5 Things I Wish Brands Knew // White Dress + Leather Jacket
I’ve always been pretty vocal about what influencers and brands can do better, especially since I’ve worked on both sides. For the most part, brands have been seriously stepping up their partnership game, but over the last few weeks, I’ve been privy to less than ideal brand interactions, which brings me to this post. In an ideal world, I would send feedback straight to the brands themselves, but since I would never want to risk damaging a relationship, I figured I’d create a blog post with the top 5 things I wish brands knew and allow those who want the critique to come find it.
There’s a right way to back out of a partnership.
A brand reached out to me about three months ago asking to work together. I immediately responded, we negotiated a deal, and confirmed the partnership. The brand reassured me that a contract and brief were on their way, so I booked a photographer and started planning content around the upcoming shoot. While I waited for the contract, I confirmed with the brand two more times since not only was I relying on the money to come through from the collaboration, but I also accepted a few very low paying campaigns since I figured I would just shoot the products during the same time slot I already booked with my photographer.
A week before the event, I followed up again for a contract and the event address. Radio silence. I tried again the following day. No response. Three days before the event, the brand finally responded that they would no longer be able to move forward with me. No reason, no apology, and again no answer when I responded that I had already hired my photographer and would be willing to lower my rate in order to make something work.
Since I didn’t have enough other work to offset my photographer’s fee, I had to cancel my shoot and lower my quality standard by asking friends to help me shoot the other product. The worst part though was watching some of my friends take part in the very same campaign I was just cut out of, making me doubt my content and self worth as a blogger.
Brands, it is completely understandable if you have to back out of a campaign, but there is a way to cancel and if you have any respect for bloggers, it should be done with notice, an apology, and preferably an explanation.
No, I do not want to work in exchange for a toothbrush.
I receive emails all the time from brands who want to send product in exchange for posts. More times than not, I politely decline since I have to consider my photography costs, but at the end of the day, the determining question is, “Is it worth it?” It doesn’t bother me when brands make the offer, but when I receive emails asking me to work in exchange for a lip balm or toothbrush, I get pretty disheartened and dare I say, undervalued?
As a brand, be honest about what you think an influencer’s value is and make requests accordingly. Negotiations can flow from there, but I don’t know anyone who would create content in exchange for a toothbrush alone.
Understand what you’re asking for when you require an in-the-moment post.
There’s a small group of bloggers who take and post photos in real-time. I am not one of them and I actually don’t know any personally. Why? Because getting “the shot” and editing it to perfection is a lot harder than it looks. I repeat, a lot harder. Not only that, but many bloggers, me included, hire photographers so that we can elevate our work and guarantee the same level of quality for every campaign.
Brands, you hire us because you like what you see. If you require us to post a photo in the moment, not only will you lose the quality, but the image won’t match our feeds, and we’ll be forced to post at a time that is not necessarily best for our audience. Posting in real-time is an aspirational goal, but it’s rarely worth compromising a blogger’s ability to stay true to her brand and content, so please think twice before making it a requirement to post in the moment.
Honoring your agreements is a must.
Many brands choose to pay via PayPal, which is completely acceptable, but for some reason, PayPal charges the recipient, as opposed to the sender a 2.9% fee. For that reason, I always request brands to either cover the fee or choose a different payment method. Most brands agree to cover the fee, but some agree and then simply don’t and go radio silent when you follow up with an invoice for the amount you lost. Brands, remember to follow through with all agreed upon terms and keep communication open throughout the partnership.
Bloggers talk to each other.
As saturated as the industry is, a lot of bloggers are friends with each other, so it’s very easy to find out the truth about a brand that says they have no budget. It’s well within your right to choose who you want to pay and who you want to offer gifting, but just know bloggers talk.
Let me know if you have any questions or want additional feedback!
Photography: Laurel Creative