How To Ask Brands To Pay You For Collaborations

A free handbag is nice and all that… but that ain’t going to pay the bills

So you’ve amassed a bunch of followers on Instagram, racking up the page views, affiliate payments are starting to come in, and you have several brand collaborations under your belt. But of course, you want more from your blog. There comes a time when you realise “I should be getting paid for this hard work,” on top of being gifted products or asked to review restaurants and services. You have an audience and a loyal following, so why should you not get paid for your access to them? I believe that bloggers should be paid for their time and dedication, and by asking for payment, even if the brand doesn’t have the budget, it creates an awareness that brands can’t get something for nothing from everyone. You wouldn’t ask a builder to fix your door in return for a handbag, so why ask a blogger to shoot it, write about it, and post it on their website? Yes, I really like that handbag and everything, but unfortunately that’s not going to pay my bills. And then, when they offer to put your photo on their Instagram for ~exposure~ ? It’s like, I’ve got exposure coming out of every orifice, but I don’t think my landlord will buy that when they notice I haven’t paid my rent for several weeks.

So, the big question…

How Do I Ask Them To Pay Me

There are a billion blog posts out there titled “how to make money from your blog!” that just go on to list things such as affiliates, and paid brand collaborations. Yeah yeah, I know that already. But none of them actually say how to ask a brand to pay you when they approach you with a collaboration. When I got to a certain point where it felt right to charge, I just simply didn’t know what was correct protocol in wording when asking to be paid. After testing the waters a little bit, speaking to girls I know on the other side of the emails who work with bloggers, I found the best way to ask when a brand gets in touch with you proposing a collaboration is to simply ask them if they have any budget at all for payment. I pay my photographer, so that’s already a very good way to justify your need for payment on top of everything else, because if I don’t get paid by them, I may have a nice pair of shoes but I’m out of pocket.

So when emailing, I often reply by saying the standard thanks for getting in touch and saying such nice things about my blog/Instagram (as they usually do) blah blah blah followed with “Do you have any budget for payment on top of gifting at all? As I no longer work in a product in lieu of fee basis for promotion on my site and social channels” 

Simple as that. Keep it friendly, chatty, but professional.

What To Expect When Asking Brands For Payment
  • Expect to show them your statistics. If you’re asking for money, you’re going to probably have to prove to some people why they should pay you X amount, so have an up-to-date media pack on your stats to send over (you can see how to make an easy one over here)
  • Be prepared for them to say no and be shocked at your prices. It happens. The problem is, so many bloggers are still doing free promotion on their sites that it undercuts value. If someone can get something for free, why wouldn’t they? 
  • Paid work, quite naturally, like a real actual job, often requires a lot more work. So expect to sign contracts, be given a brief, deadlines, and for the brand to ask you to reshoot images if they aren’t quite right. 
  • You won’t always get paid immediately after. One PR company that acted as the middle man between myself and the brand took around six months to pay me. There was complete radio silence from them until I kicked off on Twitter naming and shaming them and the tweet garnered a lot of traction with other bloggers retweeting it. Not entirely professional, but neither were they, and I needed money! 

The Benefits of Working In Paid Collaborations (aside from the $$$)
  • Collaborations tend to be more tailored for you, with a specific campaign idea or theme. Because you’re being paid, the brand obviously wants the most creative, engaging content they can get from you, and the best way of getting that is by working closely. It’s not about throwing  a product at you and hoping for the best, it’s about creating mutually beneficial content.
  • You’ll find yourself making stronger relationships with PR’s and brands, which will lead to more paid work. It’s just like freelancing, if you do a great job and they get on with you, they’ll ask you back for more. 
The Final Need-to-Know

I don’t have dollar signs permanently shining like beacons from my eyeballs, and neither should you. When a brand contacts you, weigh it all up: I have, and I will, work with a select few independent, new, start-up labels and brands if I really love their designs, the concept, or the project they propose, and I think that everyone should at some point. Everyone, like you once upon a time, starts from scratch, so we all need a helping hand!

Read more blogging tips here!

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    1. totally agree! I've got to the point where I don't feel awkward for asking at all. All about transparency!

  1. Loved this post, if only more brands would admit to having budgets for their campaigns! I know what it's like to be on both sides of that email, and hopefully one day it won't even be a question that has to be asked.


  2. I completely agree with this. I set my prices slightly higher than the average blogger (with the same stats as me) because I don't rely on blogging for an income and I value my time/skills. If brand want to get featured on my blog they have to pay for it. I often get shocked responses when PR/brands read my rate card because they want to pay $50 for a post, which is way under what they should be paying. Bloggers who undersell themselves really damage the whole community when it comes to fair advertising fees from PR agents.

  3. This is another great post sophie! This really is something people struggle with but tbh it benefits the whole community. The more people that charge, the less there are undercutting others (mostly unintentionally)

  4. Like you said no one's ever explained how to ask them for payment, so thankyou for this it truly was needed! I'd also love to know how to tell a brand/PR that I don't want to work with them in a professional manner, I've had a few contacting me recently but I've never known how to say no in the correct manner. I'm all new to this but I don't want to come across as rude x

    Claire ❤ | My Little Memoir

  5. This is so helpful from a few levels. I want to start doing this with my blog and also do freelance writing aside from this – I do, however, always underprice myself (I think it's a confidence thing!). I have been told by fellow journalists that you should NEVER work for free a) because you have something of value and b) because it undermines everyone else in the industry. I think the same goes for blogging, here.

    Alice | Whiskey Jars Blog

  6. Thank you for writing this. Although I'm a small blogger these are things I think about. Paid or not paid hard work is still involved so good to know how to ask and sometimes what to charge X

  7. Great post. It's so hard to know when to put a price on your time and when to let it go. I'm not quite big enough yet as a blogger to demand a payment from a company, but I know I'll get there. And when I do I'm going to make sure I get paid what I deserve for the time I put into the posts! It's not an easy gig blogging.. That's for sure! xx

  8. Really good post in helping us bloggers! I am not to the point where I can ask for money or free products but this is really good to know for when I do reach that point!

  9. Thank you for writing this! This is such a helpful post, especially as I feel like my blog has gained a bit of traffic recently. I really love how you word asking if they have a budget. So professional and friendly. I often feel really harsh, mean and almost apologetic for asking when I ask and this has boosted my confidence with collaborations. Thank you!

    Cat | What Cat Says

  10. I found your article on Facebook I guess (not sure). I've been blogging for just 2 months, but I will definetely save this blog post. I'm sure it will help me! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  11. Thank you for this post! I was searching for how to say it with words and you have given a great example of this! Post like this are extremely helpful to others who may have these questions but have no one to ask so thanks again!

    Shannon //

  12. OMG Sophie! Thank you so much for this! I have been blogging for years and have finally realized I’m needing MUCH more than free product- I love receiving it, and thought it was so fun– but lately I’ve been super complacent. You totally put it into perspective; I put in a lot of work to make my posts pretty, but I have always worked a full time job, so I never really thought about how important it is to ask for a payment on a post. Until I feel like I’ve run myself ragged. Thank you for the advice! I’ll definitely put it to use!
    Xx- Meghan Louise