4 Insider Secrets on Working with Brand Collaborations

Slightly Savvy is an influencer's sneak peek behind the scenes of the PR world, built to deliver the most transparent PR insights to bloggers + influencers who want to transform their blog into a business.

Created by Pablo Tournellefrom the Noun Project




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Fam !!

I am super excited to be talking to you today because 1. I need to thank you for all the love recently on my branding/blogging posts – you guys ask for more, I will deliver.

And 2. I love writing tell-all posts for my team here. You guys are the ones I want to share my best blogging tips + secrets with

My Background in PR

Before quitting my full-time corporate PR job and running Slightly Savvy full-time, I worked in brand PR, which means I represented a brand. I ran all of the PR and marketing for almost 3 years. I started this job literally two days after I graduated college when the company was kind of a small start up.

Fast-forward two years later, and the company really exploded, and I had a team of four people underneath me. I worked on all our press, social media, and I traveled the world for our conferences and shows. I manage probs close to a million or so dollars in marketing budget.

All of this means I was on the flipside of blogging – I’m the PR girl asking for a certain thing or being semi-annoying for my client.

This makes my perspective as a blogger a little bit unique because I see the flipside of bloggers, which is brands and PR companies. With starting Slightly Savvy, I want to share some of that wisdom, so I hope you guys hear advice/tips/tricks you’ve never heard before.


here’s me…doing said PR things

1. YOU have the leverage

As a blogger, you absolutely have leverage over the PR person. As a PR girl, I want press. I need to go to my boss and be like, “Hey, look at this great article written about us.”

Press is everything to a lot of brands. Look at the ones who went from 0 to $100 million in revenue because they got the right press consistently at the right time.

♡ your secret tips

  • negotiate – if you get approached by a brand OR you reach out yourself for brand collaborations, you do absolutely not have to agree 100% to their terms. They want 4 Instagram posts – say you’ll do 2 instead. They offer you $150? Say you need $200 minimum.
  • pitch yourself – love a brand + want to work with them? I don’t really believe in waiting for opportunities to come your way. Make your own opportunities. Pitch them (with VALUE) and see what they say
  • leverage them against their competitors – if you see Nike doing tons of Insta story content…and adidas is doing none, use that to your advantage. Say “Hey Adidas, Nike is doing a ton of Insta story content that seems to be really connecting with their consumers. I’d love to do some of my own Insta story content for you.”

Learn more insider tips on pitching to brands –> here 


2. BUT don’t be a B+ blogger

Let’s flashback to high school/college and talk about grades.

One summer, when I was little, my mom made up this grading scale for me and my sister. And every day, depending on how good we were, we would get a grade.

So, let’s talk the grades bloggers would be getting.

♡ the C+ blogger

You passed enough to get your payment, but the brand regrets working with you or feels like they wasted money. They’re not coming back for more, and you probably didn’t drive too much brand awareness or sales for that.

♡ the B+ blogger

You have some pretty good photos and your followers are fairly authentic, so you did a decent job. The brand is satisfied and feels like it got its money’s worth.

Here’s the difference between B+ bloggers and A+ bloggers / / you promote a product for two weeks and then we never see you use again…we’re not idiots. We know that if you promote something for two weeks and then we never hear about it again…you just did it for money.

Over time, that inauthenticity is seen. You’re doing #ads with brands that don’t seem super legit, but they are willing to pay you.

And if you want to be a B+ blogger that’s fine. You do you. You’ll probably make a bit of money off blogging. But don’t expect to reach the big leagues when you’re doing stuff like that.

♡ the A+ bloggers

In PR, I absolutely see the difference between the bloggers who are absolute top notch and the B+ bloggers.

The A team are the ones who, when I see their post and all the social media promotion they do behind it, I am shocked. It’s not just going above and beyond, but it’s going above and beyond forever.

Instead of promoting a product for two weeks, A+ bloggers are promoting products they really love. And they’re using them for months and months. And they’re not working for an Instagram post limit because they’re used in their Stories every single day.

Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential – I could probably go shopping for her because I know exactly what products to get. She is so consistent about sharing the things she loves that when she does sponsorships, I barely notice because the brand/product is “hers” to me already.

