How To Work With Brands As An Influencer + Resources For Influencers

If you’re reading this, I assume you have a blog. Maybe a big blog. But I remember researching and reading and positively devouring hundreds upon hundreds of blog posts on this topic, with details on blogger-friendly brands and companies, hashtags to expand your following and get brands to notice you, and email templates for pitching yourself as an influencer. Scouring Pinterest for ideas, templates, brand suggestions, online pitching sites, how to pitch what you would like, everything. Refreshing Gmail every other second to check when that cool brand would reply to your enquiry. Hopefully, this post will let you relax the researching as I list how I write pitch emails with a basic guide for you to copy and use for FREE, as well as the steps to having a successful collaboration and being an influencer for a specific brand (many allow you to test out or have a range of products over a few months to a year) and ace that promotion.

I first started reaching out to brands when I reached 1350 Instagram followers, which I had already decided as my goal. It took around two months to achieve this and although my blog was not as developed as my social media, I reached out to brands and got myself collaborations and products in exchange for a review. In fact, the first product I received as a blogger was one by Nutrient Wise, and I was approached by them. Skincare products were definitely the focus of my first emails, and after sending around a dozen in the space of a month with hours of intense research going on in the background, I had got deals with three brands, excluding the collaboration with Nutrient Wise. Here is my guide to being an influencer, as well as some useful Pinterest boards for any extra information you’re after. Please comment if you find this useful, that would mean so much to me!

Writing A Pitch

Your pitch is the email you send to whichever company or brand you’re interested in, asking for a collaboration and stating why they should collaborate with you. Of course, putting it like that sounds as if the email is voiced very quickly and a little rude; you can’t send a four-line message with the only content being ‘You should collab with me because I have lots of followers and like makeup’ if you’re approaching a beauty brand. Followers are useful, but so are pageviews on your blog, as well as engagement rates. Brands want to see you have good engagement rates and a lot of people are interested in your blog or socials before they collaborate, as having people who will actually bother to read your posts and see that your brand is being promoted is vital for the collaboration to work equally and well. Further, you need to be persuasive but polite – definitely don’t come across as too pushy or rude and ruin the chance of working with that brand you had in mind.

My best tips for writing a pitch is describing 6 things:

  • What you do/what your blog is about
  • Why you like the brand, where you found it
  • What you will do in order to help/promote that brand
  • Benefits on both sides (use statistics!)
  • What you want from a collaboration
  • Any previous collaborations you have partaken in

So, you need to sum up what you write about and why in around 5 lines. This will be important because brands will want to see that you are blogging about similar things to what they are selling, so the assumption is your demographic will be similar to their audience. Quickly mentioning past collaborations will make you seem professional yet approachable and should give the company a clue that you’re easy to work with and can provide a good number of sales. For example, if I am approaching a skincare brand due to their vegan and cruelty-free ethics, I will write something along the lines of:

‘I am a lifestyle, wellness and beauty blogger and a big aspect of my blog ethic is having vegan and cruelty-free skincare, as I am vegetarian and think it is very important. One reason that I love your brand so much is because you share my ethics, and I think many of my readers would be interested as they frequently enjoy vegan skincare or beauty roundups. Similarly, on my socials, many followers are also cruelty-free or vegan bloggers and would certainly be within your audience, making a collaboration beneficial for both parties.’

Now, you’re probably thinking that you would never be able to voice things like that, or write with confidence, or approach any companies. Truth be told, the first time I started researching influencing, I dived straight in and wrote one quite basic and certainly short pitch email and sent it off to around 10 beauty and skincare brands, thinking each one would reply instantly with subject lines like’Yes Please!’ or ‘Of course!’ in my inbox. Only one brand replied (shoutout to Nourish) and I was pretty disappointed, as my hard work had been ignored. But once you’ve looked at a few good pitch email templates, stolen some ideas from the pros, created a good old media kit that will have brands lining up to work with you and a clear yet polite writing style within the email, you will land yourself some partnerships. Again, be prepared for some brands to not email you back, some to get back to you within a day but turn down your offer, and a few to accept it and start a collaboration. Keep at it and make sure to email brands in moderation so you don’t suddenly have ten products arrive simultaneously, as that is time-consuming and stressful.

Find The Right Brands

Honestly, the most useful thing I can say is to RESEARCH. That word may well come up in this post around twenty times but doing a bit of Googling (and Instagramming) can really help you find ideal brands to pitch your blog to. Make sure to find out the proper name of the company, any important ethics they have that are presented through their products, possible names of those who work in PR and any points that may make your pitch stand out. Get a feeling of the actual company, get to know their About Me page, look at all their socials to see how popular they are, and don’t forget to check where they’re based.

Also, pitching yourself to people with seven followers and a nonexistent Instagram page is completely pointless. You won’t gain anything and neither will they. At the same time, as much as I’d love to be working with MAC and getting free products every other week, it just isn’t sustainable as such a huge company would never need a small blogger/influencer to promote their products. Aim to contact brands with a small yet still developed following (5-50k Instagram followers is my main niche, but up to 150k is probably the limit) and sites that have good ethics, are easy to navigate, have an about me and contact page and preferably have a section talking about influencers or PR. Another good thing to look for is where the brand is based, as the best collaborations are with local ones because shipping is cheaper, the currency is the same and contact is much easier.

