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What It’s Really Like Making Content for IG & Working With Brands

Hoodie Alo Yoga from Carbon 38; Sports bra & leggings Alala. Sneakers Adidas. Fannypack Rebecca Minkoff.

So today’s post is going to be more of what it’s like behind the scenes of creating content for IG, and what the process is like to work with brands when creating it! So I’m not even going to include newsletters, facebook groups, planning challenges (ie. macro challenge), brainstorming future projects, etc! If you all want more of what a day looks like creating content, or how I plan content in general– leave a comment below and I’ll make separate posts. This post is more strictly about IG and what goes into the content for that platform.

I feel like there can be a misconception about influencers and bloggers that “all you have to do is post a picture for your job and you get paid” *insert eye roll* There is so much time, effort, and logistics that go into everything so I wanted to give you a glimpse of what all of that can entail!

I’ll dive into working with brands in a minute, but I first wanted to touch on creating your own content. IMO creating your own content is typically less stressful. There are still a lot of factors that go into it, but it’s less stressful in the sense that you have total creative freedom. Your brand is in your hands, and it’s entirely up to you what to post. However, whenever I’m creating a  photo for IG these are a few of the things I first go through. A little bit of a mental checklist if you will:

-Aesthetically, does this photo align with my brand? If the answer is yes, is it something I feel like you will actually engage in (versus just scrolling by). Because aesthetically something may fit, but if it’s not going to grab my reader then I’m not going to be as likely to post it.
-What does this photo look like with the rest of my feed? Can I post it today next to the previous photo or do I need to post it in a few days? For example, if I have 2 photos of me sitting in a restaurant with food, I’m not going to post them back to back.
-Will the caption that matches this photo represent my brand’s message?
-And then, of course, there is the time it goes into to take the photo. If it’s blog photos, these typically take 2-3 hours. If it’s one IG photo I have to think: Are we going somewhere that I’ll be able to get content? Should we go to somewhere that is more aesthetically pleasing so I can get content? What is the weather like? Will the lighting be good?
-Last but not least, time to edit the photo.

Those are just some things that go into posting a single photo. At the end of the day, you really have to think about your brand as a whole–your vision, your message, your aesthetic, your vibe. This is your business. To attract an audience you have to provide value in all these ways, and hope people see your content and engage. The result? You’re creating something that you hope will enhance their lives and that they will want to share with their friends (and help grow your audience to continue to share your message with more people!)

Okay, but what about creating content with/for brands?

Before agreeing to work with a brand, the very first thing I think of is: Does this brand align with mine? Would I use this product/does it make sense for me to share this? Will, you (my audience), like it? If the answer is yes to all those, then we move into negotiations.

Negotiating is either super easy (ie. you tell a brand your rates and they automatically know the value you give upfront so they agree to the number(s) you pitched) or it’s a lot of back and forth. So you never really know what you’re going to get! Some brands will pitch me a number first and I agree right away, or I pitch them a number and they agree up front (or they will ask for some slight adjustments, which totally fine too).  After all, it’s a partnership, so you want to come to a good compromise. And then there are some brands that will totally low-ball you and then I just stop the conversation right there lol. It’s not all about money (obviously) but if you don’t find value in what I’m creating and the time I’m investing, then we probably aren’t a good fit.

So let’s say you agree to working with a brand. Prior to creating the actual content, you have to go through a contract that outlines all the posts you are expected to create, whether it’s IG posts, IG stories, blog posts, etc. And obviously, this is discussed in initial negotiations as well. The contract also outlines any exclusivity stipulations, so you have to think: what other brands (sponsored or not) is this prohibiting me from sharing? Will this change the content I would normally share on a daily basis? Just a few other things that you have to consider before moving forward with a brand.

