Brands want to work with bloggers, influencers and YouTubers. Once you’ve built a name for yourself on your platform, how do you start working with brands and how do brands choose bloggers or YouTubers to work with?
Bloggers and influencers offer brands a trust and connection to an audience that traditional advertising cannot compete with. Brands see influencers as a media channel offering a 1-on-1 conversation with potential consumers, therefore influencing purchasing behaviour incredibly. Here are 10 steps for bloggers working with brands to make big money:
1. Be assertive, reach out, be realistic
Unless you have an agent, PR representation or a blogger/influencer agency working on your behalf, you will likely be the one reaching out to bigger brands.
Small companies with little budget may try to piggyback on your success but if you’re looking for a more substantial opportunity, it’s the big budget players you will want to get introduced to. Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands you believe are a perfect fit and that you could offer real value to, but also be realistic.
2. Find the contact
If there are brands bloggers want to work with, they will take note of the best contact to begin a conversation. A company’s about page will usually offer a means of contact, better yet their ‘press’ page may state a department, name, number or direct email address.
A less formal way may be approaching a brand direct via Twitter or Instagram, however you’ll usually find it’s a social media manager you get into initial contact with, but play your cards right and they may introduce you to their marketing or press department contacts.
It always helps to find the key contact rather than cold-calling or blanket-emailing an organisation.
3. Choose brands you genuinely believe in
Be discernible in working with big brands and be sure what content you produce for them actually fits in the context of your channels. If you don’t have a good connection with a fellow collaborator it can affect the energy during the collaborative process and can be seen and felt in the published content.
The same goes for brand partnerships. Maintaining authenticity, staying true to your voice and remaining credible are all essential attributes brands look for in choosing bloggers to work with.
4. Know your worth
Be forthcoming about stats, analytics, unique users, metrics, audience share, demographics and know what value you can add to a brand you’re working with. What makes you different from the competition? Why are you a better fit? What particular skills do you bring to the table making you unique?
5. Speak concisely, ask questions, listen
Be succinct and concise when in discussion with a brand, it’s a two-way conversation so listen eagerly and intently to what the brand wants and what they can offer. Make sure they know what you want too. Always ask questions and don’t leave anything up to chance, make sure you are both on the same page before anything is signed or agreed.
6. Plan ahead
It’s no use contacting a brand to work together ASAP, most businesses plan months in advances, especially true if bloggers are working with luxury brands who often have marketing budgets and campaign strategies devised a year before implementation. Reach out early and open up a discussion about the possibility of future work and timeframes. Don’t think tomorrow, think next year and you’re in with a much bigger chance.
7. Disclose, be transparent
Know the difference between coverage and sponsored content? How often are you marking #AD or #Spon? Be aware of both rules and advertising standards. Your audience won’t mind that you’re being paid to promote a brand, product or service but they will mind if you’re trying to pretend that you’re not. Be honest and disclose. When in doubt, spell it out.
8. Report back
Whether it’s brands working with fashion bloggers or brands working with YouTubers, feedback is essential. When a campaign or collaboration ends, report back on its performance. Offer insights into how your audience consumed your content, what worked, what didn’t and what you would do differently if you collaborated again for even bigger success. If you’re looking for long-term working relationships with brands, this is where a deal will be sealed.
9. Stay organised
Keep an address book or excel spreadsheet of who you contact and their details, plus if they’ve responded and what they answered. Try to stay organised. Some brand contracts may have said ‘come back to us at a later date’, which was almost a year ago, so time to re-establish contact.
Others may have said “give us a few ideas” and now you’re armed with a couple of tailored opportunities that they might be interested in. Maybe you’re just dropping an update with recent accolades, audience milestones or case studies of collaborations working with multiple brands that you have achieved. Just because they didn’t immediately say ‘yes’ doesn’t doesn’t mean it’s a ‘no’.
10. Keep up momentum
Make sure you’re visible and open to opportunities. Use event invitations to touch base with PR contacts and conferences to network with potential clients. Brands who work with influencers are far more likely to choose YouTubers, bloggers, and creators that they have personal experience of before anyone new or unknown to them. Personality pays off, so put in as much face time as possible.