It’s NO surprise that blogging makes people money. So today, I wanted to share a bit more about what goes into a sponsored post.
I’ll preface this by saying, most of my sponsored content recently has been Instagram campaigns. Do I see this staying this way forever? No. But I wanted to be up front with you, especially since I preach, preach, preach about standing your ground and always putting your blog first.
Sponsored content is everywhere. On the brand side. On the influencer side. Every platform you go to has sponsored content — YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even Twitter. If you’re an influencer, you know just how much work goes into creating a piece of content (nowadays it’s more like pieces of content). If you’re not an influencer, I still have a feeling that you can see how much work goes into a sponsored post. Unless you live under a rock. Then you might not.
I also want to mention that I actually really enjoy creating sponsored content. It allows me to work with some really awesome brands, connect others to that brand, and think outside of the box (this post in particular stands out, LOL). From start to finish, collaborations can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. A LOT of things happen within this time frame. So let’s dive right in.
Having a manager has honestly CHANGED the game for me. There are two different ways the talks of a collaboration can begin:
- An email from a brand: I get anywhere from 5-10 emails per week about collaborations. And most of them, I turn down. Now that I’m pretty confident in my brand, I know when I need to turn down an opportunity. So when I see a collaboration I think I’d be a good fit for, I’ll respond and add my manager.
- My manager reaches out to me: The nice part about being with an agency, is that they also have some great clients that they represent on the brand side. Sometimes my manager will reach out to me with a good opportunity.
My manager takes over from there, and discusses everything from timelines to deliverables to payment to creative. (Side note: Before I had a manager, I was doing this on my own with help from Elle to keep me on track). This takes anywhere from days to weeks depending on the urgency of the campaign and how quick the back and forth negotiations go.
Contract Review & Approval
Once we verbally agree to a campaign, the next part is contracts. Again, all of this goes through my manager, but before that contracts were actually the BANE of my existence. Contracts are honestly just filled with crazy legal jargon that no person without a law degree understands. So I was REAL happy to have this part of the collaboration process taken off my plate. If you handle all contracts on your own, I HIGHLY recommend having a lawyer read over contracts. My friend Ashlee has her own business where she specializes in contract creation, review, etc. for creatives.
Once contracts are signed, my manager will send over creative from the client. We’ll discuss ideas and make sure we nail what the client is looking for before I begin shooting content. Typically, the client will expect different content for each platform (i.e. Instagram vs. blog or even Instagram vs. Instagram Stories). I always make sure to ask questions up front, so I don’t risk having to re-shoot content. I often get really great ideas from the creative brief that teams send over.
Scheduling & Shooting
At this point, my manager takes a step back, and I really step in. No matter if I’m doing a blog campaign or Instagram only campaign, I love to have professional photos. I have to review my schedule and book a photographer (which is usually Allie…but obviously love Lydia and Lauren too). Since I do the whole 9-to-5 thing, weekends are pretty much the only times that work. Occasionally, I’ll shoot before work, but now I like to get into the office at 8:30…so shooting at 8AM doesn’t really work for me.
Scheduling is probably one of the hardest parts of this job. There are so many times when I wish I could do certain things during the week day, but have to sacrifice a weekend to make sure I finish a campaign and hit deadlines for clients.
Luckily, Allie created my own preset (you can purchase it here), and she usually edits all of my photos. PRAISE BE. Sometimes, if I’m in a time crunch, I’ll take the pressure off Allie and edit my own photos using the preset. And then I realize how much I appreciate her for editing my photos. LITERALLY WORTH EVERY SINGLE PENNY.
When working with clients, approval is often needed on their end. At first, I always thought it was kind of annoying, but after thinking about it — it makes TOTAL sense. Often times brands just want to make sure you’re 100% aligned on the messaging of the campaign and on brand for them. I mean, they’re paying me to represent their brand…it has to be consistent.
Captions, Posts, And More Scheduling
Once content is shot and approved, next comes the scheduling and creative portion. Whether it’s a blog post or an Instagram post, I always make sure to review my editorial calendar to make sure the content fits within the approved timeline as well as my calendar. I don’t like certain photos or posts to be back to back, so I make sure I either 1. have time to space out accordingly or 2. have filler content to create a buffer.
I use CoSchedule for blog promotion scheduling (although you can use it FOR SO MUCH MORE), and Planoly for Instagram scheduling.
Of course, engaging is a huge part of being an influencer. And I’m not only talking about on Instagram. If someone takes the time to write a comment, you better believe I’m going to write a genuine comment back to them. I’ve made some AMAZING connections and friendships because of blog comments…WAY before Instagram was even a thing. Engaging is crazy important across all platforms, and I know it’s something I’m going to continue doing with those who take the time to engage with me.
Analytics & Invoicing
After I post, I have the luxury of handing everything back to my manager. From there, he will handle analytics, invoicing, and following up on payments. He always tells me he’s happy to play bad cop when payments are late.
Recording Income & Expenses
I get paid bi-weekly through my agency, so I can easily manage not only my income but also my expenses. Over the last year or so, I realized just how important that little three letter word is. I have a pretty good system of making sure I’m keeping track of every single business expense I make for the blog. Reporting income and expenses is SO important for small business owners since we have to pay quarterly taxes.
I also want to touch upon another point: Before my manager was in the picture, I did all of this on my own. I know I’m #blessed that a lot of work can be taken off my plate. But I want everyone to know I’ve been there. I know all the hard work that goes into a sponsored post. I wrote this post because I wanted to lay out what goes into a sponsored post. I’ve seen a lot of comments and feedback from people who are not influencers on other influencers’/bloggers’ posts in regards to sponsored content. So I wanted to make sure I addressed it on my platform.
Are you still here? If you are, I’m shook. Because this was a LONG one. As always, your feedback is super appreciated!