There are so many levels of Working with Brands. It’s not always just about leveraging your influence. Sometimes it needs to be about educating brands and playing to your strengths to leverage your own brand in order to land a long term contract working with a brand.
IE 16: How to Take Working with Brands to the Next Level with Taylor Stinson
Developing Your Unique Voice when Working with Brands
Taylor has a food blog called The Girl on Bloor, but she also recently began a photography business. She’s interested in doing food photography for other food bloggers and continuing to grow that side of her business. Before Taylor took my course, she was waiting for brands to reach out to her, which put her at the mercy of the brand when it came to how much money she was able to make on a campaign.
Some of these campaigns were great, but she had no control over any part of them. She wasn’t able to really bring her unique voice to the campaigns. She was more interested in developing partnerships with brands, so when she saw my course she decided to go for it. Because of her past experience in working with brands, Taylor knew what to do, she just needed to learn better and smarter ways of doing it that would allow her to develop her own unique personality.
Managing Your Time as an Entrepreneur when Working with Brands
As an entrepreneur, time is your greatest resource. When you’re trying to build a business, time can seem too short. Before you know it, you can be questioning the time it takes to shower or make some decent food for yourself. It’s all too easy to ignore self-care and spend every waking minute on your business.
Time blocking has made a huge difference for Taylor, as well as dedicating a couple of hours every day to the “big picture” things that need to be done. But what happens when you have more than one big picture project going on at once?
Taylor has that happening right now as she prepares to launch her photography business and still manage her blog at the same time. Launching a new business also means learning the things she needs to know to run that specific business. Add to that public and networking events, learning your new audience, and keeping your self-care and any future goals in mind, and you have a recipe for burn-out if you don’t know how to manage your time well.
Setting Your Pitch Apart to Work with Brands
Taylor not only pitches sponsored posts for her blog, but with her photography business, she is also pitching those skills as well. What is it that she does to set herself apart from the typical pitch?
As a matter of fact, her photography is what sets her apart! When brands go to her social media channels, such as Instagram, and see her gorgeous photos, they are immediately interested in working with her. She has even been asked if she allows her photos to be licensed. (Which, by the way, she does not. It would require a huge jump in price for her to do that.) She does allow the brands to use her photos on their own social media sites though because it gives her more exposure for her photography business.
Educating the Brands when Working with Them
Taylor has such a great strategy for educating the brands she works with that I must share it with you. As an example, she was recently contacted by a brand to do a recipe development. She charges $200 for straight recipe development. That does not include any photos, no social media shares, no marketing. Just the recipe.
She shared with the brand contact how much more she could do for them with a sponsored post. She charges $650 for this package, which includes developing the recipe, 7-8 professional photos, social media shares on all her platforms, inclusion in her email newsletter, submission to food gallery sites, and the ability to use the photos on their own site…not to mention the fact that the pins she makes for the post live on Pinterest forever and can go viral even a year after sharing them.
She was able to show the contact that by purchasing the sponsored post, they get a tremendous value over if they paid her $250 for the recipe alone and then had to pay for all the marketing, photos, social media shares, and buying ads to be seen by such a large audience. In the end, she educated the brand and was able to increase her business too.
Another example she gave was a brand who tried to shame her on Instagram for wanting to charge them for a sponsored post and refusing to do it for product. After educating them on her full online platform, they ended up looking more fully at her work and offering her a paid campaign.
Leveraging Your Strengths when Working with Brands
Taylor’s photos go beyond “just being photos.” She brings a high level of branding to her photography that we could all learn from. I asked her about leveraging her strengths to increase her brand awareness.
She says that the most important thing is, to be honest with yourself about who you are. Know your demographic that is attracted to you. Taylor is in her mid-20’s, she is a city girl, she likes healthy and delicious food. Even knowing herself this well, she still struggles with narrowing her target audience.
It’s important to listen to the feedback that your audience gives you and to ask for more. Sending out a survey to your audience is a great way to find out what they want more of, while also staying true to yourself and building a brand that other brands want to work with.
Where Is Blogging Heading in 2017?
Blogs certainly aren’t going away anytime soon, or maybe ever! But as time goes by, new things come on the horizon. I was interested to hear what Taylor sees as being the hot new trend in our industry. And she said courses!
The great thing about courses is that they offer tons of actionable advice to get you started right away. Taylor has plans in the future to develop courses, simply because she is always looking for ways to further her online career.
Since we never know how long anything will last, Taylor also encourages people to leverage the skills they’re building through their blog, whether that is coaching, photography, food styling, or whatever it might be.
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