How to treat your blog as a business

Somewhere along the blogging journey, you might decide to turn what started as a hobby or personal project into a business. Increased interest from brands, emails from companies willing to pay for exposure on your little corner of the net are all signs that your blog is transforming into something more. This whole process doesn’t just go naturally, unlike you might think. It goes along with a lot of responsibilities and it requires a certain professionalism and etiquette from your side. The following tips are not only on establishing successful collaborations with brands, it’s also about maintaining and growing your own brand, which is your blog. Let’s start.

  1. Focus on relationships rather than one off opportunities. By staying in contact with brands that you’ve previously worked with, they’re likely to think of you when a new collaboration opportunity comes up. Staying in touch can be as simple as sending a quick email to share your enthusiasm about a new collection or letting them know you featured one of their items on your blog.
  1. Go the extra mile. To establish long term relationships with brands, it’s key to leave a very, very positive impression of yourself when working on a project together. Make sure you keep them in the loop all the way during a collaboration. You could for example let them know once you receive the product that’s going to be used for the shoot, give them an estimation on when you’ll have the content ready to go online and let them proof read the article in case they’d like to make a change.
  1. Engage with your readers actively. If it wasn’t for your readers, you’d never make a penny from your blog, so maintaining active relationships, whether that’s through comments on posts or on social media, is very important. Truth is that staying in touch with your readers also increases your credibility for potential advertisers. A high level of engagement is a big plus in all possible ways.
  1. Vision. A blog isn’t a business simply because you get paid for some of the content you post. A proper business takes care of its branding too. That means that the design of your blog, imagery and style of writing have to be of quality and more importantly, it has to represent what you and your blog are all about. A few things that will help your blog’s branding process are as following. Carefully curate the images you use for each post, whether that’s on your blog or on social media. You should also never underestimate the power of a meaningful and coherent text to go with your post. They might say that images do all the talking, but I highly disagree. With your writing you can show your tone of voice and your personality, which will enable your readers to relate to you. Last but not least, mind your grammar. I’m not a native English speaker myself, so I bet you can find many mistakes in every post, but my point is: do the best you can. Always do a last check before you hit the publish button.
  1. Personal vs Professional. This is a question I’ve repeatedly asked myself. If you treat your blog as a business, should you refrain from sharing your personal life? Problems you have, how you’ve been feeling lately, a break up with your boyfriend; that sort of things. I personally believe that we follow bloggers because they’re human beings and have lives, hobbies, bad days & good days. At the same time, I do think that everything you post on your blog should have its own place. For example, I mostly use my photo diaries or dedicated personal posts to share my ‘real’ life.
  1. Email etiquette. Emails are a huge part of any business and it’s important to give attention to the way you present yourself. Always direct emails to a name, add a signature at the end of each email (e.g. with blog link and address) and finish your email with something like Kind Regards. Don’t you dare typing something like xoxo. When companies or brands reach out to you by email, try to mirror their writing style. Is the email playful and enthusiast? then reply in a similar manner. The same counts for someone reaching out in a corporate manner. Last but not least, always try to reply to emails within 24 hours. Especially if it involves a potential collaboration, you don’t want to miss out on a deal!
  1. Keep your promises. Deadlines are a big deal. So if you promise to have an article ready on a certain date, then do so. The same counts for meeting up to requirements as agreed on in a contract. Keeping your promises might seem like a very obvious thing to do, but I have the impression that many people (even though sometimes not on purpose) cannot live up to their promises. Whether that’s caused by lack of time or bad planning. it doesn’t matter. To help keeping your promises, working with an agenda and a time schedule is key. 
  1. Don’t burn bridges. On your blogging journey, you’ll be let down many, many times. Even if a deal with a brands stands, it can get cancelled at the last moment.  I’ve been let down quite badly a few times, which was disappointing. The best advice I can give in situations like this is; politeness, politeness, politeness. If corresponding by email, you could say something like “Even though I’m disappointed, I understand the situation. I hope you’ll keep me in mind for any future opportunities.” When you’ve done quite some pre-planning, you’ve spend several hours to negotiate every part of the collaboration and you’ve invoiced the company in question, politeness after they cancel isn’t exactly what comes to your mind first. However, it’s very important to stay professional. Working for an online store myself (read more about it here, if interested), I understand that there can be many reasons for a company to change its mind. One of them could be the budget or simply because the person in charge of the business doesn’t want to go ahead. Fact is, the people in control of the budget, usually aren’t the ones you’re communicating with by email any way, so bursting out in some sort of rant (which you should never do!), is probably not going to reach the person responsible. If you respond in a mature and professional manner, they’ll probably contact you again when a new opportunity comes up.

After Note

You’ll find a new Blog Tips article here on FashionContainer every week, so if there’s a topic in particular that you’d like to see discussed, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you can think of any other tips that have to be added to this list, shout out below!

Image source: mywhiteobsession

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