When I was a little girl, I read the Anne of Green Gablesseries by L.M. Montgomery. It was my favorite. I formed an abiding love for Anne’s spirit and her desire to collect like-minded friends, kindred spirits.

Though I have few similarities with Anne, outside of the red hair (and perhaps the occasional temper), I do share her love of kindred spirits. This week, I was lucky enough to speak on a panel at Haven with two lovely friends. Bloggy kindred spirits, Heather, from At the Picket Fence, and KariAnne, from Thistlewood Farms.

Sidenote: When it comes to kindred spirits the proof is in the pudding. Heather and I wore nearly the same outfit two of the three days we spent together, without any advance coordination

We addressed a series of basic blogging topics, sharing fifteen steps to blogging success. Today we’re each sharing our specific portion of the class.

Thistlewood Farms Blog

You can visit KariAnne to learn more about the five keys to a successful site through your design.

At the Picket Fence

While, Heather is sharing five tips to growing your audience and community.

I will be sharing a five steps to successfully working with brands.

Five Steps to Successful Work with Brands

Five Steps to Successful Brand Work

Great brands have that “thing.” You know, the thing that makes them special. It’s like the creamy filling of an Oreo cookie, the amazing return policy at a Nordstrom department store or the melt in your mouth joy of a Utah Truffle.

Know Who You Are

Working with Brands

I love blog conferences, I truly do. I think there are few things that can help a blogger gain traction more. What I hate however, is hearing the same information repeated over and over on the show floor. This is what it sounds like…

“Hi. My name is Sally. I blog at Heavenly Home, where we’re transforming our home one room at a time.”

It’s a great description, but there is nothing original about it. Not only that, it’s the same thing nearly 25 other bloggers are saying.

If you’re true to yourself, you will have something original to say. Know what it is and share it in an elevator pitch in person and a media kit via email.

Finally, have a firm understanding of the numbers behind your site. I am not talking about your monthly pageviews. It’s far more important to dive into things like bounce rate, pages viewed per visit, time on site and geography.

If you’re new to working with brands, there are a few things you should consider before reaching out. You can find a little food for thought here:Β http://snapcreativity.com/working-with-brands/

Know Your Worth

Slide13Before we dive into what you should charge and how you should figure it out, I’d like to clarify one small thing. There is a difference between a review and a sponsored post.

A review is when a brand sends out product in hopes that the blogger will use it and consider posting. The product should be offered with no strings attached and the review should be honest and open. When I review a product, it’s always for free. I don’t know that I could have an unbiased opinion of a product I was paid a healthy amount to use.

Having said that, most bloggers review product somewhat infrequently. Most bloggers work with brands on sponsored posts. A sponsored post is a paid relationship, where the blogger is paid to post specific information about the product on their site during a specific time frame.

A small distinction, but an important one I think…

Anyhow, now that we’ve got that out of the way…let’s talk a little bit about income.

Your time is valuable. You are worth something. It doesn’t matter how small you are, you have worth. You have a blog. You have influence.

A VERY general rule of thumb that I like to use is $100 for every 100,000 monthly pageviews. It is of course, simply a rule of thumb, but it generally works.

Recently, one formula has been circulating on the web and among agencies. It’s listed on the slide. Try it out and see what you think!

Responding to a Pitch


I know that responding to pitches is a pretty straight forward exercise, but I think it’s valuable to review and stick to best practices.

One of the most important things that I can share with you is to respond to EVERY brand that contacts you. Yes. I know that many of you get dozens of emails and many of them sound a little ridiculous, but it’s very important to respond politely to each and every one (outside of spam).

Really, we’re talking about the no responses, right?!

Often times saying no paves the way for you to have a whole lot more yes.

Think about it this way. If you’ve said yes to a smaller opportunity that doesn’t quite fit with your brand and a company comes to your site to check it out, they may not feel like you are going to be the right person for them.

Consider reading up on when it’s right to say no.

There are a few possible ways you can respond to the email:

  • Thank you for your email. This post doesn’t fit my site right now, but I have attached my media kit for your files and would love to work with you on a future project.
  • Thank you for your email. This particular campaign isn’t a good fit for my site right now, but I would love to work with you on…(be specific!)
  • Thank you for your email. Your product isn’t a very good fit for my site. I’d love to save you some time, please remove my email from your mailing list.

Consider your options before you say no right off the bat. Companies can nearly ALWAYS negotiate and will likely work with you if asked.

How to Pitch a Brand


It would be delightful if we all received hundreds of high-level, worthwhile pitches every single day, however most of us will need to do a little pitching to drum up business.

I think this is one of the scariest steps you can take in blogging and as a result it seems very confusing and hard to do, but to be honest? Pitching a brand is relatively simple.

Try connecting with the brand personally before you pitch them on a product. Conferences are one of the VERY best ways to do this, but social media is a great second options. My favorite tools for rocking outreach are Twitter and LinkedIn.


Be specific in your request. Generally when you’re pitching the brand it’s for an exchange of product. Be very specific about what you’re looking for.



One of the most annoying things? Bloggers who don’t follow directions. It happens during every campaign and takes the emphasis off of the things that really matter.

You will really stand-out if you write the company a follow-up email regarding how you feel the campaign went. Every PR agency needs to send numbers on to the client. At the end of that email, ask for more work!

I enjoyed chatting with the bloggers at Haven immensely, but I didn’t have time to cover it all. Got questions? I will do my best to answer!

In the meantime, let’s have a fun giveaway shall we?



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