FRONT SLIDER

How to revamp your old content to get tons more page views.

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been really busy and felt as if I needed some new seasonal content. You know the type: pumpkin recipes, Christmas guides and anything with the word ‘autumnal’ in. Since I already get some traffic from Google and Pinterest, I noticed some of my previous year’s posts were starting to get more hits- for some reason it’s now perfectly acceptable to google Christmas advent calendars in September. The old content was being read but to be honest, it was bit tired: dead links, crap images and very 2016. The solution was clear: to start working on my old content and make it as good as new! Here’s what I did:

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How to get verified on Twitter: everything you need to know.

I haven’t posted on here in a week or so and realised I completely forgot to document one of my exciting achievements last month: I was verified on Twitter. I’ve actually had a lot of people ask me about it- including some asking why it’s worth bothering with in the first place. So I thought I’d blog about the process, what happens after you apply,  the benefits and everything else you might want to know about how to get verified on Twitter.

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10 tips for going from blogging to freelance writing

Today is a much-requested post here on The Bloglancer. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that as well as running two blogs, I am a freelance writer. I mainly write for magazines and online sites but have also done some blogging for brands and copywriting. This topic is something I get asked about a lot, but for me at least, getting ahead in freelance writing is the same as any form of media: working hard; not being afraid to put yourself out there every day; making contacts and constantly coming up with new ideas!  Here are my ten tips for going from blogger to freelance writer….

 

1. Read, read and read some more. (more…)

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How I Reached 1000 Daily Views

Today I’m back with some blogging tips, and this time I am going to be chatting with you about my continued efforts to grow my blog traffic. Last week, I hit over 1000 daily views (on my main blog: A Balanced Belly) for several days in a row and a couple of you in my Facebook group asked me to share my top tips.

 

Revamping Old Content

I decided I’d try to blog a little bit more but knew I couldn’t post lengthy blogs every day. For this, I adopted two strategies. Firstly, revamping old content. As winter is coming, I went over my old recipes and updated the images. Like this pumpkin pie smoothie. I created new pics for Instagram and pins for Pinterest. I then shared in relevant groups. This is definitely worth doing with Christmas content too, especially since older content has built up with Google.

Old Pin                                                                                                                       New Pin

Looking for a dairy free pumpkin smoothie recipe? This anti-inflammatory smoothie contains turmeric, pumpkin and cinammon. It is perfect for those with IBS and IBD. If you are looking for recipes for crohn's disease, IBS or weak digestion give this a try.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Canva to make my images. The second pin looks more ‘autumny’ and the quality of images are much better. However, the first pin still does ok on Pinterest- so using the two together brings more traffic! This is something I plan to experiment with more and use several pins for the same post. I have two popular posts with google: gluten-free subscription boxes and dairy free advent calendars. So I plan to revamp these too: adding better images and links to other posts to lower bounce rate.

Start Spreading The News!

Another thing I focused on to increase content was shorter news stories. Being gluten-free, there’s always new product launches and a write-up of one (like this one about dairy-free pizza) only takes about ten minutes but can bring in lots of traffic. Always try to answer questions the audience has, e.g. the price of something, their ingredients or a launch date. These types of stories do well on Facebook too.

A side note to this is to start thinking about what people would be excited about. I do think transitioning from a hobby blog to a site that is more of a job is thinking more of the reader and traffic. It doesn’t mean that what you write can’t be fun- but the balance has to be there.

Social Media

Pinterest is also a bit traffic driver for me (you can read more about how I get traffic from Pinterest in this post) but I decided to join a few more boards and get pinning my seasonal content. I also had an overhaul of my Facebook page~changing the header so it clearly summed up my content and experimenting with video. One of my videos went a bit viral gaining about 400 followers in a week. It is hard work but video definitely seems to be the way forward. Especially videos that link to your content that you can link to in the post.

