In episode 438, Megan chats to Breanna about how to land paid brand deals as a small creator.
We cover why you don’t need 10K followers on social media to land a sponsored post, some of the essentials in a pitch, the difference between communicating in DMs or email for a pitch, how many brands you should be pitching to, and being confident the pitch aligns with your brand values.
Write Blog Posts that Rank on Google’s 1st Page
RankIQ is an AI-powered SEO tool built just for bloggers. It tells you what to put inside your post and title, so you can write perfectly optimized content in half the time. RankIQ contains a hand-picked library with the lowest competition, high traffic keywords for every niche.
Bio Breanna started on Instagram in January 2023 and then followed with a food blog in February 2023. She always had a passion for writing and cooking but never thought that she would be able to do something like this! Breanna loves sharing easy meals that are family-friendly and perfect for those with busy schedules! She has been doing this full-time as of last month and could not be more grateful for the opportunity!
- What do you love to do – do more of that to focus on growing your blog and searching for sponsored posts
- Search through your kitchen and find products/brands you love to determine who to reach out to
- Don’t limit yourself to the brands you know – look around to big and small brands, expand your horizons on brands
- LinkedIn is a good tool to find contact information to connect with brands
- Keep introduction to brands short, sweet, and specific to something you use and how they inspire you
- Have a professional media kit created
- Link a video to a photo in the email message.
- Send 5-7 follow-ups each week
- Don’t share rates too early – offer custom rates
- Charge an hourly rate x the number of hours put into a job to get your quote
Essential Guide to Landing Paid Brand Deals – Check out her offer
Jordynn Nicholson – land brand deal and create generational wealth
Blogger Bytes – blogging resources
Click for full script.
EBT438 – Breanna
Intro: Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate your blog’s growth and ultimately help you to achieve your freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
One of the topics that I never get tired of talking about on this podcast is landing brand deals, working with sponsors because everyone I talk to has a different perspective. Everybody has different tips, different strategies they use that work really well. That is definitely the case in this episode. I talk to Breanna. She is from Knead the Recipe. She talks to us about landing paid brand deals as a small creator. She debunks the myth that you need 10k followers on Instagram. You don’t need anywhere close to that and she is proof of this. Her story is proof of this. She also talks to us about media kits, setting rates, not getting discouraged, standing firm with your rates, and many other little nuggets are included. So I hope you really enjoy this episode. Whether you are wanting to work with brands or it’s not on your radar, I guarantee you by the end, you will be considering it. This is episode 438 sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Food bloggers, are you wanting to tap into additional revenue and improve your site experience for users? Chicory might be a great solution for you. Chicory is a leading monetization platform for food bloggers, enabling you to integrate highly relevant, shoppable ads into your recipe content and earn revenue from top CPG brands.
Chicory’s hyper contextual ads and shoppable technology will help you improve your site experience and engagement, allowing your readers to go from inspiration to checkout in just a few clicks.
Enjoy easy installation and ongoing access to the Chicory team at zero cost to you. Chicory makes it easy to track your earnings, optimize your blog content using recipe insights, and connect with its team. Plus, with integrations with leading ad networks such as Mediavine and 60 plus retailers, Chicory makes it so simple to get started earning revenue today. Head to eatblogtalk.com/resources and click the Chicory link to get started. Scroll down to the Chicory logo, click the button that says, learn more about Chicory, or you can go to chicory.co/foodbloggers to learn more and sign up. That’s chicory.co/foodbloggers.
Megan Porta: Bree started on Instagram in January 2023 and then followed with a food blog in February 2023. She always had a passion for writing and cooking, but never thought that she would be able to do something like this.
Breanna loves sharing easy meals that are family friendly and perfect for those with busy schedules. She has been food blogging full time as of last month and could not be more grateful for the opportunity. Hello, Bree. Welcome to the podcast. How are you today?
Breanna: Hi Megan, I’m doing well. How are you?
Megan Porta: I’m good too. Thanks for asking. We’re going to talk about brand deals today and everything that goes along with that. Do you have some background to share with your own story and some tips that you have? But first, do you have a fun fact to share with us?
