How to Create a Killer Media Kit That Brands Will Love

If you’ve been around my blog for the past few weeks, you’ll notice that I’ve been talking a lot about working with brands through sponsored posts. Last week I wrote about 5 reasons you’re probably not landing sponsored posts on your blog, and what to do about it. Today I’m sharing another tip: You need a media kit if you want to work with your dream brands!

Media Kit

Speaking of working with the brands of your dreams, I’m SO excited to announce my inaugural email course “Working with Dream Brands”. The 5-day email course covers everything from where/how to find sponsored posts, to how much to charge, to how to write awesome sponsored content, and more! Oh, and did I mention it’s totally FREE!? Sign up below or click here to read more about it!

Now, back to your media kit. If you’re looking to work with brands on your blog, having a media kit is essential. Don’t worry, the “kit” part makes it sound like more work than it is, but a media kit is pretty simple to put together, and you already have all the information you need! It will make you and your blog look professional, and brands are more likely to want to work with you if you have one.

WHAT IS A MEDIA KIT?

Think of your media kit as your blog’s resume. It should explain the who, what, where, when, how and why of your blog, introducing what your brand is all about. It’s a compilation of your story, your stats, your services, and your samples/testimonials, in a 1-2 page (or more) summary.

It should convey your blog’s purpose and what you want to communicate to your readers. You want your media kit to be concise yet informative, and you really want it to stand out! If you have a professional, well designed media kit, it’s a great way to make an awesome first impression.

You can include your media kit as a page on your blog, however, if you’re not into everyone seeing it you can send it out by email to brands you want to work with.

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR MEDIA KIT

Before going into the specifics of what you should include in your media kit, I also want to stress that your media kit should be branded. Use your blog/brand colours and fonts. It’s important that your brand is conveyed through everything you do for your blog, whether it’s your social media accounts, newsletter, or media kit!

Now, let’s talk about what exactly you should include:

1. Your Logo
2. Your Headshot
3. Purpose of Your Blog
4. Short Bio About Yourself
5. Website Page Views and Demographics
6. Social Media Followers
7. Brands You’ve Worked With
8. Your Services
9. Your Contact Info

You can also include the following:

1. Your Pricing
2. Portfolio
3. Testimonials
4. FAQ Sheet
5. Photos

MEDIA KIT TEMPLATES

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a design wiz to make an eye-catching media kit. I’ve rounded up 5 places that sell gorgeous media kit templates so all you have to do is input your information and customize the colours and fonts to fit your brand!

1. Hip Media Kits

2. Blogger Kit Co

3. Chic Templates

 4. Graphicadi

 5. Pixel & Oak

MEDIA KIT EXAMPLES

If you’re looking for some examples of killer media kits, Melissa from Blog Clarity wrote a round-up post featuring 10 inspiring media kits from bloggers. I’m blown away by all of them, and I’m sure they’ll give you some great inspiration for your own media kit!

If you want to work with brands, and haven’t gotten around to creating a media kit for your blog, now is the time!

Have you created a media kit for your blog? If not, why not? What’s holding you back? Let’s chat in the comment section!

And if you loved this post, make sure to pin the image below!

How to Create a Killer Media Kit That Brands Will Love: Are you a blogger who wants to work with brands, land sponsored posts, and make money blogging? Then you need a media kit! I’ve rounded up examples, templates, and ideas for how to make a media kit that will appeal to your dream brands as a blogger! Click to read the post or save this pin for later!

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

5 Reasons You’re Not Landing Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are one of the best, most fun ways to monetize your blog. You get to work with brands you love, use awesome products, and get paid to write about them. Brands from Levis to Larsson and Jennings, Joe Fresh to FitTea (plus so many more) have tapped bloggers to partner with them, and some bloggers make a large chunk of their income from sponsored posts alone.

Sponsored Posts

Now more than ever, brands are looking to bloggers to promote them and their products. Bloggers have become the queens (or kings) of influence, and people are looking to them in terms of what to buy and what brands to fawn over.