Have A Media Kit/Template

The idea of a media kit is to give brands and people you wish to collaborate with an idea of what you do and what you are after within your collaboration; for example, if you contact cruelty free brands like me, mentioning that in a media kit may interest brands as they know you are specifically after their products and your demographic may be ideal. It is also for showcasing some key statistics, such as follower counts, average weekly/monthly blog traffic and then a slightly deeper insight into any statistics for specific platforms. For example, when I contact brands and suggest a collaboration, Instagram and Pinterest are the two social platforms I include detailed analytics for, as they are the sites that would be used to promote the brand. My media kits features average number of repins and monthly viewers plus group boards on Pinterest and then average like and comment counts on Instagram, plus a quick look into the audience I have and why it would be suitable for their company.

After discovering the wonders of having a media kit that would be readily available for those I would contact, I started researching templates (mainly on Pinterest). After unsuccessful hours I designed my own on Word, which wasn’t completely perfect but it looked fresh, smart and represented my blog pretty well, highlighting key facts and figures and telling brands what I was about. It’s also important to add a key image or your profile picture that people will automatically link to your blog because that makes the media kit look more professional immediately and helps with your collaboration; studies show bloggers and influencers with more cleverly designed media kits using their own images are 38% more likely to be hired by that brand or company.

Promote Properly

Once you’ve got your free stuff (or money) it is then down to you to follow up your half of the deal and promote that brand in whatever way you agreed prior to the collaboration. Many of mine are simply 1-3 Instagram posts which is easy enough and can be achieved quickly once you’ve written up a good caption that will sell the individual product as well as gain exposure for the brand. You also need good photography, which is something that will help companies choose you as an influencer. Having good lighting, using white or wooden tables to use as a backdrop, and making sure you add relevant or attractive props to the photo will ensure your photography looks great and will help to sell the product you’re trying to promote.

If you can’t seem to get very many visitors to your post, here are a few traffic generating techniques I use when directing traffic to a post:

  • Using Facebook groups to find traffic exchanges with influencers and bloggers within my niche
  • Sharing and spreading a few pins on Pinterest to reach maximum visibility (remember to share the same pins to several boards)
  • Using blog forums to direct traffic to your post if it is useful, relevant and non-spammy
  • Updating my SEO and generating high-quality backlinks every once in a while
  • Using social media to utilise the number of people who see the product and then click the link to take them to the blog post (Instagram and Facebook are good for this)
  • Collaborating with other bloggers of a similar size and same niche and asking them to share your link if you share theirs
  • Create a Linktree profile and use this instead of a classic Instagram bio
  • Create captivating titles so users on WordPress reader are more likely to read your article; numbers or bold statements often generate more views and engagement

Stay In Contact

Once you have finished the collaboration with the brand you’re working with, don’t forget to ask about future collaborations or if you can be added to their list of bloggers or influencers in advance. This means your relationship will stay strong and it’s likely that if the brand does need a blogger like you for any future collaborations, they may well reach out to you if the campaign you ran was successful and brought in enough money. It’s never good to end the collaboration with a sharp email as this is, in essence, their final impression of you and it is still important to make a good one, or they might choose someone else in future. Instead, send them the posts/mentions/links/photos that you used to promote them in one roundup email at the end, along with a nice message about the collaboration. If it was successful, I will usually write that and say thank you for the opportunity, as things like this make you much more approachable, friendly and brands will come back to you. Make sure to be polite, include everything they wanted and to always negotiate any affiliate prices or social media mention counts before the collaboration starts, just in case.

Resources

Influencer Marketing Hub is a great way to connect with brands and other influencers, and if you’re serious about becoming an influencer this is a site you should definitely be on.

You can learn all about Instagram influencing in a free downloadable and also partner with brands on Izea.

Facebook Groups:

I am in two Facebook groups for brand relationships, Brands X Influencers and ELLEfluence. They allow bloggers, vloggers and influencers to connect with brands that might suit them and the posts are often brands asking for influencers from a certain niche or following size, which can be a great way to start influencing. You are often required to post a social media handle in the comments that are then looked at by any brands who reach out; make sure you have one platform that not only has a sufficient amount of followers and looks professional before commenting.

Social Media Influencing

Instagram Influencers Collaborate

Influencers + Brands

Super Influencers

Pinterest Boards:

I have a Pinterest board FULL of pins regarding influencing tips, email pitch templates, brands and bloggers to look out for, blogger collaborations and forums or websites for influencers that you can find Influencing.

Instagram Influencing

Influencer Marketing

How To Be an Influencer – for a small number of pins, this board covers most things and will be useful to influencers across any social media channel.

Social Influencing + Marketing

Legal Tips for Bloggers and Influencers

Social Media Marketing

Youtube Influencing

Influencing Tips and Social Media Growth

Working With Brands As a Blogger

I hope this is useful to any budding influencers out there! Please comment which tips helped most and if you have any extra advice; I’m always happy to help and to learn from you. And, if you’ve read all this and are feeling a little overwhelmed, I have good news! Go and check out Jord Watches because their watches are simply gorgeous and they also work with many influencers, too, meaning their company could be the perfect starting point for you. If you’re interested in getting your own watch for free, you can visit the here link  and claim one!

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