In this post: Learn everything about brand partnership and how influencers work with brands. Learn the step-by-step on how to work with brands as an influencer or even as a blogger with a small following.
Blogger + Brand Partnership Guide | How to Get Amazing Brand Collaborations
Hi girls, how are you today?
When it comes to emailing companies for a brand partnership, there is no one size fits all template that works.
This means that if you’re sending out the same generic email and media kit to everyone you want to work with – I urge you to reconsider. While I’m not suggesting that you spend hours creating completely custom materials for every single pitch, I do believe that success comes from taking your time to do some ‘’targeted + strategic brand partnership outreach’’.
If you’ve been reading my brand outreaches post series, then by now you’re familiar that I have over 4 years experience as a Strategic Account Executive (in other words, I work in sales for a big American company). This means that, when it comes to pitching services and making brand outreaches, I know a thing or two.
So, with that in mind, here is a little secret that 99% of bloggers, influencers, and content creators don’t know about brand outreaches…
The key to pitching is not really about what YOU want…it’s understanding what THEY want (and ultimately what they NEED), paired with the ability to confidently convey how you will make it happen for them.
But…. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
How Influencers Work With Brands
Brand Partnership 101: Why do Brands Work With Influencers?
Or even better, why brands should work with influencers?
Today’s ”celebrities” (or influencers) are more relatable than ever before.
They are normal people like you and I, who have a knack for creating attractive content for Instagram, YouTube and other social networks with the aim of entertaining a specific audience.
Furthermore, influencers understand their followers and know what kind of content they want to consume. This way, they’re able to create content that resonates with their followers and this helps them establish a sense of bonding and trust (which is very attractive in marketing).
Brands are also starting to understand that influence is about relationships.
Moreover, in addition to looking for authentic creators with highly-engaged communities, brands are looking to invest in long-term partnerships with creative influencers.
You need an influencer who is creative, consistent, and committed to the brand.
Finding a relevant influencer for the brand has become an easy task for marketing managers. Today many influencer marketing platforms offer features that help businesses to clarify their needs and find the most relevant influencer for their brand. After deciding which influencer you are going to work with is important to know how to track influencers’ ROI and consider all the metrics for better results. The main criteria are engagement rate, follower count, and campaign timeline.
For more information, I found this fantastic post on 15 Reasons why Brands Should Work With Influencers.
Work with Brands as a Blogger: How to do Brand Outreaches
In the business world, we’ve all heard that time is money.
While it might be true that the more brand outreaches you send the higher your chances of getting a yes (it’s simple math…), this is not necessarily the smartest route (and might not get you the best returns).
This means that whenever you do an outreach for a brand partnership the best thing to do is a targeted approach (in other words: you have to reach the decision maker’s inbox, not the intern’s).
Brand Partnership 101: How to Find the Right Contact
The worst thing you can do as a blogger who wants to get a brand partnership is to send an email to those generic ones that companies list on their website.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a response from attempting those (plus, it is so general that anyone could open it and decide not to pass it forward simply because they are not the right person).
Don’t miss an opportunity to work with a company that you love simply because you didn’t take little time to try and get the right contact.
Here are some creative ways on how to get the right person’s contact for brand outreaches:
#1 Direct Message
This is the easiest way to get the decision maker’s contact. Simply go to the brand’s social page (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and send them a kind, polite and direct DM. Something in the lines of:
‘’Hi (BRAND NAME) team, big fan here. I love what you do with (SOMETHING PERSONAL/QUICK) and I’ve been meaning to reach out for a while. Could you kindly give me the marketing manager’s contact, please? I have some ideas in mind that he/she might be interested in hearing. Thank you in advance and have a great day!’’
(the trick is to be courteous and polite. How can anyone say no to a kind message as the one above?).
#2 Ask a fellow blogger/influencer buddy for an introduction.
A referral is the best way to make a warm approach and it is especially helpful when you’re not confident with doing cold email outreaches.
If you’re in any Facebook groups, comment pods, or even have formed relationships with other social media influencers and have noticed them working with a brand you would like to approach – why not ask them if they’d be willing to make the intro? Blogging is all about networking and those who manage to escape their comfort zone are more likely to succeed.
