How To Prevent Brands From Walking All Over You - Zeena Xena

Sunday, 10 December 2017 London, UK

Blogging Tips For 2018 

How To Prevent Brands From Walking All Over You... 

Coat - here
Jeans - here
Jumper - Bershka
Boots - here

Hey guys! Happy December I hope this month has been treating you well so far. As you can tell by the title, this post is all things owning your content and not letting brands walk all over you. I felt very compelled to draft this post as I'd been having a few conversations with bloggers, on things brands have done to negatively impact our brands and bank balances. Recently, I've found myself in a few situations and have managed to overcome them by a few simple tips I've included below. So grab your snacks, get a cuppa and enjoy - this is going to be a long one! 

What Are The Rules When Collaborating With Brands? 
Are there really any rules when it comes to collaborating on a gifting basis? I mean we all know we need to state whether or not items have been gifted, but before you get to that point, do you make up rules when collaborating with brands? I sure do.

When it comes to collaborations, I think it's always important to be transparent with brands from the get go. I always clarify what the terms are for collaborating just to try and avoid any confusion and so that brands don't push too much for content they have not paid for. If you do this part-time/full-time, you'll know gifted items are not your priority to post.

Communicating With Brands...
Right, so when items are gifted to me, let me just tell you this... There is NO WAY IN HELL that a brand is going to tell me what to do with MY content (especially when it isn't paid). I mean if I've built a relationship with the brand and I really really like them, there may be a slight chance, however more or less rules are made by me.

Most of my gifted items are usually posted to my ig stories on the same day or the day after I've received them. Now when I choose to upload the content to my feed is a bit of a hit and miss and depends on; a) how many things I have to shoot b) If I've shot already and the item/s in question comes after c) if the item/s go with my feed. Sometimes I've actually shot the content but it may not end up looking great on my feed so I can sometimes stall for a bit, or there have been instances where I've tried to shoot and the quality of images just aren't great due to lighting. This is okay as long as you communicate with the brand. I always communicate any issues with the brand as like I said above, it's important to remain transparent and also, communicating helps with building relationships. Typically, I try to post within 7-14 days of receiving products - could be sooner sometimes later, communication is just always key.

Having Authority/Dealing With Pushy Brands...
Having authority when it comes to brand collabs is so important in this day and age. I feel like a lot of brands take advantage of bloggers (especially those with smaller followings) and assume they are doing God's work by sending us free items. I've had brands in the post gift me items then say I have to do the following:

1) Tag them in the photo
2) Tag them in my caption
3) Include a hashtag
4) Upload at a certain time

For gifted items, I don't mind a tag but to ask for anything more is a) cheeky and b) counts as a paid collaboration so BIH get that shmoneyyy ready. Any PR gals that do this, I'm talking to you, this is not on and you know you're taking advantage of bloggers. If this is communicated to me from the get go, I'll politely decline however some brands do still like to send their terms over even if you've already sent yours.

What do I do in this case? 

I always politely explain that I've sent my terms over in my previous emails and any specific requests such as hashtags, posting times etc will be considered as a sponsored post. If that doesn't work and I sense a little attitude from the brand I ask for a returns label to send the item/s back. I really don't play with people that try to speak to me with an attitude. To the brands reading this: If you want to be specific and pushy about content, make sure you're paying for it, and if you want to be RUDE, be prepared to lose a blogger off of your campaign - your targets not met, not ours!

Not getting paid on time...
Well well well, I think October was my worst month of non-payments which is weird because I'd never dealt with situations like this before. I really do think it's unfair when big brands/agencies or any brand does this in fact, as most of us rely on these payments to pay bills.

When it comes to anything to do with money, I always make sure I have a contract in place, even with friends because you just never know. I mean sometimes I've let the contract thing slide if I'm not required to do much, however almost always a contract is set in place. This usually includes:

1) What I have to do (type of picture, tags etc)
2) Agreed upload dates
3) Payment & dates (some brands pay within a week some can say within 60 days. It all depends on how they work and what you agree to)
4) & other personal details.

Coat - here
Jeans - here
Jumper - Bershka
Boots - here

In my contracts I do state that I will charge extra for late payments (you can read up on this online), and if a late payment does occur I do get in touch with the team dealing with the collaboration. Some of these "professionals" are not on their job or effectively communicating with other team members so you will have to chase these queries up a little with different depatrments. Remind them: That you've done the job and stuck to your part of the contract so they should to. Whether blogging is your full-time job or just a hobby, everyone should be paid on time regardless.

Sometimes, like us, agencies/in house companies can go through difficult times too with things changing around, members leaving, etc try to be understanding if situations like this do come about.

If a brand has taken the absolute piss:

1) Take to social media: Companies hate to see their names being "dragged" online, so let your audience and other bloggers know of the issue. More time I've seen/heard brands resolving issues quicker because of a social media call-out

2) Get in touch with managers: sometimes they may be unaware of these situations

3) If that doesn't work; research your rights and take legal action especially for large amounts of money.

I really wanted to write this post just share a little wisdom with you guys. I want us to go into 2018 feeling like BOSS GALS and ready to take on all that blogging throws at us. Also, just a little *disclaimer*...This post isn't a hate post towards brands but more of an eye-opener for both bloggers and brands alike to come together and work effectively. I feel like if certain things aren't spoken about in the blogging community, we'll never learn from them so here I am, as always shining the light on another issue. I hope this helps someone out there...

Love & Light... 


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