I then ensured I kept posting relevant content~creating a Canva image with a question or unusual fact that prompted discussion worked well. I also started to share the Facebook post into groups (rather than post links in there). Here’s an example…

It actually reached 9821 people according to Facebook, which is a massive increase of the usual few hundred I get.

Sidenote: This was working really well but then Facebook randomly blocked me from sharing in groups for 7 days. Apparently, this has happened to a few bloggers, so while I don’t think I overdid at all (sharing daily in a few groups) just a word of warning !!

I was also verified on twitter! I am planning a seperate post about that and whether it has any impact on my views!

Anyway, that’s just a few tips on growing my page views. For more info on this, the following blog posts might also help!

 The Only Blogging Course I’ve Ever Taken

   How I Get 400 Views A Day From Pinterest

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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Brand Spotlight: Emily from Spring and Tonic PR

Hello! We’re back after a little break and this week I am interviewing one of my favourite PRs: Emily from Spring and Tonic. I got in touch with Emily after realising she represents pretty much all the health brands I use! She has been a pleasure to chat to so I know she’d be absolutely perfect for those health and food bloggers out there. Let’s dive in…

Q:Hi Emily, tell me a bit about Spring and Tonic and the brands you represent?

A:Hello!  Spring & Tonic is a little PR consultancy run by myself and Jess, two friends with a shared love of all things food and drink.We look after a range of healthy food and drink brands including Pip & Nut, Doisy & Dam, Ugly Drinks, Hippeas, The Coconut Collaborative and Ugly Drinks.

Image result for hippeas

 

Q: That’s like 90% of my diet right now! So tell me, what percentage of your time is working with bloggers compared to traditional media?

Bloggers have become increasingly important in the world of PR and marketing…we split our time across them and other traditional print and broadcast media outlets.

Q: When did you start working with bloggers as part of your PR strategy and what was the decision behind that?

We’ve worked with bloggers since we started just over 3 years ago – and before that in previous agency jobs.  It’s part and parcel of what we do in order to engage with consumers as people place increasing importance on the online and social media channels for information and endorsement.  Building awareness and credibility for our clients is key, and this is why we love working with bloggers.

Q: You work with a lot of health brands. How important are food and health bloggers to you for raising brand awareness?

Vital, they speak honestly and directly to our key audiences, an endorsement from blogs and bloggers that are trusted and respected help to build the brand and in turn drive engagement and ultimately sales.

Q: What kind of opportunities do you offer bloggers?

We like to tailor how we work with each and don’t like to use a blanket approach.  We read the blogs, follow their social channels and ensure that we offer each something that will work for them – whether that’s editorial content ideas, competition collateral, interviews or straight up product review opportunities and a chance to try the brands we look after.

A tailored approach is so important to brand and blog collabs.

Q.That’s great to see your approach is so personalised! What do you look for in a blogger you work with?

Credibility, engagement, and content that fits with the brands we work with as well as lovely people to speak to! 

Q: Many bloggers I speak to have no idea when they should start charging for their services and how much to charge. What do you think is the best way for bloggers to chat with brands and PRs about fees and money?

This is a tricky one – we get lots of bloggers approaching us with media packs and asking for fees for Instagram posts or blog reviews, sometimes with little insight on their readers and engagement rates.  It’s not normally a route we like to go down to start the relationship – we prefer to work with people that have a genuine interest in the brand, the product or the back story and take it from there.  Some of the bigger brands and agencies have a dedicated budget for ‘paid for’ content but clients always like to be clear on the return on investment before committing to pay for something.

Q: That makes sense. Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?

Not everything – but helpful.  There are so many blogs that are so well read and trusted by us and our clients that we don’t need to know the ins and outs of the readership figures, however, this does help us put a case to clients for paid for content.  PR historically is about providing editorial ideas and content that get cut through as a story or review without paying, so it’s always good to understand why someone is good to work with if they are new to us.

Need some help in growing your traffic? Read my guide to using Pinterest to boost your views.

 

Q: Do you look for great photography or well-written content? Which do you think is more important?

