Chapter 6: Collaborating for the Win Win
If you're an avid foodie on the blog, you've probably witnessed a few collaborations here and there. No friends, I unfortunately do not get paid to "promote" the products I write about/use for recipes. BUT I do get tasty little treats delivered to my door every once in a while... and THAT is winning! No, I'm not here today to brag about all the free food I receive. And frankly if I were, then this chapter would be fairly short (I'm not as popular as you might think). Most of the collaborations I've done have been a direct result of me reaching out to companies I love, and asking straight up - would you like to team up? And that my friends was a magical little lesson I learned when I first started out in the blogging realm.
Like I mentioned in previous chapters, blogging and social networking has so much to do with the interactions you have with other like minded individuals in your niche. If you're a starter blog, not many companies are going to reach out - if any. As a baby blogger, you don't necessarily have collateral. BUT what you do have is a platform, an area of focus, a creative outlook, and an appetite (okay maybe that last one was bias). Much like working as an intern, many bloggers begin creating their network by offering/trading free material. There are a number of ways to manage collaborative work, you just have to (a) think about how another name will reflect on your own (who do you want to associate with - think values and overall brand), (b) decide on an area of your own expertise you want to exploit (do you want to showcase your creative writing, photography skills, recipe building, etc), and (c) make sure it's a win - win (the point of a collaboration is for both parties to benefit). If you're writing for a large platform, make sure you're getting credited. If you're putting in a substantial amount of work, make sure you're getting some value. Remember, the key is to expand your network. Collaborative work, if done right, can build your following, add depth to your portfolio, and teach you a thing or two about the world of blogging.
If I remember correctly, my first collaboration started before the blog. I had heard from a fellow IG friend that companies sent out products to loyal customers. Of course being my frugal self, I thought this concept was super neat, and thought I'd give it a try. So I contacted my favourite vegan protein company - Vega - and mentioned how much I liked their products, and asked if they'd be interested in sending a few treats my way, and in return I'd share my adoration with my followers. Next thing I knew I was receiving products in the mail (which if you're a digital native like myself, snail mail is super fun and exciting). Now once I had the blog up and running, I knew I could make use of this new (to me) system for finding networking opportunities with companies I loved. Giveaways were my next adventure! I started working with companies like Central Roast and Village Harvest to expand both our social networking circles. Plus, I already used the products, so getting to use them for free was a total bonus!
I obviously had no problem reaching out to companies for collaborative opportunities. I think it's a really smart way to work yourself into larger, more interactive networks. But the REALLY neat part about integrating yourself into another platform is that people start asking YOU! When I started receiving messages regarding collaborative work, I knew I reached another level of success in the blogging realm. I was becoming a recognizable figure to those in the health food niche, and it felt great (still does)! This led to guest postings and recipe creating for other platforms and companies which I was then able to reblog or repost for my own material as well. The beauty with teaming up is that there really are no limits! Realistically, the first step is putting yourself out there. Figure out what it is that you can/want to offer, and find those willing to nurture your creative endeavours!