The Best Fit
It's one thing to find the perfect jean, but it's another if it doesn't fit right. The same thing goes for clients. You can have the ideal opportunity offered to you but if it doesn't fit your niche, what's the point? If it's not going to appeal to your demographic and if it's not going to match your aesthetic, how is it really going to benefit you?
So how do you filter through your clientele?
When you're just starting out, naturally you'd want to accept every opportunity that's handed to you. It looks great to have a list of sponsors under your belt but if you're a bohemian inspired blogger, you wouldn't be producing street inspired photos for the sake of receiving free clothes.
Don't ever stray from who you truly are for the sake of material gain.
Understand your true potential and never sell yourself short.
You don't have to jump at every opportunity. It's okay to say no!
I started getting sponsored two years into running Polydeux and did free marketing for a year or so. It wasn't until my photographer told me I deserved more for the amount of work I was doing. Just because you're starting out and not making money from your passion now, doesn't mean you won't later!
I typically put companies through a series of 'tests' to ensure how legitimate they are. No one wants to work with wishy-washy clients.
1.) Companies will sometimes DM/message you via other platforms but always redirect them to your email if they are really serious about working with me.
2.) However, if they do email you, how they address you is important. It can usually help you differentiate between the copy and pasted emails vs. the genuine ones. Not to mention, always do your research. How legitimate their website is can tell you a lot about a company as well. Read their mission statement and know their values.
Is this a company you want to represent?
3.) Understand their proposal and confirm with them what it is that they want out of you. Reiterate it to them to make sure there is no miscommunication.
4.) Evaluate the pros and cons. Is it going to help you as much as it will help them? What are you getting out of it in the long run? Do they want you to work for free? See if working with this company is worth your time and effort.
At this point, I send my media kit and ask for more information before continuing. If they respond, they pass yet another test and are serious about working with you, or they're willing to work something out.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Just be wary of the companies that try to take advantage of you for free labor/advertisement. More importantly, know when you should stop taking products as payment. If you want to make a living off blogging, you should demand more. Just make sure to translate your work accordingly.
Supply and demand.
You can't demand $400 to promote a product if you have 200 followers.
Just don't sell yourself short.
Photography by Justin Quebral