5 Things to Offer Bloggers Beyond Exposure
Collaborations are an amazing way to get your brand in front of the right people but it’s also a good way to get stuck in a situation where there is no real benefit. Every single collaboration you take part in should have a true benefit and exposure DOES NOT cut it, especially with smaller brands. Most of the collaborations I’m talking about are with people who have an audience in the thousands not millions so think “the Sister Girl” makeup brand and not Revlon.
You know those days when you were looking for an internship and the benefits listed on Indeed were free coffee and doughnuts on Fridays but never once mentioned an actual check? That’s exactly what it sounds like when you offer another blogger or small online business owner exposure in exchange for their services or products.
Coffee and doughnuts are nice but a trip to Krispy Kreme or Dunkin now won’t mean anything in 6 months. That’s like Sallie Mae offering you a $10 voucher for your loans. It has zero value in the grand scheme of things.
And in case you’re stuck on how you can offer someone something beyond exposure (or counter an offer from someone who did offer you exposure because they clearly don’t follow TBH), I have listed 5 ways you or your counterpart can benefit from collaboration.
1. Email list subscribers
Subscribers are valuable to almost everyone because the people who follow your content to their inbox are more willing to convert and become a true follower than those who even follow you on social media. Subbies will buy and they will share what they’ve learned from you more so than your random Twitter followers. Sharing subscribers works especially well with a giveaway where you collect emails, or a course or webinar collaboration where the participants will have to sign up with an email. Just download the CSV file through your email newsletter provider and send it to the other person.
Update: We used to do this for Hustle Hive Elite and so far I think it's been a big bargaining chip for our guest instructors to follow up with our members but now, we're more careful based on GDPR compliancy. Pay attention to GDPR compliancy when it comes to sharing emails and subscribers. This post is a good explanation of what you can and cannot do based on new (as of May 2018) GDPR privacy laws.
2. A portion of the profits
Anything that concerns money will concern a contract. Especially with online collaborations and agreements, people can easily skip out on the project if things are not on paper and not sealed with signatures.
Contracts not direct messages.
Contracts not calls or emails.
We're not lawyers and neither are we reliable for writing or creating contracts but we understand how important they are and want you to also be aware as you create connections online.
If you’re paying:
Agree to an amount of money or percentage of the profits that will still afford you the majority of the gross pay if you hold the upper hand in the collaboration. Keep receipts, transactions and invoices readily available to make sure that you can back up your word when checks are cut. Make sure there is a phrase on the contract that ensures that you will be protected if the other person decides to skip out. Also, make sure it is very clear how any payments and project cancellations will go with the other party.
If you’re the one being paid:
Make sure you are comfortable with the amount the other person has mentioned and send a counter offer if you are not. Make sure there is a contract and that you agree to all of the terms. If you don’t understand a phrase or term on the contract, ask for clarification or (even better) consult legal counsel. NEVER SIGN A BUSINESS CONTRACT WITHOUT READING IT. That’s exactly how Pebbles ended up with all of T.L.C.’s money.
If something seems off, it probably is. Get a second opinion from a lawyer or cut the project and cut your losses if you have already signed the contract if things don’t seem like they’re working.
Make sure there’s a clear timeline on when you will be paid and how. If the other person refuses to pay you or does not explain in writing what changes they have made to the contract, this is what you can bring up later on in court if need be. If changes are made to the contract, you need a new contract. Sticky notes, texts and emails of changes won’t hold up in the long run when you need your money.
At a certain point, you will need to invest on in a lawyer to write and review your contracts. Templates work for a short amount of time but lawyers are experienced and know the ends and outs.
3. A Services Exchange
If you specialize in a service that the other person needs and vice versa, you can arrange a services swap in lieu of payment. A contract would be the only way to completely protect both parties but it is completely up to you if you would like to create a contract outlining the exact exchange of services and the monetary value that will be waived or if you trust the other person based on your interaction. Because there is no money involved, the other person could skip out on the project easier. Planning and written guidelines will be necessary to make sure neither party gets burned in the long run.
4. Paid placements/advertisements
Placements and advertisements are fair game in collaborations if there are no actual checks involved. If you are offering a placement or advertisement of some sort, you need to have a media kit or sponsorship package together with your specific details outlined and any paperwork you would like the other party to complete. You need to include the benefit of how many people will (potentially) be reached through the placements.
5. Your audience
This is basically the better way of saying “exposure” because you’re offering them a prime spot on your platform. You can always offer direct interaction with your audience as long as they are engaged and are congruent to the other party’s audience. You can arrange a social media takeover, an episode on your podcast, a lesson from them to your audience where they create content or collaborate on a project. This could also flow into you offering your email subscribers for the project or an advertisement.
Now, with all of these ideas that should also help you come up with your own ideas on benefits, you should be able to create collaborations that will mean something in the long run!