Once the contract is signed, the brand typically gives you a creative brief which outlines their vision for the photo and if there are any specific requirements (ie. color(s) you need to where, what you need to be doing, what setting they want you in). This is where it can get a little tricky (and dare I sometimes say annoying LOL). It’s hard because a brand obviously has its own vision and message that they want to be shared, but then you have to make sure that it’s also aligning with what YOUR brand message is. There have been times that I’ve had brands say they want their captions to say “XYZ” and I have to say, I’m sorry but I’m not going to say that because that isn’t something I wouldn’t normally say; it’s not authentic to me. This can even be something as simple as wording, but I want my captions to sound like MY voice–not like I’m repeating a script.

It’s interesting because some brands are SO chill and will give you pretty much all the creative freedom. They almost always still want to see your post before it goes live, but overall you pretty much know that they will approve it. Then there are other brands that need to know what location you’ll be shooting in, who will be in your photo, what you’ll be wearing, what your overall concept will be BEFORE you shoot anything, etc. In cases like this where brands are more strict or have more legalities to follow, I’ve had to re-shoot things like IG stories because I’ve said the word “healthy” and there are legalities with using that word referring to food, or I have to re-shoot because when doing IG stories the label appears backward when you’re holding the phone recording as you would naturally. Obviously this can get really time consuming. It’s no one’s fault as brands have certain legalities and guidelines they have to follow, but my point is, you’re not typically just taking 2 minutes to throw up an IG story. And sometimes even after following all the guidelines for an IG post or story, the brand will come back and say something like “Could you wear a brighter color?” LOL. But really. Sometimes after doing what you think is 100% right, the brand may end up wanting something else incorporated and you have to re-shoot. With all that said, sometimes just getting an IG post and/or a blog post approved can take over a month.

Once everything is approved, you have to look at your content calendar as a whole and see when you can incorporate their content based off what you already have planned–whether it’s your own posts or other sponsored posts. Even though creating content for IG is my job, I do not like having 2 sponsored posts back to back. Sometimes with campaign deadlines, it’s impossible to avoid, but I don’t want you to feel like my page is QVC where every post is sponsored LOL. So I do my best to find a good balance–where I can share my own content, and then put in sponsored posts as well where it’s fitting. But yes, then planning everything in your calendar and getting it confirmed with brands is a whole other process.

So as you can see there is a good amount of back and forth between you and the brand, and it can get very tedious sometimes. There’s just a lot more steps involved than it appears. If you’ve ever thought “all you have to do is take a picture” it’s probably because the bloggers you’re following are good at their job, so they make it look easy (even though it’s not). All that to say, I truly do love what I do, and despite all the work, it obviously has it’s major perks! But since you were interested in this topic, I wanted to shed some light on what else goes into the content creating process!

If you have any other questions, or topics like this that you want me to chat about, be sure to leave it in the comments below!

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    April 7, 2019 / 4:40 am

    This was very inciteful. I had no idea. I find it very fascinating information and it also makes me really see posts and IG stories from different people in a new way. Everyone wants great content but it takes a lot of work to get that and not everyone sees or knows what goes into it. Thanks for this post. I would love another post on your daily schedule or how things work on a daily basis with all of this. It would be enlightening to read and know.

  2. Julia
    April 7, 2019 / 4:41 am

    Sorry I just realized I forgot to include my name on the previous post. I’m a long time follower. Love your stuff

    • Claire Guentz
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 2:29 pm

      hey julia! so glad you liked the post! and yes, I will definitely post more topics like this and include one with a daily schedule/what a week could typically look like. thanks for the feedback 🙂

  3. Amanda
    April 12, 2019 / 1:07 pm

    Super helpful, thank you! I’ve been struggling with my own page, which is just running related right now. Would you ever be willing to share a series of these types of posts? How you got started, things you learned along the way, creating a content calendar, generating engagement, etc.??

    • Claire Guentz
      Author
      April 14, 2019 / 2:30 pm

      hey amanda! yes for sure! I like writing about these topics to happy to expand. I was going to say in the meantime make sure you check out the rest of my posts in my blogging tips section 🙂

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