How Your Small Business Can Work With Bloggers (Part 1)

Here it is. I’m finally doing it. I’m talking about the old age, slightly taboo topic of how your small business can work with bloggers and content creators. 

Yes, I’m talking to you!

If you’ve clicked onto this blog post, you’re either a local, small or/and independent business that is interested in finding out how and why you should work with bloggers on paid campaigns. 

YES. Paid.

It may or may not surprise you, but we do charge for creating content. 

I was inspired to write this post after seeing a post by Vix Meldrew who shared how a small business can work with bloggers. The post is here to view, but this has been a topic I’ve wanted to discuss for SO LONG.

And I realised I wrote SO MUCH that I am dividing this topic into 2 blog posts. 

This is the first one and the second one will follow in the next few days. So here’s what we’ll be discussing

Research into small businesses working with bloggers/content creators
What does a paid partnership mean?
Gifted vs. paid partnership
The AD terms and what they mean

Working with Bloggers and Content Creators | Nicole Navigates

I’ve been blogging for 5-6 years and I know every blogger and content creator starts somewhere and can’t instantly bag paid collaborations.

It’s taken me years to get to this point where I feel confident enough that my brand has become established enough and I can offer value to a company to feel like I can now charge for work.

I spend a lot of time (and money) to keep my blog running – there’s website fees, subscription services to programmes I use to create visual content, email fees and I’m always looking to invest my skills with courses, online hubs such as Grow & Glow and more. 

Without sounding too big for my boots, I’ve put a lot in my blog to get to where I am, have paid for a lot and done a lot for free to work up to where I am now. 

And now I want to grow Nicole Navigates further by making it a business and sponsored work is the way I’m going to do. 

Any sponsored posts I do on Instagram or on my blog, I feel it all contributes towards paying for those things that keep my website going.

Plus, anything I do make on my blog, I feel it also goes back into supporting a small business and the local economy. 

So I was intrigued – now I am starting to charge for work more, I wanted to do some research… 

I asked some questions on working with bloggers/content creators and these were the results:

I was half shocked but half not surprised at some of these results.

96% of you said you have NEVER worked with a blogger or content creator on a paid partnership. 

But then 83% of people said they have never gifted a blogger something in exchange for XYZ, yet 58% said you would never consider paying a blogger or content creator to create content for your business.

These results do slightly worry me because it’s sad to see a lot of businesses aren’t considering bloggers and content creators as part of their marketing strategy, but then when I dived in deeper and asked some more questions…

I asked WHY you wouldn’t consider paying a blogger to create content for your business and a few mentioned they felt it would be a massive expense and bloggers may charge too much for what they can afford.

You’d be surprised. A lot of bloggers and content creators can work around YOUR budget so you don’t feel like you’re being ripped off.

You also said you want bloggers and content creators to be more open and transparent when it comes to what we charge and actually advertise it on social media and on our website.

This one is a tricky one because as much as I always aim to be open, honest and transparent, it’s also quite nervy to put our prices out there for people to see – as I think a lot of marketing agencies and businesses I’ve looked upon have been very discreet with this pricing.

I can see why because you never want to feel like a competitor is watching and could undercut you, but I also want to try my best to appeal to small businesses who may be curious from the start. 

Usually, if I pitch to someone or if a business asks for my rates, I send them my rate card so they can see my prices via email. 

This is also why I have created my Small Business Sponsorship Packages as a standard price margin which I’ve tried my best to tailor to small businesses with smaller budgets, but is also worth my time and work. 

But there are many ways you can work with bloggers for very little, which still creates that working relationship that benefits both you and the blogger. More on that in the next blog post…

Working with Bloggers and Content Creators | Nicole Navigates

If you think a business would pay money to be featured in magazines, advertisements and online publications, why wouldn’t that money also be spent on getting noticed via bloggers and content creators who have spent time perfecting their niche, growing their audience and can offer as much value, if not more, than those traditional marketing methods. 

I will always support local independent businesses, 100% – but I also want to educate small businesses on the worth and value that we can bring to them. 

I’m very fortunate that there are some businesses already who have put their trust in me to create content, but I’d love to see the general term “blogger” become something that businesses aren’t put off by. 