Both – pics are always so important particularly in food and drink but the content is also key.

Q: Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?

Absolutely – we love to hear from new people.  It’s always good to keep it concise and share examples of previous work / brand partnerships.  When we approach bloggers we like to make sure we are familiar with what they write about and what will work for them, it’s the same for us.  We always prefer it when people approach us to try the products before they send us a rate card.  Asking for money with little insight on the blog itself and the support they will offer makes it harder to understand why it would be a good opportunity for the brands we look after. 

Q: That’s good to know as I always tell people to share brand partnerships they’re proud of. How can a blogger stand out from the wave of new blogs that are launched every day? As a health blogger it feels like the area is growing rapidly!

By taking the time to research who we look after and sending us a tailored email – not sending us a blanket email that goes to other PR companies.

Q: How can bloggers get in touch if they want to work with you?

Drop us a line/tweet us / message us on Insta…we’d love to hear from you.

If you enjoyed this, you can read my other brand and PR interviews here.

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

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How I Get 400 Views a Day from Pinterest (with only 700 followers)

Of all my social channels, Pinterest has the lowest number of followers; yet is easily one of my biggest referrers. Doesn’t make sense, does it? Despite a paltry 700 Pinterest followers, I average 400 hits from the network each day- and that’s why I am so certain of its power to boost your numbers. Let’s learn more about how I use Pinterest to drive traffic.

 

 

1.Focus on evergreen content. This is the biggest one for me. For Pinterest to do well, your pins need to e evergreen-meaning the information is relevant all year round (with the exception of seasonal content which does well at specific times of year). I believe every blog should ensure it’s content strategy is focused on evergreen content as that’s where the views are long-term.

The type of evergreen content that does well on Pinterest tends to recipes, tutorials, how to guides, information articles and listicles. While it’s certainly easier to do well on Pinterest as a food and health blogger, everyone has the potential to create evergreen pinnable content. Fashion blogger? Try a DIY customisation tutorial. Beauty blogger? A list of thrifty beauty hacks. Try to focus on doing this at least once a month.

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Brand Spotlight: Interview with Sam from Socially Famous PR

Happy Friday everyone! Today, I am interviewing Sam from Socially Famous PR     Sam runs 2 blogs (sociallysam.com a business blog and a lifestyle blog which is currently being revamped.) as well as running Socially Famous PR. Not only did Sam help me out by answering these questions super last minute; she was incredibly honest and there is so much value in all of her answers. So get a notepad and a cup of tea at the ready!

If you enjoy this interview, you can check out all my chats with PRs here. 

 Q: Hi Sam! Tell me a bit more about yourself- what brands do you represent?

We started out purely as a social media marketing agency but because I’ve been a blogger myself for nearly 10 years now I found I was getting my social media clients asking about working with bloggers. It became natural to add that as a service. We tend to work with smaller brands who have more niche products on the blogger’s side. At the moment we’ve got a skincare brand, a pet product, a wedding services business and we have a new health food product that will be launching later in the year.

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Yes, Bloggers. Sometimes you SHOULD work for free.

Ooh, I do love a click bait title. Don’t worry, today’s blog post is not designed to preach to you the benefits of exposure. In fact, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I am pretty vocal on the subject of not working for free and knowing your worth. However, somewhere down the line, the message has got lost and what I’m seeing is bloggers still not talking sensibly about money, trying to charge for everything, missing out on the opportunity to develop their blog and still undercutting each other left, right and centre. So, today rather than repeating motivation phrases, I am going to give you the dos and don’ts and look at answering the old age question (well since 2010): when should bloggers work for free? As always, this is just my take on it all but I’d love to hear your opinions too.

 

Yes, consider working for free when….

  • Looking to boost your Domain Authority. I do not personally think DA is the be all and end all (and I’m not asked for it all that often) but given that the Bloglancer is brand new, I am devoting 3o mins a day to creating a guest post for other sites. Now, this is one example, where doing your research is absolutely key. Make sure you check potential sites using the MOZ toolbar as I get emails every day for sites with a DA of 1 offering me an amazing opportunity to write for them!

