July 31, 2017

How To Collaborate With Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Our beautiful host, Rebeca! 

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Joelle From La Petite Noob
Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Sabrina From My Miaou

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Kaylee From The Blondie Locks

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Tara From The TL Blog

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Gabriella From Pastels and Pastries

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Jackie From Something About That

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers
Kristin from The Delilah Blog

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

Bijuleni - How to Collaborate with Other Bloggers

As much as I love creating my own content, another thing I love about blogging is collaborating with other bloggers. I am so fortunate that I am situated in Toronto which essentially has become a hub of such creative individuals when it comes to the blogging industry. Self-made success stories of bloggers that were once blogging as a hobby and are now full-time bloggers. Makes you feel pretty inspired. Collaborating with other bloggers is definitely an essential aspect of blogging not only in escaping your safe zone, but also in creating new and amazing friendships. You can read more about How To Make Friends In The Blogging Community in a previous post that I had written about the importance of being part of a niche and the importance of being part of the blogging community. 

What Collaborating with other Bloggers is Not

Doing a giveaway with other bloggers is not the type of collaborations I am talking about. I am talking about creating fresh new content that you can post on your blog about. I have done a couple of collaborations in the past like Blogger Christmas Pink Party,How To Host a Pool Party With Your Girlfriends a la Blogger Style,Girls Staycation in Toronto so that you can get an idea of what kind of collaborations I am referring to. 

Why collaborate With Other Bloggers

1. Helps to get out of a creative rut.
2. You can create fun content with bloggers that inspire you.
3. Your blog will be exposed to new audiences and followers because all the bloggers that are involved in the project will promote each other. 
4. You will build stronger friendships and relationships with the bloggers you collaborate with. 
5. You learn new things.You'd be surprised how many things you can learn from collaborating with other bloggers. Like taking pictures from a different angle, or a new app you may not know about, also insight about brands. 
6. Sometimes it is better if you pitch to a brand and there is a group of bloggers that are participating in the project than just you. This is because the reach will have a much greater impact than just one person. 

Brainstorm Ideas

Before approaching bloggers brainstorm ideas of what you would want to collaborate on. Don't just email a blogger and say let's collaborate. Give them an overview of what your vision about the collaboration entails. You don't need to go in great detail about the collaboration, but some important aspects to highlight are: main idea of collaboration (ie making flower crowns), potential dates you are looking at, location, other bloggers that will be a part of this collaboration, monetary value or any sponsors that will be part of the photoshoot if applicable. Regardless of what industry you are in people love being pitched ideas that have a solid ground. You can figure out little details of the project once the bloggers you approach are on board, but the foundation of your collaboration for the things I mentioned above should already be figured out before you reach out to bloggers.

Be Unique 

The best collaborations also happen to be unique collaborations. Intend to post about a topic that is different and unique or if you do collaborate on topic that everyone posts about take a unique approach to it or a more creative and in depth angle. 

Blogger Friends vs New Bloggers

I am so thankful to be part of a group of Toronto bloggers that I have come to now call my friends and also consider them my daily inspiration to get out there and be creative. If you want a successful collaboration with other bloggers my suggestion is to do it with a group of bloggers you already know. Most of the blogger collaborations I have done in the past have been with bloggers I already knew and was friends with. This is definitely not necessary. If you already know the blogger then you already know if they will be a good match for the vision you have in mind and also if they are reliable. The last thing you want is a flaky individual that will bail on you a couple days before the collaboration which believe me happens. When you collaborate with bloggers you already know chances are you will also get a yes as an answer when you approach them to collaborate much easier and faster as oppose if you were to approach a blogger you have never met.  I do prefer to collaborate with bloggers I know when I am approaching bloggers, but if the right blogger was to approach me I would definitely say yes. I value new opportunities and meeting new people, so for me this would be of value. You need to know how to evaluate each collaboration.

Establish a relationship  

If you are approaching a blogger you have never met in person, a suggestion is for you to follow the blogger you are pitching to before hand. Go on their social media channels and make yourself known before you approach them. Even if the blogger says no at this time, do not take this as a total failure. It takes time to establish a relationship with other bloggers and at least now you are able to build that relationship. Maybe next time you approach them they will say yes. You also have to realize that some bloggers do not want to go outside their comfort zone so they prefer to collaborate with bloggers they already know. Establishing this relationship will bring you a step closer to having a successful collaboration.

Evaluate blogger fit

I also find establishing a relationship with the blogger beforehand helpful to determine if the blogger is the right fit. Not only in terms of niche, but also how you can incorporate their brand into the collaboration. For example, you want to approach a blogger that mainly focuses on food but is vegan. You would cater and make the collaboration appealing to them by putting together an idea that highlights vegan fashion items. The blogger you collaborate with does not have to be the same niche as you, but the idea does have to be the right fit. 

