I really believe that if we want to do something, we should do it properly or as well as possible. When I realized a few months ago, that I can start taking brand collaborations seriously, I thought I would really get into the subject by researching well, making lists, creating good systems, contacting brands and finally following up. I made the effort and got all my systems in place for it. Automation is the key! always.
A key to blogging is never to put all your eggs in one basket. Most bloggers earn from a number of sources. The most common are:
- Earning from blog
- Brand affiliates
- Selling a product or service online/entrepreneurship
- Counseling/mentoring and finally
- Brand collaborations
A major chunk of a bloggers earnings come from brand collaborations and if done properly, we can increase this number to a significant amount. So I think its definitely worth investing our energies in. Many brands all over the world today are investing in influencers more than ever before. Yes, there are too many bloggers today. But this is a huge market too. So there is definitely opportunity.
A game of probability
Remember, not all brands will want to work with us and that’s perfectly okay. ts all a probability game even after you’ve got great proposals ready. Chances are that if you reach out to 15-20 brands, only one will agree to work with you. So we shouldn’t keep our expectations too high.
It won’t be possible to cover the whole spectrum of brand collaborations in one post. Overall it includes:
- Campaign briefs
- Brand meetings
- Content creation
- Backend work like accounts, invoicing, maintenance etc
In this article, we are talking all about reaching out to brands for collaborations.
Preparation & process
Today I am sharing some basics that I learned from my knowledge and experience so far and hope they’ll help you too.
Before reaching out to brands make sure you have the following sorted:
- A good following on your blog/Instagram
- An updated Media Kit with details including pricelist
- Set up templates for Email & Quick Replies in Instagram DMs
- A hashtag on Instagram with all your collaboration posts
- A ‘Collab/PR’ Highlight on your Instagram profile
- A list of brands you would like to pitch to
- Contacting brands
- Following up
Now we will be discussing all the above in detail.
1. Number of followers
Do the number of followers matter? When brands look for influencers to invest in, a high number of followers will be an important aspect in their decision. So yes, they do matter.
But if you have anywhere over 10k and have a good engaging audience, it should be a good start. Engagement is more important than just random following.
Some brands are only looking for an audience in a specific area so your followers anywhere else will not benefit them. Thats why some brands are interested to know about your followers demographics before they agree to work with you.
2. Media kit
A document containing info about your blog, stats. It’s sent to potential partners or advertisers. It gives these marketers and collaborators the quick, summary of your blog and what you have to offer. It should be a one stop-shop for all information brands need.
What should be included in a media kit?
- Full name and Contact
- Awards & nominations (if any)
- About your blog
- Profile photo & visuals
- Key stats (blog & social)
- Audience demographics
- Blog/brand testimonials
- Important features or other big brands you have worked with
- Link to your previous work with brands
- A list of what you can offer brands
- Price list of your services (I use 3 main currencies)
How to price ourselves?
In my business, the price model that works best for me is ‘per hour’. In my business, I have thought of it in detail and have come up with a figure that does justice to one hour of my work. I use this figure for my mentoring sessions, business projects and brand collaborations.
Try to figure out how long it’ll take you to create posts for brands. While setting a price, consider the time required for captions, taking photos, preparing to shoot and in researching for benchmark posts.
Creating price lists is one of the most time-consuming parts of the whole process. You have to carefully think of exactly what you offer and how much makes you feel good about the work. It shouldn’t be unreasonable nor priced too low. Its a learning process so keep adjusting it. I also write price validity date with my price lists.
Pro tips for your media kit:
- Keep it concise. No one wants to read long paragraphs
- Keep it visual
- Google sample/benchmark media kits. Do your research but don’t copy someone else’s ideas/content
- Canva is the tool I use to create mine
- After creating your media kit, upload it on your cloud so you can link it in your emails/DMs. Keep this link handy. Save it on your internet browsers bookmarks
- A media kit needs to be updated every few weeks (or so) as your numbers and previous collaborations increase
- Remember to keep in mind WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM in your templates and media kit. It shouldn’t at all sound like it’s about you! Focus on how you can add value to their brand.
Email & DM Quick Reply Templates
- Create Email Template. If you don’t know how to make them, here’s a guide for Gmail.
- Create Quick Response on Instagram for sending quick DMs to brands which include links. If you dont know how to create them, here’s a guide.
