|This offer was on the reverse of my business card, for the Digital Parents Conference attendees - now extended to ALL my readers - just use code KWDFREEKNIFE at checkout!|
Working with Brands (my thoughts on blog sponsorship)In the years that I have been blogging, I’ve managed to consistently work with some really great brands, large and small.
I get emails from other bloggers regularly, asking me how I managed to score such great deals, such generous giveaways or such effective partnerships.
Whether its freebie product samples, big ticket appliances or cash sponsorship to events, I have been really lucky to score.
Or is it really luck?
Do I curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and watch all manner of amazingly offers just drop into my email box?
Do I blog intermittently and gather a few followers and all of a sudden PR companies and brands want to leverage off my random audience?
Do I wish so hard I could work from home that it just magically manifests?
But I started in 2010 with a commitment to blog daily, about a broad cross section of topics that may spark the interest of my small audience. And I stuck to that commitment.
I also promised myself to engage with my small readership – through a two way commenting system, through Twitter and through Facebook.
I also promised myself to draw up a decent media kit, just in case. Just in case I could ever dream to offer it to someone.
And I read a lot of blogs and commented on them all.
And gradually, my readership increased and my stats began to blossom.
My blog became, through 2010, an unpaid part time job. I would work on my blog, its content, on photos, on social media, on writing, for at least 4 hours every day. I averaged 25 hours a week. All unpaid. I volunteered myself to myself!
Some weeks it felt like I was kidding myself. That I was just dropping the kids at school, neglecting the housework, all to play on the internet, to write.
But every single day, I blogged, and I also made sure I did something to push forward, something to make an inroad into the possibility of earning a decent part time living from writing.
Gradually, once I was signed up to all of the various agenices and opportunities to give me good exposure, the offers slowly began to trickle in. The more I pitched, the more successes were mine.
The more I pitched, the more work I got. Who knew...!
Some were poor offers. Which I rejected.
If it didn’t “feel right”, I declined.
Some offers from brands were negligible, but I took them on board if I loved the product. I have never felt as if I sold myself for hand soap. If a hand soap is a great product that I love, I enjoyed working with it.
I approached Brad from Kitchenware Direct, in May last year, after I had happened across their site. They are an Aussie based organisation that sell everything you would ever need for your kitchen, online. They appealed to me from a consumer perspective as their website was so very user friendly and detailed. I noticed that they stocked exceptionally high quality products. And that they were indeed very social media savvy.
Kitchenware Direct started with 1 employee in 2007 and has now grown to over 40 employees. They are now the largest online retailer of cookware and kitchenware in Australia. Kitchenware Direct's success has come as a result of great prices, an easy to use website and above all outstanding customer service. This appeals to me. They are a small business who is driven by the needs of their customers in a digital world. And they do KNOW kitchenware! They are really proud to support the Australian blogosphere.
I approached them and offered to complete a review, on my blog, of a product I had already purchased myself. I offered to give.
Straight away, they offered to send me an item to review, with a giveaway to match. Win win.
Gradually, with me writing posts for them that were of genuinely good content, trust was built. I stuck to the self-imposed deadlines I set, and engaged with a consultative approach with Kitchenware Direct as to what would work best for them. We worked as a team. They sent me useful products to review in exchange for a little bit of my internet real estate.
So, six months later, when I realised I would like to attend the Digital Parents Conference, I felt comfortable in approaching them for full sponsorship. We already had built a mutually beneficial relationship. I set out a flexible proposal that would benefit them, that I would enjoy delivering, that would be useful and worthwhile in terms of content for my readers.
Win, win, win.
I am now able to offer high value giveaways to my readers, because the trust between me and Kitchenware Direct is solid.
Writing a review post for a Kitchenware Direct product takes me hours. I use the product a lot first, so that I know I can be accurate.
I take a lot of photos and I recipe test fully, sometimes three or four times.
The end result? Good content, quality posts, a genuine review, and a generous giveaway.
Win win win.
In the few years that I have been blogging I have worked with a lot of brands.
The key word here is WORKED.
I have worked at it. I have worked on my blog, and off it. And I have worked, sometimes for free, for brands I genuinely feel an affinity for. I cannot fake it. I love it. But it is work.
I am lucky that I love the work that I do…
Any questions on this, please email me!