I’m coming out of my blogging hiatus to talk about blogging! Its been a busy 6 weeks at Law On The Runway, but I was inspired to write this post after a lifestyle blogger told me about a recent struggle she had with an internationally-known brand. This brand reached out to ask her to include their product in one of her posts. They offered no payment, but she assumed they’d use the post on their popular social media accounts. She hoped she’d gain some followers, and clout as a blogger who can promote brands. Unfortunately, after the post was created, the brand requested changes to the language regarding her being “contacted by” the brand, wanting her to write “inspired by” instead. When asked about the brand’s intentions to promote the blog article via social media, she was given a lukewarm response, offering no assurances that the brand would share the with their social media audience. It was then that she contacted me, and we came up with an action plan for negotiating in the future with brands. This blogger has given me permission to share her story above, and she even helped me to draft this post, so it was truly a team effort to provide you with the action plan. I’m sharing this plan below. It can be referenced when you receive a request from a brand to promote their products on your blog. It is meant to be general information, not legal advice, as every situation is unique.
1. Ask for compensation
You are providing a very valuable marketing service for them! Come up with a compensation packet, offering levels of promotional packages. Let them know what the various packages would include.
Ideas for packages: Instagram photos, blog posts, a video with a product review, mentions on twitter, giveaways, and photos or other media of you with the product (if they’d like to use that media on their own social media or blog accounts).
2. Ask for Products
If you are a recent blogger or you don’t have enough followers for a brand to be willing to pay you, don’t be shy about asking for products. If they are willing to pay you, ask for products as well! In the lifestyle blogger’s situation above, she went to a store and bought the product to use in the post. Don’t allow yourself to pay to endorse a brand (unless you naturally love the brand the post wasn’t prompted by the brand). Ask for free products to use in the post. If it is a product you can pick-up locally, ask for a gift-certificate or coupon, only if shipping is not ideal, and purchasing the product isn’t a huge inconvenience.
Go a step further, ask for products, a discount or coupons to offer your readers. Readers love a giveaway, and its great publicity for the brand, as it shows a large group of people being interested in the product. Always remember the giveaway rules.
3. Request Sharing of Your Post
The brand likely has its own social media accounts, blog, newsletters, or email blast list. Ask for your blog post shared with their audience and be specific. How many times should the blog article be tweeted, and within what span of time? Should the newsletter include a little blurb about your blog and a headshot of you? If they repost the blog content on their own blog, will there be a link to your blog and to your social media? Detail this all out in an agreement. Leverage the chance for co-promotion.
4. Follow the Endorsement Rules
As mentioned before on this blog, the Federal Trade Commission requires bloggers to be transparent with readers regarding whether they were paid or given free products in exchange for a post. Let brands know that you fully intend to comply with FTC regulations, and that may mean having to say “compensated by” not “inspired by” the brand as the catalyst for writing a post.
For questions or more information on this topic, please feel welcomed to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.