Bloggers and Social Media influencers are mighty!
I’ve always read about bloggers working with brands left and right but never thought this was a possibility for The Side Blogger. It’s not so much that I thought this would never happen, it’s just that, it wasn’t even in my radar! I was too busy coming up with ginormous posts (have you noticed how my posts lately have been extra-extra long? I’m not even trying, really!) and trying to keep up with my pinning strategies to drive as much traffic as I can in hopes of selling more affiliate products and Canva templates, when… this happened!
I started getting emails from companies about partnering up to create review posts or just asking me to mention their names on my blog with link-backs.
I’ve already had a media kit, just never had a chance to actually use it. But when I received an email from a particularly well-known company, I knew I was on to something without even having realized it myself!
So, it was time to finally brush up the media kit and update the stats.
Here’s the thing. As your blog grows, people will start noticing. And this includes companies and brands with interest in the same demographics as you.
Did you know that some companies and brands hire people just to scope out bloggers and influencers in their niche?
These brands and companies understand the power of blogs, that’s why they want to work with us bloggers. And as bloggers, we can definitely use the connections, the money, and perhaps build some backlinks ourselves to boost traffic and page ranking.
Now, as far as money is concerned, how much you make depends on a lot of things: how much traffic do you get? What are your social media stats? How long have you been blogging for? And much more. But how does a brand know whether you’re a good fit for them?
Enter the media kit!
What is a Media Kit?
A media kit is a lot like a resume, but at the same time, not quite so. A resume is where you list off all of your accomplishments in the hope that you’ll be hired by a potential employer who’s looking for someone like you with your unique set of expertise. By listing all your degrees and experiences, a resume is your way of letting employers know what you’re good at, what you’ve achieved, and what you could possibly bring to the table if they hired you for the right job where you could utilize your knowledge and skills.
A blogger’s or an influencer’s media kit is something similar but for the blog (or whatever platform you’re on) itself. It’s where you list how far your blog has come, what kind of influence your blog has and on whom this influence is usually exerted. It is different from a resume in that here you do not list all of your skills. You let your blog’s statistics speak for itself. The social proof is all brands are really interested in.
Now, what if you’re a complete newbie? Maybe you’ve had your blog for only a month or so, and perhaps your reach isn’t quite as impressive when compared to seasoned bloggers and/or social media influencers.
Should you wait until your monthly page-views are over a hundred thousand?
Now that would be a big mistake! Allow me to explain exactly why you should have a media kit starting from day-1 and how you could leverage your media kit to in fact gain more traffic and traction even when, and especially when, you’re a total beginner.
How Can a Newbie Blogger Use a Media Kit?
So, here’s the thing. It doesn’t take a blog to get a hundred or so unique visitors that long, provided you’re doing something to gain traction.
– Do you blog regularly and consistently?
– Do you use at least one other platform to drive traffic to your blog? (I suggest newbie bloggers start with focusing on Pinterest to drive traffic.)
– Are you doing enough to build an engaged email list?
If you’re doing all of the above, you’ll start getting a couple of hundred unique hits in a few months, or less if you’re more proactive.
And when you do, you’ll start getting those emails asking you for collaborations.
That’s when a media kit comes handy. See, maybe you’re still a fairly new blogger at this time, but when a company reaches out, you need to be ready. And this can happen at any time. The very first collaboration request I received was when I wasn’t even getting a hundred unique hits a day. Crazy, right?
Some newbie bloggers stall because they’re a bit… shy. They don’t want to share their tiny follower count on their media kits. You guys, I understand! I feel the same way!
But here’s the thing. There are brands out there who are likely newbies just like yourself, who may not have the lofty budgets to work with the big-name influencers, who may be more than willing to work with you for free or a small price, or in exchange of some free products.
Both you and the brand has something to gain here. Likely you have a set of audience that the brand in question does not have access to. You also likely do not have access to the audience the brand has. By working together, you can tap into each other’s audiences, which in turn works in your favor.
Also, this establishes your reputation. Remember, no experience is too small. If your goal is to work with bigger brands, you should definitely start off with smaller and newer brands to work with so that you can build up your reputation, confidence, reach, and influence.
When is it OK to work with a brand for free or for minor compensation?
Now the question is, should you work with brands for free or a small fee, or perhaps in exchange for products?
The answer is, well, it depends!
Here’s what I think.
Whether you’re a new blogger or a veteran blogger, you should only work with brands and companies that you actually like and believe in. Now, if a new company or brand reaches out to you, but they don’t have a lot to offer in terms of monetary compensation, ask yourself whether or not you would like to mention this company to your audience anyway because you believe the products or services will benefit your readers. If so, then sure, why not?
Also, this will give you an idea of what it’s like to work with brands. The experience will give you confidence, and chances are, the brand will share a link to its own audience. This means you’ll likely get a link back and backlinks are basically SEO juice.
Just be careful of what you’re being asked to do. Some companies will try to get too much out of you. Not long ago, a company reached out to me and offered lifetime premium access and affiliate earning opportunities for a thorough product review.
It was a pretty cool company, and I could tell some of my audience may even benefit from them. The offer sounded decent too, considering I was getting about a hundred unique hits a day on average at that time.
But here’s the thing. In-Depth review posts take time. I’ll have to use the product myself to see how it works, and exactly how I and my audience could use it to grow our blogs. Then I’ll have to write an in-depth post. Now, I have certain requirements and expectations for myself. I don’t like to half-ass things. If I were to write a product review, I’d be showing you, my readers, exactly how you can use it, and what the benefits would be.
I could tell that all of that would take time, and even a lifetime membership or affiliate income opportunities weren’t going to cut it. First of all, I didn’t think I’d be using that product too much. It was a great product, just not the one I have a lot of need for. And even with affiliate options, I knew I wasn’t going to make much because there were other, more expensive affiliate products that I need to focus on to increase my revenue.