This all sounds awesome right? You’re ready to start monetizing your blog, you know what your dream brands are, and you’re itching to write amazing sponsored content.

But how come you’re not landing any sponsored posts? There are a few key reasons brands may not be reaching out to you to work with them. Many brands find bloggers to work with online. If your blog isn’t set up to attract brands, sponsored posts aren’t going to come flowing through your inbox.

Below, the top 5 reasons you’re not landing sponsored posts, and what to do about it.

1. It’s not easy to contact you

If you want to work with brands, you need to make it easy for brands to get in contact with you. While you can cold pitch brands and join blogger networks to land sponsored posts, brands can also reach out to you if you’re a blogger they want to work with.

If you have a gorgeous blog with amazing content, but no way for anyone to get in touch with you, or it’s really hard to find your contact info, you risk the chance of losing out on working with your dream brands!

Make sure you include an ‘about me’ and ‘contact me’ page with your email address on your home page, as well as your social media handles. Make each of these easy to find. People shouldn’t have to search for them.

2. You don’t have a professional blog design

Your blog design is like the book cover of your blog, and you only get one first impression! Make it clean, organized, user-friendly and appealing to the eye, whether you want it pretty and feminine or bold and minimalistic.

You don’t have to spends thousands of dollars on a blog design (especially if you’re just starting out) but you should invest some money in a nice, professional template. I got my current one over at pipdig.co for $59! There are lots of templates out there if you do some searching. I list some others in this blog post I wrote on starting a lifestyle blog.

3. Your blog doesn’t have a clear focus

If you blog about everything under the sun, without a clear focus, you’re less likely to land brand sponsorships. I’m not saying that you can’t blog about multiple things (I do that on this blog!), but it is important that you have an obvious target audience.

If you do want to focus on a specific niche, let’s say organic beauty, your sponsorships will come from organic beauty brands.

But let’s say you want to focus on lifestyle tips. Make sure it’s clear who these lifestyle tips are for. College students? Moms? New entrepreneurs? Your blog doesn’t have to be niched, but it does have to be focused.

This makes it easier for the right brands to reach out to you and offer you partnerships you’ll love. If they know WHO your blog is for, they can offer you sponsorships that will work for you and your readers.

4. You aren’t creating great content

You can always tell how much effort, time, and love people put into their blog posts. Snapping a few pictures, typing out a string of sentences and hitting publish isn’t going to get you noticed.

You need to be creating epic, helpful content for your readers! Whether you blog about DIY projects, recipes, styling advice, or entrepreneurial tips, make your content SO GOOD that your readers always want to come back for more.

Be personable, relatable, and helpful. A great blog post should have upwards of 1,000 words and touch on a hotspot for your readers, whether you assist them with a problem, share a meaningful story, or give your best advice.

Always tell you readers a story. Let them get you know YOU, brands love that too!

When you connect with your readers you’re more likely to build a community, and skyrocket your engagement. This looks really good to brands. Page views and followers are important, but they’re not the be all and end all.

More than ever brands are looking for bloggers with high engagement. If you have a strong, tightknit tribe, it’s more likely that your tribe trusts and listens to your opinions, which is something that really appeals to brands.

Related post: How to Create Epic, Share-Worthy Blog Posts

5. You don’t post consistently

It’s important to be consistent with your blog. Make a schedule and stick to it as best as you can! Brands want to work with bloggers who put out consistent content and are active on their blogs.

If it’s September, and you haven’t posted anything since June, that’s not exactly a great look. If you’re really interested in working with brands and monetizing your blog, you need to be posting regularly.

Even if you can only post once every week or two weeks, make sure to post on the same day, and send your weekly/biweekly/monthly newsletter out on the same day too. This way your readers know when they can expect content from you, and it will show brands that you’re consistent.

These are 5 of the top reasons that bloggers don’t land sponsored posts. If you’re interested in working with brands as a blogger, sign up below to enroll in my FREE 5-day email course ALL about landing and working with dream brands (you know, those brands you would absolutely die to work with, that you always wear or use, that share your values and vision, those ones).

