So You Want to Work With Brands? Part II - Pitching, Pricing and Landing Deals
Part I of this blog post series covers how you can set up your page and personal brand to be a good fit for working with brands. I’d definitely read that first here to make sure you’re on the right track.
Okay so you’re probably at the point where your IG page is looking good, you’re getting a couple hundred likes and you’re thinking I’d really like to work at a brand and get paid to post. With so many active Instagram accounts (like millions) it’s really hard for brands to find you so the game really is to pitch yourself.
How to Pitch A Brand
Start by telling them what you love about THEIR company and be as genuine as possible. You should have used the product before or at least have heard really good things from a close friend or family member. Even better if you have some posts with their product already. For example throughout the rest of this blog I have photos with 2 of my favourite dry shampoo companies. If I share about these organically, non-sponsored it can create a good segway to pitching!
The Pitch (2 Free Templates at the Bottom of This Post)
Start with a compliment. “I switched to <BRAND> coffee last year and I love the taste so much I’ve completely eliminated cream and sugar. Your coffee is a staple on our weekly grocery list!”
Then offer how you can SERVE THEM, ie. what value do you have to offer them. This is where you might drop a couple statistics; your followers, engagement rate or number of views you get on your story.
“I’m a freelance entrepreneur and you can bet that I’m sipping on <BRAND> coffee twice a day. I share on my Instagram stories to an audience of 3K and see around 600 views per story”
Let them know you’d love to support them in any way possible. You are extending your reach/audience to the brand for their benefit. Asking nothing in return. Don’t worry the person on the other end of the line knows you are pitching them and will hopefully come back with an offer but they aren’t assuming you just genuinely want to share their stuff, even though you do.
“If <BRAND> coffee has any upcoming campaigns that you’d like to get the word out about I’d love to help however I can!”
The pitch is about how you can help them! It’s not an ask! End with a thank-you.
“I’ve linked my Instagram below, thanks so much for your time!”
Depending on the size of the brand it might take 50 pitches before you even hear back from one person. And for the 1% that do answer, in the beginning, it will more often than not be a “No” or “No Thankyou”. I know that feels discouraging but, how bad do you want it? You gotta hustle mama!
Negotiating Brand Deals
When you do get a positive response the PR person/social media coordinator will either offer you free product or ask for your rates and media kit. Be open to receiving free product in the beginning but know your worth. A media kit is generally a 1-2 page PDF that introduces you and your brand briefly! It included statistics about your audience, 1-2 photos of you, and a few brands you’ve collaborated in the past.
A very very general rule for pricing your post is $10 per 1000 followers. Yikes! That might feel low if you’re only hanging out with 2000 people on your Instagram right now. But don’t worry there are a lot of reasons to charge higher fees:
First of all I’d shoot for $50, lowest!
If you have a professional designation PhD, RD etc. related to your brand, you should be charging more as your content is a professional opinion
If you are a professional photographer and you are using expensive equipment and producing high quality photos you can charge more
Or if the brand requires high quality images vs. iPhone photos (some will be okay with either) and you have to hire a photographer then you charge more too
When they ask for your rates start by giving a range, they will most likely come back with a lower offer so give yourself some wriggle room. For example, “I charge between X-X for stories, and X-X for posts depending on what’s required”.
What Happens After you Land A Sponsored Post
Whew! You pitched, you negotiated, you feel good about the agreement moving forward! At this point a brand may send you something called a creative brief. It usually looks like a PDF or powerpoint and it explains the campaign they are hiring you for, what concepts they want you to get across, things you cannot include in the post (such as alcohol or competitive brands), and things you must include (such as #sponsored or specific brand hashtags). Make sure you read through the creative brief before creating the content and read through it again before submitting.
The brand may also provide you with a due date for the content and a potential posting date which is usually open for negotiation as well.
The brand will also most likely send you a contract to sign and may ask for a tax form.
Creating Content For Sponsored Posts or Partnerships
1. Review The Creative Brief
After reviewing the creative brief and receiving the product from the brand you’re off to the races! Take time to get to know the product and brand and for the love of God please actually try and use it… If the day you receive the product feels too close for the post date for you to genuinely try it then you can ask the brand for an extension. If you’ve had/used the product before then it won’t be an issue.
2. Conceptualize and Shoot the Imagery
Get creative with your imagery but make sure it’s still on brand for YOU.
Put the same amount of effort in to creating for gifted products that you would for a $50 or $100 paid post in the beginning you can use these posts in your future pitches.
Include the product naturally and subtlety in the photo. Pics with a girl holding the photo straight out in front of her look a little more ad-y and might not perform as well as the ones where the Influencer is the main focus and the product is simply included.
Give the brands multiple images to choose from. It will really suck if you shoot, edit and submit the photos and then the brand asks you to reshoot, especially if you hired someone. So make sure to get a variety!
Pro Tip: Take and share some product shots for them to use how they wish as ad added bonus. (These never have to go on your feed, they are a ‘gift’ to the brand so to speak).
After the Campaign
-Track your analytics; engagement, impressions and reach on the post and/or stories and report it back to the brand after the campaign is done.
-Make sure you get paid
-Write a thankyou email or hand written note expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to work together and that you look forward to partnering again in the future.
Wow, you did it!! Now you have a shiny new campaign to add to your portfolio and media kit! Good work, now…….time to go pitch again.
I hope you found this two part series really valuable! To top it off (and what I feel like is the best part) I created 2 FREE pitching templates for you! Click here to download and those are alllll yours baby. If you pitch and land a deal I’d seriously LOVE to know about it so keep me in the loop :)