In episode 365, Megan chats to Kristen Bousquet about how food bloggers can successfully work with brands, negotiate contracts and build long-term relationships with dream companies.
We cover information about the essential steps to cover before approaching a brand, what warming up a brand means as a blogger, be wise about the right time to pitch and why cold pitching is ineffective.
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Bio Kristen Bousquet is a Charlotte-based content creator and influencer coach at Your Soulcialmate with a goal of educating entrepreneurial creators on how to turn their online influence into a profitable, self-sustaining business through her podcast, community FB group, and coaching programs. She wants creators to learn how to be successful digital biz owners while keeping the “soul” in “soulcial media”.
- List out the brands you want to work with.
- Follow the brands you want to work with on social and interact with them by “warming up to them” by interacting and engaging online.
- Following them online gives you knowledge about them and give you clues how to pitch to them with this valuable information.
- It takes time to build rapport with brands.
- Your bio on Instagram is important to have solid information about yourself. Share your mission and have your location on.
- Anti-pitch method – check out the free method to achieve this.
- LinkedIn is a valuable platform to connect with brands to build business relationships ahead of a pitch.
- When interacting with brands, be sure the information you lead with isn’t about you, it’s about the brand.
- Make it the norm to create long term relationships with preferred brands.
- Being a brand partner means you have to on time, prompt to communicate and deliver a great product.
- Go above and beyond on a project in some way, to over deliver on what was done and you stick out to the brand for possible future projects.
- Send a hand written thank you note to your brand partner to give them a genuine note saying you liked working together.
Click for full script.
EBT365 – Kristen Bousquet
Kristen Bousquet: Hi, this is Kristen Bousquet from Soulcialmate, and you’re listening to the Eat Bog Talk podcast.
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Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode number 365. I have Kristin Bousquet with me today. She’s going to talk to us about how food bloggers can successfully work with brands, negotiate contracts, and build long-term relationships with dream companies. Kristen is a Charlotte based content creator and influencer coach at Your Soulcialmate, with a goal of educating entrepreneurial creators on how to turn their online influence into a profitable, self-sustaining business through her podcast community, Facebook group and coaching programs. She wants creators to learn how to be successful digital business owners while keeping the soul in social media. Kristin, it’s such a pleasure to have you here today. How are you?
Kristen Bousquet: I am doing so well. Thank you so much for having me.
Megan Porta: Yes, and congrats on your recent marriage and wedding. All the photos online looked beautiful.
Kristen Bousquet: Oh, thank you. It feels so weird that it’s over, but I am also lowkey excited to have more time,
Megan Porta: Yeah, for sure. Before we dig into working with brands, do you have a fun fact to share with us?
Kristen Bousquet: Yes. So before I was a content creator and an influencer, I actually used to be a hair stylist and makeup artist and photographer. So I owned a company where I would do people’s hair and makeup and then take their photos. I actually sold that business in 2019, and that’s when I became a full-time creator. So it’s been a weird journey.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Okay. So you have the creative gene through and through. That is still creativity, that line of work. Yeah.
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah. Everything I’ve ever done has been creative. I feel weird if my job is not.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I hear you on that. I feel like my life has been the same and many influencers and creators’ lives are the same way, which is cool. We go from one creative outlet to the next.
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, exactly.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Very cool. That explains why your hair is always so cute too.
Kristen Bousquet: Thank you. Thank you.
Megan Porta: Yes. All right. Let’s talk about working with brands. You have a journey with doing brand work. So we would love to hear about that. Can you just talk us through how you got to the point where you’re at today with sponsored work?
