How Do Blogger Collaborations Really Work?

A number of new/aspiring bloggers often send me in queries regarding how to turn blogging into a profession. While I am not an expert, nor a super successful blogger, I have worked with a fair share of brands during my blogging journey and today I will use my experience to share some knowledge regarding blogger collaborations. Bear in mind that I primarily work with beauty and lifestyle brands in India, so this blog post will be most relevant for beauty bloggers in India who want to know more about working with brands.

Although for most beauty bloggers, makeup & skincare is a passion, it becomes impractical to buy and review new products all the time unless you have a steady source of income, either from another job or from your blog. This is where the concept of blogger collaboration comes in handy, particularly for full-time bloggers. Many of you who are just starting out in this field do not know how to go about such collaborations and there are others who feel that bloggers lead a privileged life where they get sent a bunch of products for free. Today, I will answer some of these questions and will bust the ridiculous myths about blogging that I have seen floating around the internet.

1. Sponsored Posts – Sponsored posts basically mean that a brand pays you for talking about their products on your blog/social media platforms. However, a brand will offer you money for promoting their products only if you have a HUGE number of followers on at least one platform. Only those who have put years of effort into their blog or YouTube channel or Instagram profile, get to the point where brands start offering them money for their posts. So basically, you have to be prepared to make no money from your posts for a long time before you begin to get noticed by brands.

2. Free Products? – So do bloggers really get products for free? Yes, sometimes they do. However, influencer marketing largely works on a barter system wherein a brand expects you to review/feature the “free” product on your blog and social media profiles. So basically, you don’t really get a product for free, you have to click some great pictures of the product and create a video/blog post about it in return, which is not as easy as it may seem to non-bloggers. I would say that instead of being paid in cash by the brand, this model allows us to get paid in the form of products for the labor that is needed to create the required content. Bear in mind that most ethical brands request bloggers for their honest reviews on products, so all that you read/hear about a “free” product is not a bunch of lies. However, there are a few brands that insist on biased, positive reviews and I would recommend all bloggers to stay away from these folks because such malpractice will tarnish your reputation as an honest reviewer with time and is totally uncool too!

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3. Discounted Products – Some of the more established brands may not be willing to offer free products but may provide some discount to a blogger based on the traffic the blog generates. Again, most brands expect you to share an “honest” review in return for the discount and these are the brands that I choose to work with. If your content about a brand gets a lot of views and positive responses, then chances are that the brand will approach you for more collaborations in the future and may also send you some free products if things work out. The key lies in creating the best possible, engaging content about each product that you feature on your blog.

4. Affiliate Links – Some brands may also provide bloggers with affiliate links that help the bloggers earn some commission each time someone uses their link to purchase a product. To be able to earn anything at all from these affiliate links you must have a large number of readers/followers in the first place, which brings me back to the main point of this post – no one can make anything from blogging without putting in a ton of effort. 

What should new bloggers do?

If you are a new blogger then I will encourage you to first work on creating great content that attracts a reasonable number of readers. You will need to buy your own products for a LONG time before any brand starts sending you samples, and even then you cannot just work on sponsored posts because then your blog will turn into a collection of advertisements for a handful of brands. In the beginning, no brand may approach you, you will have to contact them instead. When approaching a brand for a collaboration, make sure to let them know how you can feature their products in a unique manner and why you are wanting to work with them. This will increase your chances of grabbing their attention and earning a spot on their collaboration program.

What are the blogger’s responsibilities when creating a sponsored post/writing about a PR sample?

It is not only ethical but is also mandated by search engines and different social media platforms to mention when you are creating some sponsored content or writing about a PR sample. This can be in the form of a hashtag (#ad, #sponsored, #PRsample etc) or in the form of plain old text. Also, if a brand is paying you for linking to their website in your blog post then make sure to add a “nofollow” attribute to this link. Google penalizes the web pages that add paid links to their articles without this attribute because some brands use underhanded tricks to increase their digital footprint by paying the bloggers to link to their website. (You can find out more about this by googling about no follow links.)

If you have made it to the end of this post then you must have realized that blogging and working with brands is not as easy a task as it may appear to be. It is not a rosy, privileged life for most bloggers and in fact, is one that requires a lot of dedication behind the scenes. So if you are new to the world of blogging, do keep these points in mind to set the right expectations and to take the necessary steps towards becoming a successful blogger.

