How brands collaborate with bloggers

When brands collaborate with bloggers (and let them have creative control)

Ah, the topic of wooden spoons the internet over. Let’s get stirring shall we? The discussion around brands collaborating with bloggers isn’t even grey, it is a murky dark green usually likened to the colour of pond scum (and some think bloggers collaborating with brands are just that). We’ve seen the most horrific brand collabs that are so fake it makes my eyes hurt. We’ve watched so called “influencers” tweet about a car brand one week and a direct competitor the next. Its all blurry and messy and ugly.

The current conversation centers around niche or “micro influencers”. How large followings don’t equate to engagement. I agree. But then internationally I’d be considered a micro influencer, considering that big bloggers and YouTubers are bragging millions of followers. I brag a couple thousand. There was a rules and regulations debate last year as well. That will continue, of that I have no doubt, because the whole reason blogging was so damn awesome to begin with was because of the authenticity of it. Rules and regulations need to be highlighted to ensure it doesn’t lose the very sparkle it had to begin with.

But this was about when brands collaborate with bloggers

How brands collaborate with bloggers

I’m going off topic. My bad. I wanted to chat about blogger brand collaborations. Towards the end of 2016 I decided to make a change in how I did work. I didn’t want to send out a random tweet or just write an advertorial. I really wanted to start creating brand collabs that included authentic content that would stand with or without the brand. I also wanted to work with less brands but specifically brands I loved. Towards the end of 2016 I also tossed this idea that everything had to be about money. The truth is I drop stupid money on sneakers. I’ve started dropping stupid money on make-up after an introduction to Urban Decay (thanks Irina) and my friend Chiara (she writes for this blog sometimes). I buy lots of random gadget accessories I probably don’t need. So if someone offers me something I’d buy anyway for content am I wrong to be okay with doing that?

Hell, if I love something, money or not, I’m going to write about it. Bottom line.

How brands collaborate with bloggers
Behind the scenes of my Nespresso shoot

Oops. Went off topic again. I’ve recently had the opportunity to do some pretty rad collaborations with brands. I really loved how I was given creative control and allowed to just do what I wanted. Granted it wasn’t all that simple. I had a push back. Word of caution: add Cringe to anything and everyone gets nervous. But I knew what I wanted to do. A few debates and it was allowed in. I dig the final product.

So how do we as bloggers get creative control?

How brands collaborate with bloggers

We don’t. Usually. But sometimes you need to push back. You know what works, you know what you’d like to put up. Make sure you explain WHY you want to do something the way you want to do it though. A mail of “I know this works so let me do it” probably won’t go down well. Rather go with – “here is an example of what I’ve done before, this is the engagement it got and this is why I know that this direction will resonate.” Sometimes you’ll hit the wall, then rather walk away. I’ve spoken about this before on Pro Blogger (yup, got to write for them once. Pretty much my best day ever).

So really I just want to say thanks to the brands who do let us bloggers do our thing. Who understand the whys and the hows. It is rather rad. I’ve got a few pieces of work up on my YouTube channel that you can go check out. The Nespresso video is one I did in collaboration with them for their channels. I loved how they incorporated my blog and Esports into the mix so figured I’d share it there as well. It is a bit more advertorial than my usual content but I really liked the end result.

Take a watch of a few of them and let me know what you think? Also, if you’re a blogger and are collaborating with brands share some links with me. I love seeing examples of rad collabs! 

 

2 Comments

  • Reply CaptainKZN January 24, 2017 at 12:51

    Hey Sam, I would assume that blogging is more of a social side hustle rather than a money spinner for you as you have no advertising on your site. Being able to chose which brands you want to associate with and those that only want to spam your followers is the best way to retain and increase followers in my view.
    Keep up the awesome work promoting Esports in SA!

    • Reply Sam Wright January 25, 2017 at 11:46

      Hey man! Yeah I tend to go with content collaborations over banner ads to be honest. But definitely a side hustle. Don’t think anyone can make money from blogging full time in SA. Thanks for the Esports love. Doing my best – just want more eyeballs on local games!

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