The Pros and Cons of Working with Brands


Working with brands is one of the most talked-about topics in the blogging community. It's not the be-all-and-end-all but it's becoming a big aspect of being a blogger and there's a lot that goes along with it. From the outside, especially to friends and family, it seems like you're just getting free stuff and there's nothing to complain about. However along with all the amazing things about working with brands there are some downsides, so I thought I'd share those with you too and talk about how to avoid them.

Pros

Trying new products

Of course, this is the biggie; you get to try new products without denting your bank balance. You can be introduced to brands and products you’d never considered before or ones that are a little outside your usual budget or ones that everyone’s talking about so you can finally see if they’re worth all the hype. If you’re feeling a little uninspired with your blog it gives you something new and exciting to write about.


Getting a Sneak Peak

This is kind of linked to the last one but it’s amazing to be one of the first to know about new releases from your favourite brands. Whether that’s getting insider information on what’s in the pipeline or trying out new releases before they’re available to the public. It’s exciting to be a small part of a new launch.

Attending Events

Although I don’t attend as many as I’d like to, local events are an amazing way of meeting like-minded people with shared interests. It’s great to get out there and meet other bloggers in your local area as well as learn more about a brand and put faces to names in terms of PRs you may have been emailing before.

Exposure

Brands sharing your blog or images on social media is an amazing way to reach people who may never have come across you and your blog before. It’s amazing to see your image re-posted with thousands of likes and I’ve also gained lots of new followers even just from brands liking my images. So make sure you tag them when you’re sharing!

Forming Relationships

When you do a good job once, it opens the door for future opportunities with the brand. If they’re represented by an agency, it can also open doors in terms of getting you involved with other brands they may represent. You can end up working with brands you may never have thought you were in the same league as.

Recognition

Particularly when it’s a well-known brand it’s so flattering to be approached to work with them. Somehow in the sea of blogs they saw yours and chose you! It’s a really amazing feeling.

Cons

Unreasonable Demands

Some brands will genuinely send you an entire document of things you have to do, which may be more justified if the post is sponsored or the item is very high-value but less so when it’s a £3 lipgloss… We’ll get onto all that in a minute though! I’ve had brands ask if I’d like to review a product then after they’ve sent it out been like ‘oh and by the way you need to do xyz and the post needs to be up within a week’. Personally, I think this is very unfair as if you had all the information on what was required you may not have accepted the product. 

My top tip would be to ask if they have any particular requirements, even if the information isn’t offered up readily to begin with. I’d say 70% of PRs are very understanding and give you creative control, however you don’t want to get caught out (in all honesty, it is often the client not the PR company making the demands). We’re not machines, besides which how can you review a product properly when you’re being given such limited deadlines? Particularly on blogger networks, I see a lot of unheard-of brands asking for bloggers with 50k+ followers to send out low-value and slightly random products to…

Being Asked to Do a Lot for Little Reward

Sometimes even when you’d love to feature a product, it’s important to know when you can’t fulfil a particular brand’s needs and not to feel like you’re being taken for a ride. When you’re being asked to give up the rights to your photos, give free advertising space indefinitely and so on in return for a £5 lipstick, I would consider if it’s really worth it.

Getting Your Hard Work Pulled at the Last Minute

I didn’t realise this was a thing with non-sponsored posts until it happened to me. I was offered a sample which wasn’t the kind of product I’d usually blog about but we worked out a great way for me to feature it so I went ahead and accepted the sample, tested it fully and put in the hours to create the post. A couple of days before it was scheduled, I was informed I was no longer allowed to post it. Yes, I got to keep the product but that’s not really the point; I’d put in the hours, I was excited to see what people thought of it and I was left without content after having given this product a slot in my schedule. Luckily another blogger stepped in and saved the day with a guest post!

Not Getting Paid on Time

Personally I’ve done very few sponsored posts as I feel they have to be right for my blog and worth my while; I’d rather not have the money than post something I’m not happy with, though I realise that when blogging is your full-time job you may not have that luxury. However one thing I have noted and that a lot of other people have said, regardless of how big or small the brand is, is that you’re rarely paid on time.

Why Not Me?

We bloggers have a real problem when it comes to comparing ourselves unfavourably to others and I think it always seems to come out when it comes to who gets chosen for opportunities. Sometimes it’s obvious; she’s one of the biggest bloggers in the country and they’re a huge brand. However, it’s always a bit more difficult when you’re told numbers are so important but ‘smaller’ or similar bloggers are chosen over you, as then it seems to surely be about the quality of your blog. 

I would say not to over-think it and be grateful for the opportunities that you have, that they may not have been given. Yes, maybe they got this one for whatever reasons but maybe you randomly got contacted by an equally-exciting brand last week and they didn’t, or maybe it’ll be your turn next time.

