A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to takeover the LOFT Instagram Stories for a day. If you have followed me for a while, or just poked around the blog you will notice that I #loveloft. It was such an honor that they reached out to me to be part of the 97 Days of Summer campaign. As a relatively newish blogger, being able to work with one of my favorite brands seemed like something that would only happen down the road. The fact that I was able to work with them on such a fun campaign this young in my blogging journey just confirms a few things for me. So I wanted to share my thoughts on how to work with brands you love.
As I said, I am a relatively new blogger meaning I am not an industry OG, and this is not my full-time career, but I have been blogging consistently for over a year. I’ve picked up on a few things along the way that have helped me to work with brands that I truly love. I don’t think that numbers mean everything. There are plenty of people out there with much larger followings than mine. What I do believe in is trust. I made the decision early on to only work with brands that I personally like, and not accept every opportunity that comes along.
The trust my readers have in my opinion is more important to me than “free stuff”. If a brand or an item isn’t something that I would personally use, buy or do then I would rather pass. Instead I create content around brands and products that I am excited about. Clearly I shop at LOFT often. It’s a brand that I believe in. They have quality clothing, great price point and fits my style. When a company looks at my account or blog, they can see that I align with their brand because I am already one of their customers. It’s a natural partnership!
Whether you are a blogger, run a personal business, or are in the corporate setting, being professional is key. I do view my blog as a business. Therefore, I have the same professionalism when handling the blog that I do at my full-time job. It can be hard to juggle the schedule with both, and there are times where I don’t respond to emails the same day. But I always maintain a professional tone in all of my communication with brands.
I’m going to be honest here and say there is a part of the blogging community that puzzles me. There are some influencers that feel like they are doing a brand or company a favor by working with them. This is the complete opposite for me. I feel honored to work with brands so I make it a point to do my best work for them. It’s important to read their guidelines, understand their vision and combine that with your own creative spin. Meet the deadlines and communicate with them throughout the process. The same can be said in any job, communication is so important and goes a long way. Let them know you received the product, when you plan to shoot, when the post will go live, what other areas you will be promoting the content and when you have completed everything.
In order to work with brands that you love, make sure that your personal brand aligns with theirs. LOFT reached out to me because I am constantly tagging them in my photos because I genuinely wear LOFT all the time. It would be weird for me to suddenly be partnering with Hot Topic (is that still a thing?). So just be true to yourself and opportunities will naturally unfold.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, believe in yourself. That sounds cheesy, but it’s so true. We are always our own worst critic. It’s so easy to start believing that you don’t have anything to offer or you don’t have enough Instagram followers. Wherever it may be that holds you back, just know that everyone has something to offer. Blogging aside, everyone deals with this. As I get older and more comfortable in who I am, believing in my capabilities gets easier. But I also have to push myself. I know what I am capable of so far because I’ve taken a risk and landed on my feet. But what’s next?!
When I am creating content on my own there is less pressure. I want my readers to connect with what I am sharing, but there isn’t the added pressure of a brand. It can be scary to work with brands because you want to perform! They are placing confidence in you to represent them well. This pressure has made me hesitant to take on projects in the past. But we never grow if we don’t challenge ourselves. Taking on partnerships that push me has helped me grow as a creative, which I love!
If you have stuck with me this long, thank you! Whether you are a blogger or just curious about how to work with brands, I hope you found this helpful. I am no expert and I am constantly learning, but I believe in sharing experiences. I am proud of the partnerships I have had want to encourage you to work with brands you love, too! xo Bryn
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