*contains affiliate links!
How to Collaborate with Brands?
I get asked several questions daily but, the question that is asked FREQUENTLY is “How do you find brands to collaborate with? How can I work with brands? How did you get products for free?” This is everyone’s go to question because how cool is it?! Everyone loves free products and everyone loves to get paid while loving what they do! Please note what works for me, may not work for everyone.
I also want to address a very popular question! “Why self host? Why not use wordpress .com?” Well…simple! If you want full control over your blog/website it is important that you self host! Many brands find a “self-hosted” blog to be more appealing and professional. You also won’t risk getting in any trouble for advertising and monetizing your blog.
“What if I have a WordPress .com blog already? Will I lose all my content? Can it transfer over?”
This was my biggest worry! I did a lot of research and found out that Site Ground was my best option! I have been with them for almost 6 months now and I am loving it! When I had wordpress .com I messaged Site Ground and they transferred everything for me! I had a premium blog layout which I lost but was able to get a new layout just fine! I didn’t have any headaches from transferring unlike others because Site Ground did all the work for me! Their servers are fast and I never have any issues. What sold me was how quick they were to respond to my questions and how helpful they were when it came to transferring over! If your interested in starting your own self – hosted blog (which I recommend before monetizing) check them out here.
OKAY NOW FOR THE FUN! – Pitching & Finding Blogs to Work with.
Before I get into the details of working with brands it is important that you,
KNOW YOUR WORTH!
There are many brands out there who will go after naive bloggers, especially those who haven’t been around for TOO long and they will scam the crap out of you! What I mean by this is;
I have received several emails from brands that want me to feature them on my blog etc for FREE! They won’t even send a free product to feature… Are you crazy?! HECK NO! I value my blog and I will never promote any brand for free. That is beyond unfair! It’s a two way street. You are worth something in return!
Another tactic that I refuse to give into is those brands who will give me a “discount” on their products to feature their products. No. No. No. Worthless trade. If you are promoting a product for a brand you should never have to pay for it.
Let me explain what the word COLLABORATION means in the “blogging” world. It means coming together to work with each other to create something that benefits one another. The point of collaborating is to help each other out. If a brand is failing to give you anything in return, then you are not “collaborating” you are in fact, just helping them out and they are cheating the system.
Questions to ask yourself before pitching to brands
How Engaged is my Audience?
This is pretty important! In fact it’s probably one of the first things a brand will want to know about you before they say yes. You may have a ton of followers but do they actively engage with your photos on Instagram? When it comes to your blog, how many monthly active users do you have? This is all important to a brand when it comes to working with you. You may have a low following but if your following is active and engaging on your photos, brands will notice this and be more likely to make an offer!
When it comes to me, I have about 3,700ish followers on instagram with around 190-250 likes and 80-120 comments on each photo. This is pretty high engagement with the new Instagram algorithm so brands tend to accept my pitches pretty well. There have been many Instagram accounts with the same amount of engagement as me but with a larger following so their engagement is a bit lower.
For tips on how to grow your Instagram and following you can check out that post here!
When it comes to your blog and finding out how active your users are etc. “Google Analytics” is a perfect tool! Most brands will want to know your google analytics so it’s important to have this installed to your blog! Don’t be discouraged either. You don’t need a massive number of viewers to start working with brands! Trust me! From experience (:
Like I said it’s not always about numbers, engagement is so important!
How good is my photography?
I know we aren’t all photographers BUT we need to be able to take a decent photo if we want a brand to work with us. Especially if you are in the beauty & fashion niche. Brands want to see good – high quality content! The iPhone can take fantastic photos, don’t get me wrong, however sometimes it’s okay to invest in a quality camera! There are a range of cameras that can produce beautiful photography. You end up getting back what you paid eventually anyway so it’s a great investment!
Here are some favorites for just starting out! (more inexpensive)
I recommend a DSLR camera! They are truly worth every penny:
When it comes to creating photos it’s not just about the “look” but about the overall experience. You want your photos to stand out more than others. Are your photos telling a story? Do they show the product “in action”? Flat lays are great but can sometimes be “boring”. Bring your product to life!
Am I Creating the Right Caption?
Besides the photography itself, make sure you are creating an engaging caption. You want your audience to engage with your photos so that the brands are seeing that you are attracting people to their product. If your audience is interested and wants to read more, the better chances you have at attracting brands to you! So make sure to create a caption that captivates your audience. Short captions are frowned upon. It’s good to create longer, engaging captions! Brands love this! Make sure your audience knows what you are trying to sell, without it coming off too marketed.
Is my Engagement for Real?
Brands know when your engagement is organic and when it is fake. I know how tricky it can be to bring organic traffic, believe me! Here are some tips:
- Engage naturally with others. If you are engaging with others in the same niche, they may be drawn to engage back.
- Create captions that draw others to connect and engage with you. Ask questions. Give detail about your photo and about yourself. The more engaged your caption is, the more likely people will feel a connection and want to engage back!
- Make sure your content is valuable. Make them feel as if they NEED to comment.
What Brands have I Worked with Before? How Did it Go? Do you Have a Media Kit?
Chances are if you are reading this, you may not have worked with brands before and that’s okay. If you have, AWESOME! Brands love knowing that you have worked with others before. They will be more likely to trust you. The more you work with brands, the more valuable you may become!
Brands also enjoy a nice media kit! Now what is a media kit? It’s like a portfolio or show case of your numbers(following), stats, info about who you are and what you create, as well as brands you have worked with in the past.
Before brands work with you they will want to know what you have to offer them. You can create your own media kits using Photoshop, Microsoft, or Canva. If you are thinking about purchasing a media kit you can do that as well via Etsy or Creative Market has great ones too!
