Jaylene from Fantastic Chaos left me the following comment on my blog:
Do you think that your blog/ social media accounts need to have a certain amount of people following or engagement levels before approaching a brand? I’d love to work with brands, but am very new and am still trying to build a readership/ community on my blog and social channels.
I think it’s a question that a lot of people will have, especially when starting out, so I wanted to answer it full in its own blog post.
How Many Followers Do I Need To Work With A Brand?
Or, as Jaylene phrased this question:
Do you think that your blog/ social media accounts need to have a certain amount of people following or engagement levels before approaching a brand?
No – if the brand is happy to work with you.
Yes – if the brand has specific set requirements around followers/engagement.
Breaking Down “Followers”
Traditionally speaking, a blogger’s commercial worth is judged on their unique monthly views (UVs). This is most commonly what is asked for if a brand is interested in a sponsored post. This is because the paid activity will be happening on your blog, and therefore that’s where the main information/advertising content will be, so that’s the measurement the brand will want.
There are ongoing articles about how UV’s are not the only way to measure success. As someone with a background in qualitative research, I whole-heartedly agree.
BUT, it’s still the thing I am asked the most. This is a rapidly evolving industry, so it’s worth being aware of this.
The brand may have goals around increasing or consolidating its presence on one or more social media channels. Depending on the goal of the brands campaign online you might be requested to have a certain number of followers to share the post… or it might only be a sponsored post on one platform and not on your blog at all. Always be aware of the policy of the social media channel about sponsored posts if you’re focusing on that.
Tip: T’s & C’s change all the time, so don’t just assume because it was allowed last year that it is this year.
Engagement is a much more qualitative or subjective factor. Shares and comments – on both your blog and social media – are the two most common ones to look at.
I’ve Been Pitched To…
I’ve been pitched sponsored posts by brands who want to pay me to write about them. Surprisingly often, I’ve never even been asked for my stats before it’s agreed to go ahead with the sponsored post. The brands have clearly already decided that I was a good fit, I looked into them (or already used them) and I knew it would be a good fit for my blog and my readers.
I’ve Been Rejected…
In 2015, I wanted to a review-based Christmas gift guide on my personal blog. I put a call out on SourceBottle (in the paid category) seeking brands to work with. I found a few that suited me really well with me and I’m proud of the gift guide I created.
I was also rejected by a few brands. Yep, even for a guide that they didn’t have to buy space in. All they had to do was post me an item to use and review, and voila, advertising for the price of product and postage. But still, they weren’t interested after receiving my stats.
Which is fine; they obviously had their requirements for working with bloggers and I didn’t meet them. It happens.
It’s actually a good thing when this happens because it means that the brand has a clear digital strategy. That means that there is less chance of confusing or contradictory goals – and when a brand knows what they are looking for, it makes the working relationship with them much smoother.
So what is “big”?
The most accurate (and simultaneously, most annoying) answer I can give is “it depends”.
The best example I can give is actually from early 2015 when the ProBlogger Conference was preparing for their day conferences around Australia. In the event group, a question was asked about bloggers with small followers who make money online – full time.
It was fascinating to watch the conversation in the Facebook Group happen. People were commenting with statements like “I only have 150k UV’s, that’s pretty small. Do you want to hear from me?” I wouldn’t even begin to know where to look to see if that conversation still exists on Facebook, but a similar version (with numbers clarification) exists here on ProBlogger. There is a great round up of the topics covered about monetisation and small blog stats here. There is also a round up post here, written by a blogger who attended the Sydney event. These were great day conferences because of the focus on smaller stats bloggers – something that is really often ignored in the blogging world!
Again, the short answer is that there are no rules. But don’t forget that you can pitch yourself to brands, you don’t have to wait for them to come to you.
How many unique views did you have per month when you first started working with brands?