“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

Stephen King

*This is the second part in the two-part series, you can read part one here here *

Earlier this year, I spotted the new St Oswald’s Hospice (SOH) store around ten/fifteen minutes from my home, and having volunteered for the Hospice as a Digital Volunteer for around four years (including a couple of temporary contracts; with one being Kickstart Project Coordinator and the other being Communications and Marketing Assistant), I got in touch with the lovely Head of Communications and Marketing, and pitched the idea of collaborating. When she said she liked the sound of it, she introduced me to the Retail Communications and Marketing Officer, and after a few more emails, I was asked to write a brief for the collaboration…

Voice, Mission, Values, & USP


Firstly, I feel that the ‘voice’ component here can be interpreted or understood in quite an obvious way – whether you’re a blogger or someone who writes briefs all the time, or not. It is quite clearly referring to the tone of voice used in the written content, and it’s typically mostly considered in stories and writing fiction. In that instance, it is usually concentrating on the thought of which perspective to write from e.g. first person (written by a particular character), second person (where the narrator implies that the reader is a character in some way) or third person (where it is written by using the character’s names and using a voice/narrative that is outside the events of the story).

Now, in terms of the collaboration brief, talking about the ‘voice’ is more focused on the formality. So, in the brief I put together for St Oswald’s Hospice, I talked about how I’m NOT Disordered’s posts are usually written very casually; to the point where I often get comments and feedback mentioning the thought, feeling, or belief that it reads exactly how it would be said. I added in the brief that I feel this is one quality of my blog that adds or contributes to its popularity because this voice of its content makes it more relatable and can make extremely difficult topics I might be blogging on, a little easier (in so many different ways!) to follow. I also explained that in collaborations that are with more formal organisations e.g. my local Police force and sometimes my local NHS Trust, I recognise the need to adopt a more formal voice that isn’t so full of colloquial terms.

I decided to put myself out there a bit and reminded myself that if anyone knows I’m NOT Disordered and the content that is popular on it, then it’s me. And so, to not harness, dismiss, or be reluctant to share my knowledge, experience, and wisdom(!) on collaborations would be a real disservice to whoever I’m working with. I mean, if I let the collaboration partner call the shots the whole way through the piece and it didn’t gain much traction, attention, or achieve any of their aims and goals in working together, I’d feel like I’d done wrong by them in so many ways. I’d feel like a failure, and I’d struggle with notions around believing that I had been lazy because I hadn’t bothered to speak up and share my valid, experienced, and knowledgeable thoughts and opinions on the collaboration and any sort of input they had.  

So, in the brief, I wrote that I’d like to recommend I find a balance between these two voices. I thought that there should be a formality when talking about St Oswald’s Hospice’s cause, the incredibly meaningful and challenging work they do, and the dedication and passion their staff put into their roles within the charity. But I also thought it could be a good idea to include some more light-hearted moments to help readers keep in mind that the general theme or inspiration for the post is actually, ultimately about retail! And, with St Oswald’s Hospice agreeing to this suggestion and really acknowledging and showing gratitude for my advice, really bolstered my confidence in general, but also – mainly – for the rest of the brief!


Next, ‘mission.’ I struggled to think of anything different from the Collaboration Goals I’d listed at the beginning of the brief, so I sort of directed this part back to those. The Goals included wanting to improve our reader’s mental health in the many ways I’ll be attempting to do so in the blog post, encouraging general donations for St Oswald’s Hospice (something which you can actually very easily do online: Make a donation | St Oswald’s Hospice ( and the more obvious one of increasing the footfall and sales for their Blyth store (there’ll be a lot more details about the store at the end of this post) in particular.


Then, for the ‘values’ part, I took it as an opportunity to write a short paragraph about how important this element has always been for me/I’m NOT Disordered, and how I’ve always tried to keep a level of continuity with it, despite the past eleven years of growth and development that my blog has gone through. In this paragraph, I stated that my value from the very offset of my blogging career has been to help others. I mean, originally it was obviously on a more intimate and personal level than it is now because I had started blogging to communicate better with my friends and family who were over 100 miles away from the psychiatric hospital I was sectioned in. I wanted to help them to understand how I was feeling and what I was going through. I wanted to help to provide them with reassurance for those struggling with their own mental health to know they aren’t alone and to encourage them to reach out for help and support. And I wanted to help to promote that they feel comfortable and confident instigating a conversation about mental health with their own friends and family.

