How Do Brand Sponsorships Work?

Jun 19, 2018 | By New Darlings

New Darlings - Lifestyle Blog - Home Interiors - What Does Sponsored Content Mean?

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!

New Darlings - Lifestyle Blog - Home Interiors - What Does Sponsored Content Mean?

Bag | iPhone Case | Journal

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.

New Darlings - Lifestyle Blog - Home Interiors - What Does Sponsored Content Mean?

Jeans | Blouse | Watch | Glasses

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…

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?

New Darlings - Lifestyle Blog - Blogging 101

Sofa | Leather Pillow | Shag Pillow

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. 🙂

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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23 comments on “How Do Brand Sponsorships Work?”

  1. Hi guys!
    I wanted to ask if you dive in a little in how to generate organic traffic quickly and efficiently for a blog and social media channels? I’ve been reading into it and following the tips (quality consistent content, proper hashtags usage, etc but keep struggling with building a larger following. Thank you for this post also, it was super helpful 🙂

    1. Same! I used to blog years ago just for the heck of it but realised no one really cares about what I think? Haha How do you make people care? I think follower numbers play a role to it too. Like if they see I only have 300 followers, they won’t be curious enough about my blog.

    2. Thanks Dahnia. I’m so glad you found it helpful. I feel like organic growth is a big topic…this comes up often when chatting with other blogger friends…definitely something we can touch upon in a lager post. Thanks for putting this on our radar. 🙂

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post, since I’m always so curious about “behind the scenes” of blogging 😛 I think you do such a great job with your page and social media, because it’s really stands out to me as one of your followers (hey! 🙋‍♀️ ) to see how honest and well planned all your posts are and that you really love & care about every single thing you put up on your blog. I’ve always wanted to start one myself but never quite knew what to write about, and how to keep the readers interested! So my question is, do you have any tips for bloggers-wannabe? Which platform do you think is the best to start & any first post ideas? 🤗 Vee x

    1. Hi Vee- thank you so much! This is seriously one of the best compliments. That means a lot to us. I think every platform has its strengths. If you like DIYs, how-to’s, tutorials, etc, YouTube could be a great platform. If you want to lead with visuals, start on IG…there’s so many possibilities, I definitely think quality over quantity is important. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You don’t need to be on every platform, but definitely don’t put your eggs all in one basket, either. 🙂

      Thanks again for following along!

  3. Awesome, thanks! When you say, “…The two worlds so often intertwine that it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two…” How do you help keep a healthy balance there? Do you try to budget a certain amount of time to blogging? Any other tips for loving your job, but yet not letting it become your life?

    1. Our work relationship and marriage relationship are very close, so we make sure to stop working at a certain time each day. This has allowed us to have dinner and enjoy just being together without talking about projects or to-do lists, but sometimes we’re excited about a project so that doesn’t always work. 🙂 Balancing our time is something we just feel like we’re getting a grasp on this year. Making sure to spend a day or so off social media each week, doing things just for ourselves and even if we take photos to document it for our lives, maybe not sharing that particular day on the blog, etc. Mon-Fri is always spent doing blog work and we’ll occasionally shoot something on Saturday if we have a deadline, but we try to leave Sundays free. 🙂 Hope that helps a bit!

  4. Great read! I’ve always been curious about the bts and working with brands as it’s something I want to explore this year/early next year. I love how genuine your blogs and Instagram feels and it’s perfectly crafted even if it’s a sponsored post. Any tips or suggestion on how to make ones feed more appealing to brands, especially in my case (where most of feed is illustrations and design heavy) and less photography? Thank you so much for your time and looking forward to reading more future post about working with brands. Keep up the awesome work you two!


    1. Hi Patty – First, thank you for the kind words. Navigating brand partnerships has always been a touchy subject, so we’re happy to share and are super flattered with your compliments. There are a ton of apps like Planoly, that help you plan out your feed in advance so you can see what your posts will look like together. Then you can space out certain illustrations and make sure there’s balance. 🙂
      Hope that helps a bit!