The self-paced email course covers everything from how to find sponsored posts, to how much to charge, and how to write sponsored content that will make brands and your readers fall in love!

And if you loved this post, make sure to share this image on Pinterest!

5 Reasons You’re Not Landing Sponsored Posts: If you’re wondering how to get sponsored posts on your blog, there are certain things you need to do to spruce it up. These are 5 of the top reasons you’re not landing sponsored posts and my best tips on how to fix them. If you want to start getting awesome product offers, and start making money from your blog, this post is for you! Read it now or save this pin for later!

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

The Ultimate Guide to Writing an Awesome Sponsored Post

If you’re a blogger looking to monetize your site, chances are you’ve thought about getting into sponsored posts. A sponsored post is a blog post in which a brand/company will compensate you to write about them on your blog. They provide you with a product to post about, and hopefully moolah to go along with it as well.

sponsored post
Some people get sponsored posts confused with product reviews.

For product reviews, brands will send you a product for you to review it on your blog – what you like, what you don’t like, what could be better, etc. The product is the main focus of the post, with no other products being talked about. Of course brands want you to shed them in a positive light, but you should be honest with your readers to keep your integrity.

Let’s say you’re writing a review about a foundation and you tell your readers it lasts all day. If they buy it and it wears off after an hour, that’s not going to look good on you and they’ll be less likely to trust your opinion in the future.

Now, if you’re writing a sponsored post the brand will send you a product and compensate you for working that product into a blog post. Instead of having the post focused entirely on the product, you write a lifestyle post and work it in.

For example, let’s say M.A.C. wants to work with you and offers to sponsor a post and send you over your favourite lipstick. You can write a post about 5 steps to getting pretty in the morning, and include the lipstick as one of the five products you use.

Or you can write a post about what to wear to a holiday party, and talk about everything you’re wearing, including the lipstick. For a sponsored post, your post isn’t centred around the product, the product is worked in naturally to the post.

As a prelude to this, if you want to learn about how to land your first sponsored post, I wrote a whole guide right over here!

I also whipped up a sponsored post checklist so you can make sure you’re working with the right brands, and writing sponsored posts that are on point!

HOW TO WRITE AWESOME CONTENT

It’s important to write awesome content for your sponsored posts! This will make it more likely for you to work with the brand in the future, as well as make other brands want to work with you.

If you’re sponsored by NIKE and are writing about a pair of sneakers, don’t just say “I love the color of the sneakers and they feel great on my feet.” Give your readers some juicy details about the sneakers and how they can wear them.

Are they comfortable? Are they breathable for your feet on a hot day? Are they versatile – can you wear them to work out and also out to brunch with culottes and knit crop? Are they supportive? Can you wear them all day without getting blisters and sore feet? These are all things I’d want to know before buying a pair of shoes.

The best way to get to know a product? Give it a trial run. Don’t just throw the sneakers on one day, take pictures and put them up on your blog. Wear them around for a few weeks. Go for a run in them, do errands wearing them, wear them all day while shopping or exploring your city. This will allow you to get to know the product and be completely honest about it.

WHAT TO INCLUDE

Disclaimer
You should always disclose that you were sponsored by the brand to write a post. I think the rules are different for bloggers in every country, but I would disclose it just to be safe, and also to be open with your audience. You can place a short disclaimer at the beginning of your post. Something along the lines of: This post was sponsored by [brand name here]. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photos
If you’re writing a sponsored post with a brand, you’ll most likely have to provide your own photos of/with the product. Photos are a great way to enhance a blog post and if you’re active on social media, you’ll likely want share your photos there too. I’ve written a few photography posts that will help you out!

1. My Best 7 Photography Tips for Beginners
2. How to Take and Edit Your Instagram Photos

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WHEN NOT TO WORK WITH A BRAND

There are a number of reasons why a brand sponsorship may not be the best fit for you.