It doesn’t mean you have to spend 100’s of pounds to do so, or it means you’re not going to get the ROI back or be ripped off, but how it can be a mutual, working relationship that can offer you something worthwhile and how you should consider them as part of your marketing strategy. 

A paid partnership means when a brand or company works with a content creator to promote a product of service.

If you look on Instagram, you will usually see a “Paid partnership with…” tag at the top of the post and/or you will see the beginning of their caption with ‘AD’ (we’ll get into what this means later on in the post)

That brand will have either approached that content creator to create content i.e. an Instagram post, Instagram stories, a blog post etc OR a content creator has approached them with an idea. 

This means I could approach a business I have created content for before, for free, giving these examples of previous content made for them and tell them why they should consider me for a paid partnership in the future, should there be any campaign they’d want to use my services for. 

So basically, if you want high quality content from a blogger or content creator that perfectly suits your niche, your target audience etc – you should consider paying. 

Working with Bloggers and Content Creators | Nicole Navigates

Gifted vs. paid partnership 

The difference between gifted and a paid partnership is pretty simple, but for transparency: 


A company has approached a content creator to give them a gift, service or experience for free, in exchange for creating content and promoting them. 

Paid partnership

A company has approached a content creator to work on them on a paid partnership, where they pay them with money to do so. Sometimes, the content creator will pay for the product or service, sometimes it’s given for free as part of the partnership.

For example, I recently worked with Cadbury’s on some sponsored content, of which I went out and paid for the product because I genuinely love and buy the product often. 

But then I charged them a fee for creating the content, shooting the images and writing the caption – hence the paid partnership. 

Back when I first started blogging and creating content, I was first approached by a couple of local companies to create content in exchange for a gift or service.

Back then, the whole gifting thing to bloggers wasn’t opposed and I think it’s a great way for new bloggers to grow, gain experience of collaborating with a brand whilst they’re still growing and helps add to their portfolio.

But what I’ve learnt is; it doesn’t matter how small your audience is, what matters is what VALUE that blogger/content creator can give to you.

Engagement is key here.

Working with Bloggers and Content Creators | Nicole Navigates

The AD terms and what they mean

Have you ever seen the word ‘AD’ on the beginning of an Instagram caption or blog post and think “wtf does that mean!?” let me break it down for you… 

AD – Paid Partnership 

A content creator has been paid to promote a product, experience or service.

AD – PR Gift/Experience 

A content creator has been given a product, service or experience for free but they are under no obligation to post due to the content not being paid for – they just want to showcase it because they like it. 

AD – Affiliate 

A content creator is sharing a link to a product they really like and want to share with you of which they will get a certain % of commission for. It doesn’t affect you, but if you happen to buy that product, that blogger will benefit a certain amount because they’ve recommended it to you and you’ve bought from their link. 

AD – Own Product 

A content creator is showcasing their own product of which they are selling and are gaining financial benefit from. 

I include these terms as part of my Disclaimer on my website, so if anyone is ever confused, I state clearly how I mark paid work, or stuff that’s been given to me for free. 

Working with Bloggers and Content Creators | Nicole Navigates

I think that’s a good start on this could-be-a-series blog post.

Please feel free to ask any questions that have stemmed from this blog post. I am always available to chat in DM’s, 

As always, I’m not a top notch expert on this stuff, but after lots of research, a fondness for my industry and all the resources that Vix Meldrew and Grow & Glow have offered, I think I’ve made a good start.

Next time, we will discuss ways you can work with bloggers (for not as much as you think!), why the word ‘Gifted’ shouldn’t be in your vocabulary and the do’s and don’ts of working with them and anything else my brain thinks of and writes down!

Have you ever worked with a blogger or content creator to promote your business? What other questions have stemmed from this first part? Let me know below…


Sign up to Navigating Northants

Get updates from Nicole Navigates and exclusive content straight to your inbox!

Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Now you’ve read this blog post and would be keen to discuss a collaboration and how we can effectively work together, I’d love the opportunity to showcase what I can do for your business!

Check out my Work With Me page here and feel free to pop me an email with any questions.


Share this post?

Leave a Comment