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, it’s been a long journey. I’ll give you the short version. So back in 2008, I actually started a fashion blog. I was literally in high school and I lived in a small town in Massachusetts where there was pretty much nothing fashion related happening. As someone who really loved fashion, I wanted to have this kind of outlet to just share my outfits. I had pretty much no idea what I was doing, but I was just sharing things. Didn’t know that anyone was gonna see them necessarily, but I actually back then started working with brands in a gifted capacity. Which is crazy to think about now because it’s so different than it was back in 2008. I would never, back then have expected to get paid or have any sort of real relationships with brands like I do now. They would send me clothes and I would post an outfit photo on my blog and tag them and things like that. So what I have done up until then has just been evolving with the industry. So I started off just doing gifted things in my blog, and then eventually, I wanna say in maybe 2012, 2013 is when I started on Instagram. But I wasn’t necessarily posting for fashion specifically, it was more of a personal page. It wasn’t until probably 2018 when I started to intentionally post on Instagram, and at that point I started to build back up those relationships that I had started with brands back in 2008. But now I knew that there was this new idea of being able to actually get paid for this and turned it into a job.
So it was in 2018 that I started working with brands. At first, again, had no idea what to charge, no idea how to, basically the logistics of being a creator who was actually working with brands and making money from it. I had a lot of trial and error, a lot of experiences that I learned from, and in 2019 is when I was able to sell that business to become a full-time creator. So at that point, I was making enough money where I felt comfortable leaving my job and strictly working with brands. It’s just evolved since then where I’ve been able to really figure out what to charge and how to navigate contracts and how to build relationships with brands where I’m at the point now where I don’t really do a lot of pitching, it’s more just working with the same brands that I’ve been working with. They’re the same agencies. So building those relationships I’ve realized has been so important, but it’s taken a long time to get here.
Megan Porta: Awesome. I appreciate you talking through all of that. That’s so interesting. I just love hearing how different people have such different journeys, whether it’s with blogging or working with brands, and it sounds like your journey with brand work is truly authentic. You’ve literally just learned it all. You said that you went in and you didn’t know and you just had to kinda do trial and error. So I feel like that is more valuable than getting breaks. You truly just had to learn as you.
Kristen Bousquet: Oh yeah, and back when I was getting started with all this, there weren’t coaches and there wasn’t any sort of guidebook for this. So I guess my only option really was to do trial and error. But again, like I, I’m glad that I did because I learned so much through my own trial and error that now I can teach my students through my own experience, not just things that I’ve learned, through the grapevine on the internet. Having these experiences has actually been able to bring me to where I am today where I’m a coach and I’m able to again, through more authentic experiences.
Megan Porta: Yeah. That makes you valuable as a coach as well. So let’s talk about bloggers who are looking to get into working with brands, or maybe they are working with brands and they want to just dig in a little bit deeper. Can you talk to us about what needs to be done beforehand? Is there any pre-work that we need to do before we reach out to a brand or even think about working with a brand?
Kristen Bousquet: Yes. And it’s so crazy how important this is and how many people skip this step. It drives me crazy. It’s something where you can send a pitch to a brand and maybe something happens if you’re lucky, but if you put in the work beforehand to really have this great first impression and wow the brand it’s just so much easier to get a positive response or any sort of success there. So typically what I suggest people do is, once you have a list of the brands that you wanna work with, first things first. You need to make sure, bare minimum, that you are following them on social media platforms. This is so important. And again, it’s a slap in the face to a brand when they get a pitch from you and you’re not even following them.
Megan Porta: Ouch.
Kristen Bousquet: First things first go follow the brand. It’s a quick, easy thing to do. Then I typically suggest that people do this process of what I call warming. The brand where you spend some time with the brand on social media. Really getting to know them, introducing yourself to them in a way that feels really organic, and just basically letting them know that you exist so that when they do get maybe a cold pitch or a DM from you, it doesn’t feel as aggressive. Where they don’t even know who you are and you’re asking them for money. It’s easier for you to introduce yourself for a job when you’ve shown that you’re there to support the brand, and you’ve been following them, you’ve been interacting with them. So warming up the brand for me is where you are spending time interacting with them on social media.
So if you were to put on post notifications or story notifications, and you spend time actually consuming their content and interacting with that content. Maybe you’re sending a response to a story that they posted of a new product and you tell them how excited you are. Or they post a feed post about how they are now cruelty free or something. Okay, awesome. You’re so excited about that and you comment. So you spend this time just showing the brand, first of all, that you exist, but also that you’re interested and you’re actually there to learn more about them. It’s nice to do this step too, because then when you actually go to pitch, you have the knowledge of what they’ve been sharing, so you can speak to what the brand is working on and how you can actually help with that.
