How Do Blogger Collaborations Really Work?

A number of new/aspiring bloggers often send me in queries regarding how to turn blogging into a profession. While I am not an expert, nor a super successful blogger, I have worked with a fair share of brands during my blogging journey and today I will use my experience to share some knowledge regarding blogger collaborations. Bear in mind that I primarily work with beauty and lifestyle brands in India, so this blog post will be most relevant for beauty bloggers in India who want to know more about working with brands.

Although for most beauty bloggers, makeup & skincare is a passion, it becomes impractical to buy and review new products all the time unless you have a steady source of income, either from another job or from your blog. This is where the concept of blogger collaboration comes in handy, particularly for full-time bloggers. Many of you who are just starting out in this field do not know how to go about such collaborations and there are others who feel that bloggers lead a privileged life where they get sent a bunch of products for free. Today, I will answer some of these questions and will bust the ridiculous myths about blogging that I have seen floating around the internet.

1. Sponsored Posts – Sponsored posts basically mean that a brand pays you for talking about their products on your blog/social media platforms. However, a brand will offer you money for promoting their products only if you have a HUGE number of followers on at least one platform. Only those who have put years of effort into their blog or YouTube channel or Instagram profile, get to the point where brands start offering them money for their posts. So basically, you have to be prepared to make no money from your posts for a long time before you begin to get noticed by brands.

2. Free Products? – So do bloggers really get products for free? Yes, sometimes they do. However, influencer marketing largely works on a barter system wherein a brand expects you to review/feature the “free” product on your blog and social media profiles. So basically, you don’t really get a product for free, you have to click some great pictures of the product and create a video/blog post about it in return, which is not as easy as it may seem to non-bloggers. I would say that instead of being paid in cash by the brand, this model allows us to get paid in the form of products for the labor that is needed to create the required content. Bear in mind that most ethical brands request bloggers for their honest reviews on products, so all that you read/hear about a “free” product is not a bunch of lies. However, there are a few brands that insist on biased, positive reviews and I would recommend all bloggers to stay away from these folks because such malpractice will tarnish your reputation as an honest reviewer with time and is totally uncool too!

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3. Discounted Products – Some of the more established brands may not be willing to offer free products but may provide some discount to a blogger based on the traffic the blog generates. Again, most brands expect you to share an “honest” review in return for the discount and these are the brands that I choose to work with. If your content about a brand gets a lot of views and positive responses, then chances are that the brand will approach you for more collaborations in the future and may also send you some free products if things work out. The key lies in creating the best possible, engaging content about each product that you feature on your blog.

4. Affiliate Links – Some brands may also provide bloggers with affiliate links that help the bloggers earn some commission each time someone uses their link to purchase a product. To be able to earn anything at all from these affiliate links you must have a large number of readers/followers in the first place, which brings me back to the main point of this post – no one can make anything from blogging without putting in a ton of effort. 

What should new bloggers do?

If you are a new blogger then I will encourage you to first work on creating great content that attracts a reasonable number of readers. You will need to buy your own products for a LONG time before any brand starts sending you samples, and even then you cannot just work on sponsored posts because then your blog will turn into a collection of advertisements for a handful of brands. In the beginning, no brand may approach you, you will have to contact them instead. When approaching a brand for a collaboration, make sure to let them know how you can feature their products in a unique manner and why you are wanting to work with them. This will increase your chances of grabbing their attention and earning a spot on their collaboration program.

What are the blogger’s responsibilities when creating a sponsored post/writing about a PR sample?

It is not only ethical but is also mandated by search engines and different social media platforms to mention when you are creating some sponsored content or writing about a PR sample. This can be in the form of a hashtag (#ad, #sponsored, #PRsample etc) or in the form of plain old text. Also, if a brand is paying you for linking to their website in your blog post then make sure to add a “nofollow” attribute to this link. Google penalizes the web pages that add paid links to their articles without this attribute because some brands use underhanded tricks to increase their digital footprint by paying the bloggers to link to their website. (You can find out more about this by googling about no follow links.)

If you have made it to the end of this post then you must have realized that blogging and working with brands is not as easy a task as it may appear to be. It is not a rosy, privileged life for most bloggers and in fact, is one that requires a lot of dedication behind the scenes. So if you are new to the world of blogging, do keep these points in mind to set the right expectations and to take the necessary steps towards becoming a successful blogger.

