! And because of that, there is less time to curate content for their IG and/or blog. So, next time you see the hashtag #ad or #sponsored, hopefully there is a better understanding of the collaboration behind it. I mean, if I started promoting those waist corsets (WTF are they even called anyway?!) or something like that, then you guys know it wouldn’t be authentic…you know from following me that isn’t something I would ever use! Whenever I accept sponsored opportunities though, I do try to keep an open mind. If it’s a product I’ve used before and know I like then it’s a no brainer. But sometimes it may be something I’m not as familiar with and need to look into more. Either way, I always think, is this something I would genuinely use and like? And do I think my readers would benefit or like to hear about this product?
Alright, last but not least! I’m going to go ahead and cover your questions about this topic that you guys left over IG. I think I covered most of what you guys asked, but for those things that I missed…
Q: How did you develop your brand and start getting approached for sponsored ad opportunities? Did it feel like it just happened overnight or did it feel like it slowly started to pay off after lots of hard work? I touch on this some in several of my other blogging posts, but overall its been lots of hard work! When I first started my IG and blog it was just for fun, so I never had the intention of trying to turn it into a career. So with that said, the opportunities that started to come along were more so just in exchange for product to share on my feed–I didn’t even consider being paid for a collaboration. However, I will say that once I started looking at my IG and blog from a business perspective, it’s been a lot of hard work. There’s really a lot of things you have to take into account and put time into if you want it to be your career. So bottom line, if you love it, don’t give up! Just know that it will take lots of time and hard work before it starts to pay off (in a monetary sense) 🙂
Q: Do you work with a brand manager? Yes, I do! But I haven’t always. I was approached by my management agency earlier this year (March, I think?) and have been working with them since. I know some bloggers who work with an agency and others that don’t. You don’t need to be with an agency to be successful! Although, it has helped me manage my workload tremendously regarding emails and going over collaboration details with brands. Especially working simultaneously as a RN, it has made my job blogging much more manageable since it frees up some of my time.
Q: How many followers did you have when you did your first sponsored ad? So my first sponsored post, I think I had around 60K? Like I said though, I wasn’t even using my blog or IG at that point from a career perspective so I wasn’t exactly looking for sponsored ads or creating my IG to be that kind of space. That being said, if you are curating your blog or IG with that intention, you could start charging probably around 15-20k? I don’t know specifics, I just know you don’t need to have as many as 60K to start charging!
Q: When you first started doing sponsored ads, did you reach out to the company or did they reach out to you? In the beginning, they would reach out to me. Because like I said, sponsored ads weren’t even on my radar–my IG and blog were just for fun. But now that I have a different intention with my page there are times that I or my management will reach out to brands that I am interested in working with. So, it’s a little of both! Don’t be scared to reach out! The worst a brand can say is no, and then you’re in the same place that you started. And yes, that has happened! You can’t take it personally and have to move on 🙂
Q: What factors determine how much someone is paid? Do you get paid more if you have more likes? More comments? So there are the obvious factors like number of followers, your engagement regarding likes (and comments too). There are also other factors brands consider like the quality of your page, and the demographic of your followers. For example, if a clothing line wants to specifically target women between ages of 18-40 and you have a 70% women demographic following you that will work highly in your favor. Because even if you have 500K followers and high engagement, if over half the people following you are men, then it doesn’t benefit that brand to work with you–you don’t reach their target audience.
Q: What if you don’t like a product you’re asked to promote? Easy! You don’t promote it 🙂 Like I said earlier in the post, don’t ever promote something you don’t genuinely like or believe in. People are perceptive and can see through your bullshit lol. No amount of money is worth ruining the trust between you and your readers.
Q: What’s the best way to say “Hey, love your products. Give me money too!” (LOL I love this question–so true!!) Haha, so we’ve all thought this before, right?! So in my opinion, the best way is to email the brand about a potential collaboration, and tell them about one of their specific products you’ve tried and how much you love it. For example, if you have a favorite workout apparel line and own several of their pieces, when you email them you may reference a specific pair of leggings that you own. You can say that if they work with bloggers or influencers in any capacity that you’d love to know of any opportunity to work with them.
Hope this helps clear up some common questions or thoughts about the deal with sponsored posts! 🙂 Any more questions on them? Leave them in the comments and I’m happy to answer xx
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