I have been in the influencer industry for five and a half years and over that time I have been asked the question about how I get to work with brands. I don’t think I have ever properly answered it other than replying to an Instagram Q&A so I thought I would dedicate a whole blog post to it. When I first got sent a gift as a blogger I was about nine months into my journey. At that point my blog was my sole focus, and I posted on Instagram to promote my blog posts. The first gifting was from a brand I hadn’t heard of before so was a bit skeptical, but I received three skincare products. I will always remember opening it, on a Friday afternoon with my family as that point they were the only ones who knew about my blog.
Since that point I have been really fortunate enough to work with some amazing brands like Pretty Lavish, ASOS, Phillip Kingsley, GHD just to name a handful. Whilst this is not my job, I will treasure the freedom working with brands has given me over the last two years more specifically. But unlike what most people perceive influencers as, I have had to put the hard work and graft in to get to work with these brands. So openly by sharing some insight to working with brands will help you work with brands too.
Before I start getting into the main details, the influencer industry is constantly changing and evolving. It is not what it used to be when everyone in 2014 admired everything Zoella and Tanya Burr. So whilst I talk about my past experience and guidance, you will still have to adapt and change in the future. The nature of the game honey!
I don’t want to sound of sounding harsh, however a lot of times I have been asked how I work with brands, it is from people who haven’t necessarily got ‘influencer accounts’, but that’s not a bad thing. Everyone has to start from somewhere. But in order to work with brands I do feel you need to have and hold a reason why brands would want to work with you. Whether that it is your aesthetic, what you post about or your quality of content. And in turn this will allow brands to be able to see commitment and your audience will also grow when they see your USP.
An established audience is also a good place to start when working with brands. I am a big believer that people shouldn’t join the industry just for the money, the free gifts or the brand collaborations. Because you have to build an audience and they will be able to notice your intentions. With any job, you will excel if you love what you do. Building an audience can talk time, but brands will work with accounts who have an audience who engage with your content, and are sustainable. I don’t like putting a number on how many followers you need to work with brands, but I think you need around 3000 to really be noticed in order to work with brands.
So if you have a style, niche or direction and are building an audience, then you need to think about how brands will find you. I have worked with brands who have reached out to me and found me and I have worked with brands who I have worked with. Whether they are big brands or smaller independent brands, if you are interested in working with them start engaging with them. Comment on their posts, like their photos, set your notifications so you are the first to see their content.
Similarly you can reach out to them via email or DM and let them know you are interested in working with them. Some people prefer not to do this because an old fashion mind would say you are essentially reach out for free stuff or work. But today, influencer marketing is one of the biggest marketing tactics for brands to use and 80% of brands make it a priority in their marketing strategy. So we need to get over the barrier and use this as an opportunity for self-promotion. I always say if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
When you reach out to brands, a way to make a great impression is to show them who you are. Really show them your personality so try to avoid using generic email templates, because the chances are they have seen that email before. Another way to make your email stand out is a strong media kit. A media kit essential is a pack that holds your stats, your pricing, samples of your work and more. A whole PDF file that contains your reasoning why brands should work with you. I actually have a Media Kit template for sale over at Thirty Five The Studio which is a 15 page media kit. It is aesthetically desirable and really detailed in order to show brands your commitment and your high quality work. Use the link below to buy it to help you professionally stand out to brands…
Working with brands can be quite complex because every brand is different. If you reach out to brands you need to know how you want to work with them. For example, when I reach out with a brand often its a well-known brand who I would be happy to work with on a gifting basis. However when brands reach out to me, I know they want to work with me so I try and push for paid work. Have in the back of your mind what you want to get from working with a brand and stick to your guns.
When you start out in the industry you can’t really expect to get paid straight away. My first paid post was for £50 for a face mask brand. But this was about two/three years into my blogging journey. Once you are established, have worked with brands on a gifting basis, and have a portfolio behind your belt you might find brands ask you for paid work. But if you are struggling to move from gifting to paid you can use simple phrases such as ‘Thank you for considering me for this campaign. Currently I am only able to guarantee content for fee based campaigns so would love to know if you have a budget in mind for this campaign’. If they say no, then you have a choice of whether to work with them or not – it depends how much you love the brand. But I have gained sponsored posts through this way because more often than not brands will have a budget but they will approach with a way first that will cost them less money because they will obviously rather save money if they can.
I hope this post has been of some help, and I have more points so let me know if a part two will be helpful!
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