I’m sure many of you have seen my sponsored work on the blog or my instagram. I wanted to address any concerns/questions about this and really write the truth about sponsored posts.
As a reader, do you wonder if sponsored posts are authentic? How do I get them? Why do I do them? And does sponsored work mean that I’m posting about stuff I don’t care about or selling to you just because I’m getting paid? Well, here is the truth about sponsored posts with detailed questions and answers that hopefully give you knowledge of the social media world and how I full time blog!
All jewelry is from Pandora (a collaboration I did on my instagram)
Do you do accept every offer given to you for sponsored work?
I receive emails every day and most do not fit me, my life, or what I want to share. I select work that I love, products, services I would love to use and would spend my own money on! This is extremely important in being authentic. I share what I love and also ensure I’m spending time on items that you guys would want to know about too!
In the beginning I made a few mistakes in accepting items I didn’t love. I’m continuously learning about myself, what you guys might like and we all make mistakes. I feel very lucky that I can be selective now. I take on very little product as I already have way too much stuff in my apartment.
Do you love every product or service you promote?
I do! From instastories to blog posts, things I share are part of me and what I like to use. I would hate to share something where I had a horrible experience or wasn’t a great product and you guys were upset about it. In addition, I know there are costs associated with brands sending me items. Many times I decline things sent to me as I know I won’t share it or it’s not something I can promise that I might love to share.
Do you believe you are being authentic in doing sponsored work?
This is #1 for me. Being authentic resonates to my readers. You guys are super smart and don’t want to be sold to all day long. You know my style, what I may try, what I might like. I feel lucky to have you guys read what I write, follow along with my life, so I want to be super authentic in what I share. I love food, travel, fashion, style, so in all elements of my life, I share some sponsored, but most are just items I love!
Why do you do sponsored posts?
Since March, (when I decided to do this full time,) I had to find a way to make money. As with any job, why spend 14 hours a day on something if you can’t drive revenue? I’ve worked hard on increasing traffic to my blog, increasing my followers on my instagram, and to create interesting content for pinterest. I see my life as a marketing platform and the impressions I have built are the same as an ad network. I work on sponsored posts to earn a living, but I’m very authentic about my partnerships. I feel a responsibility to share what I love, what fits into my life, what I think my readers will love, and making sure it is truly something I would use or buy.
How do collaborations work?
These days I typically get a general email about collaborating. If it is a product/service I love, I’ll email back that I work on a fee basis. From there, we negotiate about the contract terms. It’s important to have a contract to make sure things are set on both sides. Dates for posting, hashtags and tags required, payment details, etc are all outlined so that the collaboration is set as a job.
I shoot projects about once a week, get approvals, and than set up my post to go on a certain day.
Blog posts can take a day or two to write, photoshoots take about a hour or so (this one below took over 2 hours as we drove here, I changed a few times for other work). Each job takes time and more than just that one photo you see on instagram. I prep outfits (buy or look through my closet), think about the creative concept and talk to Hannah, my photographer about the shots.
Do you pitch for collaborations?
At the moment, I rarely pitch for collaborations as I get emails daily. The few times I have pitched is for travel, as I’m headed to a different city and I want to cover a hotel stay or the city.
Are you paid for 100% of your blog posts and instagrams?
No! I post what I love, what I’m thinking about and collabs are a few a week/month. I do look at my calendar to make sure that my collaborations work well with what I’m doing in my life and my posts aren’t all bulked together as sponsored. I want a natural feel to my posts and how I live my life daily.
When did you start doing sponsored collaborations?
I have been blogging for 7 years! I can’t believe it. When I first started, it was purely a passion project. Brands didn’t start allocating budget to instagram or blog posts until the last few years so I’ve had more projects. This past year, when I decided to slow down my work at T&J Designs and blog full time, my projects increased and I spent a lot more time thinking about content and rebranded my site with photography with Hannah.
All jewelry is from Pandora (a collaboration I did on my instagram)
I’ve heard of affiliate links or commissions and liketoknow.it. What is this? How does it work?
Bloggers use links off websites (such as RewardStyle, who owns liketoknow.it) to make a commission on items you click through or eventually purchase from those sites. Most use RewardStyle (for the blog) and liketoknow.it is a way to use it on instagram (mobile) so our readers can easily shop what we are sharing. We act as the “salesperson” and get a commission on what you are interested in and buy.
How many collaborations do you work on a month?
I wish I could say one every week! But right now it all depends, sometimes it is slower, sometimes I have three a week. Since I don’t pitch, I do what I love, what fits in my schedule.
Do you have free creative freedom for collaborations or do brands tell you what to share?
I love this day and age. 99% of the brands allow me to have creative freedom and at times, they have to approve the picture and caption, but they TRUST me. I’ve had such great experiences with all the brands I’ve worked with. Companies look at our posts and partner with those they feel like have the same creative feel.
How do you figure out what to charge?
I do have a base fee per instagram and blog post. A lot of times I look at the requirements and review, how many posts am I doing, timing, my expenses for the shoot, my overall time to develop content and what they expect. From there I figure out my fees. You can also google guidelines as to what other people charge, but most tell you to way over charge. I owned a business, I think of both sides and want to make sure it is beneficial for my client and that they get the return and impressions they need. I liked this article showing different rates that people post.
What’s the most important thing you focus on in sponsored collaborations?
The most important thing – be authentic. When you see the photo you know that it is me and you trust that I am sharing something that I genuinely care about. My blog and social media accounts are here because of you guys! Without readers and people interested, I would not have a job, I would not have had T&J Designs. This trust is important to me and on the top of my mind for ever email I receive to collaborate.
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Well said, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing your wisdom on the panel but also following up with this post. More influencers should follow in your footsteps! Keep killin’ it, Boss Babe!
Thank you so much Kelsey!! Means so much that you left me a comment – and so glad you liked me posts and saw me speaking!