So for example, if it was a brand that said, oh, we’re going cruelty free. We’re so excited. Now you know that and you can use that information in your pitch. Oh, I saw that you guys are cruelty free. How are you marketing that? I would love to help with that. Here are some ideas I have, et cetera. So it does give you a leg up to actually just spend time with the brand in so many different ways.
Megan Porta: So it’s much like just warming up to a friend, right? If you see someone on social media, which I think we’ve all been there, especially on Instagram, where we’re like, oh my gosh, that blogger’s really cool. I just like their message. I like their vibe. I would love to get to know them. So you start consuming their content more and you get to know, okay, they have three kids, and you know these little details so that when you do actually talk, you actually know facts about them. So it’s the same thing.
Kristen Bousquet: Exactly. That’s a big part of it is showing the brand that you’re interested in. But I think another big part of getting prepared to pitch is also making sure that your profile and your platforms are actually ready for that. You don’t wanna be pitching when you feel like your engagement is at its lowest and you’re not really excited about the content you’re sharing and you’re not feeling good about your content. You wanna be pitching when you feel like you’re on fire. You want a brand to be able to come to your page and know exactly who you are and what you offer. You want them to look at your content and be like, wow, this is the best content I see on their page. It’s amazing. Look at all this engagement. People are so excited. It’s hard for creators because I think so many of us want to hurry up and pitch and hurry up and get jobs. But so much of building relationships and having brands that you’re working with is really just being in it for the long haul and knowing that it’s gonna take time for you to build rapport with this brand, but also you have to line it up where you’re the right creator for the right brand at the right time for the right campaign.
That’s a lot of moving parts. Again, just being there and letting the brand know you exist is easier because then when those opportunities do come up, they know you exist. They can come to you versus you pitching and trying to get all of those kinds of things to line up at the same time.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that is such great advice. So I have a question specifically about an Instagram profile. Obviously you want your photos to be beautiful and attractive and appealing in some way, but what do you recommend for the copy that you put on your profile? I know it’s limited. Do you have any recommendations for that?
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, I think your bio is one of the most important parts of your entire profile on Instagram, especially typically when people come to your profile, It’s right front and center right there. So maybe people aren’t gonna read every single word of it if they’re just there to look at photos. But most brands, if they’re looking to potentially hire you, are going to check out what’s in your bio and actually read through that. So I typically, in my bio, try and make it really clear what my mission is and also what type of content someone might get from following me or someone might get from hiring me.
So I try to make that really clear there. Then also location. Having your location in your bio is very important too, especially with brands who are looking for creators in a specific kind of demographic or area. That location is gonna be very important because again, if a brand is looking for someone in a specific place and they have to go searching for where you live, they’re probably not going to, they have not a lot of time to do these things, so that makes it really easy for them. Also having your email in the bio is so important. A lot of brands are doing their casting for campaigns on the computer, and that contact button is not there on the computer. You have to have it in your bio. That’s gonna make it so much easier for a brand when they’re coming onto your page.
Megan Porta: I like that the characters are so limited on Instagram and I don’t remember if TikTok is like that too, but it requires you to be really efficient with what you’re saying and just streamline your message right up front, right?
Kristen Bousquet: Yes, exactly. This is actually something that, so I am in a podcast program where I’m just learning how to better my podcast and everything. That was one of the first things that we learned was, how can you explain your podcast in 10 words or less.
Megan Porta: Ooh.
Kristen Bousquet: It’s so difficult to do, but it’s, it was such a great exercise because now I have my 10 word description that I can pretty much fit in any area that it needs to fit, instead of me having to write a whole paragraph to explain what it is that I do and what my mission is, it’s the same for an Instagram profile. Try and explain what you do in 10 words or less. It’s difficult, but very helpful for you to have.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, yeah. I think that a lot of people, myself included, would really struggle with that because we tend to wanna get really wordy. I’m this and I do this and here. Just make it more succinct, basically.
