This week, we’ve seen tons of questions related to brand partnerships circling around social media, Facebook groups and in our own work. These are things we deal with every day, so we thought it might be helpful to answer them, Q&A style, in this week’s blog post. Have more questions about brand partnerships? Drop us a line at info@wellevationhq.com or send us a message on Instagram (@wellevationhq). Questions all posted anonymously and with permission. 

Question: I’m finally consistent with website traffic and looking more into sponsorships. What is the minimum pageviews brands are interested in? Or are they interested in total social media profiles?

Answer: First of all, congrats on getting consistent traffic! That is huge and takes a lot of work. While the numbers {pageviews and social media following} are something to consider, they don’t tell the whole story about your value. We do recommend including these on your media kit {and consistency is key!}, but we don’t think there’s a minimum that brands are really looking for. Instead, focus on where you provide value. Maybe you’re a credentialed professional who can speak to the specific health benefits of a certain products. Or, maybe you’ve built a great Instagram community who chats back and forth with you on IG Stories. Brands love this and you can help them tap into your audience by integrating the product in a natural way. Our biggest recommendation here is to encourage you to ask the brand what they’re looking for and how you can help them deliver on those goals. Know your strengths, know your audience and know the brand and you’ll be able to secure successful partnerships!

Question: I have a sort-of ethical question that I’d love to hear your input on. A snack food company reached out to me today & wants to work together. I don’t know exactly what it’ll entail, but it looks like it would be a sponsored blog post. Here’s the ethical question: it’s a brand I’ve tried before & like, it’s a great product, with ingredients I actually use when I make it myself, their messaging in general is fine, but there’s a significant trigger word in their brand name. As a practitioner, I want to promote HAES & Intuitive Eating but realize the nuance in all of it (that foods that people tend to feel guilty about eating fit just as much as a food marketed as a diet food if it’s satisfying and enjoyable to clients). This is a snack that my clients and readers would love, it’s something I would 100% promote, except the name. What would you do?

Answer: This sounds like a question of alignment. While it would be in integrity to promote the product based on its qualities alone, the marketing is not in alignment with your brand or target audience. When you endorse a product/brand, there is no way to distance yourself from the brand name. In this instance, it would take a lot of education to explain why you’ve partnered with them, which may not always be obvious to your intended audience. You have to think about the bigger picture and the assumptions that would be made about a HAES and intuitive eating brand promoting a brand that espouses other ideals, even if only in the brand name. Additionally, there is the risk of your audience attacking the brand which is not something you would want to set a paid partner up for. We would recommend passing on the partnership, and seeking out ones whose values more clearly align with yours.

Question: I’ve got a question about FTC compliance in social media tags. I would not be paid by this company for the post, but they asked if I would tag them when I post an article I wrote recently to social because it mentions a product they sell—not the brand, but the whole food. I’m torn. I was considering maybe tagging them in the comments, but 1.) I don’t know if that is compliant, and 2.) my gut is also, like, “…but they’re not paying you so is it worth the risk?” I feel a bit rusty and prone to overthinking on this lately.

Answer: If you have already mentioned a brand by name, there is no harm in tagging them in the coverage so they will see it, circulate it, and hopefully file your name as a potential partner. If there is no relationship {either paid or in-kind}, you don’t need to disclose, however it could be helpful to your audience to point out that no relationship exists. Since this is a whole food/ingredient, tagging an organization or council might suggest a relationship {there is a difference between recommending generic blueberries, almonds or granola bars and mentioning the brand or source by name}. For the most part, we recommend reserving this for paid partners and then disclosing adequately. You can always encourage the organization to share on their own channels!

Question: What should I do if a brand puts an exclusivity clause in the contract? Should I charge more? Is this okay?

Answer: We see exclusivity clauses appear in a lot of contracts, especially ones from larger brands in incredibly competitive markets. There are a few things to consider when reviewing these:

  1. What’s the time frame on the exclusivity? If it’s a one-time post, it shouldn’t be more than 30 days.
  2. If it’s a long-term partnership {3 months or more}, make sure that the exclusivity is spelled out very clearly. Clarify which products and brands you aren’t allowed to work with and make sure you’re okay with the possibility of having to turn down work from these competitive brands while under contract.

In terms of cost, if a brand is asking for exclusivity with a wide range of related brands for a long-term partnership, we recommend increasing your rates by at least 30 – 40%. If the brand isn’t able to afford this increase, offer the option of exclusivity for only the product that you’ll be promoting the most often. It’s competitive in the food world, and while we understand the desire for exclusivity, it’s important to understand exactly what it means for you, so you aren’t locked into a contract that will affect future work coming in.

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