Sponsored, Ad, Collaborations -- What Does It All (REALLY) Mean? #BehindTheScreen

Thursday, December 7, 2017


When I write a post for you guys, it's always the truth. This is my blog, my thoughts, why would I want to lie about something? If it's something I really don't want to tell y'all, I just won't tell y'all, ya know?

No one is forcing me to blog and no one will ever control my thoughts on here. 

There's only a few times I might leave something off of my site.. if it's something super personal (very few, if anything, falls into this category) or if it involves someone else/isn't my story to tell

With that being said, you may see me write things that are sponsored, an ad, a partnership or a collaboration. Over the years, these words have sorta gotten a bad wrap. I wanted to clear up a few common misconceptions..  What do they really mean? And why are you seeing them? OR I'm getting questions from girl's new to the bloggingsphere.. How do I get paid?! 

So this is a two part post. Since blogging is pretty new, mysterious and somewhat foreign, I figured this post could be very interesting depending on if you're a blogger or not! The first part I'll be explaining all the technical terms, how they work and why I do them. Part two will be more of how they come about and more things on the blogger side of things. 

If I fail to cover anything, please feel free to comment below, DM me on Insta or shoot me an email. 

part one

Very often you'll see girls (including myself) post about items, brands, etc. and their post (blog post, IG post, FB post) will contain the tag or words 'Ad, Spon, sponsored, collaboration, partner, [c/o], care of' and maybe a few others that I can't think of. All in all, they basically mean the same thing.. you are promoting a product in exchange for something. 
Sometimes this something is just a free product, some times you're also being paid to promote this product. Usually words like care of, or [c/o], solely mean free product. Spon, sponsored or ad mean you're also being paid. Collaboration and partnership can mean either but often a partnership is a predetermined amount of time that you will promote that person (and none of their competitors) for an extended period. Honestly, the verbiage usually doesn't matter as long as it's being stated. (from past experience, the brand determines which of these words you can use and where they need to be placed in your post, usually at the very beginning). If you don't specify which posts you're being paid for there can be big legal consequences. 

So why are we doing them?
Well the why is easy. There is a lot that goes into a blog. Even if you are just looking at the basics, coding everything yourself, etc. there are still costs. Most likely you have more costs than just the basics. In case you have no clue what happens behind the scenes, here are a few things a blogger may have to pay for: website, website hosting, website design, website maintenance, photography services, content needs (props, clothes, etc. depending what kind of blog you run), the list goes on. So with all this, you are spending money and sponsored content helps replace some of those funds. In addition, blogging takes a lot of time. At this very moment, I'm writing this post at 11:30 pm after working my 'main' job, so like myself many bloggers hope to do this full time. Not only would that lead to more time to produce better content, but I could be on a normal schedule! (I hope none of this sounds like I'm complaining, I obviously love blogging SO much. I just want to explain everything fully.) 
So long story short, when you are being paid for blog posts it helps fund your blog. 

So how do they work?
There are a few different ways that paid content can come about. You can pitch post ideas to brands or brands can reach out to you. Basically, you can email a brand and say "I have XYZ post idea coming up and I LOVE your product. I use it everyday and would love to tell my readers more about it." or maybe a brand will think you're a good fit, see you using their product or read a post where you mention it. They will contact you to find out more information about your rates, schedule, etc. 
Once you have your ideas approved and dates in order, you receive the product, shoot the product, write the post and submit it to be approved by the brand. 

this is what's so important to me..
I will never just accept a collaboration, ad, etc. just because of the money. Like I said before, I don't want to lie to you guys and I don't want you to come here just because I'm shoving something down your throat that I don't actually love. 
Would I love to accept every offer that comes my way and make as much money as possible but in the long run I know I will be happier and feel better if I stay true to myself and to you guys. 

I felt it was important for me to tell you guys this because you know I like to be transparent. I've actually had some very exciting opportunities lately that you will see very soon and I don't ever want you to doubt my voice. I have probably turned down just as many collaborations as I've accepted. I like to feel I know you guys and know what you like! 

Yes my goal is to write for Yes, Please daily full time one day and I'm about half way there! The next step is hopefully growing stronger relationships with new brands and seeing where it goes. It's scary but I know if I keep a positive outlook, stay true to my style, my voice & my audience and continue to work hard that it will all go according to plan. 

part two

I wanted to answer a few FAQs that I've been asked recently about all this jazz & hopefully it will be helpful to any of you gals out there hoping to also blog full time! 

Q. What do you do if you collaborate with someone and when you receive the product it's not good?
A. Since collaborations are usually unpaid, I do often receive products to try. I always let the brand know I will provide them with my honest feedback. Sometimes you guys never see these products at all. I don't like putting negative vibes out there! If I don't like it I just tell the brand why it didn't work for me personally. If I think my opinion could save you guys time, money, etc. I will usually let you know that it wasn't my favorite and why. Honesty is the best policy, just be polite and they'll understand. They will appreciate the constructive criticism that can hopefully better their product for others. 

Q. I'm a new blogger. When should I start charging for posts?
A. This varies for everyone and I don't think there's any right answer. Personally, I didn't feel comfortable charging until I knew I could provide the worth. Some bloggers say charge no matter what but I don't always necessarily think that's fair. Brands work hard for their money and you don't want to be robbing them just for free product. If you don't think you're at the place to charge brands, work on ways to save money on your end (do your own coding, grab a friend 'photographer' or look for collaborations for products you would already be purchasing to save money). Personally, I have been blogging for over 4 years and just got my first paid collaboration last year. 

Q. How do I find collaborations? 
A. Like I mentioned earlier, the best way to come about collaborations is when a brand reaches out to you. I feel like when someone takes the time to reach out, they already like your blog/voice/style and are more willing to work with you. Another great way to find collaborations is through different media agencies. They do a lot of the leg work to find brands looking for influencers. There many, many, many agencies. This is when Google becomes your BFF! A few of my faves are Fohr Card, Bloglovin' Activate and SoFab. 
This post is getting pretty lengthy, so I'll wrap it up here! I'm open to answering any other questions you have. I'm seriously an open book. Don't forget to head to Instagram to enter to win $150 + a HUGE box of all my bestie & I's favorite things. XO 

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