Kristen Bousquet: Exactly. It’s difficult. It’s difficult.
Megan Porta: It is. It’s not an easy challenge. Okay, so a food blogger is ok, definitely wanna do this. I’m gonna warm up the brand. Find a few to warm up. Then once you’re into that, how do you actually contact them to propose a partnership?
Kristen Bousquet: So I have a few different answers for this because I think it’s difficult to get one strategy to work for all different brands. So typically what I suggest doing first is actually not trying to send a cold pitch. Because as I was saying, you have to try and get so many moving parts to line up, and I’m sure any creator listening who has pitched to a brand is probably oh, I didn’t get any answers. I didn’t get any responses. The response rate for a cold pitch is so low, typically. Because these brands are getting so many pitches that look exactly the same. They don’t have time to answer every single one of them. So I actually do what I call the anti-pitch method. We have actually a whole free masterclass on Soulcialmate, on the website where we talk all about how this works, but basically the anti-pitch method is where you create relationships with the people who are behind these brands. So maybe it is Real Good Foods, right? They make the pizzas and all of those things. So if you ever wanted to work with a brand like that, I would be going on LinkedIn. I would type in Real Good Foods and typically the business profile will come up. So from there, what I would do is basically look at the people who are listed on LinkedIn that work there. You can search through all of these different job titles, looking for someone who is maybe an influencer marketing coordinator or someone in marketing or social media or influencer relations. These are the people that you wanna start to build relationships with, right? Because they’re the people who are gonna either hire you or not hire you. So typically what I’ll do is try to connect with them, introduce myself. If you’re a food creator, food blogger and you’re a big fan of the brand, you’re excited to stay up to date with what they’re working on. But typically, I try not to sell myself in this initial interaction. Because I just want the brand again to know that I exist and know that I’m there to just keep up with them because I’m a loyal customer. I’m a loyal follower. So then as they maybe share things on LinkedIn, or maybe they also have a Twitter and they’re sharing things on Twitter, I’m there interacting with those things. If they say, oh, you know Real Good Foods, we just came out with this new pizza recipe, or whatever it is. Then I’m in there commenting, oh my gosh. The last one was so good. I can’t wait to try this one. Again, I’m not trying to sell myself. I’m really just saying, Hey, I exist and I’m literally here keeping up with you guys and what you’re doing at this brand. I’m excited and I wanna be a part of it. So typically I spend a few weeks just warming up these brands until I feel like I’ve had enough interactions with them where I can actually start a conversation with them. So I might slide into the DMs on LinkedIn and say, Hey, it’s so cool that you guys just came out with this new pizza recipe. I absolutely loved the last one. How are you guys marketing this? I would love to learn a little bit more about what you’re doing with this marketing campaign. Let’s get on a call. My goal is to again, just hear more about what they’re working on. Hopefully on a call, I feel like you can get so much more personable on a call, and then at that point I can introduce my own services by saying, oh, that’s awesome that you guys wanna make more Reels. Do you have anyone helping you with that? Are you looking for any UGC or even a blog post to help get the word out? I can start to sell myself then. But it feels a lot more authentic because I’ve already been keeping up with the brand and interacting with them. That’s the anti-pitch method in a nutshell.
Megan Porta: I love that. Okay. I love this method. It’s establishing a relationship up front. It’s very authentic. That’s your message too, being authentic and just naturally letting it evolve. Now you mention LinkedIn. How important is it for content creators to be on that platform?
Kristen Bousquet: I think for, again, this anti-pitch method, LinkedIn I do think is the best option for that. A lot of people have Twitter as well, but I don’t think people treat Twitter as professionally as they do LinkedIn. So building business relationships I do think typically is best on LinkedIn. We actually have a whole podcast episode about optimizing your LinkedIn as a creator. I think that could be helpful before you start going into this anti-pitch method. But overall, I do think LinkedIn is the best place to do it. LinkedIn is very underrated in my opinion.
