How To Work With Brands as a Small Blogger

It’s 2020, and brands are beginning to recognize the benefits of working with smaller bloggers/influencers. Micro influencers, and even nano influencers like myself are getting collaborations that compensate. If this applies to you, and you think you should be getting paid or given free product to post, then keep reading! If you feel like you know what you’re talking about – head to the comments and give some tips to help others out.

I don’t want to prolong this intro so I’ll get straight to the point. This post is going to be divided up into THREE sections. What you should be doing to attract brands, what kind of collaborations are out there, and the different ways you can find those collaborations. Now lets get started!


From a collaboration with Oral Essentials.

In no particular order, here are the different things that brands look for before working with a blogger or influencer. Of course every brand is different and I’m not speaking on behalf of every single brand out there, but across the board these are usually important!

Good Quality Photos – This can really level up your content game! Good quality photos can provide brands with value if your follower count is smaller, because the photos can be used on marketing materials across the board and even their own social media. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take all of your photos on a $600 camera. iPhone photos with the right lighting and edit can be amazing!

Authenticity – Being your true self online isn’t easy, but trying to pretend to be someone else or hide large parts of yourself will make you come across as fake. This includes promoting a product that you haven’t tested, or don’t plan to use in the future. When starting out as a smaller influencer or blogger you should be discussing products you love naturally, just for practice and to gain an audience! Another pet peeve of mine is pretending to love a product because it’s trendy. Make sure it works for you, and explain in detail why it does.

Engagement – Brands aren’t working with you just because your follower count is high. While that is great, what really proves you have ‘influence’ is the comments and interactions you get on posts. Make sure to be using hashtags, interacting with other people in a similar niche and showcasing what you do best!

Consistency – post consistently on whatever platform you would like to get collabs on. Whether that is Instagram, your blog, or your Youtube channel – establishing a routine shows brands as well as your audience that you’re dedicated to your content.


From a collaboration with Shoedazzle.

This is a very basic rundown of the different types of collaborations brands may offer you. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to collaborate – just as long as it brings value to you AND the brand. If you are providing something for the brand, you should be paid or compensated with product!

Paid Collabs – This is (obviously) when a brand pays you a certain rate for x amount of posts, photos, stories… You get the point. Because followers, engagement, and the quality of your content is always changing, your rates should be too. You can use Social Bluebook to help calculate your rates, but at the end of the day it’s up to you and what you think your value is! Along with some negotiation from the brand.

Product Exchange – This is when a brand sends a product in exchange for an instagram or blog post, etc. If you haven’t tried a product yet, it’s perfectly fine to ask the brand to try before you post. You want to give an honest review and they should be totally ok with that! As a smaller influencer, you may not be approached for payment yet. It’s okay to ask, but don’t feel bad if they brand says they ‘don’t have a budget’. You’re still growing, and if it’s not worth your time to do the collaboration for a sweatshirt and a face mask then just say no.

Commission Based – Some brands may offer you a collaboration where you can make a commission off of products sold using your link, code, etc. This is one of the collabs you should always evaluate, because if you have to buy the product and don’t make any commission the brand could be using you for free promotion.

Brand Ambassador – I am ALWAYS seeing spam comments asking to DM an account for information on becoming a brand ambassador. I’m not saying being a brand ambassador is bad… I’m just saying be careful. As an influencer it can be amazing to have an ongoing partnership with a brand, but make sure (as mentioned above) you are getting out of it what you want! If you’re a new blogger and feel great about working for free clothes because it helps you score some new content, then that’s amazing. If you’re getting paid for some posts here and there, and they are only offering you 30% off product but expecting you to post… It’s a no from me sis.


From a collaboration with DIFF Eyewear.

Talk to Other Bloggers + Get Involved – Just like in any other job, networking can help you make connections to improve your biz! Joining Facebook groups, checking out local blogger events, or just reaching out to people whose content you enjoy can help you out so much. Making genuine friends that understand what you’re trying to accomplish online is huge, and they can help answer questions and steer you in the right direction!

Use Influencer Networks – An influencer network is basically just a place for brands and influencers to connect. There are tons of different kinds of influencer networks, some are for product exchange, some you have to be accepted into… Etc. I won’t get too into this here, but if you want to know more about these and read about my personal favorites you can do that here!

Pitch Brands Directly – Reaching out directly to brands can be scary, but sometimes it makes all the difference! My best advice for smaller bloggers is to check out influencers with a similar following and see who they are collaborating with. If it’s a company that you already use, or that aligns with your niche and you’d like to try – shoot your shot! The worst thing they can say is no. Remember when emailing them to always include how you can bring them value, this is not about free stuff! If you can’t bring the brand value in some way or another you probably aren’t the right person to collaborate with them.

I hope this helped!

xx, Adrienne

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