Ever since I started my blog and Instagram account, I have been obsessed with making it my full-time job. I have investigated different ways of monetization and picked one that I found particularly interesting – brand partnerships.
You might be wondering why would that be my choice?
First of all, I used to work as a Marketing Manager before and I assumed that since I’ve been doing this professionally, I can use my experience and do it as a blogger. Secondly, I understood that I need to focus on one monetization method and to know the ins and outs of the subject. Otherwise, I would be steering the wheel in all directions at the same time.
If you want to start creating significant income, you need to first focus on one income source. I know, I know… I agree with not putting all your eggs in one basket but that is for later on. Once you manage to create sustainable income from one source, you can start searching for other ideas.
So why brand deals?
I believe brand partnerships are the easiest and most effective to start with. Partnering with brands that you already use and love, is a win-win. The brand will get exposure and content it needs and you will receive payment and free products of your favorite company. It’s mutually beneficial.
Before you start
This paragraph is not to tell you that you need a huge audience to get started. No, I believe audience it is not the most important thing. The key to success is confidence and knowing how to sell your skills, knowledge, and experience. Like with everything in life! So before you start making excuses, telling yourself you are too small to reach out to brands, to partner with tourism boards, grab a mirror and repeat: I CAN DO THIS!
If you are reading this blog post, it means you are already stepping ahead of other influencers sitting on the sofa and denying themselves an opportunity to work with brands they love. Now, you just need to know how to impress the brand and make them notice you.
Create a media kit
If you want to be considered as a professional, you need to look like a professional. Remember: the First impression is the last impression! So, make it count.
One of the most important marketing assets is a media kit, which could be compared to a resume in a job application. A media kit helps you present in a visual way your main message, your stats and reasons for the brand to work with you. It is your chance to show the brand your professionalism and your knowledge.
The good media kit contains previous brand partnership examples, your stats and a short description about you and why they should work with you. The length of a media kit is debatable, I personally prefer longer media kit which in structure resembles presentation, while some other influencers prefer a short one-pager.
What can I say? No size fits all! Think about your resume. How does it look like? Is it black & white or colorful? Playful or analytical?
This reference might help you think of the way you want to design your media kit.
How to find brand deals?
A lot of the deals will come directly to you but that doesn’t mean you should be passive in brand partnerships. The chance is your favorite brand doesn’t know about your existence, so step in with confidence and show them why they should know about you. That’s why it is important to reach out to brands directly.
Unlike catching whatever brand that contacts you, when you pitch a brand, YOU are the one that decides „this is the brand I use, love and want to work with“. It is so much easier to tell a story about the product that you know and used in the past, than a brand that you have to Google before answering the email. Talking directly to the brand also means building a relationship from the very beginning that can later on bring you a more profitable deal.
The first place that you should check for potential brand deals is Instagram. I have created a folder on my Instagram in which I save all the potential collaboration partners, which are all the new brands I discovered, brands I see others collaborate with and brands I find interesting.
Even though pitching, in my opinion, is the best way to connect with brands, some of the companies may be very hard to reach. For example, a huge hotel chain or an airline doesn’t usually leave the marketing email on their social media channels because they are more used to work with influencers through 3rd parties.
There are multiple companies whose sole purpose is to connect brands with influencers. Using an influencer network is easy and fast plus they help you take care of finance. In this way, you will for sure get paid without the need for negotiating but at the same time, you will get paid less than if you would work directly with a brand.
Some of the influencer networks worth checking:
Let’s talk about money
One of the most common questions I get when talking about brand deals is how much to charge? Let’s start first with a bold statement: You should always charge!
Why? Because creating content is no joke and you need to value your work. If you won’t, nobody will… So how much? You should charge an amount that feels good to you depending on your audience, your expertise, and skills! It also depends on the deliverables agreed with the client. A blog post of 300 words won’t cost the same as 1000 words.
The one thing you need to remember is to always answer and try to negotiate. As influencers, we tend to lower our value and accept the first offer that brand throws us. The truth is nobody gives their best offer in the first email.
More importantly, don’t ever feel undervalued because the brand didn’t respond. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them. They might really not have the budget at the moment. Don’t let that discourage you. You will find other brands happy to pay you what you are worth.
That doesn’t mean all the brand are worth collaborating with! Some brands just want to take advantage of brands without offering anything in return. If a brand asks you to buy the products and only gives you a discount code to share with your followers, RUN! They are simply using you. If a brand asks for a do-follow link, RUN! Don’t partner with anyone with whom you don’t feel completely comfortable with. No money is worth putting your own brand at risk!