Breanna: Yeah, so a fun fact is that I’ve lived in three different countries and five different states. That’s always something that people are surprised to hear because growing up everyone was always like, what I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m like, I’ve been around. My parents’ job always was changing and so I’ve lived in Canada, Romania, the U. S., and then the states I’ve lived in are South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Oregon, and Texas. As of right now, I’ve been in Texas for the past 10 years. So it seems like I like this the most out of everywhere.
Megan Porta: That’s so funny. Your states are literally all around the country. It’s not the Midwest states. It’s at the opposite ends of the country.
Breanna: Yeah, exactly.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s great. I love it. How do you like Texas?
Breanna: I love it. You know that the heat is something that I’m still not used to, which is insane. But this summer has been exceptionally hot. We just deal with it. We have AC and we just make do. But I do love Texas. The food is great. The people are great. Lots of land. It’s nice here.
Megan Porta: Yeah, good. Glad you like it there. I am so grateful that you’re here to talk about this. So you have some tips for people who are looking to get into doing sponsored work. I love the things you have written down here. But I would love to just start with having you talk through your blogging journey a little bit and how that evolved into working with sponsors.
Breanna: Yeah, of course. So I actually started my food blog in February, which was one month after I started my Instagram account. I had just graduated college in December and I was struggling trying to find a job that I actually loved. I majored in public health and you know during COVID that was an insanely huge field to be in but as it dispersed and it wasn’t a public emergency anymore, there weren’t as many jobs and so I was just really struggling with do I still want to be in this field? Should I go on? I had always loved to cook but I never considered culinary school or anything like that. I was like, this is the time where, if I wanted to, I should just make the blog now.
So I had no experience with websites, no experience with photography, but I did love to write. So that’s really what propelled me to literally start the blog. In one week I already built the website and had everything ready. So it was a very fast process. But I haven’t looked back since and it’s been so amazing. Instagram, I never expected to be focused on that. I started this with the full intention of, okay, I’m going to monetize the blog. But then little do you know that it takes a long time to monetize a blog. You have to get many page views and sessions and all those things. So I started Instagram and I started posting more on there and I was like, wow, this could be a really great tool for monetization later. Just as I kept posting and posting, I started seeing other accounts with paid partnerships, but of course they had 50,000 followers or 100,000. I was like, that could never be me. I’m going to focus on the blog, but that obviously changed and I’m so grateful that I was able to branch out into something that was new for me and I end up loving it even more than anything I’ve ever done.
Megan Porta: So talking about your blog versus Instagram, is there one that you enjoy more?
Breanna: I think now I do enjoy Instagram more. I never thought that would be the case, but I’ve met so many amazing creators and I have such a great community of people that we’re all doing the same thing. So it’s so great that you can talk to people who are like minded and I’ve been able to help so many people and it just really brings me joy. Whereas the blog, it’s just you and the blog, and you don’t have anyone to talk to. You’re just writing. I do love to write, it’s a tough one, but I am, I’m going to go with Instagram for sure. I love interacting with people.
Megan Porta: Okay. Then on Instagram, have you been able to connect with a lot of sponsors? Have you been able to monetize pretty well that way?
Breanna: Yes, I have actually. Most of the sponsors that I’ve done, it has been for an Instagram reel. Only two of my sponsorships are actually for blog posts. So eventually I would love to grow that to where more brands want to work with me in that regard where I create a recipe and then link them back to my blog. But yeah, most of them, I’ll say like probably 75% have been Instagram reels.
Megan Porta: Wow. Okay. Then just for frame of reference, I haven’t looked super detailed at your account, but how many followers do you have now?
Breanna: Now? I have 4,000 followers.
Megan Porta: Okay, so this myth that you need 10,000 followers is not true. You’ve been getting work doing this right with 4,000 followers.
Breanna: Absolutely, and I actually got my first deal right under 2,000. People are always shocked to hear that because that’s unheard of. No one really talks about payment. I don’t think there’s a lot of paid transparency still in the Instagram world. I think there are a lot of people who want to gate keep because they don’t want other people to get paid and all this stuff. But I’m like, no, the more we all know that we can get paid, the better it is for all of us because then the industry rate is higher instead of so many people doing it for free. Then brands would rather work with those people instead of getting a different type of content. So that’s what I’m trying to tell people is you don’t need to wait for 10k. There’s no point in waiting. Your content is amazing now. If you’re putting in the work now, if you’re putting in 8 to 15 hours to make a recipe, what do the followers have to do with that?
