I still consider myself a small blog even though I’ve been posting twice a week for almost the past year. Have you ever wondered how I decide what to write about? How do connections with brands happen? Let me tell you more about the behind the scenes of blogging. I will give you Bilou as an example both for their approach while reaching out to bloggers and for the fact that their Instagram account inspired us to do probably the most colourful content so far.
Before I start depicting the do’s and don’ts of blogging, I will need to write a disclaimer. I am in no way an authority in the field, even though I don’t mind uniforms…the nice ones, but I have offered the subject most brain space for the past year and I gained a bit of experience that I do want to share with you.
Check your e-mails
I can’t repeat this enough. Most of the relationships and the networking is happening in your e-mails, DM’s and Messenger. We, bloggers who only started recently, are lucky that those before us already walked the miles to make blogging a proper job, but that does not mean that everybody sees it like this. What I am saying is that it doesn’t hurt to be professional in your correspondence and face to face. Answer that e-mail as quickly as possible and avoid postponing it to a week after. What for? The competition between bloggers is huge. If it’s not one of us who will get the job, it will be another. I have been wearing lazy pants before, if you know what I mean, but they don’t suit me anymore, I outgrew them.
Update your social media regularly
Did you already start thinking of your social media as your portfolio? Most of the times, that is what brands/clients will see first of you. That is their first impression. When you start your blog and Instagram account and Facebook page and Pinterest and Twitter maybe, think about what kind of content do you want to put out. I am not referring to your style because that will change and evolve, but to the tone of what you put out there. Are you motivational, are you one of the girls/boys who everybody feels like they know you through your socials or are you the one using your social media to complain?
Besides the tone, how often do you post? Instagram seems to be rewarding those who post a bigger quantity of content. Although, what if we start thinking about it out of context, at the end of the day, the more you post – the more opportunities for somebody to see your content and like it. That if the quality is not thrown away somewhere in a cage and forgotten about. I get it, lack of time, deadlines and so on, but quality should be the first invited to dinner.
How do you start working with brands?
In a few words: either they reach out or you do. When it’s the case of them reaching out, it will mostly be through e-mail. With all the social media different apps, this is still accepted as the most professional way to do it. The bigger the brand, the more universal/ less personal the message will seem but you should not confuse this with spam. Most of the time, the brand will hire an agency to reach out to bloggers and they might have a template for the e-mail sent. The message might have been sent to a bigger number of people, but it is just as serious as if a brand owner sent it to you.
This being said, small businesses will also approach you and the messages might seem more personal but regardless of the case, we should be respectful towards people’s time and give them an answer as quickly as possible.
When you are the one reaching out, let’s say for example on Instagram, look for accounts that have a similar number of followers to yours or less. I am not saying don’t shoot for the stars, but that they are the most likely to answer back. I once sent a DM on Instagram to a jewellery brand that inspired me so much that I wanted to take pictures for them. They were very respectful towards what I managed to do so far, but when they refused, they pointed out the discrepancy in followers. I had much, much less than they did. Lesson learned – start with your league.
What service do you offer?
I am the kind of blogger who feels weird asking for freebies. I am renting a flat in London and anybody who lives here can tell you that they were forced to develop very good space management skills – that’s how small flats are. So when I am reaching out to a brand, I much prefer offering something in return. I offer to create content for them or to model their product which is in essence part of why I love blogging.
Because my following is not huge (@miss__casual), I don’t rely on offering shout outs because they might not be very effective. Also, for the product to be on my Instagram, Blog or Facebook page, I need to try it out and like it – but more about this later.
It takes much more time than you expected it to
Blogging is such a time consuming job/hobby. It’s really not just about taking a cute picture and posting it on Instagram and than wait for the likes to flow in. Most of us are also the stylist, location scout, creative director, writer, editor and so on. All these things, regardless of how well organized you are, do take a lot of time. So if you are debating whether you shout start blogging or not – start doing it, but make sure that you like it because you’ll be doing it a lot.
Somebody asked me – how long will it take until I make a living out of it?
This is a question nobody can answer – for some it took years, for others it took months, some gave up along the way. For now, there is no recipe on “how to make it” in the blogging world. And then – what does making it mean to you? No raining on anyone’s parades but be prepared for your patience to be challenged.
Working with brands – saying yes/saying no
I am quite fussy when it comes to this and I don’t want my blog to be a shop full of everything. If there is something that I tried and honestly liked, I will write about it. However, when the exchange of emails happens with the brand, and they are offering a product to feature I have something that I always explain. For me the blog is an escape from all the hustle and bustle that happens in the world so I want to keep it a positivity only zone.
This means that I will not give a bad review. If my review turns out to be not in favour of the brand, I’d rather not do it. So when I do receive the email from the brand I always tell them that I am opened to trying new products, but I want the freedom to not write about it in case I turn out not liking it. If I tried it and I liked it, you can probably read about it on the blog.
A recent brand that reached out to me is Bilou. You might already know how much I like supporting Youtubers, bloggers and so on which is one of the reasons I am telling you about this brand also. Bilou is a German brand developed by a Youtuber. Because she has been testing so many beauty products, she felt she could put the experience that she accumulated, into her own brand. And she made it vegan, dermatologically tested, gave it a fun and youthful concept and mouth-watering, but not edible fragrances. She has got me at Chocolate Cupcake, Cotton Candy, Orange Lemonade or Tasty Donut. What about you?
The reason the brand has got my attention at first though, is the way they approached the situation. When they reached out to me, they did not for a second imply that in exchange of me receiving a few of the products to test, I need to do a review. Not for a moment! Which makes me feel free to just try the products, see if I like them and share them with you – if I choose to. Hats down to the Bilou team!
Also, I went on their Instagram to check out their account and as I was mentioning in the beginning of the post, I was so inspired by their aesthetic that we did our most colourful shooting so far.
I have only tried three of the Bilou products so I feel like I can’t do a full review, but I do want to mention those that I did try. The Cotton Candy creamy shower foam is as the name says – creamy. The foam is slightly thicker than the others that I tried with similar concept which I personally love. You might be wondering about the fragrance. Sounds good, but does it smell as good? Most definitely! I was glad that it does not smell as sweet as it sounds and especially when you use it in the shower, it has a light scent, not an overpowering one.
A product that is different from anything else that I tried is the Fizzy Berry gentle cream foam. This is in essence a moisturizer, but it comes out of the tube like a foam. It does not feel too creamy, but it moisturizes nicely and my legs were very thankful. After I moisturize, especially in the hot months, I hate how the left over cream on the hand will make my palms sweaty. Not with this one. Gladly!
The third product is a Coco Cocktail “2 in 1” body spray. First of all the scent takes me back to Punta Cana – the most inexpensive plane ticket. Second, I had to read the instructions for this one. It is both a deodorant and a moisturizing body spray. I have not tried it as a deodorant however, it was way too hot to risk it. As a body spray, it is just so so yummi and it does have the slightest moisturizing effect.
This was a post about blogging that was long coming. It spent so many days in my mind that it just had to make it’s way up on the blog. This is what I’ve learned so far about blogging and because I wished there was somebody to guide me for the past year, it’s just one more reason to write it. I really hope what I wrote is helpful to you and who knows, after I gain a bit more experience, I might write another one 🙂
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