Megan Porta: I hear that too. So I’m a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuck and he has been saying this for years. He’s always I don’t care what kind of content creator you are, you need to be on LinkedIn and you need to be putting a lot of focus there. I feel if he’s saying that’s what we should maybe be doing.
Kristen Bousquet: I believe everything he says.
Megan Porta: I know, same. He’s got this magic intuition where he’ll predict something and then everyone’s what? Then it happens. It unfolds that way. Yeah, so he’s saying be on LinkedIn. So I think there is value there and brands are there, right? So they’re looking for relationships as well.
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Kristen Bousquet: This has been, I would say in 2022, probably 70% of the collaborations that I’ve had are brands that I’ve already established connections with, or brands that I have built these relationships with through platforms like LinkedIn. If you can’t find people on LinkedIn, that’s why I say there are multiple options for creating relationships with brands, because not every brand is gonna have people on LinkedIn that you wanna connect with. So in those situations, maybe you are sending a cold pitch or maybe what I’ve also seen, probably the other 30% of my partnerships this year has been me organically mentioning brands in posts or in stories or on a TikTok video and then seeing it, and then we start a conversation. Maybe again, jump on a call, talk a little bit more about what I offer and how I can help. So honestly, I’ll be totally straightforward with this. I really do think that the cold pitch at this point in influencer marketing is more a waste of time than anything else. It’s just so hard to get all of those things to line up. Especially if it’s a larger brand, it’s really difficult to get them to even see your email and wanna read through more than the first sentence. So I really do think that with how saturated this market is, you have to do your best to stand out and show that you actually care and aren’t just there for a paycheck. These organic interactions, whether it’s an anti-pitch method or organically mentioning the brand first in a post or again, a story, whatever, I really think that’s the best way to do it at this point. It’s just brands can see through an inauthenticity. I just want to work with this brand to get a paycheck. So at this point I think we have to do a little bit better.
Megan Porta: As food bloggers, we get pitched too, quite often by random people. So I think if we can frame it that way and think of those pitches because they’re extremely inauthentic, they’re super annoying. Every time I get an email that’s okay, clearly this person does not know anything about me. I often get emails for Eat Blog Talk and it’s Dear Eat,. I’m like, really? You can’t even put my name in there. So delete. We know how that goes. So think of it like that, like those emails that you get that are just auto deletes, what don’t you like about them and maybe just thinking through that.
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, exactly. Again, even financially, think about it too. Who is the person that you would rather give your money to if you were a brand. Someone who’s been literally commenting on every post, they’re always in your dms. They’re there, they wanna get on a call to talk about your marketing goals. Are you gonna give it to that person or the person who sends you a cold pitch that they copied and pasted and sent to 50 different brands and has no sort of personalization. I think that’s pretty obvious.
Megan Porta: Yeah. The emails that are all about them are super annoying as well. If you want something from me, shouldn’t you show that you know me or you know my name, something would be great there. So I think we can all relate to this on some level because we are on the receiving end of those types of emails. So cold pitches are a huge turn off. There are those magical emails that get through and land. But for the most part I just like, ooh, yucky.
Kristen Bousquet: Exactly. Yeah. It’s typically like my last resort. If I have exhausted every other option possible and I’m like, this is a brand I really wanna work with, okay, fine, I’ll send the cold pitch. But I try to go into that with not very high expectations because again, there’s so many things that have to line up. It’s not easy.
Megan Porta: If you do a cold pitch, do you go from a template or I’m assuming you just write a super authentic email that’s genuine.