Be Professional 

Obviously if you pitch to bloggers you are already friends with, you are more prone to have an informal proposal rather than a formal one. This is why it is also much easier to ask bloggers you already know to be part of your collaboration. My latest blogger collaboration has all been arranged via Facebook messages, which comes with the territory when you are collaborating with friends. If you do decide to pitch to a blogger you do not know you will have to be professional in your email as if you were pitching to a brand. Introduce yourself and clearly outline what this collaboration is all about as I mentioned above. Also very very important, search some things about the blogger first. Look through their blog to get an idea of what they like and do not like. 

What are your tips for collaborating with other bloggers?

*Special thanks to the talented Rebeca from Wishbone and Clover Media that put together this dreamy, girly filled day with delicious food from Ufficio and beautiful floral crown creations we made at Wild North Flowers. 

Photography By: Pond Send Productions


July 27, 2017

How To Spend 48 Hours In Windsor - Essex

In desperate need to escape the city but not sure where to go or what to do when you only have 48 hours? No Problem! Windsor - Essex is the perfect escape for any traveler. I know. My first reaction was probably the same as yours. But what is there to do in Windsor? Windsor-Essex is an unexpected destination that will definitely pleasantly surprise you. Whether you are looking for a quiet and relaxing weekend with the family, or a fun bachelorette getaway to even exploring and seeing nature at its best. I had the pleasure to be invited to experience Windsor - Essex at first hand, and I am so happy I got the chance to go with some amazing bloggers (Dee from Liner, glitter, gloss, Kait from Teacups and Things, Kelsey from Kelsey Diane Blog and Marissa from Chic Darling. Here is what Windsor- Essex has to offer to the different types of travelers. 

For The Culture Cruiser

I am definitely your typical tourist. Whenever I go somewhere I want to explore EVERYTHING. And I am talking- parks, museums, coffee shops, malls, you name it and I am there. Whenever though a city has a river, my number one suggestion is to always go on a boat cruise. Not only are boat cruises super fun with the DJ jamming the best beats, and food and drinks being served while sailing through the serene waters, they also give you a perspective of the city you have never seen before. The Detroit and Windsor skylines are breathtaking, and the cottages standing pretty at the edge of the shore are just as adorable. The Ambassador Bridge during the sunset is yet another gem you get to see up close when you take a boat cruise with Windsor River Cruises. Before you head on the boat cruise though stop by the Windsor Sculpture Park. Such a cute spot for a photo op with your squad.

For The Golfer Wannabe

This one was for the books. We spent one of our evenings at Rochester Place Golf Club and Resort in Belle River. I have gone mini golfing many times, but when it comes to real golfing, boy I am the worse. But I think that is also what made our visit at the Gold Club even better. I am pretty sure our instructor was probably laughing on the inside, but he was extremely kind and encouraging. Our group lesson, and riding the golf cart was pretty awesome. Just an FYI, driving a golf cart not as easy as you may think, but definitely just as fun. You hardly press on the gas and that thing flies off the pavement. Also, while driving the golf cart, do not get distracted by looking at the cute little cottages they have at the Resort. Definitely did that and almost crashed into the golf cart infront of me.   

The Golf Club also has a restaurant onsite Parkside Grill. This is where we had a very relaxing dinner, and I am talking we were surrounded by fireflies. Like how romantic is that? The Chef put together a menu for us featuring the restaurant's signature dishes. The menu features locally-sourced ingredient and my favourite dish was the Whole Roasted cauliflower stuffed with Mozzarella cheese, finished with manchego cheese topped with almonds and pomegranate seeds. Like ohemgee. I would totally drive all the way to Windsor just so I can eat that again. 

For The Risk Taker

Stay and play go hand in hand when it comes to Windsor - Essex. AAA Four Diamond Award winning Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino, is definitely the place you want to be if you love to gamble. The girls and I had the best time exploring and playing at the Casino. I am not much of a risk taker, but a very very conservative spender, but it was still so much fun. Just the energy of the casino is amazing. People winning, and yes people losing, but just the adrenaline rush you get from the whole experience is out of this world. I am going to do a more in depth review of the hotel in August so stay tuned! Also, read my review for the Iron Kettle Bed and Breakfast which is the perfect spot to stay at if you are going wine tasting or heading to Point Pelee National Park.

