There are a lot of different definitions for “Influencers” and “Micro-Influencers,” most of which make me want to gag. Some people like the title, others don’t. I’m in the dislike camp, mainly because I think that “influencers” have a bad reputation. All I know is that I like taking pictures and writing about products. The rest has sort of fell into place.
While I certainly don’t have the entire world of blogging figured out, I like to share what knowledge I have in hopes of helping others. I have a few other posts with blogging information that you can check out here. Some highlights are:
Today, let’s jump into the world of PR, working with brands and even, content theft.
Be on Brand
Someone reached out to you! Yay! Before you immediately reply, you need to ask yourself 2 questions:
- Will this content feel natural to my audience?
- Is this a brand I trust?
If you answer “no” to either of those questions, chances are this isn’t a good partnership. Now that brands see the value in influencers, there is a lot of sponsored content. Followers and readers can sniff out an unnatural partnership within an instant. For example, one of my favorite beauty vloggers exclusively wears one mascara. She has talked about her beloved mascara for years and uses in in every video. Seemingly out of the blue, she posted a sponsored Instagram post promoting another mascara, which I’ve never heard her talk about. I can’t entirely blame her for cashing in what is probably a very large paycheck, but I also don’t trust that her review is reliable.
If you receive an email or DM from a brand you haven’t heard of, do your research. See what other people are saying about the brand, check up on the hashtag and even DM others who you see using the product/brand. Make sure that their brand aligns with your brand.
Read the Fine Print
Brands should always credit your content. Just as individuals need to disclose sponsored content, brands should disclose when content isn’t theirs. However, there have been a slew of big brands lately that have been called out for stealing influencers’ content, specifically micro-influencers, because larger brands think they can get away with it (i.e. Tarte and Popsugar). If a brand or another individual ever uses your content without your consent, my recommendation is to try the following:
- Take a screenshot immediately. Get those receipts.
- Decide if you want the brand/individual to either give you credit or take the photo down. Comment on the photo in a polite manner, but be very direct. i.e. “Hi there! I see that you like my photo and are using it here. Please adjust the caption to give me credit or take it down. Thank you!”
- Wait to see if you get a response before escalating the situation. If you don’t, up it to the DM’s and email. Email the brand’s customer service or the individual if it’s listed in their bio.
- If you’re still not getting a response, then take it to the masses! There’s no shame in this. Post it all up on your IG stories and let the crowd help you out.
Obviously, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, but know that it is not ok for someone to use your content without giving you credit. I had this happen once before and it was so frustrating. An individual stole my watermarked photo and then the brand, with over 2 million followers, unknowingly reposted the photo, giving the thief credit. When the brand reposted “her photo,” she then took to IG to brag about it. Long story short, she ended up deleting her whole account and I do not feel bad at all.
This is all a very long-winded way of saying, even when working with a brand, they should give you credit if the photo is reposted on their website or social media pages. When brands comment asking for permission to repost your photo and they attach their terms, READ THE TERMS. Do not diminish your brand just for more recognition. You deserve the recognition WITH the credit.
If you’re working with a brand and there’s any ambiguity, explicitly ask who then owns the rights to that content when money is exchanged. It’s important that both parties are clear during a transaction to avoid fallout down the road. Read over your contracts carefully.
I like to follow up with brands twice when I’m working with them on content. Once to acknowledge that I either received the product or have started working on the content and then again after I have posted. You should always shoot the brand/PR agency a follow-up note thanking them for the product/opportunity and include a link to your content.
This is extremely helpful for brands and agencies so that they can keep track of the content coming out of their influencer campaigns. When you make their lives easier, chances are they’ll be more inclined to work with you in the future. Brands and agencies need to keep a close eye on their influencer programs just like any other form of marketing so that they can show the return to their higher ups. Plus, it’s just good manners to say thank you!
Did I miss anything? Let me know!