Megan Porta: Okay. So you did yours at around 2k followers, your first one, but do you believe that people even under that number could get brand deals?
Breanna: Oh, absolutely. I always say that if I would have known, I would have started pitching brands a lot sooner, even at 800, a thousand. I have a friend who at 900 got a brand deal. It’s really about how you pitch yourself to brands and what you bring to the table. Because brands are a business and they want to see, are you going to bring us more content, more exposure, more sales? You have to be clear with what you’re offering. You can’t just expect the brand to hop in your DMS. I’m sure a lot of them will, and I have a lot that do, but when you pitch, it really changes the game because you’re the one who’s in charge now.
Megan Porta: Yeah, so being clear with your offerings, and then also I imagine being clear with the things you’re best at, right? The qualities that really make you stand out.
Breanna: Absolutely. If that’s stop motion video for some people, or maybe you’re really great at specific types of food photography, or you’re really good at writing so you want to focus on blogging. You need to tell the brands that because they’re not going to just look on your page, but it should be clear that you’re good at something, but you want to reiterate that because as soon as you tell them, then they’re like, okay, this is what’s valuable and this is what this person specializes in. And so they’re more willing to hear you out.
Megan Porta: Okay. So talk about the pitch. How do you go through the pitch? There’s a lot of questions I want to ask. So I’ll start with that. How do you find the brand that you want to pitch to and how do you go about that?
Breanna: So the first thing I do, always is look in my cabinet, look in my shelves, look in my house, everywhere. I find brands that I already use. I think that’s so important as a creator. It establishes your credibility with your audience too, because it’s not Oh, I just work with this random brand because they paid me. No, I’ve been using this brand for years, or, my family introduced me to this brand, or I’ve been cooking with this. I cook every day with this seasoning or whatever it is. So that’s my biggest tip is to just go in and look at what sugar do you use? What flour do you use? Do you have a certain brand for, plates or silverware, anything, and then go from there first. That’s where I found the most success is brands that I already use, because then my pitch becomes so much more natural, right? Because then I can just go to my DMs, find them and say, I’ve been using your product for a while and I specifically love this product. I would love to work with you in recipe development because that’s what I specialize in. So that’s what I always am pitching is recipe development. But I do let them know I do have other services. But for sure I think pitching brands that are in your house is going to be the first step. It just makes things a lot smoother.
Megan Porta: How do you find brands? Because I find that when I try to reach out to brands in the past, when I’ve tried to do this, it’s hard sometimes to find the right people and you keep sending emails to the same email address. You’re like I don’t even know where else to find these people. So how do you go about that?
Breanna: Absolutely. Sometimes the DM, they’ll give you the email contact. That’s just like the media at whatever. com. You can tell that’s the general one where they get so many other inquiries and you just know your email’s about to get lost. But some people are actually nice and they give you the real name for the person. But in the case where they give me a general email, what I usually will do is use LinkedIn. So LinkedIn is going to be a really awesome resource for looking up the brand and finding out who’s their VP of marketing, who is their social media strategist, all these things. You can find it because it’s a public forum, so all the information is on there. I’ve had success with finding people from big brands on LinkedIn. So that’s my little trick that I definitely would recommend.
Megan Porta: Okay. Yeah, I never think of LinkedIn. I have a LinkedIn account and my husband’s always needed to be on LinkedIn more, but I just don’t go there enough. But that is like a secret little gem there.
Breanna: Yeah, for sure. For us, we have so many other platforms. It’s really, do I have to get on one more? But I think it is worth it, honestly. If you could make a separate account for your food blog, a separate LinkedIn account, I think that would be really smart.
Megan Porta: Okay. So you found the person you want to talk to and how do you pitch them? What do you say to them?
