As a blogger/influencer who is just starting out, or even if you are someone with a little experience, there is always some confusion as to how to go about paid collaborations. From “How much is it that I have to charge”, to “How to be taken seriously enough for brands to agree to my pricing” – it’s a bit of an uncertain path.
Recently a PR agency contacted me for a collaboration on the basis of barter. Personally it wasn’t feasible for me, so I told them the same, but they then resorted to cheap means and threats saying they would blacklist me from future collaborations with the brands they represent, unless I agreed to this barter association. Now there are always some bad apples, and experiences like this are unavoidable when you’ve been in the industry for a while. But the incident did inspire me to come up with this blog article to share everything that I know about dealing with brands and PR agencies in the fashion blogging business.
These are some of the aspects that really helped me out over the past few years and I hope some of these points help you guys out too!
1) Numbers only matter to an extent
While agencies might argue that they are unable to pay you because of the number of follower you have (or don’t have), that might not always be the case. Your engagement matters a LOT. Between an influencer who has 100k followers, who is able to generate an engagement of 100-200 likes, and an influencer with 5k followers generating the same 100-200 likes, who do you think is doing a better job?
It’s wrong to blindly go by the number of followers, without considering the type of content the blogger/influencer is generating, their niche and the number of impressions/reach. So don’t fret too much if someone says your “numbers aren’t good”. Keep trying to improve your engagement by putting up genuine and fresh content, and interacting with your followers.
2) Content is always king
With every algorithm change, and the tips and tricks that invariably follow to “beat the algorithm”, the fact of the matter remains that CONTENT IS KING. Find your voice – your written voice, your fashion voice, the tone of your brand and consistently put it out through every story and every picture you create. Eventually people will be able to recognise your content as YOURS. Mediocre content just doesn’t cut it anymore in this rapidly changing era of social media rules and trends. Unleash your creativity and spin some good stories. And most important stay true to who you are and what you are comfortable with.
3) Determine your values and your business costs
If you think you deserve to get paid for the content you create, then don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t feel ashamed of asking for payment. Determine your business costs based on the resources you will be using and your time. If you value your business, others will too. And I repeat, do not feel ashamed of asking for payment.
4) There is nothing wrong with barter or with asking for payment
If you think barter works for you, go for it. There is nothing wrong with it. If you think you can work only on a commercial basis, go for it. There is nothing wrong with this either. There are different kinds of bloggers, different kinds of brands, different kinds of campaigns. THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG. Just do what works for you and don’t overthink it!
This is one virtue that I severely lack, so I’m not sure if I’m the right person to be preaching this. I know the importance of this because of the mental stress I create for myself due to lack of patience. Every business has its ups and downs, and in a business like blogging which is only now picking up and is still very unorganised, there needs to be a lot of patience from all parties involved to learn, collaborate and grow together.
6) Learn to say NO
Coming to another important quality that I severely lack – the art of saying no. I have no idea how to say no to a brand-collab that’s twisting my arm to accept their terms and conditions. I know my blog’s worth, I know what I want and don’t want, but I find it extremely difficult to be blunt with them. Which is MY problem. Which is precisely why I would advice all of you to please say NO and mean it! There’s nothing rude about it, nothing wrong and it is absolutely necessary to say no in some cases. So try not to be like me in this case!
7) It’s okay if you miss out
You will miss out on a few events, collaborations and various other opportunities. As a blogger/influencer, once you determine your value, your business model and revenue model, you need to be a bit picky about the kind of associations you want to take up. Make the right choice, and don’t be afraid to let go of certain associations. Don’t let fear-of-missing-out make you compromise on your business values or personal morals. Hard work will pave the way for success. Always.
Just believe in your work, be kind to yourself, to your business and to others and keep giving it your best shot!
Dress: koovs.com | Shoes: Catwalk | Earrings: koovs.com
Photography: Meghna Chinaiah