  5. Hi guys!

    I hope this isn’t too personal of a question, but how long do you guys plan on making a living through blogging? Where do you see yourselves in 30 years? I’ve always wondered if it’s easy or hard to save money with this line of work and make sure to have money saved for retirement. Do you guys ever plan to use your degrees in the future?

    1. This is a great comment. I’m not so concerned with your savings, but if you foresee making a living like this even 5 years down the road.

      1. Hi Lauren – Like we mentioned in a previous comment….we never started this blog with the intention of it becoming a career, it was a creative outlet for us and way to document our lives, so everything thus far has been a blessing. I think no matter what, we will always want to document our lives together and as in any career you have to roll with the punches and be able to evolve with the industry you’re in. We have many family members who have had “desk jobs” for lack of a better term, who have seen their company go through immense changes over the last five years…we always try to remind ourselves that and look at everything with an open mind. We definitely hope to still be doing this in five years though, as it has brought us so much joy. 🙂

    2. Hi Amber – Thanks for your message. Social media marketing and blogging has grown so much over the last several years and has become such an integral part of many companies’ advertising. We’ve been doing this for five years now, three years full time and have seen things change so much in that short time. I think like any industry/occupation, you have to roll with the punches and be open to change and evolution. We never started this blog with the intention of it becoming a career, it was a creative outlet for us and way to document our lives. I think no matter what, we will always want to document our lives together. As far as saving and budgeting, without getting too technical, we work closing with our accountant quarterly to assure everything is being taken care…as I think you should in any profession. Maybe down the line we’ll put our degrees to use in a more obvious way, but we’re still happy we went through college and that our path has taken the route it has.

  6. I love this post! I have been following the two of you for years now, and I’m so happy you two decided to make a post on the world of blogging. It was super useful and it’s always great getting to know more insight on how you two manage your life from a business perspective. Y’all are a true inspiration! I love your work! Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much Mary. You’re so sweet! That means a lot that you have been following for a few years now. 🙂 I’m glad this post was interesting for you too! xx

  7. It is very common to see bloggers branch out and create their own brand/line of products, such as a clothing line, beauty products, etc. It seems like the natural thing to do since the audience is already established. Is this something you plan on doing in the future as a way of evolving and growing as a business?

    1. Hi Evelyn – It definitely seems more common nowadays for bloggers to branch out like you said. It sounds like an amazing business step, and definitely not something we’re ruling out, but at this time not something on our radar. We’ve loved seeing what people have been able to create through their blogs though! It’s so fun seeing the new collections roll out. 🙂

  8. Thank you for a very informative post!
    Curious, what did you do before you started blogging? Did you move to AZ to quit your day jobs and be bloggers?

  9. Definitely keep the blogger tips coming!

    I’ve always been a little on the fence about sponsors and partners in blogging. It seems dreamy and could maybe be something I’d be interested in doing at some point. I think my biggest hang ups are my small following and not having a lot of confidence in my photography skills.

    Can’t wait to see more of this!

    1. Definitely don’t let that hold you back. We knew very little about photography before doing this. Like we said, it was purely a hobby in the beginning, so we kept learning little by little and evolving. If you’re interested in blogging and photography, we say go for it and learn as you go. Don’t feel pressure!

      Hope the post helped a bit. 🙂

  10. I’m very much looking forward to this series! It’s hard to find genuine couples who can also live their dream of working together, something my husband & I hope to do as well! I love how real and organic you are. Thanks for sharing! I would love to know more about how you knew when you could move from getting merch in exchange for posts, to getting paid to do it. Thanks!

  11. This is the first post I have read on your blog and I’m in love! This is exactly what I’ve been needing to hear. I started my own blog last year but didn’t post until January 2018. I’m still not consistent because I am working and going to school full time. How did you manage creating enough content in the beginning with a busy schedule?

    Thank you again! I can’t wait to read over your blog in depth <3

  12. Loved reading this post. How long did it take for you guys to be offered sponsorships/partnerships? Did you start reaching out to companies first to get noticed? I’ve been using my blog for like a journal of my life, but now I’m wanting it to be more serious if that makes sense. How would I go about getting noticed for sponsorships?
    Thanks so much for your advice!

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