Breanna: So I always tell people, don’t go in like this big fan and try to, Oh my gosh, I love you. And I’ve been using it for, don’t do that. They get so many messages like that. Of course they’re thrilled to hear that you love their products, but you have to realize that the person behind the social media, you have no idea who it is. They probably are just interns. You don’t know who’s there, so don’t pour your heart and soul out. That’s what I’m saying. So make sure that you go in with a professional mindset, but keep it short and sweet to the point. I always just will give a specific product that I love because I want them to know that I actually know about their product. You want them to know that you did your research. So if I pitch a sugar brand, I’ll say I specifically like your brown sugar, and I just made blah, blah, blah last week, muffins last week. So you start a little bit of a conversation there to get their attention. Then from there, like I said, you offer what service is your best. So I offer Recipe development. I would love to work with you this summer or this fall. If you could please give me a great email to send a project proposal to, I would really appreciate it. Then from there they’ll send you that email. So that’s what’s been working for me is always being specific with the product that I actually love and then offering my service. I think that’s the best way to do it. Don’t send a super long DM because they will definitely not read it. It’s Instagram, people just want to scroll, right? They just want to read it and be done. So keep it short. I’d say three sentences.
Megan Porta: Yeah, because you think about people who send you DMs on Instagram, and when I get the really long ones, I’m like, out. No, thank you. Just thinking about what you can tolerate and then applying that to your pitches as well. Then what about media kits? Do you have a media kit put together? At what point do you send that?
Breanna: Yes, so the media kit is. It’s a really important piece, I feel like, for small creators especially. It’s basically your resume. It shows other brands you’ve worked with in the past, it shows your best work, like your photos that you’re most proud of, you put on there. You put your audience demographics, so what their ages are, where they’re from, is the majority in the U.S. Brands really like to know this kind of stuff. So you can make that in Canva. It honestly is so easy. There’s plenty of templates. You’ll send that in the email stage. That is where when you send that email pitch, after you DM them and you’ve gotten that email, you go to your email and you send a longer pitch. This is where you can start pouring your heart out if you want to, but be careful. You can make it a little longer. You can have three paragraphs broken up. Then you say at the end, I’ve attached my media kit for review. That is a way for brands to immediately get that fast overview of your page without having to scroll through your 75 posts. The media kit should tell them everything they need to know. There shouldn’t be any surprises there. Your niche should be super clear. They shouldn’t be like, is this person in the food industry or the lifestyle or fashion? Like it should be super clear what you’re working on. So yeah, media kits are definitely really important.
Megan Porta: So your niche, you should spell that out, who exactly they are. Demographics, do you get into that too?
Breanna: Yeah. So for me, definitely in the first sentence, just putting I am a food blogger based in Texas that’s what I usually do and that works. Then in the middle of my media kit is where I do demographics. Sometimes they want even more information. It really depends on what the brand’s goals are for their campaign. But I’d say at the very least, just including the percentage of male and female, what the age is, are they based in the US things like that. Then sometimes they want to know what the top cities are. Because some brands are only local to certain areas, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to work with you if they’re running a campaign, let’s say to increase their sales in a certain region, but then you’re on the other side of the world, it wouldn’t make sense. Definitely demographics aren’t a huge part, but it is important to keep that in there just to show them that hey, I did my research.
Megan Porta: Okay, and then obviously you have follower numbers and all of that information in there as well?
Breanna: Yes, follower numbers. If you want to combine all of your followers from all of your social platforms, you can definitely do that. Or you can break it up and specifically say TikTok is this, Instagram is this, but yeah, it’s totally up to you. Then you’re, you want to put your engagement rate. That’s one that people have trouble calculating, but if you look up online, super quick Google search and just say how to calculate engagement rate on Instagram, it’ll tell you to go into your settings, find what’s the percentage of people that engage with your content. Then you divide that by your followers to find it. Super simple. Make sure you have that on there because brands will always ask for that.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I think I looked that up once because I’m like, my brain cannot compute that on its own, but there are little calculators and things that help you walk through that.