Your extra credit homework: check out the below blogs + see what I mean by A team

The Skinny Confidential –> here

Not Another Blonde –> here

Fashionlush –> here

3. We evaluate your brand is 5 seconds or less 

We look at your site and your Instagram. And we judge it in 5 seconds or less. Is it unique? Is it cookie-cutter? Is there synergy between our brands? Are you someone I want to talk to on a daily basis? Does your personality come across? 

Branding can be a hard concept to grasp. I so get that.

In PR, I see a lot of aesthetics and a lot of branding. And I see the people who are just copying and pasting other successful influencers or bloggers (not LITERALLY copying + pasting, but you get the idea)

♡ your secret tips

  • What does your story look like from beginning to end? From your header photo to how you sign off your blog posts
  • What are the tiny little details that are going to make it from a B to an A+ brand? I fully believe great brands are built on the little details.
  • What’s YOUR differentiator? Your truth is the only thing that makes you unique – figure out what it is, get specific, and go from there
  • Ask 3 blogger friends – What advice would they come to you exclusively for? What are their favorite posts of yours?

Your extra credit homework: 5 Telltale Signs You’re Going To Fail At Branding –> here

slightly savvy tell tale signs you're going to fail at branding

4. Over curation is OUT

Guys, in the smart PR world, over curation is out. It feels sales-y, it feels like an ad, and it’s forced. I feel like it’s very circa 2012 to be so so perfect and so curated.

Is a perfect Insta feed so tempting to want to achieve absolutely?

#bts is all the rage right now. After years of having perfect blogs and Insta feeds shoved down our throats, people are primed for something different, something more REAL.

How do I know this? Because of the rise of Instagram Stories, Vine, and Snapchat.

All mediums/platforms that blew up because of the raw factor. In the early snap days, influencers were sitting there just talking for 4 minutes straight. No editing, no camera cuts. 

As a PR person, it’s actually way more valuable for you to share something every day on your Insta story, with semi-bad lighting, your dog in the background, or your messy car in the shot. It means you’re using my product/brand authentically

♡ your secret tips

  • take your realness 1 level deeper – the next time your blog photo shoot fails, SHARE that.
  • write EXACTLY how you talk – I do this by literally drafting my posts out loud in my Notes app. Am I a psycho for talking to myself? Sure. But does it get my real voice across? Definitely.
  • if you can leverage to a PR person that you’re going to use their brand/product authentically + in your everyday life – you’re going to win

5. If you appreciate us PR peeps, we can do a LOT for you

Cultivate a one on one relationship with the PR person. 9 times out of 10, we’re the quarterback.

If something goes wrong, we take the blame. If it’s a slam dunk, we take the praise.

We get yelled at and underappreciated a lot. You will thank yourself 50 times over if you cultivate a personal 1-1 relationship with a PR person.

And no, I don’t mean be super fake or start your emails with “Happy Monday!!”

♡ your secret tips

  • Anticipate THEIR needs – what season is coming up? How can you help THEM? We can spot fakeness 8 miles away, so make sure it’s coming from a true place of genuine-ness. Not that you just want to promo yourself for summer.
  • Talk to us..but make it short – go for it, add that PR girl on Instagram. Comment on her photos every once in a while, let her know “good luck” on the event she’s sharing in her Insta stories. We don’t need lengthy love letters – a simple “That event looks gorgeous !! Congrats girl!” goes a long way. 

Learn wayyy more about getting paid collabroations with brands –> here

slightly savvy pr agencies dont tell

Okay fam, that’s all for this Monday. I’m contemplating how badly I’m going to get drenched in the rain when I try to take Tallie to the dog park. If I get struck by lightning and die, it’s been nice knowing you all.

If you loved this post, you’ll love Summer Camp even MORE.

If you’re a serious blogger looking to make serious $$ from working with brands, this is for you.

One blogger used the information in Summer Camp to nail down $1200 in brand collaborations in less than a week AND she upped her normal pricing.

Summer Camp is built to teach you exactly what brands are looking for in influencers, how to email pitch to brands, how to structure your press kit, and SO much more.

I would LOVE to help you guys grow your brands and blogs.

Enroll in Camp –> here

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