1. You don’t/ wouldn’t actually use the product/brand

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t/can’t see yourself ever using the product a brand is offering, it’s best not to work with them. It can be tough to turn sponsors away, especially if they’re offering you good compensation, but it’s so important to be truthful and authentic with your readers.

If a tennis brand reaches out to you and you’ve never played tennis, so have never written about it on your blog and never intend to play tennis in the future, don’t accept a tennis brand partnership.

2. The brand’s values don’t line up with your values

If you’re vegan and McDonald’s reaches out to you to work on a sponsored post, would you take it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say probably not.

That’s quite an exaggeration, but you get the jist. Some bloggers can fall into a money trap, accepting sponsorships from anyone so they can get some cash. But your readers will notice and you’ll likely lose a lot of fans.

Always stay true to yourself and the right partnerships will follow.

3. They don’t offer much in exchange for the post

As I’ve talked about before, don’t work for pennies. If a brand offers you a box of pencils and nothing else, don’t take the partnership. Many brands will try to take advantage of new bloggers who may not realize what they can get for a sponsored post.

Make sure to account for the time and effort it will take to create the post (writing, taking photos, promotion) and see if what they’re offering is worth it. You can always counter back with what you charge for sponsored posts if you feel like they aren’t offering enough.

4. They ask for dofollow links

As I mention in this post if you’re compensated for a post, whether it’s a product or monetization, you have to add nofollow links whenever you link to the product. If they ask for dofollow links, RUN.

5. They ask you not to disclose that you were compensated for the post

If a brand asks you not to disclose the partnership, it’s not a good sign. It’s like tricking your readers, making it look like you just decided to write about them rather than being compensated for it. This goes back to the whole authentic blogging rule. You always, always want to be truthful with your readers, and that means letting them know about the partnership.

Are you interested in doing sponsored posts on your blog? What are some of the biggest questions you have before getting started?

If you found this post helpful don’t forget to pin the image below!

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Sponsored Posts: Are you a blogger who’s interested in how to get sponsored posts? Sponsored posts are a great way to try out awesome products and make money from your blog! But there’s a certain way to go about writing awesome sponsored content and I’m spilling all my best tips! Click through to read this post now or save it for later! I also made you a handy checklist so you can rock your sponsored posts every time!

For more blogging tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Social Media

If it wasn’t for social media I don’t know how bloggers would survive. Of course there are other ways to promote your blog, but with social media you can reach people all around the world who want to hear what you have to say! Plus, it’s an awesome way to grow your community and tribe. I’ve met so many people over social media who I wouldn’t have even known existed without it.

But back to driving traffic to your blog. You can’t just write a post and hope people will find it. Trust me, I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work! You need to be promoting your posts on social media – that’s where your audience hangs out.

Social Media

A good rule of thumb is to use the 20/80 rule. This means that 20% of your time should be focused on creating content for your blog and 80% of your time should be spent promoting that content.

But you don’t need to promote on every social media channel. Pick three or four that you love most (and that your target readers hang out on) and put your energy into those. Trying to promote everywhere is when things can get messy.

Below, I’m showing you my four favourite social media platforms to promote my content, plus some others you might be interested in for promoting yours! And if you use the same social media platforms as me (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter) to promote your blog posts, I’ve created a social media checklist for you to follow once you’ve published a post!

PINTEREST
If you’re a fan of my blog you probably know that Pinterest has been essential in growing my blog traffic. I wrote a whole post about how to use Pinterest to grow your blog here, but here are the main takeaways:

  • Pinterest has become my biggest referrer of all
  • I use Tailwind and BoardBooster to schedule about 100 pins a day (to my boards and to group boards)
  • Make sure you:

1. Create eye-catching pinnable images for every blog post
2. Use keywords in your pin descriptions
3. Group boards are key! Join group boards so you can promote your posts on the daily and get your content in front of a bigger audience (not just your followers!).

100 pins a day may seem bonkers to some people, but I really believe that being active on any social media platform is the key to more followers and more engagement. Make your pins stand out and make your pin descriptions so awesome that people have to click through to read your post!