These values have 100% endured and have followed me – and my blog! – through the eleven-year journey, and the largest ‘change’ is an additional sense of dedication and responsibility… I mean, you can’t have over 1.3 million readers without it having some sort of impact at all on the values and goals of your blog! So, I now include all of I’m NOT Disordered’s readers – and prospective readers – in the list of people I value and who I genuinely hope that my content helps. Of course, I’m not stupid; I know that all those people who have read my blog, haven’t all been absolutely in love with it(!), they might not have even finished reading it! So, I guess that my value here, is really about being happy and satisfied with the content I do put out there for all those people; and knowing that everything I publish is always created and posted, with the best intentions. With the intentions of hoping it helps someone in some way.


I was very proud of myself when I got to this point and knew what USP stands for without having to read on or google it independently! Not to make anyone who doesn’t know it feel bad! But it did feel like an achievement just in terms of feeling that I’ve really truly learnt something important in the communications and marketing industry! I mean, it wasn’t until my Digital Marketing Internship in 2019 that I learnt all the abbreviations and the acronyms that have actually ended up being really important and essential in boosting my confidence throughout all the voluntary roles I’ve had since that three-month Internship.

So, for anyone who doesn’t know and who I’ve possibly – and completely unintentionally – made feel bad for not knowing – in Marketing, USP stands for; Unique Selling Proposition, and for more details and information on it, this link might be really helpful: Unique Selling Propositions: What It Is, Why You Need One And How To Write Your Own (

So, around one year after I created, I’m NOT Disordered, I was celebrating reaching a new milestone in the reader count when another psychiatric hospital inpatient in the ward I was on, asked; “why do you can so much about the numbers?” Now, her usual attitude and the relationship she and I had meant that this comment – which might sound like genuine curiosity to some – was actually a dig and an attempt at insinuating or implying that I was shallow and not genuinely passionate about, or invested in, blogging. This meant that initially, I was actually really upset, embarrassed, and offended by her question – to the point that I ended up just storming off to my room and avoiding her the rest of the day – but now; ten years later, I’m so grateful that she asked me that. Because, having been asked, has meant that I’ve actually ended up putting a lot of thought into it (yes, over the course of ten years!) which has helped me to understand my thoughts and feelings around speaking about the reader statistics my blog has, in a much better and efficient way; and that has enabled me to be more effective in my answer if I’m asked that question again.

The USP is different though because it is one thing to appreciate why you’re proud of any reader milestones for your blog; but it’s another to recognise why those milestones are helpful to others. I mean, whilst I have the awareness that mentioning my reader count can increase the chance that a collaboration pitch will be agreed to, I’ve never actually thought too much about what that means for the partner. Like, I know it’s a good factor or attribute to mention but, until recently, I hadn’t really recognised that’s because it illustrates that working with my blog will grant the partner a good publicity opportunity and the ability to reach a large audience who they might not normally have been able to access. I’ve seen this to be especially true in collaborations with people and organisations who aren’t exactly targeted as being relevant for anyone in the mental health field – whether that be an individual or another organisation etc. In working with I’m NOT Disordered and allowing me to create content that really highlights that they do have a relevance to mental health, they are then able to reach a group of people or an audience they might not have been able to without our collaboration.

So, ultimately, this knowledge and understanding of the importance of mentioning the statistics behind I’m NOT Disordered’s readership has ended up really helping me when I reached the USP element of the brief. It meant that I was already in a comfortable and confident position that allowed me to write about this unique quality in a way which left me unconcerned that what I was writing made me sound as though I was bragging or being arrogant and self-important.