For The Wine Connoisseur

The Wine Country is located at the Southern tip of Ontario, at the Essex Pelee Island Coast, also known as EPIC. Of course it is not a getaway trip without some wine. So many different wineries to choose from to spend your day or late afternoon. We actually got to visit Cooper's Hawk Vineyards at Harrow. If you are a wine connoisseur, you will not be disappointed. I definitely recommend grabbing a bite at their restaurant The Vines which overlooks the beautiful vineyard. The menu has lots of options to choose from all made with local fresh ingredients and substitutes are available for gluten free peeps.  As someone that loves fresh seafood, I could not help but order the Chef's special, the Branzino dish which I paired with the 2013 Merlot Reserve which also happens to be one of the premium red wines the winery offers.

For The Nature Lover

Can't think of a better place to visit while at Windsor-Essex than Point Pelee National Park. Emerge yourself in nature by walking through the 12km of trails the national park has to offer, discover the beauty of going bird watching, or even explore beyond the beautiful Marsh Boardwalk by canoeing or kayaking into the endless freshwater marshes. Two-thirds of Point Pelee National Park is actually composed of freshwater marshes and did you know that Point Pelee is actually classified as a world-class birding site with more than 390 species recorded in the park? Even more exciting is the fact that Point Pelee actually allows dogs as long as they are on a leash, and guys if you bring your dog, please, poop and scoop. There are bag dispensers at all main trailhead locations. No excuse! Your dog will also be allowed in all areas of Point Pelee Park including the beach, the visitor centre and the shuttle to the tip. Cool fact about Point Pelee is the southernmost point in Canada. It is a 10-kilometre sandspit with its southern point equal in latitude to the northern border of California. It is also really interesting how the weather actually gets much nicer as you move your way through the park, especially at the tip. Don't forget to bring your little picnic basket! We packed some delicious goodies from Bradt's Butcher Block for our lunch and it was the perfect day at the beach. 

For The Coffee and Foodie Enthusiast

Just for your love for coffee, Windsor - Essex area is worth visiting. The Coffee Trail is such a fun adventure to go on. The girls and I were lucky enough to be able to squeeze in visiting 2 of coffee shops that are part of the coffee trail. The first spot we visited was Taloola Cafe in Walkerville. Taloola Cafe reminded me of a coffee shop that you would stumble upon in Turkey or Morocco. Taloola Cafe serves organic coffees and teas, but also a savouring menu that fills your tummy but makes you feel so healthy afterwords. I had their nachos which is far from the carbs filed nachos you are thinking of. 

Another coffee shop we visited is Cafe March 21. This is such a cute little quirky spot. It actually got its name because the shop was first opened on March 21, 2015.If you find yourself here definitely have their cookies which are freshly baked by the owner. Their lemon cookie was my favourite. Cafe March 21 offers specialty and single-origin coffees. I tried their raspberry latte and it was so good. 

For The Adventure Seeker 

Windsor- Essex area has so many different activities available to you. One activity you must try is paddle boarding with Urban Surf Co. This is possibly the hippest and coolest spot in the Windsor- Essex area. The owners are truly inspiring, and they will tell you nothing keeps you as fit as paddle boarding, since you have to use those core muscles! Abs- galore! But there is more to this than just paddle boarding. The girls and I enjoyed some delicious fresh made refreshments at their smoothie bar, and from what I hear you can take fitness classes, go on a relaxing sunset paddle, or honestly just go and hang out with the owner, Danielle because she is so cool.

As you read, Windsor- Essex has something for everyone, and most importantly is a destination that appeals to every age. Thank you to Ontario's Southwest and Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island for having us and for planning such an amazing trip. 


July 24, 2017

Influencer Agreements: Everything You Need To Know

Bijuleni - Influencer Agreements and What You should Look For before Signing Them

How many times have you done a collaboration and afterwards you get upset with yourself because you could have done a much better job at negotiating? Maybe you are a much better negotiator than I am, but I certainly had my days where I could have done a better job with setting the guidelines with a brand and looking more closely to my influencer agreement. Brands will usually give you an agreement along with their expectations, but the brand will give you an agreement with items that benefit or protect them as a brand. It is up to you to ensure that the clauses found in the agreement also protect you and the content you are going to create. If you’re collaborating with a brand its important to look through your contract thoroughly. In this post I wanted to share my tips for collaborating with a brand the right way, and what to look for before signing your influencer contract agreement.

Read The Contract

This is a no brainer you guys! I know you have done it! I have done it too.Do not skim through the contract. This is not a joke. Yes, they are super long and annoying to read, but so are potential lawsuits. Contract language can be rather intimidating, but depending on the brand contract language changes too.

