Wednesday, 29 July 2015

7 Basic Tips to working with Brands

I have been blogging now for around 5 years but didn’t really take it seriously until September 2014.

If you had told me then that I would be working with brands and reviewing products then I would think that you were absolutely crazy!
In this regard though I still see myself as a very young blogger but along the road I have picked up some basic tips to working with companies that I thought might help.

This year though I have started and continued to work alongside two brands, one of which is Collins the largest UK suppliers of educational resources; these tips below have helped me to continue working with them rather than just doing the odd “one off” review.
1. Identity

I wrote a post last month about your Unique Voice* and this stands clear when working with brands. It is fantastic if you have been approached by a company but does the company and their product suit you?
For Example: I was approached by a company to review an online dating app. Now, although I speak about my dating highs and lows on the blog, the app, however good, didn’t “fit” with my unique blogging voice so turned it down to review. We all love to get things to review but don’t jump at every opportunity if it doesn’t suit you!

2. Courtesy
I, on the whole, am a very polite person and will always be kind and friendly to anybody. This being said I still make the extra effort when in correspondence with companies; being polite and professional just shows your work ethic.

3. Communication
So you have contact with a brand, what are you going to do now?

It is always exciting to hear that someone is wanting to work with you that you can wait patiently for the product to turn up, review it and publish it but what exactly is the company looking for?
The brand will love their product and they want you to love it just as much. Engage, communicate and question the company to find out what they want and why they believe in their product.
Good communication will only make the product shine through your writing.

4. Presentation

This seems pretty obvious but it is really important. In my last #blogstorm post I looked at 8 basic tips for blogging* and presentation was the main theme throughout. Are your posts presented clearly, cleanly and easy to read?
Think of it this way: If you were working for a company and you came across your blog would you be impressed enough to contact?

5. Photos, Photos and more Photos
This is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt in working with brands.

They have sent you a product to promote; a product that they want others to be interested in.
We are a society that looks before we buy so using plenty of good clean photos will show the product at its best; writing 400 words describing how great the product is good but to show photos will only enhance the products many positive features!

6. Spelling and Grammar
This, again, probably sounds like a really basic tip but it is one that I stick closely too. A brand is looking for a professional review to promote a product that they are totally in love with so a review littered with errors and mistakes will not be encouraging them to contact you again.

(Don’t fret though! We all make mistakes and I have, once before, had the company contact me due to an error; we are human so mistakes happen but it is always best to check and check again)
7. Promote

So you have gone through, done all of the above and you’ve published your post; so what’s next?
However exciting it is to get products and work with companies you have to remember that the reason you received it is to promote and advertise. It is up to you on how you promote but I have a strict routine that I stick to:

I promote on all of my social media outlets. I share it twice on Facebook, 4 times on Twitter and twice on Instagram on the day of publication. I then stagger the review out on days following.
(On Twitter, for example, I share the post twice a day for a whole week after and then within a month choose the review to publish again)

Where ever you are sharing make sure that you feature and tag them in your post share. This shows that you care about their product and will, if lucky, get shared and retweeted, potentially, bringing more viewers to your blog.
There are obviously more tips that you can add but to start off I think these are really useful.

What tips do you have for working with companies and brands?


Adventures of a Novice Mum said...

Good tips. Good communication is so important when working with others; this feeds to expectations on both sides.

My take away point is have a social media sharing review / brand work posts strategy. #blogstorm

Angela Milnes said...

Good tips Martyn. It's always good to hear other thoughts and ideas on how to work with brands. It has taken time for me to find my feet with dealing with brands and I ad no idea at the start! Now Im more confident and the work is beginning to come!

angela from www.daysinbed

Claire Hall - Tin Box Traveller said...

Great tips Martyn. Being polite and professional is a good policy, even when you get bizarre emails from PR people. I was once contacted by a PR agency representing a dating website asking if I'd like to work with them. I've been married seven years and have two kids. They'd clearly found me using a media list. Rather than ignore the email or send a rude reply I responded with a bit of humour and asked them to get in touch if they had a client with anything suitable for a family travel blog instead. It never hurts to keep PR peeps on side. Disclaimer: I also work on PR :) #blogstorm

Random Musings said...

Fab tips! I agree communication is key for any working relationship. It's not much good if you write a dazzling review, share it like crazy and then find out the brand didn't want it posting until a set time. Thanks for hosting #blogstorm