So, after considering all the pros and cons, I decided to not work with the company, because I knew there wasn’t much in it for me. I do think I’ll be adding their information to my resources eventually in case some of my readers find it useful, but it definitely isn’t worth dedicating a whole blog post on.
Ready to create your Media Kit now?
How to Design a Media Kit
So, here’s what you do when it comes to working with brands as a new blogger. First, you make sure you have a media kit with all the necessary information (which I’ll outline below) to work with brands. Pay attention to the design because everybody loves pretty things. That’s just an additional boost to your credibility. And well, if it helps, the right kind of design has psychological implications. You may just get a great deal with a beautifully designed media kit than say, a mediocre piece of PDF with all the stats and data… boooring!
Once you have a media kit, you can either wait for brands to reach out to you, or you can be proactive and start reaching out to brands yourself. There are also third parties who match influencers and bloggers with companies. How much you ask for depends on the size of your blog, the number of people you reach, etc.
As far as designing the media kit is concerned, that depends on the type of blogger or influencer you are, and who you’re trying to work with. Just like you customize your cover letters depending on which company you’re applying to for a job, you may customize your media kit to appeal to the brand you want to work with.
For example, if you’re a fashion or food blogger, your blog likely has a lot of original photographs. If so, add a few on your kit so that brands have a feel for your aesthetics.
On the other hand, if you blog about personal finance, you can get away with one or two great quality stock images, or perhaps just a photograph of yourself — the blogger.
In any case, all media kits have a few key components, and here’s a list of these:
A Brief and Clear Mission Statement/About Section
On your actual blog, you can dedicate a whole page to writing down who you are and what your blog is about. Unfortunately, a media kit doesn’t have that kind of real estate, so you need to make it brief yet crystal clear as to what your blog is about so that when CEOs read it, they have no doubt in their minds that you’re just the right influencer for them to work with. Add things like when you started your blog, what it’s about, and who/what purpose does it serve?
Every business has a very specific audience. Some companies target men, some women, some target young millenials, while some others may target senior citizens. If you’re reaching out to a company whose target audience is the same as yours (which should be the case, otherwise you’ll be influencing no one), then you should definitely add a section with this information. You should give the CEOs exactly what they need to know in order to work with you.
How many people do you reach? This is where you share things like your monthly page views, monthly unique visitor counts, etc. You may also add the type of posts that get the most hits. This is optional, but may or may not be of significance depending on who you’re working with.
Social Media Statistics
In addition to your blog’s demographic, if you’re active on social media platform(s), that data may also be used to attract the right companies and brands to work with you. Some brands specifically want to work with influential Instagrammers. If you’re one with a decent following, you should add that stat on your media kit as well.
Also, don’t forget, you don’t have to wait until you have tens of thousands of followers. With the right brand, you may be able to work even if you have a smaller following for free or in exchange for free products.
In fact, some companies prioritize audience engagement over follower count. If you have a small followership, but it’s a highly engaged one, you can highlight that also.
And of course, you need to mention what you’re offering. Are you selling ads? Are you writing reviews? is it going to be a sponsored post? Will it be just a blog post or will you be sharing them on social media as well? How you price your services will depend on a lot of factors, and not all services/offers will fit the needs of all brands. It’s good to have a generic media kit, but just like you sometimes have to tweak your resume depending on the job you’re applying for, your media kit may also need to be adjusted depending on the brand or company you wish to work with.
Your Contact Information
Finally, make sure you have added your contact information on the media kit. Even if you send the kit yourself via email, for example, you never know how many times it gets passed around. Chances are, even if you send the media kit to a certain person, they will forward it to someone else, and that someone else will need to get a hold of you. To facilitate that, you must always add your contact email address (and perhaps phone number as well) on the media kit itself.
Pro-tip#1: Your media kit should be as long as it needs to be, not shorter, not longer. However, try not to write a novel. CEOs don’t have that kind of time. Keep things to the point and brief and very, very clear. Add some images as most blogs and social media platforms tend to utilize great visuals. This will give the companies some idea for your brand aesthetics and will help them make the right decision as to whether or not they should work with you.
Pro-tip#2: Images are kind of my thing, so I love to add them whenever possible. But, as I mentioned above, your needs for images depend on your niche. However, if you’re using stock photos, do NOT use free stock images. A media kit is an important piece of document. Even if you use free stock photos on your blog posts, the media kit should always have either original photographs or premium stock photos. If you have Canva Pro, you can get access to over a million premium stock photos for free! There are also paid photos that cost $1 that you can use in one project. Another good source of premium photos is Freepik. Their membership starts at 9.99 per month, or 7.99/month if paid annually. Freepik is good if you use a lot of premium stock images. But if you need just a few, Creative Market [affiliate] also has a large collection of photos that you can buy from.
Tools for Creating a Media Kit
Now that you’re ready to put together your media kit, the question is, HOW do you put it together?
Well, there’s good old Adobe InDesign or Adobe Photoshop that you can use if you have these programs. And if not, you can always rely on Canva. Canva is sophisticated enough to put together a stylish, elegant, and functional, media kit, and free to boot! Canva really is a blogger’s best friend.
And to make your life a whole lot easier and to save you time, I’ve even created a media kit template for you that’s specifically suitable for bloggers and influencers. Subscribe below for my newsletter and this template below is yours! Or, click here to join the email list.
A media kit is like a little taste of your brand which helps other brands decide whether or not to work with you. Make sure you represent YOU in your media kit as well as you can.
Have fun, don’t be afraid to reach out to brands and companies you want to work with, and did I say, have fun?
Good luck, and if you have questions, feel free to reach out, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to get back.
Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want the two-page, totally free, media kit template made with Canva!