Kristen Bousquet: I have a format. Typically I’ll just introduce myself. I’ll talk a little bit about, maybe one sentence, okay, this is who I am and this is my mission. This should be very short and sweet. You’re not even necessarily trying to sell yourself here. You’re more just saying, again, hi. I exist. I want to hear more about what you’re working on. You brought up a great point where some brands will make their pitches all about them when they’re pitching you and that’s not very attractive to you, as a creator. It’s the same way when you go in and tell your whole life story and how you wanna work with this brand and get a brand deal with them, but you don’t talk about how you can help them, or you don’t ask them what they need help with. How are you able to say oh, I can help you with all of this stuff and help you get sales if you don’t even know what their actual goals are. So I typically like to have my pitch where I’m just like, Hey, this is who I am. Again, like I saw on your social media that maybe you’re releasing this new thing or you just had this new technology or innovation or whatever it is. Again, showing that I’m paying attention. Then I say, I would love to hear more about what you guys are working on. Do you have 15 minutes in the next month or so to just let me hear a little bit more about what you’re working on? I’d love to grab a virtual coffee with you, yeah. I make it like a very casual interaction. Every pitch that they’re getting says, hi, I’m a creator at, here’s my Instagram handle. I’ve worked with all of these brands in the past. Here’s my engagement rate. Me, me.
Megan Porta: Okay. That is super helpful. I love your perspective. I think this is really just novel. Something that we don’t always think about. We tend to think just cold pitches, do a hundred, do 500, do as many as you need to. But this is a great way to think about that cold pitch issue because honestly, we don’t receive cold pitch emails, but it’s hard to write them too. It’s oh gosh, how is this gonna be received? So it’s not fun on either end.
Kristen Bousquet: You have to send so many of them to get any sort of success from them. I just feel like I have so many better things to do with my time. It’s exhausting.
Megan Porta: Okay. So I know a lot of food bloggers who dig into brand work are okay with doing one off jobs. . But what if there’s a content creator who wants to dig into more of a long term partnership? How do you recommend going about that from the start?
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, this is what I try to do for every single partnership because think about how much easier it would be for you as a creator to just have a set of brands that you can continuously work with and that your audience is seeing time and time again. They know you’re loyal to them, they know you love them. Versus a one off post and then you have to go searching and hustling for jobs, again. It’s so much more work. So it makes so much more sense to me that you would find brands that you wanna work with long term. Again, for your audience too. They will respond so much better to that as well. So typically, this is why that anti-pitch method works so well is because I’m not going into that pitch saying, Hey, I wanna do an Instagram post with you. I’m asking them like, what are you guys working on this quarter? What are you working on this year? Then I’m putting it together, okay. This is how I can help. So I’m saying, l I’m sending them a proposal that maybe says okay, in the next three months, let’s do one post each month, one story each month, and then one blog post each month. First of all, it’s really great financially because you’re able to secure three months worth of jobs with one brand. Again, you don’t have to go searching for more and more partnerships, but you’re also showing I’m in this for the long haul. I think a lot of brands appreciate that too, because then they also don’t have to go find more creators to work with. You’d be surprised, being on the other end. So many creators looking at their page, you would think they’d be great to work with. They take two weeks to answer an email or they don’t read the brief and don’t send in content that makes any sense. There’s so many things that can go wrong for a brand working with a creator that if they can find someone who is dedicated and loyal to their brand, but it’s also really great to work with, you’re gonna get hired over and over again. Typically it’s all about that first interaction. Again, showing that you’re in it to help that brand with their goals. Then just continuously saying, okay, so what’s the goal of this quarter? All right, how are we gonna make that happen? Just again, making yourself more part of the team. That all starts from building that authentic relationship in the beginning where you’re saying, how can I serve you? How can I help you?
Megan Porta: So really being a gap filler, finding those gaps in their business where they need help with, and then just providing that for them.
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, absolutely. It really is more than just like being a creator for them. You really are almost part of the team where, maybe they’re asking you, Hey, we just made this new landing page. What do you think of it? Those are all things that I’m always so excited to help with when I’m working with brands, because again, that means they trust me and they’re ready to continue hearing out what kind of proposals that I’m sending to them. So I always try and get in as deep as I can working with these brands. Obviously in a way that’s sustainable and reasonable for what you’re getting paid. But trying to be as much part of the team as possible is just so beneficial for you. But also just the brands are gonna absolutely love that. So wherever you can find it. Always a good option.