Sponsor: Virtual Tastemaker Conference is the place where content creators come together online to build community with fellow foodies and brands and learn from top industry experts and experience the magic of Tastemaker. This year’s Virtual Tastemaker Conference 2023 theme is Monetizing Your Business. Tastemaker wants to help you learn new and different ways to monetize or how to focus on things you could be doing but could maybe fine tune to make it even more effective. This event is perfect for those who want to start monetizing their blog or content creation. Not only are there amazing educational opportunities within this virtual conference, but the experience and ability to connect with the community is the best part. You don’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity. Head over to eatblogtalk.com/resources/. Scroll down to the Tastemaker logo and find the orange button labeled sign up for Virtual Tastemaker. Eatblogtalk.com/resources.
Megan Porta: Anything else on the media kit that we should include?
Breanna: Here’s a little thing that I like to do on the media kit is link my videos on the photo. So if I put a nice photo that I like, I’ll put the link to my Instagram reel so that way they can click on it and it’ll lead them. So I think it’s a really smart thing to do if you are focusing on both photography and videography and you’re like, man, I want them to see my work. But, a media kit is a still photo, so you can’t put your video there. I think that’s a great way. You can just make a little note in your media kit, click on the photo to see my recent work. Brands will love that because it makes it more interactive and they can check out your videos too. You can just hit two birds with one stone there.
Megan Porta: That is so brilliant. I love that. I’ve never heard anyone mention that.
Breanna: Yeah, I’m telling you Canva makes it all easy. You don’t have to do anything. It makes things so simple.
Megan Porta: Canva is like a dream for us. It makes our lives so much easier. I love it.
Breanna: Same here.
Megan Porta: Yeah. So one discouraging point that I know I hear a lot of food bloggers talk about is sending out a pitch, finding the contact they think, and never hearing back and then sending out another pitch, a follow up. So how often do you do that and how do you not get discouraged with that?
Breanna: So I can’t lie. That is the worst part of this. It’s so bad to put all this information and work out and you’re really proud and you want to work with this brand. Then a week goes by and you’re like, okay. Then it’s two weeks. You’re like, okay, what’s going on? Like I know you’re busy, but like we’re all busy. Come on. Definitely I send follow ups, but I don’t just send two or three. Sometimes I send seven. So this is a long process. You’re not going to work with the brand the week after you pitch them. So I think on average I would say five to seven times before I get my first email response. Just the first one that, maybe will ask me a simple question and we’re not even into the negotiating yet.
So the process to get a brand deal can take up to three, four months. It’s not an easy process. It’s easy to get discouraged. But what I do is I just try to, flip the mindset of there’s always going to be other brands out there. There’s so many, and there’s so many local brands that when you go to the store and you’re like, Oh, I’ve never seen this one before. You can start, maybe using some new brands as well. What I try to do is I don’t just pitch these. Let’s say I pitched seven emails that week and then I’m just waiting to hear back for months and then follow up with them. No, I’m also pitching even more. So it’s as you’re following up with those ones from last week, you’ve already pitched seven more. So it’s always about adding more and more pitches. You never want to just hang on those seven or those five that you did last month. You always want to be increasing every week the amount of brands you pitch. Because when you think about it, it’s more options, right? The more people that you’ve reached out to, the more chances you have of working with the brand. So that’s what helps me not get discouraged, is I keep a list of more people to reach out to. But when I tell people how long it takes, they’re like, no way. I’m like, yes. It takes a long time. So like I just posted a video the other day that was like three months in the making and people will never know that because once you post a video, they’re like, Oh, she probably made that a couple of days ago, but it’s all on the brand’s timeline.
Megan Porta: I loved what you said earlier about just not limiting yourself to like the brands that are in your awareness now. As you’re walking through the store, look around and see what else you’re using? There are so many food brands and that’s why this is a great opportunity for food bloggers. The world is your oyster. There are so many brands, big and small and everything in between that you can look into, right? Don’t limit yourself to those big brands that are well known in the industry for paying food bloggers. Look outside of that.
