Working with brands can be so much fun. Feeling like you're finally being rewarded for all the hard work you've put into your blog by being gifted pretty products and amazing opportunities is one of the best parts of blogging. However, it seems like there's another side to working with brands which often stays hidden away by bloggers for fear of ending up on a PR's blacklist. This is the dark side of working with brands, and it's not a pleasant place at all...
Please note: These stories are not my own. They are a collection of experiences which I have gathered from other bloggers for the purpose of this blog post. Stories have been paraphrased from the original quotes, and I will be keeping all the contributors completely anonymous.
"I'd barely had the products a week before I received emails every day asking when the post would be going live. As I work full time, the only chance I get to take product photos is at the weekend, which I told the PR. I promised the post would be up the next weekend, but she found this unacceptable, demanding it either goes live with the week or I would be billed for the products.
I ended up posting the review the next day with absolutely awful photos I had taken in the evening. It's certainly not a post I'm proud of, and I ended up deleting it as soon as I thought it was safe to do so."
"I wrote a sponsored post for a jewellery company after they emailed me wanting to collaborate. My usual rate is £100 for a social and blog package, but as they said it was too high, I agreed to £70 as I desperately needed the money. I wrote the post, shared it to all my channels and then sent them the invoice for my work. I was told that they would pay me by the end of the week, but this came and went with absolutely no payment.
I sent them a follow up email which was completely ignored, yet they seemed to have no problem re-tweeting my promotional tweets about then post. Almost a month later I was finally paid, but it took me calling them out publicly on Twitter to do so."
"I was paid £50 for a sponsored post about my experience during driving lessons. The PR never mentioned that she expected a do-follow link within the post, or else I would have refused to write the post.
The post went live after I had been paid, but she stated they they required a do-follow link as had (not) been "previously agreed." I was told to either put the follow link into the post, or else I would have to send the money back. I felt bullied into including the link, but I later deleted the post altogether."
Lying to Readers
"One time I tried a product that I really didn't get along with. It was one of those oil-pulling kits for teeth whitening and one of the first things I had ever been sent for my blog. I tried my hardest to use it, but every time I swilled the oil round my mouth I wanted to gag.
I emailed the brand, but their response was less than sympathetic. Suggesting that I simply 'tell the readers that it's good', I couldn't bear to lie to my audience and so I started ignoring their emails asking when the post would be ready. I know I've totally blown my chance from working with that PR again, but from my experience I wouldn't want to!"
Do you have any horror stories from working with brands?
I'd love to read them in the comments!