How to Collaborate with Brands

Cohesive IG Aesthetic

If you’re a blogger in 2019, you know the importance of working with brands. I remember reading my first collaboration email. It was from Jord watches and as someone who was just starting out as a blogger, I was ecstatic to get that opportunity. That was back in 2016 when the word “influencers” didn’t even exist and there was a lot less competition. But Today, where each individual is doing their own thing, it has become difficult to get noticed by the brands and that’s where your approach plays a big part in landing your dream collaborations.

Don’t wait to be approached by brands: Instead of having the “I’ll let the brands approach me” mentality, you should have “I’ll grab the opportunity” attitude when it comes to partnerships.

If you notice bloggers with similar audience as yours have landed a collab with certain brand you’re interested in, there’s a high chance you can get it too. Don’t be afraid to Pitch brands. A lot of the collaborations I have landed were because I approached the brand myself. It can be intimidating but with the right pitch, right tools and some practice, it becomes easier. Below is an email draft you can use the next time you curate your pitch. One tip for curating your email is to make that partnership about how it will benefit the brand and not you, what will the brand get out of this collaboration. Make the partnership about them and not yourself.

Pitch Example:

Hello Emile Cordon Team,
I hope this email finds you well,
(Briefly introduce yourself and what you do) I’m Angie, a Dallas based Style and Beauty Content Creator. My blog’s focus is on sharing style content for curvy petite women and beauty reviews with my audience with captivating photography.
(Explain Why you like the Brand, customize it according to who you’re pitching) I love Emile Cordon’s approach to making lip care a magical experience. I think it’s such a great way to elevate a simple skincare routine and add a luxurious touch to it.
(Here it’s beneficial for brand because you are providing them with exposure) I’m reaching out today in regards to a potential collaboration because I would love to share your brand’s message with my audience and create content around some of the products.
If this is something you’re interested in, please let me know.
I have attached my media kit and social links with the email below.
I look forward to hearing from you,

(Your Name and social links)

I don’t recommend listing your prices/rates in the media kit because it won’t give you an opportunity to negotiate with the brand. Once you hear back from them, you can proceed to ask them about their marketing budgets and anything specific they are looking for.

2) Pitch with unique idea about your post: This tip is applicable if you have a Youtube Channel, IGTV or any form of blogging platform other than Instagram where you have cultivated a decent amount of audience. PR teams are busy and they love to see unique ways their products can be marketed. For example, if you are approaching a fashion brand, you can pitch them with idea like how you can create a video styling one of their most popular dresses 5 ways. The key is to be creative and show the brand that it’s worth their as well as your time

3) Get their attention by creating amazing content: I know I know you’d be thinking why you should buy their products when others are getting it in exchange for a collaboration. But trust me when I say that some things are worth making the initial investment, especially if you’re a smaller creator. Now I’m not telling you to buy stuff pointlessly just to get their attention. It really depends on which brands you prioritize, if you’re actually interested in their products, and how much effort you’re willing to put in creating content for them in order to get their attention and approach you on their own. Your Content will get noticed if you give it your all, i’m not kidding!

4) Engage with their content: I’m sure you have received a comment from someone on your post saying something like “I love your feed, it’s so beautiful” and yet that person has never followed you!! You know what kind of impression that person makes right? This is the same thing as when you pitch a brand saying how much you love them but you don’t follow their social accounts and never engage with their content. Give them a follow and wait for a couple of days, genuinely comment on their posts and interact with their stories etc. This is also a great way to get their attention and get them to check out your account. Who knows if they like your comment, end up visiting your account, love your content and they DM you asking you to partner with them! You just created an opportunity right there!

5) Reach out to right people: This is definitely an extra step and sometimes hard to figure out. It’s important you send the pitch to right people. A customer service representative won’t be able to help you with partnerships as much as the person working in PR/ Marketing. Finding the right person is difficult and sometimes not even possible but worth the effort. I suggest you start with DMing the brand on IG asking for contact handling PR. I also reach out to fellow bloggers asking for PR contact info if they have worked with the brand I’m interested in. I also suggest checking out the brand’s website and linkedin page to see if they have listed any PR email info. Usually these steps can help you finding the right info but if nothing else works then pitch through the general contact info and adding a sentence like “if this is not the right contact for my request, I would greatly appreciate you passing on my proposal to the right person”. Unfortunately there’s no way to know if your requests were forwarded or not unless the customer service representative lets you know about it.

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6) When to ask for payment: Ahhh if only there was a cheat sheet to paid partnerships with info like how much to charge, when to charge and how to ask to get paid for your work right? The truth is there’s no accurate answer to these questions because it really depends on your reach/audience, what the brand requires you to do for a campaign, how much time and how much effort is going into creating content. I know there’s a general rule that for each follower, you should charge 0.1 cent but I don’t think it gives you a realistic rate. It also matters if the products you are getting in exchange is valuable enough! For example, when I get a request for a campaign which requires me to take 5 pictures in exchange of a product and with no monetary compensation, that’s an immediate NO for me because it’s not valuable enough for the time and energy which goes in my content. And that’s what I want you to estimate when you approach or get approached for a campaign.

Ask these questions when you’re debating a campaign:

  1. Would I buy these products myself?
  2. Are the campaign requirements worth more than getting a product in exchange?
  3. What does my schedule look like? one tip I learned from Emma @emmasedition is that If a campaign requires a tight deadline, don’t hesitate to ask for more compensation.

How to ask to get paid?

As I mentioned before, when you hear back from the brand, you can ask them about their marketing budgets. Something like “Thank you so much for responding and considering my proposal. I would love to know the specifics of the campaign/partnership and what does the marketing budget look like for your campaign” At this point, either the brand will let you know the budget or they will decline a paid partnership. It will be up to you to go ahead with receiving the products in exchange for your post.

How to politely decline a campaign with no monetary compensation?

It’s important to not seem rude when you decline a request which only offers products in exchange. In my opinion, I totally understand when a small brand doesn’t have the capability to offer money for our work. It’s when the big brands like Olly and Neutrogena come around and say they don’t have a marketing budget to pay bloggers (You can’t tell but my eyes are rolling right now)!! Anyways, to decline a non paying campaign, you can respond with something like “I appreciate you reaching out to me but I’m currently only accepting paid campaigns and would love to be considered when the brand has a marketing budget in the future”

So these are some of the tips to land collaborations with your favorite brands. Just remember to not get upset if you face rejections because sadly it is a part of blogging. Keep working on your content and I promise you your work will get noticed 😊

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