 

  • The opportunity adds at least equal value to you as it does the other party. Writing for free is something most of us get asked to do every day.  Although I don’t generally recommend writing for free, it needs to be thought of as a transaction and it’s only worth considering if what you get back is of equal value to what the other site gets. This is why I have rarely written for brand blogs for free because let me ask you this: have you ever read a brand blog and followed the writer that very instant? Therefore a brand is getting a valuable resource of content (which helps their search engine rankings too) and you are probably receiving little back in return. Instead, especially if you have a product or ebook to promote, I’d recommend channelling your energy towards pitching for freelance writing in online and print media as a longer term strategy If you’re going to do it, make sure it has maximum benefit. Getting featured on online sites (e.g. Get the Gloss, The Mighty, Female First and to a lesser extent, Huff Post) or even print publications, will not only provide a big traffic boost if the content is thought provoking (I once got 1000 extra visitors a day after a thumbnail size feature in the Mail on Sunday) but it’ll be something to pop on your media kit (‘as featured in…) and writing portfolio (should you want to develop a freelance career). Therefore, while the publication is getting free content, you are getting something equally beneficial in return. I appreciate this might cause an angry rant of writers saying you should never write for free and yes, ideally there is nothing wrong at all at being paid from the onset (that is the goal). If your idea is unique and can’t be done by another writer, you should absolutely be compensated.  However, you can also be strategic about it and use it as a starting point- not an end point. As I say, you can also ensure your best post, product or ebook is linked to the bottom of an article to attract readers. A compromise can be contributing to articles as an expert. Use the #journorequest hashtag to search for current opportunities. Doing this lead to me being featured in The Guardian!

 

  • It will actually benefit your readers.  Sometimes, you can put aside the concept of a ‘transaction’ if it’s something really valuable to your readers.  We forget that there are real people reading our blog and the information we provide helps them. Linking to sites is too often seen as ‘currency’. If you follow me over at A Balanced Belly you’ll notice that most of my blog posts have about 20 links in them! Not because I am being paid to promote but because I know my readers are actually looking for the information and/or products. And sometimes bloggers lose sight of that. I have in the past pitched to a supplement company and an accountancy software company that I think have really valuable stuff for my readers but they haven’t had a budget. The difference being is I include them on my own terms (not an infographic) because I know they’re useful for my readers.  This is the similarly the case for giveaways. Although many bloggers do charge for giveaways, if it is a once in a lifetime prize that you know your readers will love you for, then it might be worth it. I remember my site almost crashed when I gave away a Nutribullet.

 

  • You just love something. Which leads on to my last point. Recently on my blog, I did a round up of 14 things I had loved that month. Here, on the Bloglancer, I wrote about how much I loved Response Source.   Both of those times, it was me writing about something I was passionate about with no brand or PR agenda- which is largely what blogging should be all about. The same goes for supporting a charity your passionate about.

 

No, don’t even think about working for free when…

  • Someone is getting more value out of something than you are.  Whether it be monetary compensation or value for your readers, if the person on the other end of the email is getting more value out of it than you, then be cautious. This is why you won’t find any dodgy infographics on my site. If they have emailed you, they already recognise your value so therefore you shouldn’t have to prove yourself by working for free first.  And warning, those who build links will often promise ‘quality content’. If the only thing you are getting out of a transaction is content, then consider supporting your fellow bloggers instead and popping a guest post request on a facebook group instead.

 

  • To undercut others. One of the weirdest exchanges I saw on a Facebook recently was a brand asking about a general costing for a post and a whole host of bloggers comment underneath to the point where people were offering to do it for completely free. Why would you do this? The brand clearly asked about costing and therefore was prepared to pay. Let me tell you this if you are new to blogging: there will always be someone who comes along and tries to undercut you. If your thing is being the cheapest blogger, you won’t get very far with that strategy.You have to stand firm and believe what you can offer is truly valuable and unique because the minute you try to drop your prices to compete, you find yourself just going lower and lower.So, while it is frustrating, it is all about the long game and if you set a value on your work, then believe in it!