How to Connect with Brands
Now, it’s time to move on to connecting with brands. There are many different ways to connect with brands. You can join influencer marketing platforms, pitch to brands, or wait for brands to reach you. I have done all three!
Influencer – Marketing Platforms to Join
You have nothing to lose by joining these platforms! It just allows you more opportunity!
This is an influencer marketing agency where brands will connect with influencers to work and collaborate! They believe in real people telling stories to advertise rather than plain, old advertising!
I personally loved working on Revfluence. They make it very easy and organized when it comes to collaborating with brands! They tend to want you to have a higher following, I believe it’s at least 10,000 followers on instagram. However! I did get to work with a mattress company via revfluence without having 10k and it was so awesome!
This is a platform where you can discover & connect with brands to collaborate!
I love style collective because not only do they give you a list of brands to reach out to but it also allows you to connect with other bloggers too! There are blogger meetups and events happening constantly. I have met some amazing ladies and brands via SC. However this one does cost 10$ per month, but it is worth it!
Similar to style collective however it is free! You have to be accepted into the program. It as well gives you tons of information about how to work with brands, which brands to go after & let’s you know about events near you. At these events you have the chance to attend and talk with brands!
A place for content creators to connect with brands.
A great platform to score jobs with brands and make some money!
A place where brands go to build their brand by collaborating with us (influencers).
A place where brands connect with us (influencers) who create content that sells!
How to Get Brands to Notice/Reach out to you?!
Other than creating good, quality content and photography it’s also important to:
Have your Email Featured EVERYWHERE!
How else will brands be able to contact you? You NEED to make your email available. I recently switched to the business plan on Instagram and since then I have received a bunch of emails from brands wanting to collaborate. I also make sure I write my email in the info box as well! This includes on your blog too! Contact forms can be annoying so make sure to include your email in your blog about me section or under/above your contact form! Brands would much rather email you than use the contact form.
Use Appropriate Hashtags!
When you post on Instagram, use unique hashtags that relate to your niche. Brands are constantly checking hashtags to find new leads. They will also use hashtags like: #bloggerswanted #bloggersneeded etc.
Post About Products you Love!
If a brand notices you are promoting products you love and are receiving engagement on these posts, they might reach out to you about promoting their products!
How to Reach Out to Brands
The most important thing when it comes to reaching out to brands is having confidence in yourself! Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to reach out! To be honest, especially when you are just starting out, the best thing to do is reach out to brands! Don’t wait for them to come to you. Send them a pitch! They will more than likely be impressed and flattered that you are interested in collaborating with them.
*Note, if you do have a smaller following, it’s not a bad idea to start off with smaller brands. Stick to brands that may benefit more from your following. Also make sure you are reaching out to brands that are in the same niche! If you are a beauty blogger with no children, you probably shouldn’t try to reach out to a brand that sells children’s books or clothing. It won’t benefit either of you.
Where to Look?
I love looking under hashtags like #sponsored #ad #bloggerswanted because these are brands that you know definitely work with bloggers! I am constantly checking Instagram.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands that you do love and follow! The more you know about the brand you want to reach out to, the better!
Here are some things to remember:
- The brand wants to know what you have to offer for them.
It’s a collaboration, what will they benefit from working with you? What can you offer them?
2. Most of the time they are busy. Make your proposal to the point and not too lengthy BUT make sure they know exactly what it is you are proposing and why you are choosing them.
3. You may get rejected, it’s okay! DON’T get discouraged.
NOW! For the details of the pitch!
What should your pitch include?
- Your first and last name, OF COURSE! They want to know who they are talking to. That’s important. ALSO include your blog, (blog stats), and any other social platforms you would like to promote them on (include those stats as well). Brands will also be impressed if you address them directly! Don’t be vague. What is their name? Be personal.
- Be specific. What product is it that you are interested in? Why does it interest you? Why will your audience be drawn to it? Get personal! Do your research on the brand. The more personal you are, the more of a connection they will feel. Don’t make it seem like an “automated” message that you send to every brand you come across. If you want to work with this brand, you need to prove to them you are worthy! Grow their trust.
- How do you plan on promoting their product? Let them know the kind of images you would like to take and if they will be allowed to reuse your images. Where would you like to promote their product (a dedicated blog post? feature? Instagram post? etc.) LET THEM KNOW!
- What is it you are looking for in exchange? Rates? Free product? Your work is not for free of course. (that would be unfair)
- Let them know about your audience and how you think your audience can benefit them. They need to know what you can do for them. It’s not a one way street! How many times will you promote, and where!
- Let them know the time frame you plan on having this done by.
- Include examples of previous work that you may have with other brands. Show them what you can do. Brands enjoy seeing what you have offered for others in the past. Like a “portfolio”.
- Add your media kit. This will show them a break down of all of your stats etc. This helps speed up the process! It also looks professional.
Of course, check your grammar. Make it professional but personable. Be kind! The worst that can happen is they tell you no. That’s okay! Not every brand has the time, funds, or needs every bloggers help! That’s for sure. It doesn’t hurt to try!
Here’s a template of how I reached out to a brand that I wanted to work with!
Good afternoon ___(Who you are reaching to)___
My name is (your name) from (your blog) or you can find me @(Instagram) on Instagram.
I came across your (product) and fell in love! (then talk about what it is you love about this product and why. Insert all the personal, catchy stuff). I feel as if my audience would fall in love with your (insert product name) too. (Explain why your audience would be attracted to it.) I would love to create (let them know, blog post? insta post? etc) in exchange for (free product? cost?). I have (amount of followers, and how much engagement?) Attached are examples of my previous work and media kit. I would love to have this done for you by (insert date) I hope to hear back from you soon!
Thank you so much,
It’s not hard! It’s fun in my eyes! But then again, I love what I do!
I hope this helps!
Until next time beauties,