Didn’t They Like the Post?

So you manage to secure working with a brand you love, get sent the products, test them and take your best pictures and write up a thorough review. You send across the link when it goes live with an open invitation to work with you again to your contact and…*nothing* No ‘thanks’, no further opportunities, no social media acknowledgement. 

It’s hard in these situations not to question if your posts are good enough. Although it’s easier said than done, I would honestly say you should try not to take it personally. Your contact likely deals with hundreds of bloggers and unfortunately one post doesn’t guarantee you a place at the top of that list with the people who will always be involved in opportunities. However, you now have their email address so there’s nothing stopping you reaching out to them and asking if anything has come up that you’d be a good fit for!

What are your best and worst things about working with brands?

 


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56 comments

  1. love love love this post Jas :) You mentioned every point. I really don't like it when people tell "oh you lucky girl" , you got this, you got that, blah blah blah..getting exclusive products that includes LE ones as well- It's a result of all your hardwork, dedication etc... I had some issues with some brands not paying me on time after the sponsored posts... I made it mandatory for all brands to pay me in advance before the post... For product reviews - I never accept brands that comes with stringent product review timelines...I need myown time frame to try and understand the product to carefully know the pros and cons of the product/...I have a disclosure policy set up for my page where I mentioned the time frame I take for different kinds of products...One other fact is some brands, sent sample sized items for reviews...I hate it when they do that...I would say working with PRs and different brands are really good to build a new PR/brand relationship, grow ur blog etc...

    While it have its own advantages...some ppl, really do try to take advantage of you as well...I think its extremely important to say no to where ever it's required....

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    1. I'm really glad you found this insightful :) and I completely agree with everything you said. I will definitely be asking for payment before posting should I take any more sponsored posts.

      I learnt the hard way to ask about timelines first and if I can't accommodate then I have to decline. I put 30 days on my disclosure page but still get requests! And sample sizes are a bit of a joke - for one thing they won't look very nice in the photos xx

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  2. In general I've found it to be a really good thing to get PR samples and work with brands but you're right with some of the unreasonable expectations! Also I feel annoyed when I spend ages writing something and then never hear anything back from them. A 1 line email would even be nice!!

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    1. That's how I feel too! Even if it's not a 'let's work together again sometime', a thank you would be nice xx

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  3. Really enjoyed reading this and 100% agree with your comments. I love trying new products/brands and the fact that brands sometimes feature your reviews etc really helps build up your following and can really get you noticed. However I find it frustrating when brands really beg for a review or are constantly asking when your post will be live, especially if you only received the product a few days ago!

    alice ♡ // www.beautybyalicee.co.uk‬




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  4. Lovely post and I agree with everything you said. I feel a little flattered when brands reach out and contact me, but sometimes I do feel the cons can outweigh the pros, especially when they want the review out within a week and you only receive the day before that deadline!
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

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  5. I agree with everything you've said here, Jasmine. Great post. I definitely compare myself to others a little too often; it can be disheartening seeing bloggers of a similar calibre/with a smaller following being given opportunities that I would love, and I do question why. That's life I guess!xx

    Laura | Lala London: Beauty & Lifestyle


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  6. Loved this! I love working with brands and thankfully I've only ever worked with understanding brands that are really lovely. I haven't *touch wood* come across any brands that are pain in the bums YET, but when I do I think I'll tell them where to go!
    x x | daisydaisyxxo

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    1. Yeah there comes a point where the weight of the demands is greater than the benefits of maintaining your relationship with them! xx

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  7. Loved reading this post, I haven't really worked with brands as of yet but I'm starting to get into that territory so it's kind of nice to be forewarned about some of these things.

    www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

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  8. Such a fantastic post, I definitely agree! It's a great feeling when brands send you something that hasn't even been released yet and I love getting products but it can be a little stressful sometimes x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness x

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  9. Some great points made there and although I have only done a handful of posts for brands I feel that it can be really stressful and I don't know how the full timers cope..lol
    I do remember when I got the chance to work with the Body Shop I was on cloud nine for ages :)

    Pams Stuff and Things

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  10. Love this post Jas, I need all my friends and family to read it and understand! xx

    Blog:: Hannah Rose

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  11. I've only worked with one brand and didn't have any problems. But sometimes I ask myself: don't the readers get tired of reviews?
    Loved your blog :)

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  12. I completely agree with all of this! Working with brands is a wonderful opportunity but sometimes it's so disheartening when it's for something cheap or you're not paid on time. Pros and cons to everything I guess xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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    1. Yeah it can be frustrating but I've come across some amazing PRs along the way who have been fantastic xx

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  13. I loved reading the cons. I haven't started working with brands, so I always enjoying reading other's experiences. I know some people are getting sick of the influx of sponsored posts & brand partnerships, but I really love it when a blogger finds a unique way to showcase the product (or whatever it is they're pushing). The more originality the inject into the more I enjoy it, you know?

