So you want to work with brands? Part I
Alright *takes a deep breath* I feel like this is a HUGE topic and there is a lot growing interest lately so I'm really excited to tackle it today. I'm coming from a behind the scenes point of view. I've been working with influencers and bloggers for almost three years to help strategize and develop content for their own brands as well as for brand partnerships. I also spend my days listening to podcasts about instagram and influencer marketing. So I know a thing or two!
Lets dive in to the things you need to know and be prepared to do if you want to work with brands as a blogger or influencer for gifted or paid gigs aka #sponsored #ad #partner
1. Have a clear vision of your brand
If you don't know what you're all about then I can guarantee your audience doesn't know either. So it's super important to get crystal clear on what you're promoting whether it be a lifestyle, way of eating, education about a specific topic, or travelling etc. I'm not asking you for your life's purpose its just important to be super consistent with your content and what you're showing up to talk about every single day. Decide on 5-8 key themes (or less) and make sure 90% of your posts revolve around that.
Another good way to translate your vision is to keep your photo style/posting style consistent. This can mean editing every photo the same way, or posting in a pattern such as; photo of food, photo of you, photo of product, photo of you repeat. Make sense?
Creating a visual theme for your page sometimes means more than just using the same filter every time. You can include a specific colour scheme lets say pinks, beige and white. You'll be dressing for this theme, buying home decor for this theme, and thinking about it in every single post. Does that sound like a ton of work? Well it is.
If a photo doesn't fit your aesthetic you don't post it, end of story. (or put it in your stories instead!)
Now, I totally get that some people get away with seemingly no theme at all. This is probably because their copy (captions) are really valuable or their personality shows through big time in their stories! Even on these largely followed pages that look more messy there still tends to be underlying themes.
Okay so you’re REALLY clear on what you share with your audience.
2. Identify brands you want to work with and start posting about them ORGANICALLY
It’s important to start naturally working in conversations about products with your audience. Warm them up to the fact that you like recommending products from an unsponsored perspective. I’d challenge you to start showing off and tagging brands in your stories, telling your audience why you love them, and even trying to incorporate a product into a post naturally by not just tagging them but also talking about why you love them.
When you organically post about brands you love it creates a segway for you to reach out to a brand and give them ‘proof’ that you already support them and believe in their mission.
“But if I’m advertising for them for free why would they pay me?” Because your advertising is valuable, and your content is good. You are going to show them that, and you aren’t going to keep sharing if they don’t pay you IF you don’t want to.
3. Decide what kind of brands you dont want to work with
In the beginning its hard to turn down deals but I think it's SO important to only align with brands that fit your brand. If the product doesn't make sense to your audience they probably won't respond well. Yes, everyone wants nice white teeth but do you talk about dental health regularly? Are you becoming a dentist? If not you might want to steer away from products that promote this.
If brands reach out to you that don’t ‘vibe’ well with you, or don’t suit your brand at all it’s okay to say no.
4. Pitching to Brands
In the very very saturated land that is Instagram it’s VERY hard for brands to find you, especially in the beginning. It can be very powerful to reach out to brands and offer a collaboration opportunity. Start by reaching out to small local brands.
Pro tips for pitching:
Start by telling them what you love about THEIR company
Then offer how you can SERVE THEM, ie. what value do you have to offer them
Let them know you’d love to support them in any way possible.
The pitch is about how you can help them! It’s not an ask!
Be open to receiving free product in the beginning but know you worth. If you’ve done posts in exchange for free product once for a brand, the next time they reach out to you it might be worth saying Thank-you and informing them that you are now only moving forward with paid partnerships.
5. Should I work with brands that DM me asking me to be an ambassador?
Being an ambassador is very different than being sponsored. These companies generally want you to buy a certain dollar value of clothes/product every single month and in exchange might give you a 15% discount and a 15% discount for your followers. If you're totally obsessed with a brand go for it!
Make a little vision board or list of brands you'd love to work with big and small that you think would authentically fit into your feed. I feel like I talk about coffee a decent amount so if a coffee brand reached out to me it could potentially be a good fit! Of course I'd want to try the product first to make sure I loved it. There's nothing worse than seeing an influencer promote one shampoo brand one week and then another one the next week.
Alright friend! There’s your 6 steps to getting started working with brands!
Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post where I talk more in detail about pitching yourself and what to do when you’ve landed a partnership to make the experience awesome for you and your brand!