Timeline of Collaboration 

Straightforward but tricky if you do not check your calendar first to ensure that there is no conflict in your posting dates with another brand collaboration, or simply ensuring that you will be able to produce the content by the time it is due. Check the period that the entire agreement covers. Know the exact date/dates when content must be delivered for approval, posted, and the time frame content will be live. Sometimes there is a clause in the agreement that says you cannot delete the content if 6 months have not passed. This is also important for Instagram, a platform which we are prone to delete photos from here and there. 

Scope of Work

The contract will go over what kind of content you are expected to create. The more specific the contract is the better. As for clarification when wording is vague and all it says is 2 social media posts. Inquiry which social media channels the brand is referring to. Facebook? Instagram? Also, inquire about hashtags the brand wants to be used or which additional account they want you to mention in your social media post captions. 

Drafts and Re-shoots

Look if the brand requires to approve the content you create before you post. Usually most brands require 72 hours to review the draft. Sometimes I have gotten 24 hours which is even better. This is totally normal, but ensure you are aware of this beforehand so that you can time yourself. Also, think if you will allow revisions your captions in terms of wording. It is standard for a brand to ask you to tag someone or make minor changes here and there, but if they ask you to make changes in your sentences that are not something you would say then let the brand know. 

Dedicated Post vs Non dedicated Post 

I have been blogging for almost 3 years now and I just recently discovered there is such thing as a dedicated vs non dedicated post. I don’t know. I have been living under a rock I guess, but none of the blogging conferences I have been to covered there is such a thing. It boggles my mind. I always assume that when a brand reaches out to me with compensation being offered that the blog post is going to be a dedicated blog post. This means that the only brand I am mentioning and promoting in my post is the own I am working with. Usually if I am only receiving product and there is no monetary value involved I do a non-dedicated blog post. This means I am mentioning other brands as well. It is up to you if you choose to go with dedicated or non-dedicated, just know that there are options.

Exclusivity Clause

Sometimes the brand will go a step further and ask that the influencer cannot work with any other competitor brands for a period before and after the project is done. Read the fine print and look for a section indicating an Exclusivity Clause. As a principal I always choose not to promote a similar brand for 3 weeks anyways, but sometimes it so happens that you truly like 2 different brands of the same product. For example, I love Estee Lauder mascaras, but I also happen to love Clinique mascaras. If I want my lashes to be fuller I opt for the Clinique mascara. If I want longer lashes I opt for the Estee Lauder one. I can see why brands have the exclusivity clause in there, but I am also a human being that enjoys similar products from different brands. It is standard for the brand either to indicate 2 weeks exclusivity or give you a specific time frame within a month for the exclusivity, but the exclusivity needs to be reasonable. If a brand requests an exclusivity for more than 3 weeks then your fees should increase to reflect the income that would be lost during the exclusivity period.

Copyright - Who Owns What?

Copyright can get very complicated. Typically the brand you are collaborating with has partial rights to repost on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc.). But clarify to the brand that you want to be credited for the photo when they are reposting /promoting your images on their social media platforms. Look through the influencer agreement to see if it indicated that the brand wants full licencing rights and be able to create derivative content across their website, newsletters, ads (either printed or digital). If that is the case then you should certainly be charging a very large sum as your fee. I personally always opt to only give a brand partial rights, so I usually ask the brand to change the copyright section of our agreement, but it is up to you which avenue you decide to take. Full copyright gets even trickier when you work with a photographer. Look for work for hire language. This means that the work you do in completion of the contract belongs to the other party and not you. Clarify expectations regarding social media promotions with the brand! Getty images has a helpful calculator to give you an estimate for what various high-quality images are sold for. 

Be Aware of VAT/Customs Charges

I learned my lesson the hard way. Please be aware that if you are receiving packages from outside Canada or your home country your package is subject to VAT/Customs charges.  You just assume that the brand you are working with will cover all costs, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Before accepting to receive any product, clarify either in email or in your agreement that the brand is to pay for all shipping charges including VAT and/or custom charges. 

Payment Terms

You agreed on the amount of payment, but there is more to payment than just a dollar amount. Payment schedules and in what form payment will be issued are just as important in discussing when it comes to signing your influecner agreement. If these items are not on your influencer agreement ensure that they are added. Ask the brand if you are required to invoice them before payment is sent to you. Some companies will issue payment automatically without an invoice while others will not pay you until the invoice is received. Is the brand paying you 30 days after the campaign is completed, 30 days after the contract is signed or 30 days after your invoice is received? Understand the time frame so that you can get your payment as quickly as possible. Always know that payments terms are negotiable and you can request changes in your influencer contract.

Agreements are no joke. Read your influencer agreement very carefully before singing so that you can protect yourself and your brand. Let me know if there is anything else that I missed that you always read carefully before signing your influncer agreement.

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