Breanna: Absolutely. Because you’d be surprised that I’ve actually had better luck with smaller brands. They actually have a bigger budget than these bigger brands. Unless, sometimes the bigger brands will lie and say that they don’t have a budget because some of them are more selective and they might have a quota of we can only work with this amount of people, or you need this amount of followers. I’m not going to lie. There are some brands that do care about followers. But I’ll tell you the sweet spot for me has been working with brands with between three and 10K followers. These are those like smaller to medium sized businesses. They seem to be way more willing to work with me. That’s very interesting because of course I always say the first pitch, whatever’s in your house. But after that, definitely go branch out. I found so many new brands just by walking in my store. I’ll take pictures of new brands that are local or new brands I’ve never heard before and pitch them. I get more responses from that sometimes. So yeah, definitely. Don’t just limit yourself to the brands, but definitely start with that. Just so that way you’re more comfortable, but then yeah, you’ll gain that confidence to be able to reach out even more later on.
Megan Porta: Do you keep track of all this? Do you have a spreadsheet or something that keeps track of all of it?
Breanna: Yeah. I just use a simple Excel right now and I just write down and I’ll put whether they responded or not. Then I put the time in. that it took from start to finish. I’m starting to want to track the hours because I’ve, I need to realize how long it takes, the administrative side of things. Because I always calculate how long it takes to make content, right? But the behind the scenes is even as much work, honestly.
Megan Porta: Yeah, so you said don’t get discouraged. Keep going. If you haven’t heard back, how many times do you follow up?
Breanna: I would say if they haven’t answered within six to seven days. Follow up once every six to seven days. That’s what I would do.
Megan Porta: Then is there a cutoff there? Do you do it a handful of times?
Breanna: I cut it off personally by the seventh or eighth time I’m following up. I am like, okay. Go ahead if you want to keep going, but I can put that time and energy into a brand that is going to read my email.
Megan Porta: Yeah, okay. Let’s see. What about rates? At what point do you mention rates and do you do that on a case by case basis or how does that go for you?
Breanna: Yeah, so definitely with rates, you don’t want to give them to the brand right up front because they might ghost you. You don’t want to scare them away. You definitely want to ask questions first about, what are they looking for out of this partnership? What are their campaign goals? Tell them that you make custom rates. That’s what I do. I don’t believe you should be charging the same for every brand because some brands are bigger, some brands are smaller, or let’s say this is a seasonal campaign, right? Brands have a way bigger budget when it’s Christmas compared to something in summer, right? So you have to really think about that whenever you’re going about your rates. But I give it to them probably, I’d say like the third email into it, that’s when they start asking like, okay, so this content, you said, you’d like to make this recipe. How much is that going to be? Like, what’s a ballpark? A lot of people, their first thing is, let me just give them my rate. But I actually would say not to do that. I would say flip the script on them and ask them, what is your current budget for this service? Because you don’t want to lowball yourself. If you end up saying 500, but they had an allotted 1, 500 for this campaign. They’re not going to tell you that. They’re not going to say, oops, sorry. It was actually 1, 500. Let us give you more than 500. We can do that because now they can work with two other people. Always ask for their budget first. Some brands aren’t going to give it. They’re going to be like, Oh, this person is smarter than we thought, but, say it in a way that’s respectful.Can I have a budget range, please? I just want to better understand how I can help you. Then from there, I would give your rates after.
Megan Porta: Okay. I love that. Just ask for the budget first, because there’s a chance they’ll give it to you and then it could be surprisingly more than what you were expecting. Then also, what if a brand gives you a rate that’s kind of borderline, but you feel like, I don’t know, this is not really enough. I usually don’t do it, but it’s not too far off. How firm do you stay with what you have in mind for your own rates?
Breanna: So I stay pretty firm, but it does depend if I really do love the brand and I see that they truthfully don’t have the budget and they’re not just saying that. When I look and I see okay, this brand just started up, whatever, two years ago. I look and they haven’t worked with any creators yet. I’m more willing to get a lower rate for that. My goal is to help the business out. I would rather work with them and help them instead of saying, Oh no, sorry. You were 20 off or 50 off or a hundred off or something like that. But like I said, it’s definitely a case by case basis for that. But if it’s a bigger brand, I will definitely stand firm. It’s just not worth it under-balling yourself and then you’re shooting the content two weeks later and you’re just feeling horrible about yourself because you’re like, wow, I’m doing all this work. It’s not my usual rate. You’re gonna feel a little bit off and you know no amount of money is gonna make up for that feeling of when you’re editing and you post it and you’re just not proud of it. Because let’s be honest. Money does drive us, right? If you know that you got paid less than what you’re worth, you’re going to feel terrible. So that’s why I always say, stand firm and it’s just not worth it. There’ll be a brand that comes along that’ll give you even more, yeah. So it’s just all about being patient.