Aside from the statistics of your blog and its readers, something else that comes to light in writing about a USP in your collaboration brief, is your blog’s history with previous collaborations, any awards or accolades, and any media appearances. I think that one of the main benefits a prospective collaboration partner gains from being aware of these three qualities of your blogging career, is a more informative expectation on the standard of your work/content. I mean, for me to write in a collaboration brief that I’ve worked with national organisations like Cats Protection (the largest feline welfare charity in the UK) and the British Transport Police can bring a sense of confidence that I must be able to produce good collaboration content because why would huge organisations work with, I’m NOT Disordered if it wasn’t helpful for them? I think this is also true for mentioning awards and accolades because they’re massive signs that you and your content are definitely doing something right! Something which other people agree is right too!

Then, I have also been able to add that my mental health journey and my blog have featured in both local media platforms like Northumberland Gazette, and also national e.g. ITV and BBC News, and I think this brings the collaboration partner a sense of confidence and certainty that working with I’m NOT Disordered will bring some additional publicity and a growth in awareness of whatever campaign or work by the collaboration partner which my blog is covering/mentioning in the content.

Collaboration Deliverables

Similarly to the previous element included in the collaboration brief, this one had a few smaller bits to it too… So, in my brief for St Oswald’s Hospice, I firstly covered the ‘format’ of the collaboration content. This meant telling them some really basic information such as the font and the size of it that I usually use. I also added the process I go through in writing content (on Word) and then copying and pasting it into a blank blog post on In going through this step-by-step, I then realised there was something I’d need to run past the charity which I hadn’t even thought of or realised(!). Plus, it was the idea of having a quote at the beginning of the piece; as a reader of I’m NOT Disordered you’ll know that my posts typically have a title graphic, a quote or lyrics, and then an introduction. I hadn’t recognised or considered that actually, this was an important element to the post because it speaks of continuity in amongst other blog posts.

So, in the brief, I wrote out the quote I’d like to use to see if they liked it and I explained that I like to do this bit in my content because it can sometimes really draw a reader in if they read a quote or lyrics they’ve heard of and they become curious as to how they’re relevant to the content, which then urges them to keep reading! I really liked that part because it felt like a big nod towards the fact that I know my readers better than anyone. That I have a good understanding of what they like and what they don’t like, and that my appreciation and respect for them, is completely genuine. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to illustrate that because I 100% recognise that I and I’m NOT Disordered wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the readers – each and every single one of them! Even those who don’t like the content because they help me to better the quality of it.

In this element, I also included some really basic but important information on my use of imagery on my blog; this included that I typically take photos and videos on my iPhone 15 Pro, the app I use to edit my individual photos (Moldiv), and the site I use to create the title graphics and any subtitle ones if applicable (Canva). I also added that the typical length of my blog posts could be fairly long; with the lengthiest being around 5,000 to 6,000 words, and I predicted that the collaboration piece with St Oswald’s Hospice will be around 4,000 because I’m very aware of the likelihood of someone dedicating a lot of time to reading a blog post.

Finally, for this element, I also explained the number of posts referencing the blog post there would be – so, you might have already noticed, but I tend to post and then pin on each of my social media accounts, the one announcing the publication of a post and then for each day until the next post (around one week) I will share that announcement post. I also added that in addition to this normal repeated use of posts, I’ll also be publishing a variety of media types e.g. reels, stories, videos, imagery etc.

Collaboration Requirements

I particularly enjoyed this element to the collaboration brief because I appreciated that it totally solidified the responsibilities for both me, my social media, and I’m NOT Disordered, and for St Oswald’s Hospice and their social media accounts. For me, this is an important part to a collaboration; there have been far too many partnerships I’ve participated in on my blog that were filled with uncertainty and expectations that ended up leaving me feeling disappointed and let-down. So, I loved that I would have this brief to turn back to in a bid to remind myself what I had guaranteed to do and to serve as a tool that would confirm and support my expectations of St Oswald’s.

So, I started this element in the brief by talking about the specific hashtags and mentions necessary in the collaboration and in the content referring to/linking to the actual collaboration blog post. This was another opportunity to illustrate how well I know my blog’s readers and my followers on social media, because I was able to state the hashtags that have proven to be most popular on Instagram and Twitter/X in so far as leading to an increase in readers on the blog post being publicised on my social media. I also suggested in the brief that we include tags for the St Oswald’s Hospice retail accounts (linked at the end of this post) and links for any retail articles on their website or for the link to the function on their website where you can find your nearest retail store of theirs (also linked at the end of this post!).