Megan Porta: You said something earlier that was really interesting because okay, you talked about being dedicated and loyal. I think that’s interesting because I think we can often assume that everyone is dedicated and loyal, but that’s not the case. There are content creators who are flaky and like you mentioned, taking two weeks to get back via email, which is a long time. So just being the content creator that shows up, that responds quickly. Loyal, you’re always there. Letting them know that you’re always there for them, I think will give you a huge leg up.
Kristen Bousquet: Oh, truly. You can have mediocre content and be an incredible brand partner and you’re probably gonna get hired again over someone who has really incredible content, but is horrible to work with. So being a great brand partner really goes such a long way. I can tell you from being on the other end very briefly, before I was a full-time creator, I was helping out some brands with influencer campaigns where I was the one reaching out to influencers. As someone who’s like a type A person, I’m very on it when it comes to answering emails, I assumed everyone else was like this. I was absolutely floored when I would have to chase people down for months for their invoice or we would send them the product and they just would never send content. So many just crazy situations. So being a great brand partner is actually not that hard in comparison to what’s out there, but it’s really just about, if you can make that person who you’re working with look good to their boss, they’re gonna rehire you over and over again.
Megan Porta: Yeah. It’s really very simple, show up consistently, just like you would a friendship. What are the things that you would do for a good friend? Think of that and do the same. It’s really very simple, but somehow it gets really complicated in our minds when we think about working with brands. What are some other things we can do to get brands to keep coming back to us? Do you recommend showing statistics for campaigns or anything like that?
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, most collaborations will typically require that you do send statistics. I will say, a lot of the time what I do is I’ll try and present these in a really nice way that, again, is gonna wow the brand that I’m going above and beyond. So I have this wrap up template where basically I put in screenshots for each post, for each story, for each blog post, whatever it is, of all my stats and it’s wrapped up in this beautiful PDF. I just send them this pdf where again, it presents it a little bit nicer than just sending screenshots as attachments and they have to figure out, okay, which screenshot goes with which post. It can be really confusing. So again, like being organized and labeling things and making it easily digestible is a great way to be a great brand partner as well. The stats I think, can hurt you or help you, obviously, if you have a post that didn’t perform the way you expected it to, it stinks to send those stats in because you don’t want the brand to not want to work with you anymore after that. But typically in those situations, I just try to recognize it and offer to see what else I can do to almost make up for it. Oh, I know that this was a little bit lower than what we expected, so I actually already have a story plan for later this week that I’m gonna share with a new recipe or whatever it is. But again, you want to be a great brand partner. They’re investing money in you. So how can you make yourself look like you are the most invested in getting them the results that they’re looking for. But again, in a way that’s still fair to you. So stats I think are good and bad, but you’ll typically always have to send them.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I am by no means an expert with working with brands. I avoided it for much of my food blogging career. However, I do work with sponsors here at Eat Blog Talk, and I will tell you one thing, one little secret I have that I think is good. You can tell me what you think, Kristen, but we land on our deliverables. I will deliver you this at this time, and I just made a decision halfway through the year to those sponsors that I’m really invested in, I’m just gonna do a few little extra things for them that were not in the deliverables. Because that just shows them that I love them. I want them to stick around, I believe in their service and product. So for me, that was posting on TikTok. We had nothing in the agreement about TikTok, but I started doing that and I don’t get huge TikTok numbers, but they did okay. I got some good responses from them. So just little things like that I think are really good too, and are just a message to the brand that, oh, she believes in me enough to go above and beyond and do a little extra.
Kristen Bousquet: Oh yeah. Over-delivering is a great way to, again, show that you’re really invested in them and you’re really there for their success. So I think that’s a great option. Another thing that I like to do too is whenever I wrap up a partnership, I will try and send some kind of even just a handwritten thank you note. I also have a friend who makes these really cute sugar cookies that are custom sugar cookies. So every year I have her make a ton of them for me, and I send out boxes for the holidays to all of my brand partners just to be thanked for being a great brand partner this year. But it’s one of those things where people don’t do things like that typically. So they’re gonna get that box of cookies or that handwritten thank you note, and they’re gonna be like, oh my gosh, this is amazing. I can’t wait to work with her again. She gave us cookies.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That goes a long way. It’s such a little gesture, but it can go so far because like you’ve said, nobody does that anymore.
