The Importance of Networking

chloe alice lily

2017 was the year that bloggers really started to know their value. Around the middle of 2017, I started to ask PRs for budget when they emailed me about collaborations and I realised that my words and the long hours I poured into this blog were worth more than a free lipstick or exposure. The content of this post may surprise you because if you follow me on Twitter – which you should, by the way! – you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate for bloggers being paid for their work and I often share with people my tips on getting sponsored content, pitching to brands etc. In fact, I actually preach quite strongly against accepting free blogging work. However, sometimes money isn’t the only form of payment you can accept and, while I think you should always ask for campaign budgets, sometimes it’s okay to work for “free”.

And, in the words of Uncle Bryn, I’m going to tell you for why.

chloe alice lily

A big part of blogger and brand collaborations is establishing a relationship and sometimes, in order for a good relationship to be made, you need to be not an arse if the brand tells you they can’t pay you. For me, I just use my judgement when it comes to brands I’d like to establish a relationship and those that are probably just going to be a one-time thing. How to establish this is quite personal to you. For me, I try and establish good relationships with beauty brands and homeware brands because that is my niche. Working with big beauty brands is a huge deal to me whether they want to pay me or not. If the idea of the collaboration gives you butterflies in your tummy and makes you text your other half saying “you’ll never guess who I’ve just agreed a collaboration with!” then that’s a good sign that you should still go for it, even if they’re only offering gifting and don’t have a budget.

With some brands, I’ve been too excited to even ask for budget and just accepted their terms of gifting without negotiating. I wouldn’t advise this as you may sometimes miss out – but don’t ever let budget be the be all and end all for you. Work something else out.  Once you have established a good relationship with a brand, it is very likely that they may come back to you with more collaborations in the future. And, maybe they didn’t have budget for the last collaboration you did together but they do now.

For working for free once, you’ve secured your future self a nice little fee.

chloe alice lily

Blogging, essentially, is a form of networking and I think that making contacts with brands and solidifying relationships with PR companies is one of the most important aspects of the whole thing. Some of the best collaborations I’ve had have come from meeting the PR in real life and establishing a really good relationship because then they can see that you’re more than an Instagram feed or how many comments your last post got. Over Christmas, I sent all of my favourite PRs a friendly “Merry Christmas” email, in which I expressed an interest in collaborating in the New Year and a lot of them got back to me and I’ve now re-worked with them again in 2018. Blogging is fantastic way to learn how to network and if you can get yourself to events then I definitely would.

Building a relationship takes time and sometimes, for brands, you might be seen as a risk. If, like me, you’re quite new to blogging and your follow count isn’t high, they may not want to invest in you with payment straight away. Sometimes, the initial collaboration is just a trial run.

Obviously, sometimes, brands do take the complete piss. I had an email a few weeks back from a PR who wanted me to include a link to her client’s personalised gifting website in a blog post. I get these kinds of requests so often and link-based work is one of my main forms of income when it comes to blogging. I hit her back with an email asking what their budget was. She replied saying “I’m sorry, they haven’t allocated a budget for this one.” I took a look at the website and thought ‘okay, well, there’s no budget but the gifts are really nice so maybe I can feature them in a gift guide.’ So, I replied saying that was okay and I’d happily work on a gifting basis only. She got back to me a few moments after saying “oh, it’s not a gifting campaign either.” At this point, I was majorly confused. I hit back with so, what are you offering in exchange for a link?”She replied with “oh, um, I didn’t know we’d have to give you something in return.” Now, this is an example of when you should not work for free. In my opinion, collaborations have to be mutually beneficial and, in this case, that collaboration wasn’t mutually beneficial.

chloe alice lily

It is a very personal thing to know when it’s okay to work for free when it comes to blogging. It’s something that is definitely a gut reaction for me. We’ve really seen a shift in the industry in the past year – bloggers now plucking up the courage to ask for money and know their self-worth. Long gone are the days of brands taking advantage because, more and more, bloggers are starting to know their worth. They’re not working for discounts or exposure and hopefully this means that brands will offer this less and less. Brands are understanding what an impact “smaller influencers” have and what bloggers can do for them and therefore are far more willing to pay them for their time and their hard work. I know that me of all people preaching about how it’s fine to work for free may seem as uncharacteristic but I’m going to let you into a little secret: I work for free quite often and I don’t hate it. 

chloe alice lily

Top & hat – LOTD
Coat – Missguided
Boots & Skirt – New Look
Bag – Radley

21 Comments

  1. February 11, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    Could not agree with you more there if I tried. Also, you hair is on fleek girl! 😘

  2. February 11, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    Lovely photos gal! Totally agree that you don’t always have to seek payment, I’m more than happy to receive gifted product instead of being paid. I think it’s great bloggers are recognising their value (AND that companies are too) but I can’t help but feel bloggers are getting a little grabby and expecting to be paid for everything.