Remember, keep your content honest, unique, and useful for your readers. Blogging should be a passion first and a profession later.

Happy Blogging! 🙂

Note – All images are taken from Pixabay

P.S. – If you enjoyed this blog post then please click this link and leave a comment on the nomination page to help me win the Indian Bloggers Award!

 

 

Is Blogging A Dying Art?

I recently read an extremely thought provoking post by Mehak Sagar Shahani from Peaches And Blush that was titled “Whatever Happened To The Blogging Scene In India?“. The article talked about how social media marketing has become imperative for the success of any blog and how the old school model of blogging that focused on pure content is slowly degrading. With today’s post, I take the discussion one step further by talking about how I feel that the power of the written word has diminished over time and how the good old art of blogging is dying a slow death as a result of the same.

Be honest to yourself, how many times have you skipped reading an article or a blog post simply because it was too long and wordy? I must confess that I am guilty of this as well. We seldom pay much heed to the fact that the writer has dedicated additional efforts for creating something more substantial, and simply skip reading the article or skim through it, blaming it on the lack of time. It is also the lack of time that makes us gravitate towards videos and audio books, that we can devote a percentage of our attention to while performing more important tasks, as opposed to focussing all our attention on a blog post that requires actual reading. Not that I am against videos or audio books, in fact, I appreciate and respect the hard work that goes into creating them. But what about those who do not have the skill for creating such content but are extremely talented at writing? Is it fair for them to suffer if they are not comfortable with other mediums of expression?

Another reason for the reduced audience of a blog is the sheer abundance of bloggers in the world today. Although this may seem contradictory to the title of this post, it actually isn’t. I refer to the new generation of bloggers who do not consider blogging as an art but as a money making machinery. They do not rely on creating unique and useful content but on producing a random mish mash of keywords that will attract search engines. Although making a clever use of SEO techniques and social media marketing is not a crime, blindly relying on these without backing them up with talent is (in my humble opinion). What I am trying to say is that what used to be a task as basic as typing down your thoughts and pressing the publish button now comes with a rather intimidating and disorienting formula for success (as depicted in the image below). Many talented writers and bloggers are able to master this formula but others get swallowed by it.

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Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/seo-search-engine-optimization-1906465/

The art of blogging originated as a channel for the creative individuals to express themselves and to showcase their talents. Blogs soon became digital journals for some and online portfolios for others. Things escalated rapidly as bloggers discovered that they could actually generate some revenue with the help of advertisements and sponsored posts, but as YouTube and Instagram began to boom, the revenue generated by blogs started to dwindle. In fact, this problem is so deeply rooted in our habit to avoid reading as much as possible, that even the carefully worded descriptions beneath the Instagram images often go unnoticed.

That being said, I consider myself a writer before anything else, and will, therefore, continue to pen down my thoughts and send them floating in the sea of digital media. Those of you who miraculously survived till the end of this post (a BIG thank you to you), do comment below to let me know that there are still many who enjoy reading the written word!

Featured Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/workspace-place-of-work-work-766045/

Is Vanity A Bad Thing?

Hey everyone, today I have a different kind of a post for you. It is not a review but a ramble pertaining to some thoughts that cross my mind from time to time. To summarize the gist of the post, I will be sharing my opinion on the negative stereotypes that exist around makeup. I am sure most of you must have heard pedantic suggestions to “embrace your natural beauty” and to stop using makeup on a daily basis. The trouble is that these naysayers seldom realize that a majority of women use makeup to simply enhance their natural looks and not to create an entirely different face.

The misconception that makeup is synonymous with being fake is one that has persisted over the years and hence many are quick to pass a judgement regarding the character of a woman based on whether or not she is wearing lipstick. The sad part is that these very people put actresses and models on a pedestal for their beauty, turning a blind eye towards the fact that that not only do the magazines show images of women heavily decked up in makeup, most publications also favour photographs that are airbrushed to make these women look slimmer and flawless. It is highly ironic that women like you and me are expected to be comfortable with our blemishes and wrinkles when we are being told that these images are what define beauty.