I schedule two of my posts to all of my group boards each day so that my posts are continually promoted on a daily basis.

FACEBOOK
Facebook has become another great source of traffic for me. I don’t have many followers on my blog Facebook page, but joining Facebook groups with other bloggers and entrepreneurs has been amazing for my growth.

Many of the Facebook groups I’m part of have promo days where you can post your latest blog post or favourite social media post. Engagement is usually great on promo days! I urge you to find Facebook groups to join! I list a few of my favourites in this post.

INSTAGRAM
I use Instagram more to share glimpses of my everyday life and to promote my lifestyle posts. I’ve recently switched from a full on lifestyle blogger to helping other lifestyle bloggers build their blog and biz! But I still throw in a lifestyle post here and there to give some inspiration and examples to my readers (that’s you!).

Social Media
As you can see in my Instagram bio, I include a link to my latest blog post so people can click through right away. Any photo I post that’s promoting one of my blog posts, I always make sure to tell my followers to click the link in my bio to read my post.

Social Media
Sometimes people just need to be told what to do. If you don’t tell them to click the link in your bio, they might not even think to do so. You need to give them a little nudge.

TWITTER
Out of all the social media platforms I use, Twitter gets the least love. It’s something I’m trying to work on for sure! With Twitter, it’s important that you’re promoting other people’s content, not just your own. I have a few favourite websites that I skim each morning to find posts to tweet out throughout the day.

I use Buffer to schedule my tweets and I love it! It creates your schedule for you based on when your tweets perform best, and you can add as many time slots as you want.

I’ve heard that the day you come out with a post you should promote it around 5 times on Twitter. But make sure there are other posts in between so your feed isn’t flooded with the same post.

When you tweet others’ content, make sure you tag them! I always do this, and even big bloggers will like, share or respond to my tweet! One of my favourite bloggers even followed me back on Twitter! That was something I didn’t think would happen, and definitely wouldn’t have if I hadn’t tagged her and let her know I was promoting her post! 

In terms of other people’s posts that you tweet, make sure they’re in line with your content. For me, I post about blogging, social media and entrepreneurial tips, and throw in some lifestyle posts as well.

Those are four of my favourite social media platforms to promote my content. Depending on what you blog about, other popular places you can promote your posts are:

Linkedin
Stumbleupon
Google +
Snapchat
Periscope
Youtube

Whichever social media platforms you choose, be consistent with them. You’ll build a community and loyal followers when you are present and constantly providing them with great content!

Social media is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog! Don’t forget to use the checklist to ensure you’re promoting your content consistently and in turn, exploding your traffic!

What are your favourite social media platforms to use to drive traffic to your blog? Why? Let’s chat in the comments below!

And if you loved this post, make sure to pin it!

How to Drive Traffic to Your Blog with Social Media: Are you in a rut when it comes to getting more blog traffic? Social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook are a sure fire way to increase your pageviews and boost your traffic. Grow your blog with my fool proof tips! Click to read the post now or save it for later!

For more blogging and social media tips make sure to say hi and follow along on Pinterest|Instagram|Twitter

How to Take and Edit Your Instagram Photos

This post contains affiliate links. I only promote products/resources I use and love. All thoughts are my own.

For bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, Instagram is much more than a social media platform to share glimpses of your everyday life. It can promote your brand and business, build your community, and help you land brand sponsorships if you’re a blogger.

Almost all the brands I’ve worked with have mentioned my Instagram account as one of the reasons why they contacted me. Instagram is such a great way to promote both yourself, your brand and the products you use and love!

The key to a well-received Instagram account? Beautiful photos, of course! Today I’m sharing all my best tips and tricks to taking and editing your Instagram photos.

TAKING BETTER INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

1.  Natural Lighting

Natural lighting always trumps indoor lighting. If you’re taking photos inside, take them during the day, turn off the lights and open all the windows that surround your photo. This has always given me the best luck in terms of snapping a nice, crisp picture.

