A travel and style blog

New Bloggers & Brands - Tips For Girls That Can't Say No

With the risk of being the dullest ever opening to a blog post, did you know that, according to www.worldometers.info there have been 1,803,597 (and rising) blog posts published today? How do they know? I've no idea, but for the purposes of a flowing intro I won't be asking too many questions here.

With so many eager beavers tapping away at our keyboards, using our blogs to communicate to an audience, be it big or small, it's no surprise that brands have jumped right on in there and asked you, dear blogger, to spread a message on their behalf. 

Now it's all fun and games when that very first email from a PR lands in your inbox. I was over the moon when I read that "Chill Factore want to work with you" because I flaming well wanted to work with Chill Factore too. 
I know the response, "I jumped at the chance" is the standard write up response regarding any offer of collaborating, but I did genuinely jump at the chance. 

The PR booked me in on a ski lesson at the level of my choice (anxious Bambi level please), with the agreement to write about my experience afterwards. At the time I was in the process of learning to ski anyway so it worked out splendidly. I could genuinely rave about my experience and honestly recommend the ski lessons because I loved going. 

Blogging, in the beginning for sure, is a hobby that mainly consists of hitting publish and sending your beloved posts into an abyss. I would hedge my bets that all bloggers have asked themselves at some point "hellooooo, is there anybody out there? does ANYONE care about what I'm writing?" 

So when you're actually asked to write about something it's hugely reassuring. It's basically someone saying you're doing ok at this, and that's exciting. I thought I'd hit the big time even if in reality it was just the big slope.

Now for the downside. It's not always quite as straight forward as grabbing your faux fur ski jacket and heading out to snow plough care free for the morning. For a newbie, deciding whether to say yes or no to the offers you receive, can be tricky. 

There comes a time when you're faced with a quandary which is, in a nutshell, do I have to promote products that I'm just not that into if I want to succeed?

The initial reaction to this question is, or should be, a flat out NO absolutely not, I would never include anything on my blog that I don't absolutely love. But, when you're new to the game and haven't exactly got Channel hammering down your door, collaborations with other brands provide you priceless experience and practice. Not forgetting the fact that it's fun. I enjoy being sent an item and seeing what content I can create with it. 

It's a toss up - should you polish the truth slightly and gain experience or stay absolutely true to yourself?

In an ideal world you would agree to review a product and aim to create an objective write up BUT that's easier said than done when have to send your content back to the PR for a final ok. Write a damning review and they won't work with you again.

I'll be honest with you, I've been lucky enough to have been sent a few items that I was excited about, but one or two that  in reality I wouldn't have gone into a shop and bought for myself. These situations can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth (not literally, although that can't be said for all products). 
You might not be head over heels with excitement about the offer on the table but building those relationships could lead to bigger and better things. It is after all, practice.

Maybe your reader might not quite buy it that you simply love a certain item that you've never once mentioned or even alluded to before and now you're 'obsessed with...', but, is there not an understanding? 
When you divulge that you were sent the item does this not tell the reader everything they need to know in the vein of ... 'Thanks for reading this and I hope you enjoyed it but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Dreams don't work unless you do etc'

Ask yourself this, do you think that Nicole Scherzinger, this very minute is tucking into a Muller Corner? 

Do you think that Gary Lineker is, this very second in the midst of a panic stricken search through his kitchen cupboards, desperate to get his hands on another bag of Walkers crisps? 

Do you think, even for a minute, that Kate Moss wears Rimmel makeup? Nah, me neither. Do we love her any less? Nope not really.

Although some bloggers may say they've never included anything on their blogs that they didn't absolutely love, I'm sure most have at some point in the early days.  Promoting the odd product here and there seems to all be part of the blogging game. I suppose then the question is, do you want to play?

A line that you refuse to cross is helpful. Chuck any old thing on your site and it won't take long until your readers go elsewhere. 

I said no to a Linen company I'd never heard of for example, who wanted me to write about their bedding which they weren't in a position to send me. Now it's not about the freebies, but it is about not wanting to promote items that stood every chance of being, for want of a better word, crap.

Would title would I run with? ... "My Top 10 Bedding Sets That Could Be Scratchy and Cheap But I Got Paid £20" ? 

I also said no to a guest post about bingo, because, well bingo. 

I vote treat your brand collaborations like you would your men. If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't. 

Maybe the answer to, how do I get experience working with brands and stay true to myself, lies with disclosure. If you always disclose when an item has been sent to you, you get the experience you're after and the fun of creating content while your reader gets the transparency that they deserve. 

* I have not collaborated with a cereal conglomerate. I just like Kellogs corn flakes and had them in my cupboard. I've gotta get my crunchy goodness, Vitamin D, B and Iron from somewhere haven't I *

Go for the opportunities you get but remember that line. Always remember that line. If the product in question runs the risk of maiming, laming or causing indigestion, just say no.

Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any thoughts on bloggers Vs brands. I'd be interested to hear them.

Elaine xx 


  1. I can be so difficult trying to decide whether or not to collaborate with a brand, and I can most certainly agree that if you get an offer from a brand, it can make you feel like you have made it, but the definitely isn't the case.
    Ashleigh x

    1. True! :)
      I reckon so long as you're still enjoying it, it's all good! Thanks for your comment. Have a lovely Sunday x x


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