Megan Porta: It takes one situation for you to learn that. I know I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, but I did one brand deal a long time ago with a big company and they did not pay me well. The contract was not clear, if we even had one to begin with and it was this whole summer of back and forth garbage that just ruined my summer. It was my fault. Obviously. I allowed it to ruin my summer, but in my mind, I was like, oh my gosh, I have to redo this. It was just I was not being paid enough. That’s all it took for me to learn that I need to stand firm and charge more. I think if you experience that one situation like I did, then you never go back. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to learn the hard way.
Breanna: Absolutely. That’s happened to me too. Don’t worry. I feel like you’re right. It does have to happen. Just recently, a brand told me in the contract, they only would get one revision for a reel. Then they asked for three. That was tough because I didn’t put in the contract. I charge extra for revisions. That wasn’t something that I thought about. Now I for sure will be charging extra for revisions because reshooting content is no joke especially when you’ve already allotted a time for that. You’ve spent the entire week editing and it’s Nope, two more times. So yeah, definitely standing firm on everything is so important.
Megan Porta: The revision thing is huge, too. Make sure you have that in your contract. Learn from us because that was the piece that was missing for me. So I did a whole video, turned in a draft, and then they had a few revisions throughout the summer that I made changes to. At the end of the summer, they asked me for an entirely new video. I was like, wait a second. You had me make a revision, you saw the video multiple times, and then they asked me for a new video, and I was just like, no, I cannot do this. So definitely throw that in the contract.
Breanna: Yeah. We’re not trying to scare you guys with brand deals, you have to know some of them are cutthroat. You’re not going to work with the nicest people. That’s what I’ve noticed. Out of them, I’d say I’ve done 10 partnerships so far and I’d say half of them I really enjoyed working with. The other half, not so much, left a sour taste in my mouth. But you live and learn and you learn how to do better and you learn how to stand more firm and you learn how to put your foot down because at the end of the day, you’re the boss of your business and you know what you’re the best at. You know what your audience loves. If they want you to do a revision and you’re like I know my audience doesn’t like this, then you have to tell them that because at the end of the day, it’s going on your page. So it’s important for you to be a part of that decision.
Megan Porta: The clearer you are with your boundaries in the beginning, the less likely any of this is going to happen. The nightmare story I told you about, it was all my fault. I was not clear. I didn’t know any better. I was just like, okay, cool. They’re going to pay me.
Breanna: You didn’t know better. Yeah. We’re just excited to get paid. Yeah, they’re gonna pay me a couple hundred dollars and then it was zero percent worth it. So just being really clear up front what you’re worth and what you’re willing to do for what amount of money is huge. It will take you a long way. Is there anything else we need to know, Bree, before we start saying goodbye about working with brands? Anyone who is wanting to get into this, did we forget anything?
One thing I would say is just for anyone who’s maybe still confused about how to set their rates. I just wanted to share the equation that I use. Because I know some people like to charge based off of their followers and they’ll take a percentage, let’s say 10%, 15% of whatever amount of followers. I don’t think that’s smart because the followers don’t matter when it comes to how much time you spent. If someone sees your reel, they’re not going to be like, Oh, wow. They must have 10, 000 followers because that’s a 30 second reel. They don’t mean anything. They don’t know how long it took you to edit that 30 second reel. It could have been 30 minutes of footage, right? So what I like to do is I add up the amount of hours it’s taken me from start to finish for the recipe. So that’s driving to get the ingredients, preparing the meal, cooking it, editing the photos, taking the photos, editing the video, I add it all up. Then I times that by an hourly rate. That’s how I get my base rate. So for the hourly rate, it’s really up to you. That’s something that you’re going to have to be comfortable with. I tell people, if you’re not comfortable, just charge what you get paid at your nine to five, for those of you that aren’t doing this full time. So let’s say you get paid 30, do that. Then times that by, let’s say 10 hours. And then you have your rate right there for your, let’s say, post or reel or whatever you made that took that long. I personally think that this is the best deal for you and the brand because the brand needs to know how long it takes to actually make this content. It’s not super easy. Some people think you’re just snapping a photo, right and just moving on. I think it’s really important that you know your worth. Eventually you can start increasing that hourly rate based on if you’ve bought more equipment or if you think your quality has increased. Or let’s say you bought a new camera or something. Or let’s just say you’re more confident in your work now. You think you provide more value. You could definitely start increasing that, but I recommend doing that versus 10% of my followers. That doesn’t really have anything to do with your content. So I just wanted to put that out there. If anyone has questions about that, definitely DM me on Instagram and I would love to explain that more. ‘
Megan Porta: I love that formula. Now if somebody is doing this full time and doesn’t have another job and has no idea what to put in there for the hourly rate, do you have a range?
