Over the past year or so, we have been fortunate enough to speak on a few panels about small businesses, blogging, social media, and entrepreneurship. The question that comes up a lot is “How do I become a successful blogger?” It’s an interesting question and one that even after doing this for almost five years we feel uncomfortable answering. There is certainly not a perfect answer to this question or a one size fits all response, but we figured we would dive more into the business side of blogging here more. So if you’re interested in blogging or are just curious about all the behind the scenes and what it’s really like, keep reading. We hope these posts bring more transparency to the industry and how we personally work.
To be successful at anything, there must be a work ethic that goes along with it. This job is everything to us. Outside of our marriage, this job ranks high up there. It’s so high up there because it is what we always wanted to be doing, yet had no idea this would or actually could be it. However, there are times we struggle to keep our personal lives and blogging lives separate. There’s a fine line for sure. The two worlds so often intertwine that it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, but as we tell each other every single day…”there is no job in the world we’d rather be doing than this one.” Our job has become sharing our lives with you guys, sharing our design choices, travel destinations, our marriage, and favorites through brand partnerships and carefully selected campaigns.
There is this misconception with blogging that all there is to it is traveling the world, and being gifted expensive things. Some people believe that, but just like everything in life those things need to be earned. We do not get handed anything just for having a blog. So how do brand partnerships work you may ask? What does sponsored content even mean? Let’s dive in!
EARLY STAGES OF A SPONSORSHIP
We partner together with brands to create a vision that works for both us and the company, and carry out those campaigns professionally and methodically. These efforts are met with challenges just like any other job. Typically a company will reach out to us via email and there will be a few emails shared about the direction for the project. We never accept a partnership unless the company is a good match for us and for you guys! We only share products and brands, we love and use. From there we brainstorm the creative direction for the campaign and share that with the brand to make sure we’ll all on the same page. There is planning, mood boarding, shooting, writing, an approval process and editing to go through before any sponsored project or photoshoot goes live on our channels. Often there is the misconception bloggers just shoot some images and put them on the internet, but I think we can speak for some other bloggers as well when we say, we take brand partnerships seriously and as an honor; we want to create something we can be proud of.
Before going further, it is important to note there is a ton we share on here and instagram that is not sponsored. We often talk about home projects or favorite fashion pieces mentioning brands we admire and love, because we just want to share them here. It’s like sharing a great sale with a friend. Sharing weekend photos or outings with Henry, home updates, and how we may be feeling during the week in a journal style. If you’re thinking about blogging, it is important to share these moments too. Think about why you started blogging…if it is just for brand partnerships, you may want to rethink this as a career path…sharing organic and genuine content is so important and helps you create a connection with your readers. For us, we have been so thankful to connect with other couples about marriage, the highs and lows of buying a home, and even training Henry. The connection is what drives us, so thank you.
Okay, so now its time to shoot! Curious about our gear? Check out this post. Next, we edit the photos and then add them to our site to make sure they are all filed and tagged properly (Hey, SEO!), then put into a post where we write the copy that involves speaking truly about how the product works for us in our lives. Often the companies we partner with, give us the opportunity to share products or experiences with friends and family, so shooting projects like our FEED Supper for example, has been super fun (and REAL!) but still involve planning. That is all then passed off to the brand for approval and then sent back to us with any edits we need to make on our end. This usually all happens days or weeks before the post goes “live” on our blog. We always have final say on our words and neverrrr copy and paste a brand’s suggested messaging into our IG caption or blog post, which brings us to our next topic on working with brands…
HOW TO KNOW IF A BRAND/PROJECT IS THE RIGHT MATCH?
So how do you know if a company or project is for you? It is so important to have an online identity that is true to who you are. In our opinion, there shouldn’t be an “online you” and “offline you”. Sure it may be easier to be a bit more outgoing on the internet than in person, but staying true to who you are is so important. It makes blogging way easier of a job if you are being honest with your readers and yourself, so don’t hide who you are, what you like or dislike! Our angle is interesting, because we do what we do as a couple. There are no Instagram husbands or wives here. We both care immensely about this blog and what goes into it, so we make sure to ask ourselves a few questions before accepting any project:
-Is this a company/brand we love and use or are interested in learning more about?
-Would I want to buy/try this product if it wasn’t being offered to me?
-Is this something our readers may be interested in learning more about?
-Is this company/brand in line with our personal values and morals?
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY “NO”
For those that are new to blogging, don’t be afraid to turn down a job that doesn’t feel like the best fit. We have passed up many partnerships that would definitely help pay our bills, but they were with companies we couldn’t genuinely get behind. For example, I was once approached by a skincare company with a nice budget in place, but I would never put the chemicals in their products on my face. Therefore, I couldn’t possibly talk about their company in a positive light, so we politely passed. Signing on to a project that isn’t the right fit for you or your readers, won’t help either of you in the end. We both love what we do and are so grateful that you guys who read our blog continue to do so. It’s given us the opportunity to live out a dream of working side by side, that we’ve discussed since we met, so please know we take this seriously and wouldn’t steer you guys wrong. 🙂
PAYMENT FROM BRANDS
Ahh! Money is always so awkward to talk about. This blog is a job just like any other job, however unlike a 9-5, the payment schedule with blogging is a bit more unpredictable. With blogging, you get paid after the project is complete, and that can be anywhere from 30-90 days after the project has been submitted and has gone “live” on our social media channels and blog, so budgeting is super important.
We can go on and on, but I think that’s where we’ll end it today about sponsored posts. 😉 We look forward to doing more of these “blogger tips” posts and hope you find them helpful, as a reader and aspiring blogger.
Are there any questions you have about running a small business? Starting or managing a blog? Or what it’s like to work with your spouse? We’d be happy to explore more of these questions with you guys. Let us know in the comments below!
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