Working With Brands: The Logistics

August 1, 2018

 

Okay, so on my last blog talk post, we talked about starting a blog and now, let’s say you’ve created your blog, started creating amazing content that you’re so super proud of but you’re still not hearing from brands. Or maybe you are but you’re not sure where to take it from there and start asking for compensation? I get it. I’ve been there and it’s a tough place to be in. You basically have to be your own manager, accountant, negotiator, legal consultant and wear a bajillion other hats. It’s not easy. But I’m going to help you break it down and things I wish I knew before working with brands. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert. I’m still learning. But maybe this will give you the confidence and give you a trick or two on working with brands.

I know in a dream word we would all love it if every brand we ever wanted to work with just magically showed up in our inbox in hopes of collaborating together. BUT unfortunately, it’s not going to be that easy. Of course, it’s important to try and start getting noticed by brand by creating content that matches their aesthetic, tagging them and eventually have them notice you. But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you have to literally reach out them, introduce yourself and get yourself on their radar. because let’s face it, Instagram is a big world and the only way to assure they see you is by directly approaching them. But most importantly, aside from all that, you have to really make sure that you are creating QUALITY content and that your brand lines up with theirs. Really observe their brand and the people they have collaborated with. What do they all have in common? Do you meet those requirements? If it does, then you’re already on the right track.

Media Kit:
Before I go any further, let’s talk about a media kit. A media kit is not at all necessary to reach out to brands. As a matter of fact. I probably get asked for my media it about 10% of the time when communicating with brands. Media kits are essentially resumes for bloggers that present all your collaborations, statistics and insights to who you are and what your brand consists of. Put it this way, how can you tell me everything I need to know about you, your brand and what you stand for on just one page? There are tons of templates online to help you create one. I think I bought a template off Etsy and then ended up having a graphic designer create one. If your graphic savvy, by all means. Make your own. Do remember that this will be a companies first impression of you so make it really represent you brand and who you are so personalize it and have fun with it. Also, try to keep it short, 1 or 2 pages should do. No one wants to look through wordy documents, we all have enough of those.

Okay, so you’ve found a great brand you would love to work with and your aesthetic lines up with theirs, you’ve tagged them but are still not being noticed, what now? Well, now is your time to shine. Start pitching. Find out their contact information and shoot them an email and tell them why they should choose to work with you and how you can best serve their brand.Make sure your pitch email makes you stand out. These people are receiving inbox full of the same old thing, so what are you going to offer that’s different than the rest? It helps if you already have ideas and suggest them to them, brands love that. If you can’t find a marketing email, try shooting them a DM asking. Sometimes they’ll get back to you. You have to do a little bit of digging around or just email their general email and sometimes they will pass on your information. Whatever it takes.

Pitch it Perfect:
Side note: Pitching is easier said than done and I can go on for days about things to do or not to do but I HIGHLY recommend Julie Solomon’s Pitch It Perfect Class, which really gave me the confidence to start pitching, negotiating, and sometimes even turning down brands on paid collabs. The investment to your brand is really worth it. I honestly was a little on the fence at first but I’m proud to say I made my money back in just three months of taking her course. You can watch the free introductory Master Class HERE or to purchase the full course HERE.

The Three P’s:

Professionalism:
No matter who you are contacting, it’s so important to remember to be professional at all times. After all, you are representing your brand and emails can be interpreted many ways so definitely show you personality but while remaining friendly and professional. The person on the other end still works for the company and you should be setting a good impression for them too because 9 out of 10 times, they are the person who is handling the influencer relations. I know, common sense. But I just have to cover it, just in case

Persistence:
If you don’t hear back from them the first time, always follow up. Be professional but also don’t take no for an answer. Know your worth and don’t be afraid to say no to collaborations if they don’t fit your values or rate. Try following up. After all, working for a marketing team is crazy busy and they get a million emails so don’t be surprised if you’re email somehow got lost in their inbox or they read it and thought they responded. Don’t be afraid to follow up a couple times every 3-4 days.

Patience:
If companies turn you down, accept that and move on. Some brands are very particular about their influencer campaigns and just because they turned you down this one time, does not mean you don’t stand a chance. Give it some time, do your research.

Network:
This goes hand in hand on not waiting for opportunities to come to you. Go out and get them! Get our of your comfort zone and go to that event, meet up with local bloggers and get our there and start making connections. Hoestly, some of my most fun collaborations have been with people I met at events or friends that introduced me at events so really treat networking as an important part of work.

Contracts:
Okay, so you’ve landed a deal with one of your favorite brands. What next?
GET THAT SHIT IN WRITING. I cannot stress this enough. You need to get all the details of what is expected of you in writing and you should read through it carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand something. If they refuse to draft up a contract, then make sure you write one up and get their signature. Make your collaboration realistic and don’t sell your self short.

PR Agencies:

So I don’t have too much experience in this area but I would suggest to try to do things on your own for as long as possible because I do know that PR agencies do take a percentage of what you make and it can be a bit tricky at times. However, the pro is that it will take a huge weight off your shoulder and they will handle most of the negotiating and they basically already have all the contacts and will probably introduce you to brands you wouldn’t have been able to approach on your own. With that being said, there are a lot of PR agencies that represent the brands and handle collaborations, instead of going through them directly. So keep that in mind when you’re looking for contacts for brands.

Aside from PR agencies, there are online marketing platforms you can apply/sign up for that will work as the middle man with you and brands. Sort of like a Tinder for brands and influencers. Look them up, they’re easy to come across. However, it’s important to note that some of these don’t pay the very best and some don’t pay at all. But it’s a good way to get started and get your foot in the door and show brands your potential.

A few of my favorites are:
FOHR Card
Obvious.ly
Revfluence
Influenster
Octoly

And if all of that doesn’t work. Just know that, maybe it’s not the right time or you don’t fit the criteria they may be looking for. It’s okay. Something better will come along. I truly believe that when one door closes, another one opens, so be on that look out for that opportunity.

Hopefully that’s covered at least the logistics on reaching out and working with brands. If you have any questions, AT ALL. Feel free to comment below or DM me on Instagram. You know where to find me!

xx,
Itzy

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