    Z · HELLOZAUNI.COM

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  14. This is SUCH good post, seriously. Very informative. There was one that I didn't know about yet (Getting Your Hard Work Pulled at the Last Minute) and if that happened to me, I think I'd be devastated! Especially since you're right, so much work goes into it! thank you so much for sharing and I'm definitely going to check out the rest of your blog! So informative.

    coffeeslag

    COFFEESLAG Sephora Hal

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  15. This is such a great post, I haven't accepted any PR samples or asked yet, as I don't feel that my blog would give brands that much exposure but it's been insightful to read the cons of the sample world. I have been asked a few times by random brands whether I would like to blog about their samples, but I have always said no as they are not relevant to what I blog about and it would be misleading for the brand as an audience and my readers

    Becky // Colourful Sins

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    1. Yeah, I have a simple test: would I post about this if it wasn't a sample? If it's a no then I decline xx

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  16. Hi sweetie, very nice post. You're saying the truth!
    Have a great day
    Chiara
    Www.shesinfashionblog.com

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  17. This is an excellent post Jasmine. I agree with everything you've written. I've had good experiences so far with PR's but I know sometimes it can go the other way. I've never heard of a brand pulling a non sponsored post, especially at the last moment! xx

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    1. I hadn't either until it happened, I was gutted xx

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  18. That's really odd that the brand pulled out last minute I hope they had a good reason to as I'm trying to think of why a brand wouldn't want exposure on your blog and I cant think of any reasons! These tips are definitely accurate of my experiences with brands, sometimes I'm shocked at the demands that some brands ask for! Great post Jasmine.

    Check out my Sephora giveaway!
    http://abigailalicex.com

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  19. Great post! I've been so lucky with the PR's I've been contacted by so far but it's so interesting to read about other peoples experiences! Definitely agree that you have to weigh up the pros and cons and is it the right fit with your blog!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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  20. I didn't realise that posts were pulled at the last minute?! Maybe I'm naive, but that's awful after you've spent hours working on it! Since I don't work with brands I found this really insightful and interesting to read :)


    Emily // Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

    xx

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  21. Thanks for this post, I found it really informative on topics I didn't know about and it was great hearing your opinion. For me I think the main thing is thinking if my posts are good enough or detailed enough :)

    Velvet Blush | Beauty Giveaway

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  22. I haven't worked with too many brands but I can agree with all your points. Recently I was also told to cancel the post but thankfully I didn't have it ready yet so at least I didn't waste my time. Getting recognition and receiving new products to try is great but it is also work and a bit of stress because you're committed to something and, just like normal work, you know you need to do it and the best you can :) x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

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    1. That's lucky! I was literally told 4 days before it was going live and it was already scheduled :( xx

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  23. What an insightful post! I haven't worked with many brands enough to see the con part of it but yes they sometimes do have a bit of standards we all need to keep up. xx

    The Girl From the North | An Amazing Giveaway Here!!

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  24. Loved this post and your insight on all things PR and brands. I feel like I've been insanely lucky as the two PR companies and one brand that I have worked with have given me complete control with not a single demand. I am sure that's not always the case but so far so good!
    The Beauty Bloss

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  25. Great post, love the points you brought up in the post. As i myself work with brands aswell, i can really relate.

    lisa | lisaxbeauty

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  26. Love this post! Never knew that brands can call off the sponsored post last minute. That is very frustrating! I have not worked much directly with brands but more through a network. So far, it has been a very positive experience. But I totally agree that there are many pros and cons to working with brands.

    Thanks for sharing Jasmine!
    x Arwa | http://cremerose.blogspot.com/

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    1. Glad you found this interesting! In some ways networks are worse as they expect a ridiculous number of followers for unknown brands xx

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  27. This post was really interesting because it gives you such an insight into the reality of working with brands in a balanced way. Personally I never have worked with brands which has suited me so far because I'm still working out the direction of the blog. I think if I started one day it would feel lovely in one way because t would mean the blog has grown and it would allow me to be more diverse with my beauty posts. As a reader, brand collaborations are interesting. You can always tell when a blogger believes in that brand because they will have talked about them on numerous occasions before, and likewise it is relatively easy to spot when it is a mere transaction. My pet peeves are the brands never heard of before and never heard of again.