I also explained that because I had purchased the items from their Blyth store, there would be no need to add any complimentary or gifted hashtags/references. Nor should it/need it be listed as a ‘paid partnership.’ In connection with being transparent about everything, I included my questions and ideas on us including any external helplines and information for anyone reading our collaboration who is struggling with their mental health as well as linking other blog posts. Usually, when I write a blog post, if there is another, older piece that is in anyway similar or relevant, I will link to it; so I checked what St Oswald’s thought about me referencing our previous collaboration posts: VOLUNTEER’S WEEK | TIPS TO GET A VOLUNTARY JOB, WAYS TO THANK YOUR VOLUNTEERS, HOW ST OSWALDS SUPPORT THEIR VOLUNTEERS, & MORE! | IN COLLABORATION WITH ST OSWALD’S HOSPICE | AD | I'm NOT Disordered (



Key Talking Points

You might be relieved to know that this was the final element in the brief that has some kind of length to it!

So, first in this element, I talked about what I might write based upon the items I predicted I might end up finding and purchasing on my trip to the Blyth store – this included a boardgame and a book so I talked about how they could help your mental health, including something on escapism and on mindfulness. Having visited the store now and made my purchases, I have a better, more clear idea of this part – though that will remain top secret until the actual collaboration piece!

I also added – which I was actually really proud of thinking of it! – that I would also like the piece to tackle the stigmatised views on shopping in charity stores because I said in the brief that it was all well and good promoting their store, but if someone has a preconceived notion of it, and we don’t tackle that head on, the piece will fall flat and it won’t give much encouragement – or at least not enough to make a difference and be powerful enough to influence the thoughts and feelings of readers.  

Publishing Timeline

This element was actually really uncertain when I wrote the brief because at that point, we actually hadn’t agreed upon a deadline – both for turning in the drafts to be edited and approved, as well as the date we wanted to publish them. We also hadn’t agreed upon a date when I would visit the store which we wanted to have settled on so that the Store Manager could be made aware that I’d be coming in and know why I was there and why I would have someone taking a ton of photos and videos for me!

Content Approval Process

Finally, the shortest part of the brief! I was actually unsure how this could be lengthy at all for a collaboration(!) because the basic process is that we each receive the drafts or plans for content before publishing them and ensure that both parties are happy with each other’s work. As basic as this is though, it was still important for me because I have had so many collaborations where I’ve not been asked for my permission or thoughts on the content the partner is publishing regarding our work together. This has actually felt really disrespectful and embarrassing because you’d have thought that if you were appreciated enough, you’d be deemed worthy of previewing content about you that was about to be made public. This was an even harder pill to swallow when it has come to media appearances in terms of TV News stories and Newspaper articles where it has been really unrealistic to expect to be asked for your thoughts before it is aired or published. And I think it can mean a lot to someone to know how their name is being used. I mean, I’m NOT Disordered is like my baby and it means so much to a lot of other people too, so if I’m putting its name to something, I want it to be something that I’m passionate about, something which I support and which I’m proud of. I want to be able to defend it should someone raise questions and doubts about it. So, I’m really comforted and reassured that St Oswald’s Hospice agreed to this process. It left me feeling even more confident and content in our collaboration.

All The Links You Need

Website: Home | St Oswald’s Hospice (

Twitter (X): @stoswaldsuk

Facebook: @stoswaldshospice

Instagram: @stoswaldsuk

Retail Instagram: @stoswaldsretail

YouTube: @stoswaldshospiceuk

LinkedIn: @stoswaldshospice

General Details For The Blyth Store:

Blyth | St Oswald’s Hospice (

To Volunteer In The Store:

Email: or call the store direct: 01670 330 885

Don’t live in Blyth? Find your local St Oswald’s Hospice Store:

High Street Shops | St Oswald’s Hospice (

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