You may have started blogging because you wanted a creative outlet, or you may have started blogging to have a more creative career. When it comes to growing your blog, working with brands or other bloggers, negotiating will play a role in helping you get to where you want.
There's a myth out there, that most creatives aren't good business people. When in fact the being creative and being business savvy are not mutually exclusive. Andy Warhol? The Olsen Twins? Madonna? Some people tell bloggers that it's best to leave the negotiating to agents or networks so bloggers can focus on what they do best, blogging. While that may sound nice, and comforting to not have to deal with money, all it does is mean the bloggers would have to negotiate with a third party. The truth is, negotiating isn't rocket science, we all do it every day, we negotiate in all of our relationships, it's just a matter of recognizing our skills and improving them.
Know What You Want
The Rolling Stones said, “You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.” Always go into a negotiation thinking about the best case scenario. What do you want from this deal realistically? Do you want money? Do you want to build a relationship? Both? You may not get a million dollars and first-class airfare for life but if you know what you want out of a deal, and what you absolutely need to make it happen, you'll be able to communicate that during the negotiating process.
Know Your Value
What are you worth? Ug, what a dreaded question, but it's essential. Bloggers have many different ways they can bring value to a brand, whether it be through traffic, influence, creative talent or all three, all you have to do is figure out where you're comfortable negotiating and start there. You'll learn to ask for more, or you'll find out if you're asking too much.
There are a few ways to gauge how much I was worth as a blogger. One was by asking my blog friends what they charged for a certain type of campaign, or by looking around at media kits. Another effective way for knowing value was after I did a certain type of campaign, I collected case studies to show potential partners what I could do. This helped in showing my value which made for an easier negotiation.
Focus on Solutions: Think of Win/Win Outcomes
Over the years, I have discovered that most of the time we all go into the negotiation wanting the same thing. In the case of brands and bloggers many times we both want money. Bloggers want to make money for working with brands, and brands want to generate more sales from working with bloggers. One of the things you can do to make a productive negotiation is to think about what both parties want and see how you can help make that happen. This will help the other party in that you are thinking about what's best for them and this will help you get what you want in the process.
Nothing makes a deal go south faster than asking for one thing and trying to get another. You don't have to always be transparent in your communications (there are reasons for this) but you do have to be straight about what you want if you're going to get it. If you find the person is asking for one thing and trying to get another, don't be afraid to ask them to be more clear about what they want. You can always position it positively by saying, “I noticed you are interested in this, let's talk about it so I can help you.”
Don't be Afraid to Make Mistakes
I love to make mistakes. Well, not really, but I make mistakes all the time. The truth is, never have I made a mistake so bad that it couldn't be learned from, and it couldn't be fixed. If a negotiation goes terribly. If a person walks all over you, you'll just learn to look out for certain behaviors. Everyone makes mistakes, even the pros. So don't sweat it you'll come out fine.
Learn from Your Mistakes
If you're not learning from your mistakes, then I'll just come and slap you. So learn from your mistakes!
Don't Take Things Personal
Most people are looking out for themselves, including you, especially in business. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't. Most of the time it's not for personal reasons, and even if they were, that's just the way life is. The truth is, we have as many opportunities in life as we show up for, so don't worry, you're going to do great.
Trust Your Intuition
If something in the pit of your stomach doesn't like something, or if you know in your heart of hearts something is really going to be good. If you get a good feeling from someone or if you don't. Listen to it. Even if someone says all the right things and something tells you something's up. Listen to it. Whether a deal is good or bad, your intuition will know if it's good for you.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You won't get better if you don't practice. Take every opportunity to negotiate you can. Whether it be a small thing or a deal with a big brand every little time you negotiate will help you build more positive relationships with your business partners, with you friends and generally all through your life.
Negotiating is a life long process and can always be improved. Just start out anywhere and see where you end up, you could be pleasantly surprised.
Image by anna gutermuth