How-to-Take-Instagram-Photos-Lighting

2. Perspective

I like to take my Instagram photos from a number of different angles to get the right shot. You never know which one will look best so it’s good to have options! You might take the best one on your first shot or you might take it on your fifth, it’s always different depending on lighting and how you set up the props in the photo.

3. Use Bright Surfaces

For flat lay photos, take them on a bright surface like a white marble counter top. (You can fake a marble counter top with marble contact paper – so much cheaper!!!). You can also use a reflector like white cardboard to bounce off the light and get rid of shadows. This will make a huge difference in how your images look (read: much better!).

4. Take Food Photos From Above

When taking photos of a plate(s) of food, take it from above, about 3 feet away from the meal. This way you can get the whole picture in – coffee, cutlery, juice, etc. The first photo below was taken at an angle while sitting on my chair, while the second photo I took standing up from a bird’s eye view. 34 likes compared to 259!

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Image 1

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Image 2

5. Don’t Use the Instagram App

I always take my photos using my iPhone or DSLR camera (mainly my iPhone). If you use the Instagram app you can only take one photo at a time before it prompts you to choose a filter. If you use your phone, you can snap as many photos as you want, change things up, and customize your photos more.

6. Choose the Right Background

You’ll always want your Instagram photos to tie into your brand as a whole, and choosing the right background is a great way to do this. If your brand is minimalist, use a white counter, Bristol board, or bed sheets to take your photos. If you have a fun, colorful brand aesthetic, find colorful walls, plates, place mats etc. to take your photos in front of.

7. Move Your Props Around

If you’re taking a photo with props, move them around until you get the right arrangement. You’ll have to play around with how close the objects are to each other and what looks best side by side. You’ll want the props to be close enough to fit inside the frame, but also far enough away to see the background underneath.

How-to-Take-Instagram-Photos-Props

EDITING YOUR INSTAGRAM PHOTOS

1. Use an Editing App

When I started using an editing app for my photos, it was a total game changer. My favourite is PicTapGo (not an affiliate, I just absolutely love this app!)– it can completely transform your photos. There are so many filters to choose from and you can adjust how strong you want to filter to be. You can also save your filter recipes, so if you really love how a photo turned out, you can save the exact filters and the percent of the filter you used.

Don’t use too many filters though. I try to stick to 2 to 6 at the very most! These before and after photos show you what a difference a good editing app can make.

How-to-Take-Instagram-Photos-Editing-App-Before
Before

How-to-Take-Instagram-Photos-Editing-App-After
After

2. Adjust the Brightness

Bright photos always look better than dark photos. With PicTapGo I use the ‘Lights On’ or ‘Brightside’ filter to brighten up my photos. Once you’ve brightened the photo the ‘Contrast’ filter is great to make the photo pop. For photos of food or objects I also use the ‘Crispity’ filter which makes the image nice and defined. And I use ‘Air’ to give it the light, airy feel.

How-to-Take-Instagram-Photos-Brightness-Before
Before

How-to-Take-Instagram-Photos-Brightness-After
After

3. Crop the Photo

Sometimes you’ll want to use the entire image you captured, and other times cropping the image will give you a better final product. You can play around with cropping until you get your desired image. I usually do this right in the Instagram app!

4. Don’t Over Edit

I’ve definitely been guilty of over editing my photos from time to time – too much contrast or brightness can make your photos look too unreal. An editing app like PicTapGo is perfect because it allows you to choose how strong you want to filter to be so that you don’t go overboard.

Do you have a favourite Instagram editing app? Let me know why it’s your favourite in the comments below!

And don’t forget to pin this image so your followers can learn how to take and edit better Instagram photos too!
How to Take and Edit Better Instagram Photos: As a blogger or creative entrepreneur, Instagram can act as a major promotional tool to grow your audience and get you brand sponsorships. In this post I’m dishing out all my best ideas and tips on how to take Instagram photos. From the iPhone apps I use to lighting tricks and more, read this now or save it for later and watch your Instagram account flourish!