#4 Good Ol’ Linkedin
LinkedIn is what salespeople around the world use daily to get leads. However, they don’t display people’s contact information (or that would be too easy). But there are ways of figuring out a company email, you just have to play around a little.
Once you get a contact’s name, go to their website and check how their email structure looks firstname.lastname@example.org).
Usually, from experience, emails formats usually are:
Firstname.email@example.com (example: firstname.lastname@example.org)
email@example.com (example: firstname.lastname@example.org)
email@example.com (example: firstname.lastname@example.org)
#5 Pick up the phone and ask.
I know this may sound scary, and that is because it is (no wonder salespeople get commissions to do cold calls daily. We need that financial motivation to keep us going).
But in all honesty, calling is super effective. Just be prepared to be transferred directly to the person you’re looking to speak with, so be ready and have questions at hand that you want to ask a client
FREEBIE: AT THE END OF THE POST, GET A LIST OF QUESTIONS TO ASK A BRAND
#6 Industry events.
There are thousands of blogger conferences and trade shows around the world where brand representatives go to mix and mingle. These events are a fantastic place to meet contacts in real life. There is nothing like that human connection and hitting it off with someone, right?
Note to self: Dress to impress, practice your elevator pitch, and bring business cards!
How to Get Brand Partnerships
How to Pitch for a Blogger & Brand Collaborations
Now that you have found your direct contact, the next step thing to do is to seduce your leads or potential brand partners. This means doing your homework.
Same as with getting the right contact person to talk to, delivering the right message is crucial here (and that is why simply copying and pasting generic brand email templates is not the best strategy as each outreach is unique in its own ways).
Ultimately, it’s all about perfecting the pitch and convincing them why they should choose to work with you over anyone else!
Brand Partnership 101: Customize Your Pitch
Make sure your pitching materials “speak” to the client’s wants and goals. This is a great way to help them envision what you can do for their product/service/destination.
The initial email can be more generic, something in the lines of
BRAND OUTREACH EMAIL TEMPLATE
What to send a brand in your first cold email pitch?
Hi (NAME), I hope well is well during these tough times.
My name is (NAME], and I’m (ELEVATOR PITCH).
A while ago, I got turned on to you by a friend and have been a big fan ever since.
I like what you’re creating with (PRODUCT, PROJECT OR NEWS). I’ve noticed that you are involved with (SOMETHING THAT MEANS A LOT TO THEM – LAUNCH, CHARITY, BUSINESS, CAUSE, BRAND, ETC.), and I’d love to support you in further developing your online presence and overall business.
I have some creative ideas in mind that I am confident that can help you (LINK TO PRIOR PARAGRAPH’S CAUSE).
Let me know if this is interesting to you and I’ll be happy to share my ideas in the next email.
Thank you and have a great day!
(YOUR NAME, WEBSITE, SOCIAL HANDLES, CONTACT INFO, ETC. SO THEY CAN CHECK OUT WHO YOU ARE)
>> be sure to hyperlink everything
1ST EMAIL OUTREACH
See how I didn’t say any of my ideas yet? Rather, I tried to entice their curiosity. Your goal in the first email is not to send your proposal, to suggest your ideas, or ask questions. No, your initial goal is simple: get your foot through the door.
Don’t burn bridges by giving an offer before the brand gets a chance to reply you. If they know what you want to say, they might not answer and thus you may lose a chance to build a relationship and further explain your proposal
In other words: your only mission from your first email is to get an answer!
2ND EMAIL OUTREACH
Here is where most bloggers make the mistake of sending their ideas and suggestions.
By the time the brands answer you, they’re no longer a lead, but what in sales we call a contact. Getting the client to talk to you is sometimes the hardest part, so pat yourself in the back whenever you get a reply.
Bloggers get so excited when a brand answers that they want to prove they did their homework and have ideas to suggest that will revolutionize the brand’s mission and this couldn’t be more wrong.
Don’t assume what a brand wants. Rather, ask relevant questions and understand what they need (and deliver it!).
The second email outreach goal is to establish a relationship! This is the time where you ask relevant questions to understand what is it that they want/need.
The more you make your pitching materials tailored to the “company and position available,” the better chances you have of getting the job. The same goes for partnerships, press trips, and collaborations
For you to successfully work with brands as a blogger, you need to know what THEY want.