 

  • The onus is on you to ‘prove yourself’. If you are pitching an article to an online website or a brand you absolutely love, it makes sense they might want to see what you are made of and it’s clear its something of value to you too. However, far too often, I receive emails offering me the chance to work for free to ‘prove’ myself or with paid work further down the line. Never work for free simply because there’s a possibility of paid work if you meet someone’s approval. You can always redirect them to your blog which has a whole host of articles that show exactly what you can do. 

 

I hope this blog post made sense! As you can see, working for free is a complicated (and wordy!) issue but hopefully these tips will be useful! If you enjoyed this post, please do take a second to share and find out below how you can follow me and The Bloglancer!

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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Brand Spotlight: Interview with the icelolly.com press team!

 

After the success of last week’s interview with Charlotte from Smoothie PR, this week’s interview is with the lovely press team at icelolly.com. Icelolly.com are the kings of blogger outreach and have an amazing influencer network with a regular newsletter that goes out to bloggers too. I asked them to share exactly what they look for from travel bloggers and what makes the perfect email pitch. Travel bloggers, this is an absolute must read for you guys! To make sure you don’t miss out on more brand interview and opportunities, make sure you sign up for my Sunday newsletter.

Q: Hi guys! Can you tell me all about how about the team at icelolly.com works with bloggers?
Over the last couple of years, we have made a conscious effort to turbo charge our blogger outreach programme. This has included organising numerous blogger stays with a variety of different individuals/groups, hosting our own bi-annual blogging event (Blog At The Beach) in and around the icelolly.com HQ, sending around a regular email to our blogger database with the latest news, events and opportunities and smaller collabs including Instagram takeovers and guest posts.
 More on all of this can be seen here: https://www.icelolly.com/influencer-hub
 

Q:I’ve noticed you have worked with lots of travel bloggers- when did you start working with bloggers and what’s the decision behind that?
We initiated our blogger outreach programme roughly two and a half years ago. The main reason behind this was because we really see the benefit of building a positive rapport with influential individuals within the travel industry and the various collabs we’ve organised have helped to up our UGC no end. Namely through guest posts and Instagram takeovers, both of which have contributed towards an increase in weekly blog page views and general Instagram engagement/followers. Members of our team have also been involved in the blogging game away from work and really appreciate the influence brands can have on individual blogs/bloggers.
 
 
Q. What do you look for when selecting bloggers to attend your lovely press trips?
We want to work with bloggers that we feel represent our core brand values, these being; inspiring, independent, quality and playful. We’re a quirky brand that intends to come across playfully whilst inspiring our users and offering honest, independent views on destinations, resorts, holiday types etc. It also helps if we actually know the blogger we are sending away on a press trip as it is difficult to select a brand ambassador otherwise. This is why we often encourage bloggers to get in touch with us via email, social media or by attending our events. Even dropping in with a simple ‘hello’ or ‘great blogger email’ etc from time to time means a lot to us and helps build the initial foundations. If we don’t know somebody, it’s hard for us to judge whether they will be the right fit for our opportunities/collaborations!
 
Q:Is it important for bloggers to have a niche? Do you go for sole travel bloggers or are you open to lifestyle bloggers too?
It’s important to specialise in a certain area to an extent but we also feel you shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself too much and alienate a bigger potential audience. We have worked with a variety of bloggers in the past including travel, lifestyle and fashion specialists and we like to see ourselves as pretty open to a lot of different niches. As we are obviously a travel company, we would prefer some travel blogging experience when working with somebody but this isn’t necessarily a necessity. It can often differ from campaign-to-campaign.
 