    Great post, Lots of love Izzy | http://www.adoseofchatter.com

  3. February 11, 2018 / 11:29 pm

    Loved this post! It’s so true. I see so many people saying point blank never accept a post without being paid but sometimes it just isn’t going to happen, and it can really help to form a relationship with a brand. I find it so exciting working with brands that I love! x

  4. February 12, 2018 / 3:22 am

    Possibly my fave outfit you’ve ever posted babe, you look effing hot!

    I completely agree with you on a bloggers worth and getting paid for the content that you make – I mean I’m not sure about you but personally I get most of my wishlist items and fashion inspo etc from blogs and social media as opposed to magazines these days anyway. In fact, I haven’t even bought a magazine in God knows how long, so it only makes sense for brands to pay a blogger or someone who is advertising their products just like the would for a magazine.

    I’m not sure if you listen to the podcast Keeping it Candid by Sophie Milner and Millie Cotton but they recently did an epsiode and discussed this all in depth – well worth a listen if you haven’t 🙂

    Another good read babe! xx

  5. February 12, 2018 / 9:12 am

    This was such a good read. I’m definitely going to start building a relationship with my PRs and brands that I work with a lot more.

    Yasmina | The July Journal

  6. February 12, 2018 / 9:58 am

    I totally agree! Networking is such a huge part of blogging and establishing relationships too x

  7. February 12, 2018 / 10:43 am

    I completely agree! There are brands that I’ve worked with several times with that I only work with on a gifting basis, but I am happy to do so as I actually purchase their products and have a good relationship with the PR so don’t mind giving them exposure in exchange for gifts. x

  8. heather nixon
    February 12, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Networking or just working with brands in general was something that I never even considered when I started almost five years ago but it’s such an integral part of blogging now x

    http://www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk

  9. February 12, 2018 / 12:01 pm

    I think building up relationships with PRs is often more important than payment. I try not to work for free often but if I really like a product or I’d buy it myself anyway, I often will review it for free. Also, how gorgeous are you? This outfit is so cool as well!

    Sian x
    http://www.theenglisheverygirl.com

  10. February 12, 2018 / 6:11 pm

    Totally agree with you! I’ve just had my first collab and it went really well and they want me to work for them again! Also, I love your outfit, you look fab!x

    Francesca | EverythingChessie 🌿

  11. February 13, 2018 / 12:18 am

    LOVED this post chlo, I agree with everything. So many important points made xx

  12. February 13, 2018 / 9:53 am

    great post, I actually dont mind working for free, I enjoy writing and if there is no payment, I dont mind.. id rather build that relationship than demand payment up front.

  13. February 13, 2018 / 11:08 am

    I loved reading this post! I’m rubbish with emails and asking for money and I always feel like I don’t ‘deserve’ to be paid – which is ridiculous. I’m starting to become more confident, but I definitely need to become more aware xo

    Char | http://www.charslittleblog.co.uk

  14. February 13, 2018 / 11:56 am

    The photos are gorgeous! This is such a lovely post and one I’m sure is going to help so many people. Collaborations are a hard thing to get your head around as a new blogger and because there aren’t particularly any ‘rules’ advice like this is nice to hear. It is such a personal decision as to whether you work for free or not, and totally depends on who it is and if you’d like to carry on working with them with the chance of being paid in the future!

    Sarah | http://www.sazsinclair.com xx

  15. February 13, 2018 / 8:52 pm

    It’s nice to get paid for the work but most importantly building that relationship. When companies are taking the mick. I know they are not worth my time. Plus I blog for me 😊

  16. February 13, 2018 / 10:23 pm

    I loved this post, you hit the nail on the head! I think it’s definitely worth building a relationship with a brand so it seems a lot more authentic to both of you, as you grow to love the products as well. We deffo can’t be entitled but also shouldn’t cut ourselves short! x

    G

  17. February 14, 2018 / 7:25 am

    Such a great post and I’m so glad it’s out there.
    I agree it’s sometimes hard to know which way to play it.
    I hate it when a brand just ignores you the second you mention a budget or anything like that! So rude!

    http://littlemissmelanie.com

  18. February 15, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    You had me at ‘in the words of Uncle Bryn’ !

  19. February 17, 2018 / 9:31 pm

    I absolutely loved reading this Chlo, and completely agree with everything you have written. Blogging is very much about networking and building relationships so you’re right, it can be okay to work for free, providing you’re not being taken advantage off. xx

  20. February 18, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Wow, they wanted a link for nothing. Well done you for standing your ground. I am very new to the blogging block, but this is my business. I had a company approach me recently with a budget, but I really didn’t feel it fitted with my niche or would benefit my readers so I politely declined. It isn’t just about the money, I want to build a trusting relationship with my customers.

    Can I just add, what a beautiful blog. I love pipdig and am not even with WordPress 😀

  21. February 20, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Bloody loved the Gavin and Stacey reference Chlo haha! I also loved this post so much; I couldn’t agree more about the importance of building relationships with brands and PRs and I definitely think it’s ok to work for free in some cases! Like you said, it’s certainly a gut reaction! You also look fab in these pictures Chlo! xx
    http://www.imjustagirl16.co.uk

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