Your worth is far beyond than you know…
I think one of the most common question I get apart from how I capture my photographs is how to collaborate with brands as a blogger. Honestly, it solely depends on each person and what you want to get out of working with brands and agencies. If you want to start collaborating, ask yourself questions. Do you want to get paid with money? Are products in exchange for coverage enough? Do you just want exposure and social media activity or do you just want to have fun with it?
But these questions to me, does not matter if you don’t ask the most important question of them all. What is your worth?
Blogging is no joking matter. I am sure you agree with me on that. It is time consuming and takes a lot of hard work to conceptualize, produce and materialize content that is original and equally interesting and engaging. I hate to bum you out but to make it work in this industry, we cannot be naive. Because at the end of the day, we want to be able to continue being inspired and look forward to producing content without being taken advantage of. And believe me, in most cases, sometimes we do end up on the losing end if we do not know our worth or understand how the industry works.
Let’s be real here and admit to the fact that we all started this as a hobby. But there will always be a point that you have to think of your blog as a business or as a doorway for better career opportunities. When you look at it in this way, you will be better equipped to know how to deal with future collaborations, sponsorships and partnerships because when you look at it as work it will be a totally different game for you. Why? Because when you work, exert effort and put in your experience, you expect compensation. And with how this industry has grown in the past couple of years, and knowing how blogs and social media are being used for actual campaigns and advertising, we cannot be naive and just settle for the freebies forever. We have to be smart enough to know that brands and agencies come to us for a reason – to share and experience their product, to reach out to consumers, and ultimately gain better business and profit in the long run. Know that there are budgets and numbers of opportunities out there.
Obviously, not everyone can be compensated immediately nor is everyone compensated equally. It all depends on your ranking in the industry – your years of experience, the quality of content you can produce and of course, your reach and following. So technically it would be a bit odd to demand an obscene amount if you are just starting out and have nothing on your portfolio, or have a much smaller reach compared to others. Know that it is ok, because we all have to start from somewhere and much like how we move up the professional ladder, take it one step at a time, learn along the way and do your research so you know how to manage and deal with it once given the opportunity.
Barter deals and gifting are also very common, but you have to be mindful as well if it is worth it. At the end of the day, you have to consider your time, the cost and the effort of doing the project, most especially if you are the one on the other end working and putting together the content. I mean if they were the ones doing all the dirty work and paying for all the expenses then of course that can be a great factor to consider but either way, ask yourself, even after all that, would it still be worth it.
Saying NO is also one of the most important things you will have to learn because integrity means a whole lot in this industry. So if you don’t believe in a brand or a cause, if you don’t see yourself using, wearing, or buying that product, then why say yes? And just because a brand sent you a bracelet or a lipstick or a dress does not mean you have to do a huge featured post. Remember that you are never obligated to post anything and if ever you do, make sure it does deserve that spot in your feed because it is something you honestly love and enjoy. Communication is key and it is always important to be clear with the brand and agencies that you work with about their requirements, your expectations and your limitations.
Participating in campaigns are great opportunities and the experience can be amazing as well but again be mindful of what it will take to participate so make sure that whatever it is that you get to be a part of, it is something you believe in, something you love and something you will enjoy completely, both personally and professionally.
Remember that this is not about money or material things or your status. And this should never stop you from simply working on personal features and projects with brands that you highly believe in sharing or doing something creative for nothing but love in return, because after all, this is our passion. I certainly do this from time to time too, but I definitely have my limits.
It all boils down to knowing what you deserve. Knowing your worth and how you value your time, your skills and talent and the effort you put in the content you produce for your blog matters a lot. Respect yourself enough and know that and in turn, brands and agencies will respect you enough to know your own value as well.
And so to wrap this up, let me end with this small note…
It may just be a hobby, but no matter how you put it, to me, the love we devote for our blog and the content we share is worth so much more, and no amount of money, freebies or exposure will ever be enough.
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Photography by Princess Lovella