Kristen Bousquet: It comes down to remembering that the person on the other end is a literal human thing.
Megan Porta: Human, yes, exactly.
Kristen Bousquet: They’re not robots. It’s not just a brand, it is a person. So it’s like how would you wanna be treated in these situations?
Megan Porta: Cookies, everyone loves cookies.
Kristen Bousquet: Exactly. It’s an instant win.
Megan Porta: I love that. I love that so much. I do that for clients. I try to write handwritten notes and send occasional little gifts, but I never thought of doing that for sponsors. So I wrote it down and circled it. I’m totally stealing that. Thank you.
Kristen Bousquet: That’s fine. That’s fine.
Megan Porta: Is there anything we’ve missed, Kristen, about this topic? Anything that you wanna say before we start saying goodbye?
Kristen Bousquet: I guess I would like to add, when you are working with these brands, you have to always keep in mind that this is a 50 50 partnership. You are just as responsible for everything as they are. You’re just as in charge as they are. So if brands ever are feeling like they’re taking advantage of you or you feel like you’re giving more than they’re giving, those are situations that you wanna keep in the back of your mind and keep an eye on. It’s so easy for creators to feel like, oh my gosh whatever this brand says goes because they’re the ones hiring me. But you don’t work for them. You’re working with them. So it’s very important that you know how you should be treated and when something feels wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up and say that it’s wrong, and that there needs to be a change. Again, in all of my trial and error that’s happened to me too many times where I was afraid to speak up and ended up getting taken advantage of. The more experience I had with it, the more it doesn’t fly with me anymore. But, It’s very difficult when you’re first getting started off to speak up for yourself. So know your value. If it feels wrong, don’t be afraid to speak up. Just know in the back of your mind that those kind of things do happen.
Megan Porta: This has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much for all of this, Kristen. You have so much knowledge on this topic. Just thank you for being here.
Kristen Bousquet: Of course. Thank you so much for having me.
Megan Porta: So I like to ask my guests at the end if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with. Do you have something to share?
Kristen Bousquet: Okay. I live by this saying of just you are in charge of your own happiness. You are in charge of your own success. So whenever it feels like things are coming at you in a million directions, just know that you have full control on how you handle things and where these things go. It’s up to you. Keep it in the back of your mind. They don’t control you. You control how things work.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh, I love that. I think that we actually talked about this on your podcast. I remember saying the same thing where I was like, tough love. If your life is chaotic, look back and know that was you, that you can change it, or something along those lines. So I love that we both brought that message to the table. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Kristen. If anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/soulcialmate. And that is with an L, so S O U L C I A L mate. Tell everyone where they can find you. Talk about your podcast a little bit, and what the best place to get a hold of you is.
Kristen Bousquet: Yeah, so we are on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, all of the things. You can usually just search my name, Kristen Busquet, or you can search soulcialmate and find that. It’s funny, after just getting married, I’m like, I don’t know how I’m gonna change my name everywhere. No one’s gonna be able to know where to find me anymore. So yeah, you can find us pretty much in those places. We also, soulcialmate, has a podcast where it comes out every Tuesday, a new episode. Megan was actually on a recent episode, so you can go check that one out. It is called Soulcial Scoop and you can find it everywhere that you listen to podcasts. We also at Soulcial Mate have a monthly creator membership, where every month you are part of this membership where we get together on group calls, we have resources, we have exclusive podcast episodes, we give brand deal opportunities. There’s really everything you could possibly need as a creator there. So that is our monthly membership.
Megan Porta: Awesome, everybody go check out Kristin on all the platforms and thanks again, Kristen, so much for being. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. Please share this episode with a friend who would benefit from tuning in. I will see you next time.
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