Photos: Manos Koukakis
For those of you that don’t know, I’m currently a Social Media Manager (going forward known as SMM). My job involves writing social strategy for my company, working with the Marketing team to build social into current campaigns and managing ‘Influencer Relations’ – Yes I’m sorry but as I’ve got my brand head on, I’m going to call them Influencers (even though I cringe when I hear that word when I’m on the blogging side of the fence!) So I thought I’d write down a few tips for working with brands while I’ve got my brand hat on (with a side of ‘blogger’ in for good measure!) I guess this is where I say ‘all opinions and tips are my own and nothing to do with my employer…’ so there we go!
Tips for Working with Brands
I’ve been really lucky to work with all kinds of influencer – really, really famous ones, Facebook famous ones, mummy bloggers and many micro influencers. I’ve worked with them directly, through PR agencies and through Influencers Apps. There are so many ways that brands can reach out to work with bloggers and vloggers these days but I also know it can be a bit of a minefield once you secure that brand deal. So I’ve written down a few of my tips:
Get yourself out there and tell brands what you can offer
I’m part of a few groups on Facebook that are designed to help influencers get more confident at pitching to brands. The smaller ones amongst us don’t have management working on our behalf, so probably need to fit this in around other commitment (such as jobs, families and maintaining a social life). I’ve learned that putting yourself out there and pitching directly to a brand can lead to a collaboration of some kind. As a SMM, I receive emails all the time from Influencers that want to work with our brand. While I receive and respond to generic ‘I’d like to work with you’ emails, I’m more impressed when I receive actual pitch ideas of how Influencers are going to build my brand into their platform/blog post/video etc. It gives me (as the client) a clear indication of what you’re trying to achieve and whether the idea and your brand are the right fit for mine.
If you’re going to miss a deadline, tell the brand
Ok so, you’ve got your brand deal and somehow, something has come up and you’re not sure if you can now commit to this deal. Or something has gone wrong and you’re having an absolute ‘mare. TELL THE BRAND. You don’t have to go into huge detail but for the love of god, tell them what is happening. The last thing you want in a stressful situation is to have a brand chasing you for the post/video you owe them. I’ve had bloggers who have had to pull out of deals last minute because of X,Y or Z. I understand that sometimes life gets in the way and won’t judge them for it… I just replace them for that particular campaign and I may revisit them later on down the line. What I will judge them for is if the act shadily and then the work is not complete… and I tell my PR agency about it… Not in a ‘don’t work with them’ kinda way but people talk…
Have the number of edits allowed wrote into your contract.
This is actually my favourite point to raise after hearing the story of one of my blogger friends who had to make five, yes FIVE edits to a piece of content for a brand. Once you do your post/video and send it off for approval, I truly believe there is no need for any more than two further edits. Once they’ve viewed the content, the brand should come back with a list of any changes they require. You go away and make those changes and resend the video back to the brand. The brand then reviews the further edits and either approve the content or asks for an edit of the edit. However, if a brand is giving clear, concise instructions for changes, a re-edit shouldn’t be required after the first. If you are unsure after the first round of review, please ask! It is detrimental to both the brands and Influencers time to go round in circles making changes. Most of the bigger Influencers now have it written into their contracts the number of edits they will allow. I went to a roundtable chat with one of my favourite Influencers a few months ago where he said if a brand’s demands are too much, they will just walk away from the deal… Food for thought.
Check if you’re signing your image rights away
This is another one that you MUST check. When working with Influencers, I will sometimes want their images to use for other promotional material both on and offline. I pay for this in the initial fee – it will usually include image rights for up to three photos. If there is nothing explicitly mentioned about image rights, a brand cannot just use your images whenever they feel like outside of the original campaign. Again, some of the bigger influencers state specifically that the brand CANNOT use the images anywhere else other than the agreed campaign platform without a further payment. Make sure that you’re doing the same. Just because a brand has paid you for a specific piece of work, does not mean that they own it – unless that is part of the original agreement and you are happy you are being compensated fairly for that. This one can be legally complex so if you’re unsure, get a solicitor to check things over.
I think this one is a given but sometimes we need to remind ourselves about it. One of my favourite parts of my job is reviewing influencer content – it certainly beats raising requisitions for PO numbers! But alas, those PO numbers do need to be raised, along with a whole host of other tasks that are also my responsibility. I try my damn hardest to review Influencer content as soon as it comes in but it’s not always possible. Again, the key is communication. Hopefully, brands will give you a timeline at the beginning of when they want everything to be live by and if there are going to be any problems their side, they should let you know. It’s OK to drop them an email if some time has passed, but maybe give it a few days before chasing every hour!!
And probably my number one tip in my tips for working with brands post…
Declare your #Ad!!
No brainer really…
So those are my top tips for working with brands from a brand perspective. The Blogosphere has rapidly evolved over the last couple of years – more than any of us could ever have imagined and the relationship between brands and influencers still changes daily. I think the most important thing you can do is remain professional and know when to walk away from a brand deal. It’s really not worth your mental health. I hope that these tips for working with brands were useful. I think I’d quite like to make this into a series so let me know if you’d like to hear more about my day job!
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