Collaboration Over Competition

October 13, 2017

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I know this isn’t a traditional ‘Fall Faves’ or ‘OOTD’ post, but I wanted to talk about a topic that’s been weighting on my heart lately. After all, I think it’s important to share the ‘realness’ of what’s going on in life and dig deep rather than coasting along the surface.

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The industry of blogging and the ability to make money while doing it is a very new concept. NO ONE has it ‘figured’ out, and most of us are learning as we go, making mistakes and evolving for the better. More often than not, I find that most bloggers are extremely supportive and have an interest in collaborating and sharing information. However, recently, Instagram and other social media outlets have become more difficult to experience growth and be successful due to the algorithm changes. These changes are breeding a layer of competitiveness within the industry that makes people no longer want to genuinely share information and collaborate. Let’s just say, blogging is far from transparent.

This bothers me. I’ve met some of my closest friends via the blogging industry, and it was a result of not knowing where to turn and reaching out for council. When they shared tips with me, I was more willing to share information in return. Collaboration over competition has never steered me wrong, and I think it’s important to remember that when you share information it helps the industry as a whole and creates a feeling of transparency among bloggers and brands alike. Let me be clear, I’m not telling you to share your gmail contact list with the first blogger who asks, but be willing to help others and it will payoff loads when you need help in return.

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There is one specific area where I find bloggers have the hardest time sharing information, and it’s the one topic I think bloggers should be most open about. Their charge rates with brands. Money is a difficult topic to talk about in general, I understand. BUT, there really isn’t a true standard or method as to what to charge. Most bloggers under value themselves because they don’t understand their worth to brands, while other bloggers set their rates at their true value and never get the brand partnerships because they appear ‘too high.’ This creates price competition in the industry where brands have the power and bloggers end up receiving less than their worth in marketing value to brands. This isn’t fair, and bloggers, you are just hurting yourselves. Shareeeee. I can’t say it enough.

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The only standard I’ve ever heard is $100 per 10K followers on Instagram, so that is what I go by in setting rates. Most brands don’t want to pay that because there are bloggers willing to do the same campaign for less, or worst do the work for product (i.e. free). If the industry practiced collaboration over competition, a standard would exist and brands would not be able to take advantage of the value you’re bringing to them.

Another thing I want to touch on is there are many levels of growth in blogging. I myself have been caught up in the comparison game wondering why I’m not growing as fast as A, B, C blogger. My biggest piece of advice is don’t get caught up in the numbers game. This breeds competition because you don’t want to share any tips you’ve learned with the bloggers that are growing faster than you. The way the algorithm works, you could be putting out the best content on the internet, but if it’s not being distributed to your audience, no one will see it and the engagement simply won’t be there. Keep moving forward. Keep creating amazing content, and you will grow. You can’t control the algorithm, but you can control the content.

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In addition, if you are A, B, C blogger growing at light speed, you have to remain humble to those that have a smaller audience than you. I’ve seen it so many times, bloggers thinking they’re better than another blogger because they’re growing faster or their engagement is better. I’ve seen very close friendships lost to this type of situation. This is SO sad. Women break each other down far often than they build each other up. If someone reaches out to you asking for tips or would like to collaborate on a project, hear them out. Be open to their ideas.  If may not end up working for your brand, and that’s okay, politely decline. Having grace towards another blogger will speak volumes. The industry is so small, and you never know where people may end up. That small blogger may quit and become brand manager at one of your favorite brands and choose never to work with you because they remember that terrible Instagram encounter where you were rude to them. Collaboration over competition.

Last but certainly not least, I want to mention one important thing… there are enough partnerships, collaborations and earning opportunities in the industry that helping one person cannot hurt yourself. We are all different, we have unique audiences and unique brands. What one brand may see in a blogger, may simply just not align with their campaign goals and your brand. Don’t take offense to it. Another opportunity (that may be a better fit for you) is likely right around the corner. Focus on developing yourself, your brand and the partnerships will come.

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Most importantly… I don’t want to be hypocritical. Writing this post doesn’t mean I’m perfect at helping other bloggers, being open to collaborate, or practicing collaboration over competition. I am human, I make manyyyy mistakes and am SO guilty of all of this. I’m writing this post because it’s been weighing on me lately, and I’m finding so much value in the blogging relationships I’ve created where I feel like I can share information and receive help in return. It is so hard to keep going when you don’t feel like you’re growing or seeing results. Chatting with others level sets me and makes me realize we are all feeling the same things and that the ultimate reason we do this is that we loveee to blog. THAT is the why, not numbers or statistics. I hope you can find relationships in this industry like that, and the only way to do it is to share information and be open with others. Breeding a relationship based off trust, rather than competition will continue to gift you over and over again in the future. You can have all the followers in the world, but if you don’t have friendships, blogging will feel SO lonely. I can promise you that.

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Bailey
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Comments

Love this post! Thank you so much for sharing it. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years and it’s been a slow process with growth. I’m learning a lot along the way and trying to keep in mind that I blog because I love to write. I admire bloggers that share or help other newbie bloggers like myself. It’s very much appreciated!

Thank you so much for sharing this post Bailey, It’s interesting to me that some progressive companies are making associate salaries openly visible for this reason- to breed transparency and level the playing field. Sadly, we all know women are more likely than men to settle for less compensation and when it comes to blogging, transparency through sharing will lift us all up.

Another thing I’ve noticed is bloggers often look to other bloggers their size for sharing information and this “segments” things. At times when I’ve reached out and built relationships with much larger bloggers, I’ve been thanked for my perspective and helpful feedback to them. And I’ve also learned helpful things from new bloggers much smaller than me. I think it’s important to think of the person rather than the size of account. It always amazes me how many talented women there are in this industry, both among the large bloggers and those just starting out. <3

Terra
Fifteen Minutes to Flawless

Thank you so much for posting this! I started my IG feed, corporate chic collected just for fun and debated on whether to start a blog and I recently did just because I love fashion and it’s fun. I started realizing how hard it is to make it into a profit. I’ve noticed allot of the things you speak about here. I have TONS to learn! In the meantime I’ll continue to do it for fun and enjoy the process and connecting with others. Ps I love your blog and style!

Thank you so much for this post Bailey. I am new to the blogging/Instagram world and I have struggled with the comparison game. My little blog doesn’t seem to be reaching many people and I often feel discouraged. Having said that, I love fashion and this is a great chance for me to showcase my clothes and hopefully inspire people in their fashion choices. For this reason, I will persevere! I appreciate you being so honest about your feelings of the industry and admitting you’ve made mistakes. I often look at other bloggers and it seems like they have it all worked out. (Unlike me!) It would be so nice if we could all work together. There is room for all of us. Thanks again for your post Bailey. It’s made me see things in a whole new light. Keep up the good work 🙂

I LOVED reading this Bailey! I’m so new to blogging and it is hard sometimes to see other bloggers with higher numbers than you. Especially when you interact with them, hoping to help each other’s engagement when in reality you only help theirs because they don’t want to interact with you because your numbers are “small.” It’s so hurtful. I hope everyone reads your post because I think everything that you said is so true and it matters!!!

What a nice and refreshing post! This definetly speaks to me and it’s good to hear that bigger and successful bloggers that I look up to (like you) go through struggles as well. Thanks for sharing Bailey!