Brand Building Workshop: Collaborations and Going Full Time

I learnt so much at the Currys PC World and Microsoft Office’s Brand Building Workshop, hosted by Anna Hart, founder of South Molton Style and One Roof Social, that I couldn’t fit it all into one post without you switching off halfway through and missing out on some great advice and insight into the world of blogging. In this post I will be discussing how to gain collaborations, when is the right time to go full time with blogging and some more helpful apps and kit.

When reaching out to a PR company make sure not to mass email or blanket email across multiple companies. Take the time to research the PR company, a good introduction always goes a long way, and make sure to include all your stats, social media links or attach your media kit if you have one. Present them with an idea that you could work on together and question whether they have a budget right now for campaigns, if not they may add you to their blogging list for future campaigns. Show you are clued up on the brands they look after and mention any recent work or products you’ve seen, or perhaps future releases you are aware of.

If you do work on a campaign with a PR and you are not provided with a brief respond to them with your own brief of what you believe is expected from you and ask for some clarify. Make sure when working on a paid campaign that you have full clarify on the payment terms, and make your own terms clear including late payment fees. A good thing to know is legally your invoice is higher than their payment terms, and if you are not going to receive any payment for longer than 60 days I would suggest requesting a deposit, they are within their right to say no but that’s the worst that could happen. Remember not to expect the same amount of money on each campaign as budgets change across different projects.

‘Earned Media’ is where there is no budget allocated for a campaign and a PRs focus is finding influencers that fit the brand’s ethos, whereas ‘Paid Media’ is driven by data and conversion where budget is assigned according to the expected return of investment. When a PR gifts a product and do not offer a budget on an assignment please remember that the PRs don’t hold the budget, this is looked after by the ecommerce and marketing teams.

When you begin to accept collaborations, both paid and gifted, you will need to disclose this to your followers as the ASA are looking further into declaration. One of the most popular ways to do so would be using the hashtags #ad and #spon, or to disclose this in text or talking during your post. Honestly is the best policy with your followers, and they will respect the fact that you have been upfront. When gifted a product with no prior discussion about featuring it in your content, brands do not have any control over your content and this also means you are not actually contractually obliged to post.

When payment is a product rather than monetary value this must still be declared, and if the content is pre-approved and produced in line with contractually obliged deliverables then use #ad whereas #spon would be used when the content has not been pre-approved. Sponsored content must also be declared, and the hashtags would be used in the same way. “Paid partnership with…” is a feature available on Instagram to all accounts “with high levels of engagement” and access to Instagram Insights data but you should still use #ad as this feature is not officially approved by the FTC.

If you are considering going full time with your blog you need to work out the pros and cons and whether it’s the right time for you. The pros of blogging part time is that you still have the stability of your monthly salary and you are more protected, but the harder side of blogging part time is maintaining it alongside a full time job and you have limited shooting and editing time. The pros of going full time is you can fully devote yourself to what you love, but the cons would be working alone, and being self-employed means a lot more admin.

The biggest consideration you have to consider is whether you can afford to go full time, and to start with you should look at the last few months’ takings from your blog, including any affiliate network earnings. Also consider whether the projected earnings you have confirmed for the next few months alongside some savings would allow you to survive for the immediate future. You will need to make sure you have a pot of money aside for expenses for at least a few months before giving up your day job as 1 in 2 full-time influencers end up going back to work.

In the last post I told you about Planoly, the Instagram scheduling app, but for the rest of your channels you can use Hootsuite, the most comprehensive scheduler. Hootsuite encompasses all platforms into its publishing dashboard and most recently Instagram was added alongside the rest of the platforms but only within the professional version. Another great app to use for your blog is Canva, a free tool that you can use to create quick graphic designs with or without text. It has pre-sized templates for individual social channels and is great for creating story highlight icons for Instagram and headers for blog posts, Twitter and more.

If you have the money to invest into your blog then Photoshop and Lightroom are great editing softwares to purchase, or you can download Pic Monkey on a free trial and is more straight forward than the full Adobe Suite. Microsoft has updated a lot of their software recently with great features that are great for bloggers, like the new Microsoft Word features where you can highlight with touch screen or a pen, make notes over the top of your post, grammar checks and it will check for incorrectly used words like affect instead of effect being used. Another feature in Word is the new researcher tool that takes you into google on the side of the page and will automatically credit a site if you feature any of the content so you don’t need to do this manually.

Powerpoint also has a new feature where you can upload photos and it will give you options of how it could look, and you can create 3D objects, pulled from the internet or created yourself. With the new Microsoft Office software you might be looking for a great laptop to use them on, and Curry’s are offering £20 off Microsoft Office with the purchase of any laptop. The Microsoft Surface Pro 128GB is packed full of the latest tech in a sleek, touch screen design combining all the features of a laptop with the portability of a tablet and retails at £899. The Lenovo Yoga 520 14″ 2 in 1 offers a lightweight, flexible desktop and tablet computer, with a large HD screen ideal for photo-editing on the go, for the price of £699. I personally have the MacBook Pro 13″, which can come with a touch bar, which has a high quality processing power and image display, the MacBook is a good option if you are looking to take time on photo-editing with portability, and retails at £1,749.

Whether you class yourself as a blogger or an influencer, are part time or full time, are just starting out or have been at this for years, I wish you all the luck with your blogging career and I hope that my posts have helped you gain some insight to some of the different areas of blogging.

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  • Reply Mellissa Williams

    I work full-time as a blogger and use a paid version on Buffer (which I recommend), and a paid version of Picmonkey too which is invaluable to me. I use a MacBook Air to write my posts on, and its light enough to carry with me when I travel around the world. Useful post for someone new to blogging

    May 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Emma Raphael

    Another paid picmonkey lover here too, I use it so much. Considering a new computer soon as this one is driving me bonkers, so thank you. Now to consider whether I should make the leap to a Mac or not! 😀

    May 7, 2018 at 8:59 am
  • Reply Kacie Morgan

    This is a really informative post. I am a full-time blogger and I would have found this advice invaluable when I was just starting out full-time last year 🙂

    May 8, 2018 at 10:58 am
  • Reply dena

    This post is so useful! Blogging for me is just a hobby but these points are good to know!

    May 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm
  • Reply Louise

    I’m a full time blogger and I totally agree with everything you’ve said in this post. I don’t have much advice for newbies thinking of going full-time except stick at it. Sometimes it feels like you’re not going anywhere but it will all fall into place in the end 🙂

    Louise x

    May 8, 2018 at 8:48 pm
  • Reply Laura

    Oh wow this event sounds like it was really informative and inspiring for those working in social media and blogging. I went full time around 5-6 years ago when my blog was starting to make as much as my full time job – it was a risk but so glad I decided to take it but yes wait for the right time

    Laura x

    May 9, 2018 at 12:27 am
  • Reply Kara

    This looks like a great event for new bloggers looking for advice on how to get started. I would have loved something like this when starting out

    May 9, 2018 at 2:09 pm
  • Reply Laura H

    Sounds like it was a really interesting workshop and I wish I could’ve been there! These are all things I’ve been thinking about myself recently anyway so glad to know I’ve got the rights things on my mind.

    May 10, 2018 at 11:36 am
  • Reply chichi

    Those are some really great tips on how to approach Pr companies, ill try to be less general in future!

    May 10, 2018 at 6:58 pm
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