Remember, keep your content honest, unique, and useful for your readers. Blogging should be a passion first and a profession later.

Happy Blogging! 🙂

Note – All images are taken from Pixabay

P.S. – If you enjoyed this blog post then please click this link and leave a comment on the nomination page to help me win the Indian Bloggers Award!

 

 

My Independence Day Makeup Look

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen my Independence Day Makeup look, but in case you haven’t, here is a flashback just for you! Although the Indian Independence Day is celebrated on 15th August, we must be patriotic each day and celebrate our freedom throughout the year right? So here are a few pictures of my Independence Day look which is inspired by the three colors of the Indian flag – Saffron, White, and Green.

Indian Independence Day Makeup Look Tricolour

Indian Independence Day Makeup Look Tricolour

Indian Independence Day Makeup Look Tricolour

 

Have you ever created a makeup look inspired by the flag of your country? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Sugar Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipstick – Greige Rage | Review and Swatches

Sugar Cosmetics recently launched 10 new shades in their Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipstick range and I HAD to buy at least one of them because it is my favorite liquid lipstick formula. While the original shades included more of reds and pinks, the new shades are all about muted nudes, browns and mauves – basically, every lip color that is in trend these days. I have already reviewed the formula of the Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipsticks in a previous post (click here to read) but to summarize, it is ultra matte, intensely pigmented, completely transfer proof, and super long-lasting (unless you eat some really oily food). I went for the shade Greige Rage (11) this time because I wanted something that would go with a lot of different outfits and looks, and I was not disappointed.

Sugar Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipstick - Greige Rage | Review and Swatches

Greige Rage is a deep rosy/pinkish brown that would look amazing on all Indian skin tones. It is a dark nude shade that provides the oomph factor to any daytime look while being dark enough to look stunning with a smokey eye for the night. The color looks slightly darker in the packaging than on the lips so make sure to check the swatches before you make your purchase. The formula sets in a matter of seconds and stays budge proof all day long, making it a fuss-free nude for the hectic days. Here is a picture of me sporting the shade with a soft brown eye look that is perfect for the day and night.

Sugar Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipstick - Greige Rage | Review and Swatches

The Sugar Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipsticks are priced at INR 499 each and the amazing points system on the Sugar website makes them even more affordable. If you are a fan of intense pigmentation and excellent longevity then these liquid lipsticks are tailor-made for you, provided you don’t mind super matte formulations. Also, the wide range of shades makes sure that everybody will find a color they love. So, what are you waiting for? Click this link and get your hands on one of these beauties now!

P.S. – If you enjoyed this blog post then please click this link and leave a comment on the nomination page to help me win the Indian Bloggers Award!

The Indian Blogger Awards -Vote For Me!

Hi guys, happy Friday! I am happy to announce to you that I have been nominated for the Indian Blogger Awards in the Beauty and Personal Care category. If you feel that my blog deserves to win, offers you an enjoyable read, or has helped you in making product choices then please click on this link and leave a comment and like to vote for me.

https://www.indiblogger.in/iba/2017/entry/107212

I owe all the success of this blog to my lovely readers and it would mean the world to me if you help my blog in getting some more recognition. Thanks a lot in advance for all your love and support and please do not forget to vote!

XoXo,

Mrinalini

Featured Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/trophy-trophies-win-winner-winning-83115/

 

Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sun Block Spray | Review

One product that is always a skin care essential but becomes even more important during a vacation is sunscreen. While everybody knows the benefits of a good sun block, many are put off by their typical chemically scent, their thick texture, and the white cast they impart to the skin. The Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sun Block Spray addresses a majority of these concerns and is a light weight sunscreen that still offers great protection against the sun.

Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sun Block Spray Review

With SPF 50, this product is ideal for the days when you are out and about for long hours. Also, the spray packaging makes it handbag friendly, without any fears of leakage. However, the spray itself is not very effective because the product comes out in a squirt instead of a fine mist. Therefore, you have to rub the product into the skin anyway, so the spray does not reduce much effort on that front.

Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sun Block Spray Review

Despite the disappointing nozzle, what I like about the product is its thin, milky texture that gets absorbed into the skin within seconds without making it sticky or greasy. The product also does not provide a visible white cast to the skin although if you look very closely then you will notice some whiteness. It is not very great in terms of longevity, perhaps due to its light weight formula, and I feel that you need to reapply it throughout the day. It also claims to be water proof but in reality, some of the product does get washed off by water.

Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sun Block Spray Review

Priced at INR 345 for an 80 ml bottle, this sunscreen is one of the more affordable sun block sprays available in India. Although this is not a mist and does need to be massaged into the skin, I enjoy its non-greasy texture and mild floral scent. If only it was more water resistant and long lasting, it would become my favorite, but for now, it does make it to my list of top 5 sunscreens simply because it is not heavy at all. Do try it out if you have oily skin and are in the market for a non-greasy sun block.

I hope that this review was helpful. You can buy the Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sun Block Spray here.

L’Oreal Professionnel Liss Unlimited Shampoo | Review

Have you ever fallen for the recommendations offered to you by the hair stylist at your favorite salon? The sad thing is that while some hair stylists are really professional and helpful at providing great product suggestions, others simply publicize the recent products from their sponsors regardless of the actual needs of the client in question. A few months back, the Loreal Professionnel Liss Unlimited Shampoo was recommended to me by a hair stylist, and strangely enough, the same shampoo was also recommended by that salon to a friend who has drastically different hair from mine. Unfortunately, this shampoo did not benefit either of us and proved to be a huge waste of money. So, who is this shampoo really meant for? Read on to find out.

Loreal Professionnel Liss Unlimited Shampoo Review

The Liss Unlimited shampoo contains something called Keratinol Complex which is supposed to smoothen rebellious hair. Sounds great right? In a country like India, we all fight our humidity battles and need something to tame the frizziness of our hair. The downside is that while this shampoo does reduce frizziness quite effectively, it also makes the hair extremely greasy, not just at the roots but also throughout the lengths of the hair. I gave it a fair shot, tried extremely teeny tiny amounts of product, still the same result – super oily looking hair. This is one of those shampoos that does not lather much and has more of a creamy consistency, and although my hair does feel clean after using it, the product weighs down my mane in an unflattering manner. The shampoo is also not cheap (INR 575 for 250ml) and therefore I really regret buying it. Note to self – Never put blind faith in a hair stylist again.

Loreal Professionnel Liss Unlimited Shampoo Review

This product can be used as a once-a-week shampoo by those with extremely dry and rough hair but if you do not have fairly voluminous and wild hair, I would recommend you to save your money and skip this one. Meanwhile, I am struggling to find a way to use up this bottle as I do not like wasting products. Any suggestions on how I can put this shampoo to use? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope that this review was helpful. You can buy the Loreal Professionnel Liss Unlimited Shampoo here.

FabIndia Rose Geranium Face And Body Gel Scrub | Review

If you like the scent of roses then you must purchase the Fab India Rose Geranium Face and Body Gel Scrub. This gel scrub literally smells divine and reminds me of Gulkand, which is a sweet preserve of rose petals used in some Indian desserts. I haven’t purchased a lot of skin care from Fab India but this is one product that definitely deserves a mention on the blog.

Fab India Rose Geranium Face and Body Gel Scrub

The scrub has the consistency of a soft gel with walnut granules embedded in it. These particles are gritty enough to remove dead skin from the face and body yet mild enough to be suitable for sensitive skin. A lot of “mild” scrubs in the market have disappointed me by their non-existent exfoliating action but this scrub is everything I expect from a gentle scrub. It also contains rose essence and some nourishing oils that leave the skin soft and supple after every use.

Fab India Rose Geranium Face and Body Gel Scrub

100ml of this product is priced at INR 390 on the Fabindia website. A little expensive, but you only need a tiny bit of the product each time and the luxurious feel this scrub provides makes it worth the price. The only thing that could make this scrub even better would be a tube instead of a jar for the packaging. Other than that, if you are on the hunt for a gentle but effective scrub then this one will definitely get the job done.

I hope that this review was useful. You can buy the FabIndia Rose Geranium Face and Body Gel Scrub here.

P.S. – A very happy Independence Day to all my Indian readers! Do check out my latest Instagram post for my Independence Day makeup look by clicking on this link.