The blogger and the brand, it almost sounds like the title of some kind of Disney movie. A happy fairy tale where you know that all will end well. Is that the same for bloggers and brands? I guess that’s less predictable than the Disney movie. Collaborations between these two have been going on for a while, but it remains new and it all seems to be quite “hush hush” in the sense of what both parties are getting out of it. The fact is: there are bloggers out there who have learned and experienced how to deal with brands and how to get a fair deal out of it. The other fact is: there are still a lot of brands who are trying to “abuse” bloggers. No, I’m not going to be all whiny and cry about that, but open discussions about this matter might help us learn something along the way. Even though I’m the first to admit that I don’t own “the truth” (if there even is one) about this subject, there are some general ideas circulating about the topic. Let’s discuss, shall we?
“My blog is worth nothing to brands”
Fact: a lot of bloggers sell themselves short. Maybe your blog can not be compared yet with the super bloggers out there and maybe you haven’t reached those million hits per month just yet. What you have to realize is that the numbers that you do have also matter and have a certain value. For instance, do you have 10 000 readers every month? That’s really not that bad. There are magazines out there who sell the same amount of copies. They are also getting paid for advertisements, why shouldn’t you? Be proud of what you create, if you talk about your blog as if it’s worth nothing, others are likely to feel the same way.
“A blogger is a brand”
If you’re really serious about making something out of your blog, start thinking of yourself as a brand. I know that may sound very arrogant, but it’s not (unless you’re being all cocky about it and refuse to respond to any other name than “Empress” or something). If you start thinking of your blog as a “brand”, you’ll probably brainstorm more about your content or the niche you’re working in and it can help you to create even better content. Thinking of your blog as a brand helps you define the ideas behind it. Most importantly, it will give you a better vision of the brands you want to work with, since it will become easier to determine if they fit your “brand”.
“Brands destroy creativity and freedom of speech, what a blog is all about”
I guess most of us have experienced those pushy PR people who try to force you into writing something about a certain brand. That trick doesn’t work on me, and I can imagine that a lot of people feel the same way. There is the dark side of advertising and collaborating where the other party doesn’t even seem to know or care what you are doing or what your blog is all about. They offer you advertorials that they’ve written themselves, with brands that couldn’t be further away from your target audience. Just a piece of advice: run, run, as fast as you can and let them know that you’re not their (wo)man. The money or goodies that are being offered can be tempting (I’ll admit I have gone over to the dark side myself, we all have to learn & make mistakes) but if it doesn’t feel right – don’t do it. Now let’s put that frown upside down and talk about the sunny side of this story. There are brands who really do know what you are about (they even look at your blog before they email you, shocking!) and they want to create a partnership where you actually can debate about the collaboration and the content. That my friend, is a story of the blogger and the brand gone good.