Becoming an influencer is something that often happens with a staggering amount of perseverance. It can take a lot of time and energy to build yourself a following and then comes the murky world of collaborating with brands. As an influencer, there’s a lot to learn about creating an income but then sustaining it.
For many influencers, they’ve managed to create a full-time career and success. Some manage it overnight and others take years to build up a loyal community of fans. There’s really no one-size-fits-all method and so this guide should hopefully help you out.
When working with brands, it’s an opportunity that can create a stream of income. But how do you go about it?
Start by creating a media kit
The first step in working with brands is to collate all the data and evidence that showcases your influence. Media kits are used in other industries and can act as a portfolio of your work.
When it comes to influencers creating media kits, it’s useful to use a tool like Canva. It’s free to use and for many influencers who have limited funds, this tool offers everything you need and more to get noticed.
To create your media kit, it’s worth seeking inspiration from others. You can find some great influencer media kit examples here. Be sure to include a brief intro about you and your influence. Keep it short and sweet so that you can make more room for the content that really matters.
Include all of the social media platforms you’re on and mention your stats such as follower count and engagement rate. A lot of brands who do their homework will want to know your engagement rate too. The average engagement rate for all post types is 0.96% so it’s good to keep your own rates as high as possible to make you more appealing to brands.
It’s good to put in some previous evidence of your influencer work whether that’s screenshots or links to the content itself.
Knowing your worth
One of the biggest questions that influencers tend to have when it comes to collaborating with brands is how much their influence is worth. Just like any freelancer role, it’s important to consider the time and effort you put into your content. This, combined with your follower count and engagement, is what should dictate how much you charge.
Knowing your worth is important as an influencer because there are many brands out there that will try and exploit your influence. With ad spending for businesses for print advertising alone projected for $44,173 million in 2021, brands are willing to spend money.
However, there’s this perception that influencers are worth a lot less, even though some have more influence than big media corporations who’ve been around for decades. Don’t be afraid to value your work higher because if they’re serious about working with you, they’ll be willing to negotiate.
Perfecting a pitch for paid collaborations
Now comes the tricky part, which is pitching for paid collaborations. As an influencer, you’ll need to work hard before collaborations with brands land in your inbox without any effort on your part. There’s nothing to say that you’ll still be pitching – or someone is pitching on your behalf – when you have hundreds and thousands of followers.
So with that being said, there are some useful tips to get your pitch seen and hopefully considered for a collaboration.
1. Introduce yourself
Any type of pitch, whether you’re sending an email or a direct message needs to begin with a brief introduction of who you are. Like your media kit, keep it concise and professional. You don’t want to bore them early on for them to click off the email. After all, it’s a cold pitch and communication that they’re not expecting
2. Ask about upcoming collaborations and opportunities
Next, you want to inquire about the possibility of any upcoming collaborations and opportunities. Don’t just assume that they’ll want to work with you straight away. You might not be what they’re looking for now, or they may have used their budget for influencer work. However, asking to be considered for future work might mean you get saved to their database at least!
3. Tell them why you’d be a good match for the brand
A pitch requires you to give reason for them selecting you above anyone else they’re considering. It’s certainly important to touch on why you would be a good match and what you can provide for the brand in return for what you’re asking.
Don’t talk about budgets within this first email as that might put them off. Leave this until a potential collaboration is on the table.
4. Remember to show knowledge of the brand
Knowledge of the brand is a given because it can show you’re genuinely interested in working with them, rather than it simply being about free gifts or financial incentives. Have a couple of pointers as to why you like the brand is useful and worth incorporating into your initial communications.
5. Show evidence of your work
This could be attaching your media kit for example or including a few previous collaborations you’ve done. If you’ve not done anything before, then share content you’ve posted that showcases your talents.
By showing evidence of your work, it’ll give the brand more of a reason to consider you for collaborations.
What questions to ask before working with a brand
As an influencer, it’s up to you what brands you collaborate with and what brands you reject. Even though it can often be the influencer hoping to be picked, the shoe can also be on the other foot. There are some questions worth asking before you start working with a brand and creating content. Here are a few suggestions to get your started:
- Does this brand align with my regular content?
- Are they providing me with enough compensation?
- Will my audience like the brand that I’m promoting?
- Do the brand’s values align with your own?
Remember that it’s perfectly fine for you to reject an opportunity for partnership. However, be sure to remain professional at all times, especially as you become more of a public figure.
You have the freedom of who you work with when it comes to being an influencer and if it doesn’t feel like the right fit, then you’re better off without the collaboration. The beauty of influencer marketing is that it’s sticking around. Don’t believe it to be true? Well, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, it’s a form of marketing that’s expected to be worth $13.8 billion in 2021.
Negotiations and contractual agreements
A lot of influencers with a significant following will likely turn to agencies for help when it comes to negotiating big brand deals. The reason for this is that as an influencer, you’re expected to deal with everything, which means negotiating and signing contracts.
You may or may not have much knowledge when it comes to negotiating payment or contracts. It’s a point at which inexperienced influencers can be taken advantage of. There are some great tools available online to help you with the legal aspects of a brand collaboration. It’s worth checking out an influencer agreement template or two, so that you know what’s typically included in one.
With negotiation, some brands will have a bigger budget and others may be more limited. At any point, you have the ability to ask for more if you feel the fee isn’t substantial enough.
Again, there’s no real guide on how much a brand should pay you or how much you should charge, so think back to your worth and make a decision based on that.
Disclosing paid collaborations on social media
When a brand collaboration is agreed and the content has been made, one of the final checkpoints is your disclosure. According to ASA, any content that has been financially incentivized whether it be through gifted content or paid, should be disclosed on the content itself.
So for an Instagram post to a YouTube video, the hashtag #ad should be incorporated somewhere within it. It should be made obvious that the content is in collaboration with a brand when some form of payment has been exchanged.
Failure to disclose paid collaborations can lead to legal matters and in some cases, being blacklisted by ASA for the world to see. It’s always good practice to disclose your ads on any platform as it can also lose trust with your followers.
It’s all a learning curve when it comes to influencer marketing
For both influencers and marketers, it’s all about learning what works and what doesn’t work when collaborating. As you navigate a growing and ever-changing industry, use these tips to help guide you as an influencer.
There are many opportunities out there and with the online world, there’s space for everyone. Be sure to create content that you enjoy and are passionate about, as brand collaborations are sure to follow sooner or later.