Q: Are stats everything? What stats do you focus the most on?
The obvious answer to this question would be yes. Most people look at sheer numbers and come to certain conclusions based on how big (or small) a social media following somebody has for example. However, would you rather have 100k followers and a 1% engagement rate or 10k followers and a 20% engagement rate? If you have a dedicated blog readership, the stats will look after themselves so often it’s not worth getting stressed about numbers. Just concentrate on your output, making it more relatable or current to people for example, and always remember blogging should be something you enjoy. We don’t tend to focus on numbers at all – for us it’s about the individual, the relationship we have, how proactive they are and how they fit in with our brand values.
 
Q. Do you welcome pitch emails from bloggers? What makes a good pitch in your opinion?
We sure do! Often we’ll present ideas and select bloggers from there that we feel would be a good fit, however, we’re not arrogant enough to believe we have all the best concepts. Somebody may have a killer idea for a working partnership, so we’d always encourage conveying this and not just sitting on it. We do get a lot of pitches so it’s impossible to go through with them all but that doesn’t mean we don’t consider blogger suggestions.
You need to have built some kind of relationship beforehand ideally. Think of it like cold-calling; if a company you’ve never heard of rings, how likely would you be to go through with whatever it is the person at the other end of the phone is selling or proposing? This is why we encourage conversation with bloggers, make yourself known by chatting to us on social media (we host a monthly Twitter chat for example that lots of bloggers get involved with!) or simply dropping us a quick email. Other than that just be enthusiastic with the idea you are pitching, show an interest in our company, present examples of your work and/or a synopsis of how and why you think we’ll be a good fit.
 
Q: Have you ever had bad experiences with bloggers? What do you wish bloggers wouldn’t do?
We wouldn’t say we’ve had any bad experiences but some can be harder to deal with than others – sometimes through no fault of their own however. We understand lots run their blog as well as holding down a full-time job so time constraints can have an impact on certain things. Our only ask is deadlines are stuck to for guest posts for example and no ‘cold-calling’. Drop in a few times with a simple tweet or hello so we know who you are before getting to business-like with pitches!
 
 
Q: Do you find us ‘micro’ influencers can be just as beneficial as big bloggers?
Most of the bloggers within our database would probably be described as ‘micro’ so yes, absolutely. At the end of the day, we’re a fairly small business so we know what it can be like as the little fish in a big pond. Would we rather work with 100 ‘big’ bloggers once and never hear from them again or 1,000 ‘micro’ bloggers multiple times through stays, events, Twitter chats, Instagram takeovers etc and build a strong relationship going forward? Certainly the latter! It helps to build brand advocates over a longer period of time.
 
Q: How can bloggers get in touch and discuss working with you?
Follow us on social media, engage with us and we’ll engage back! Take part in our Twitter chats, sign up to our blogger emails (available midway down this page: https://www.icelolly.com/influencer-hub) or drop a line to  influencers@icelolly.com . We’re a friendly bunch!

 

 

Before you go...
Facebook group: Pitching Motivation for UK Bloggers………………………………….
Join my mailing list:to get weekly blogging tips and brand ops

My instagram: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
My twitter: @jennafarmeruk
……………………………………………………………………….
Info on my ebook all about working with brands: Pitching Toolkit

 

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8 Tips for Emailing PRs

I am always getting asked questions about PRs- how we should approach them, what to say to them and my top tips on working together. I’m lucky in my work that I work with PRs in lots of ways- as a blogger but also a freelance writer. In turn, the shoe is sometimes on the other foot as when my book was released, it was me reaching out to blogs and magazines, asking them to feature my product.What I’ve noticed along the way is that the majority of issues in bloggers working with PRs is down to miscommunication, so I’ve created this helpful guide to try to demystify the process.

 

1. Always find the name of who you’re speaking to. One thing us bloggers rightly hate is when we’re addressed as ‘blogger’, yet many bloggers reaching out to brands will just use a generic email. Take the time to find out which member of staff is responsible for specific brands before emailing.

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