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If you Google the definition of vanity, the first one that pops up is “Excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.”. Clearly, the meaning has a negative connotation. I wonder what the word is for wanting to be the best version of oneself with the help of grooming? It probably does not exist because people still find it hard to believe that the most common use of makeup is to make women feel more confident in their own skin. I was born with perfect skin but it got battered and bruised over time due to hormonal breakouts. No matter what I try, I cannot eliminate my acne completely. If a tiny dab of concealer can make me feel more comfortable walking out of my house then is it really such a crime to use it? If it is socially acceptable for women with good morals to match their shoes to the color of their dress then why is wearing a red lipstick frowned upon by many?

The bottom line is that the people who conform to the beauty standards established by media should not feel entitled to discourage the women around them from wearing makeup. I do not have a solution to this particular problem but there is a general solution to most problems in the world, to live and let live. Whether I chose to wear or skip makeup on a particular day should be my decision, I know that I am beautiful with or without it, and so are you!

Related Post: 5 Pressurizing Standards of Beauty That Need To Go

Long Overdue Post: Lovely Blog Award

This is a long overdue post. Many of my lovely readers nominate me for blog awards from time to time and I am ever so grateful to each one of you. Although I may not be able to respond to them immediately, they always make me so happy and thankful! I was recently nominated by the amazing Toribeth2016 from https://batgirlwordpress.wordpress.com/ for the Lovely Blog Award. If you haven’t heard about this one, here are the rules:

  1. Mention and leave a link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  2. Share seven interesting facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate others for the award.
  4. Share the good news with your nominees.

So here are 7 facts about me that might interest you:

  1. I am a die-hard foodie who is willing to taste almost everything edible.
  2. I am quite an introvert and have a very small social circle.
  3. I HATE Mondays!
  4. I love reading historical fiction.
  5. I would much rather spend a day at the beach than at a hill station.
  6. I have recently discovered adult coloring books and find them to be a great stress buster.
  7. I sometimes buy stuff online when I am half asleep and totally regret it the next morning 🙁

Those were 7 facts about me, I nominate the following people for the Lovely Blog Award:

  1. https://beautytalkswithneha.com/
  2. http://personalogues.com/
  3. https://msmeehnia.com/
  4. http://makeupandsmiles.com/
  5. https://phashionbug.com/

I would also love all of you to share an interesting fact about yourself in the comments 🙂

XoXo,

Mrinalini

MatrikaS The Creative Woman’s Journal | Review

This lovely community of bloggers realizes the power of words and the magic of colors, which is why I am sure that all of you will love The Creative Woman’s Journal created by MatrikaS. I received this amazing journal as a part of their blogger outreach program and have been gasping at its quality and beauty ever since. It is a sturdy, hardbound journal with a red cover and gold embossing, with a feather on top that provides a constant encouragement to write.

Matrikas The Creative Woman Journal

The pages are thick and robust, not the kind that blot the ink or tear when flipped quickly. Most of the pages are lined while some of them are blank, providing a wonderful canvas for the random doodles and scribbles. The sheer quality of the paper will motivate you to fill up this journal with your thoughts, dreams, and memories!

Matrikas The Creative Woman's Journal

I know that most bloggers, and women in general, are obsessed with making lists. The Creative Woman’s Journal also contains several pages full of fun stickers that will add a quirky element to your lists and diary entries. I have already started playing around with these stickers to create some interesting pages in my journal.

MatrikaS The Creative Woman's Journal Stickers

My favorite feature of this journal is the collection of adult coloring pages that have dreamy designs which you can bring to life with vibrant hues of your choice. Do you know what the best thing about these coloring pages is? No matter what colors you choose, the picture always looks beautiful. You can find me each evening, sitting on my window sill, filling in these patterns with my pack of color pencils. An excellent way to unwind and to relive your childhood days!

MatrikaS The Creative Woman's Journal Adult Colouring Pages

If you are anything like me and are always on the hunt for high-quality stationery, The Creative Woman’s Journal from MatrikaS is tailor-made for you. Do check out their fantastic collection to find the perfect stationery that caters to your creative personality.

You can follow MatrikaS on their social media platforms to stay updated regarding all their products:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MatrikasPaperProducts/?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MatrikasPaper

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/matrikas_stationery/

Also, check out their website at http://www.matrikas.co.in/. All your stationery needs can now be fulfilled with just one click!

XoXo,

Mrinalini

P.S. – This review is a part of the MatrikaS Scribble Your Heart Away Campaign but all the thoughts and opinions are my own.