There are two ways here: you pitch a company/brand or they pitch you. I don't pitch to brands usually, just because I am okay with the amount of sponsored posts I do--I average two to four a month that's fine for now. When you get pitched, there are general two ways: a blogging company or the brand contacts you directly, or some blogging companies do an open call where anyone can apply for an opportunity. In the latter, you will then pitch to them your idea about the product. If you meet the criteria, you might be chosen.
The Details of the Pitch
So if a company pitches to you, they will discuss the product, the theme of the post (like this one on holiday moments that make me feel beautiful), the requirements (usually a post and a certain amount of social shares), the deadline, and the payment. If everything is agreed upon, you will sign a contract or fill out a form or agree via email that you're in.
Sometimes I've had some great offers and then the company changes their mind--like budget, timing, or we just can't agree. It's frustrating when that happens, but I see it as it's not meant for me at this time. This goes with any business, but I don't share info any opportunities I'm discussing with brands with friends/family until it is set in stone.
I don't chose a sponsored post opportunity unless it works for me/my blog. Let me repeat that: I don't pick a sponsored post unless it works for me/my blog. That burns my biscuits when I get a negative comment on a post I've worked so hard on and thought my readers would love as well! I've discussed sponsored posts in a series that begins here, but I don't feel comfortable opening my space and losing my integrity over a product that was awful. If it works for me, I share it with you. I usually don't go for opportunities that don't fit the feel of the blog (I use the example of not doing a sponsored post for caulking your bathroom because that doesn't fit my blog). Not all bloggers feel the same way and that's their business, but I don't feel good about it for me. I've turned down a lot of money because of that, and I've been told that's dumb, and maybe it is, but I go with my instincts.
I like to do the pics first. I will think of an idea (I call it a story) that goes along with the post. Most brands require a certain amount of pics and will insist on certain shots, like two product shots. I will then get out my props and shoot the pic. Above is a rough idea of my set up and below is a rough example of a possible finished pic (I didn't edit this one, but you get the idea). This can take 5 minutes and it can take hours. It just depends. Sometimes the vision doesn't match up once I take the pics. Sometimes I will end up completely different than where I started. I know when it feels right or if something feels off. I take pics until it feels right. I do lots of shots. Like for the one above, I took pics of the product in front of the background, the product in the tinsel, the tinsel in different spots behind the product, etc. If you would like me to go into detail of how I take my pics and set them up, let me know and I'll be happy to do a post!
Usually a sponsored post is written a month or so in advance--sometimes months in advance. There are a couple of blogging companies that let you post sight-unseen, but for me that is not usually the norm. You (or someone will) shoot the pics, edit them, and create the post. Sometimes you send in social media examples too for review. The blogging company, the brand itself, and sometimes legal (usually if you are dealing with any pharmaceutical) will review your post/pics/etc and then edit them or suggest edits. This usually means you are doing double the blog work--your regular posting plus your future posting.
You need to be okay with constructive criticism. I see it as I want to do the best job I can, so that means I have no problem fixing what they are looking for if I need to. I don't always agree with the edits, but I do make sure it is nothing that morally bothers me--example: that has happened with a few posts that weren't sponsored, where I had an item for review and they wanted me to change my opinion on it. Nope. I'm not going to lie and say a product will erase wrinkles forever, for example.
It's Time To Post!
I don't always have a post go up when it is supposed to. This can be frustrating since I like to schedule things out months in advance, and it's even more frustrating when I am doing another sponsored post and then end up having 2 in one week! My advice is to be flexible, and it doesn't hurt to ask the company if you can move the date around.
I usually will post by a certain date and time and then promote it using the given hashtags. Some brands want a shot pulled from the post for Instagram, for example, and others will require a new pic not from the post. Some brands will need to see your social media text beforehand and some don't. It just depends.
Per your agreement, you will be paid in a certain amount of days--30 to 90 is normal. Some will send a check, some will do direct deposit, some will send via Paypal...it just depends. And others you will send them a PO where you bill them for the post and then they will cut a check. My advice--get organized and stay on it!! I slipped up and forgot to get paid for a post--I thought I was paid already--luckily, the company emailed me and realized they forgot to pay me--9 months later! You will need all of this info for taxes, so again, take my advice and stay organized!
All in all, one sponsored post takes me about 3-4 hours to do--writing, editing, taking pics, editing, writing social shares, scheduling social shares, etc. I enjoyed sharing my sponsored post process.
I hope you found this post informative!
I took down my decorations for fall/Halloween. Then I went to Target and got way too excited over the Christmas decorations! They've got some good stuff out this year! Definitely in the mood now to decorate!