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

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  28. I totally agree on everything you said and have experienced most of the cons you mentioned (as well as the pros obviously - I love going to events!). I really hate when a company or PR doesn't give you any feedback or when a post is cancelled even though you have worked hours on it. I think most of the time, people don't realise how time consuming blogging is. I think the most important is to keep blogging a pleasure and to be proud of your content without comparing your blog to others. The aspect I love the most about blogging is definitely the relationships developed with fellow beauty bloggers. Xx

    Ally | www.glamoclock.com | Facebook Giveaway!

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  29. I couldn't love this post any more!! Came at a perfect time too, after a frustrating email from a PR company this morning! I do wonder if they realise the hard work us bloggers put into each post, especially when most of us have full time jobs, too! But of course, i've experienced all those Pro's as well and we are so lucky to get the opportunities we do!

    Jidy xxx

    http://www.thefashionablyfit.co.uk

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  30. I absolutely love this post and I agree with all the points raised here. I plan on a similar post but more about how I work with brands. I have so far had a good experience with the brands and PRs I have worked with but I have not worked with too many. I do get a few dodgy requests which I instantly turn down as I don't have the energy to be stressed because of a free product!! Hehehehe but I am glad majority of the ones you have worked with are amazing with only a few bad eggs which is completely normal...keep up churning out these amazing post...xx

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    1. Exactly! It's definitely not worth compromising the quality of a post by accommodating a ridiculous deadline just for a small free product. Definitely agree the majority are no trouble :) xx

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  31. I know what you mean. I think it's hard when you're starting out as a blogger because you want to accept opportunity but don't want to be taken for a ride and a lot of brands will do if they know you're only small time! x

    Wonky Lauren

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  32. Hi Jas, great post. I totally agree with your points. I am starting to build some great relationships with some brands due to my writing and background knowledge I guess. I do write honest reviews and found a certain brand gave me no mention at all after saying the product didn't work for me. I also decline several requests where a something is wanted for nothing and, all these affiliate links that aim the traffic to their site via google from your post is not for me either. I also feel that many of the 'top' bloggers can get quite repetitive and its also rather annoying that many brands stick with them re follower numbers. We do work hard and should get merit where it is due, although many brands are really quite happy to help, especially if you're passionate about their products, after all, you're helping them too. Keep it, lovely blog.
    Heidi x

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    1. It's sad when brands don't take on constructive feedback. Most PRs worth their salt appreciate your honesty and it shouldn't affect your relationship! xx

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  33. As a newbie blogger it was great to read this post - I never realised some of the negative parts of working with brands! Being so new its something I've not yet had the chance to do but its interesting to see where things could go in the future!

    Thank you for being so honest and sharing your experiences!

    Jodie @ Jodetopia x

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  34. This is such a brilliant post!
    Charlotte // charlottespicks.blogspot.com

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  35. Such a good post! I haven't(luckily) had any too outrages requests from brands and usually have creative control most of the time but it's interesting to see it from your perspective!

    Georgia | The Weekend Attic - Personal Style, Beauty and Lifestyle

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  36. Really enjoyed reading through these and agreed with everything you said! Working with brands is great exposure and especially as a student, I can't always afford to buy lots of the things I would want. Thankfully I haven't really had too many instances of unreasonable demands, but I've definitely had a fair few emails asking me to do so much and then the payment is $10- not even £10 haha! x
    www.beckieione.com

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  37. I feel this so much right now. I was approached by a brand the other day that wanted me to write a post and they said they would send me a necklace of my choice for free and I just had to pay shipping. The product was pricey and beautiful so I was excited. Then when I went to do it they were charging me $50. I ended up writing back declining because they wanted me to pay and provide a service, though that was not the agreement. This is a great post!
    http://www.lipstickisalife.com/

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    1. That's shocking! I've never had anything that bad (I've been offered 10% off buying a product to write a post before though lol), I'm sorry that happened to you! xx

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  38. Thank you for your comments everyone, it was really interesting reading everyone's experiences xx

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  39. These are such great tips! I've been getting some brands contacting me and I feel like I'm searching through dark water and not sure how to react to some things and how to make some choices. This def helped!

    xoxo
    http://www.hellohimawari.com/

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  40. What a interesting post, great to hear the pros and cons. Having never been approached by brands I never really thought there would be any downsides to it so this has been a great eye opener! Steph x

    stephanie-fay.blogspot.co.uk

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  41. Great post. I've only come across a few PRs which are a nightmare to work with and nothing you can do is right. A bugbear of mine is PRs who say they'll send you something and then the product never arrives.

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  42. Great post Jasmine! Definitely agreed with a lot said here. In general my experience working with brands has been positive and I'm grateful but lately I've had a few making very unrealistic demands for little in return. It's interesting to see a few people have had a similar experience x

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    1. Yeah you just have to gauge what you are/aren't comfortable with over time :) xx

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