At the end of this post, be sure to download my freebie with qualifying questions to ask a client. This way you will know exactly what they are looking for and this will also give you creative ideas when coming up with an offer.
Another good idea is to take the consultant approach by doing a brand/website/social media audit. If you know they need photos for their social media pages (normally just by looking at a client’s website or social pages you can tell if they hire professionals or not) – you can reach out and position yourself as a content creator and start landing partnerships this way.
This is a great way to not only make money when you’re’ starting but to gain experience.
Below are the 3 main pain points that most companies and brands want and need.
What do Brands What from Bloggers
#1 Content Creation
This is the best part because when it comes to creating quality content, it really does not matter how many followers you have, your work speaks for itself. Some of the most insanely talented content creators I know don’t have a huge following, but are true visionaries and creators nd are making banks online simply by creating content for brands.
When a brand is looking to create content, it means they could want video, photos, graphics, gifs, written content (blog posts, social media captions, heck I’ve even offered translation once) of their product, service, and/or destination. Most of the time, they want this type of content to use on their social accounts and/or in their marketing efforts and if they don’t hire you, they’d need to hire a (more expensive) marketing agency.
#2 Brand awareness.
This point is more focused on influencers rather than ole-creators (i.e. if you don’t have a big following, there is no pint in offering brand awareness to clients, right?).
In order to truly help a company reach its brand awareness goals, you must have a large reach and influence. This is why it is important to understand what a client wants before offering it to them.
Imagine taking the time to draft a huge email pitch to a brand only to find that all they want is more brand exposure, but your following is smaller than theirs (?).
Don’t assume what a brand wants. ASK what they need.
3. Driving purchases.
It doesn’t matter if you have 1 million followers or 5000 followers, the ability to drive purchases depends on the quality of your following base and how influential are.
“True fans” are those that will take every reference you make, buy anything you suggest (or at least click and reshare your posts), and will go above and beyond to support you.
The more proof you have of your engaged audience and your ability to drive purchases, the better
A Word About Media Kit
Should you send your Media Kit in your first email outreach to a brand?
I say this for 2 huge reasons
1) If you attach a document to an email to a person whom you’ve never talked before, this can signal the email as spam (and thus your email might get lost in their spam box forever).
2) I’ve got quite a few brand partnerships without ever sending a Media Kit (all the hotels that I stayed in Sri Lanka were without presenting a Media Kit).
I like testing my chances before sending my data to brands. If they ask, I of course have one at hand to send through. However, if I can get a brand partnership without ever having to send my Media Kit, I will gladly take that option.
To Sum Up
How to do Brand Outreaches for a Paid Partnership, step-by-step guide
Step One | Find the right person: Find the exact person you need to speak to so you can pitch to them directly. Consider creative ways to find that contact and remember, if you’re speaking to a PR agency make sure they cover the geographical area in which you are based.
Step Two | Do Your Research: Before you reach out to a client you need to understand them first. Do a quick brand + website audit and try to see areas of improvement where you could possibly be of help. See if they are launching any new products, if they opened a new store, etc. The more equipped you are with information on them, the better for you to come up with ideas and gain credibility as a serious creator.
Step Three | Ask Questions: Figure out a brand main pain points (their wants and needs) to create a custom pitch. This is the part where you ask strategic questions to dive deep into delivering customized content to their needs, rather than assuming it and wasting precious time.
I hope you enjoyed this post on how to get a brand partnership as a blogger or influencer.
Let me know if you ever have questions in the comment section below.
Other posts on Brand Partnerships that might interest you.
- How to Get Sponsored Collaborations as a Content Creator
- Best Practices for Blogger + Brand Partnerships
- Learn to Turn Gifted Products into Paid Opportunities
- How I Stay in Luxury Hotels for Free as a Content Creator
- 6 Great Ways to Get Free Hotel Stays When You Have a Small Following
- How to Instantly Start Working With Brands as A Micro-Influencer
- Creative Services to Offer Brands in a Blogger Partnership (coming this week)
- How to Negotiate With Brands / How to Determine Your Influencer Rate Card (coming out this week)
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FIND ME ONLINE
If you ever have any questions, let me know in the comments below or hit me an email at email@example.com Alternatively you can find me on Instagram and also be sure to join our NEW ‘Bloggers + Brands’ Facebook group!