Breanna: Yeah, I would say the range, I personally would do 30 to 50 starting out, because I think that’s only fair. Because when you think about it we’re doing 10 jobs in one, right? We’re food photographers, we’re writers, we’re marketing, we’re social media, we’re all these things. When you take the industry standard rates for all these types of jobs, it’s around 30 to 50 an hour. Okay. So for me, I think this would only be fair cause we’re doing everything by ourselves, most of us, right? Until we get some more people on our team. So I think 30 to 50 is a pretty safe shot.
Megan Porta: Okay. I love it. Love it. Love it. Anything else before we say goodbye? This has all been so amazing.
Breanna: No, I think that was pretty much it.
Megan Porta: Thank you for sharing all this. I feel like it was definitely a new spin and you added some novel things in here that we haven’t touched on before. So thank you so much for all of this.
Breanna: Of course. Thank you so much for having me.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Breanna: Yeah, just words of inspiration is, I know it sounds corny, but honestly just not giving up in this field and not thinking that you’re just not good enough, or you think there’s too many people out there doing this, the space is too large for you, that’s not true. That is really a limiting belief that it’s going to hurt you in the end because when you’re always worried about what everyone else is doing and you’re comparing Oh, look at what camera she has or look how many brands she’s worked with, you’re gonna be stuck down in a pit because you’re looking up at what everyone else is doing, right? You need to climb out of this pit that we’ve built for ourselves. That way you can be at the top and you can be the person that gets those goals ready and you can be the person getting brand deals and working with your favorite people or improving your Blog or your photos, anything. We’re the people that put ourselves in these pits in our lives. It’s really important to just remind ourselves, not to be a victim in this and to always rise to the top and just look around and just be grateful for where you’re at. Be grateful that you’re at 200 followers or that you’re at a thousand followers. 2000, so on and so forth. I think being grateful will really reap benefits in the future.
Megan Porta: Bree, that was the best pep talk I’ve heard in so long. I’m gonna relisten to that over and over every day this week. Thank you. That was so amazing.
Breanna: Thank you so much.
Megan Porta: So many good things thrown in there. Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure to talk to you. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Bree. If anyone wants to go look at those, head over to EatBlogTalk.com/kneadtherecipe. Knead is knead bread. K N E A D. So tell everyone where they can find you, Bree.
Breanna: Yeah, so you can find me at Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook at Knead The Recipe and my blog is kneadtherecipe.com.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Thank you again so much for being here and thank you for listening, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Don’t forget to head to forum.eatblogtalk.com to join our free discussion forum and connect with and learn from like minded peers. I will see you next time.
💥 Join the free EBT community, where you will connect with food bloggers, and gain confidence and clarity as a food blogger so you don’t feel so overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS!
Want to achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible? Stop by Eat Blog Talk to get the details on our Mastermind program. This transformative 12-month experience will help you accomplish more than you would be able to in 5+ years when forging ahead alone.
Click the button below to learn what a mastermind program is, what your commitment is, and what Eat Blog Talk’s commitment to you is.
✍️ Reach out to connect with Heather Eberle, a copywriter for food bloggers. As much as you enjoy your business, maybe writing or marketing isn’t your cup of tea. Maybe you’d rather spend more time in the kitchen and less time on your laptop. Heather is here to clear your plate!