What to include in a template:
- Your full name, blog link and details
- Your Instagram link with no. of followers
- Why you’re reaching out today
- At least 3 options of how you would love to work with the brand. Exact options should be stated down. Don’t leave it to the brands to think of how to work with you. List exact options with prices.
- What kind of values you have for working with brands
- What do you love about their brand/products
- You would love to promote them and why! (to boost their followers and sales).
- If the above options don’t work, linked media kit.
- A hashtag link where they can find your previous collaboration posts.
- How you’ll be eagerly waiting for their reply and the value you’ll provide to them.
- A professional email signature with your links (in Email. Simple in DM)
Why Email & DM templates are important:
You may be thinking we’re already working on a media kit, why compose Email & DM templates too.
Well, think of it like your CV and a cover-letter.
Your media kit > Your CV. Your template > cover-letter.
The reason is that we can’t expect brands to go look for the exact info they need in our whole media kit. In todays world, a very important consideration is others time. Thats why we summarise how we can help them and all basic info via email/DM and link our media kit for details (if they want to see).
To Email or to DM?
Email is the more professional way to work with anyone. But many companies don’t have Emails listed in their Instagram profiles. Others don’t check emails that often. Which is why its a good idea to have DM templates ready.
Its up to you but I use both Email & DM depending on companies. I update my excel sheet on how I contacted the brand.
4. Collaboration hashtag
From my mentoring sessions, I realized that most active users of Instagram still don’t know how to use hashtags properly or to your advantage. Mostly just randomly use them whenever they can without understanding their clear purpose.
A hashtag is a great way to organize your posts. In order to let advertisers see all your collaborations in an instant, create your unique collaboration hashtag. By clicking on it, they can easily see all your previous brand collaborations. Here is a link to mine called #nadiyacollabs so you know what I mean. When you list down your options, make sure its:
- Unique: it should be untouched
- Short: Shouldn’t be too long or cumbersome
- It should make sense that its about your collaboration/PR or it should have your initials/name/brand
5. A ‘Collab/PR’ Highlight on your Instagram profile
Story promotions on Instagaram play a vital role in brand collaborations today. But the downside is that they disappear in 24 hours. You want to save those to show the advertisers. This is why it is important to create a Collab or PR highlight on your profile where you save all stories to promote brands. You can copy this highlight link and link it to your media kit/templates where required.
This way, on a single click, anyone can see your story promotions and decide if they want to choose you for your brand.
6. Create a list of brands
The next step is for you to create a list of brands that you’d like to work with. You may start the list with brands that you already know of. After that, you can search for brands of interest online. It’s a good idea to focus your hunt on Instagram as that’s the most popular social platform in the world today. Hashtags is a great way to search for brands too. E.g. If you’re looking for a shoe brand in sydney, you may want to try searching for #sydneyshoes or you’d like to look for Indian american brands, you can search for that term as a hashtag.
None of us has access to a laptop at all times. So it’s a great idea to create a note on your mobile notes app (This is the one I use) called brands to contact. Now whenever you’re casually browsing through Instagram and come across brands that you’re interested in, you can simply copy their profile URL and paste in the note. This is so you have a list of brands you can send your proposals to once you’re on your laptop.
Its more likely that you will get a positive reply from brands that are:
- Not too big/famous
- located near you (city or country)
But there is still no harm in sending your proposals.
You can create your list on any software you like but I prefer to use MS. Excel. The columns that I have made are:
- IG Username
- Email address
- 1st contact on
- Followup on
- Contacted via
- Fav products/service
You may change the columns of your list according to your needs.
Reaching out to brands
Once all of the above are sorted, create an Excel file list where you list down names of brands you would love to work with, their email addresses and progress of partnership proposal. You can state if you’ve emailed, sent follow up or if they’ve replied.
After all the above is sorted, start emailing brands and make sure you personalize each template by adding exactly what products you love from their brand or what makes you love their brand.
It is also important to note that your proposal for every company won’t (and shouldn’t) be exactly the same. E.g. if you really love products of a brand, you may be willing to accept gifted products in return for promoting them (without charging them). So try to brainstorm a little before sending out your proposals.
Make sure your follow up email is sent in the same chain of emails so they can see your first email to them when they scroll down.
Prepare your follow up brand email template & DM Quick reply which is a very short and simple message with:
- Follow up (e.g. just following up on my last email)
- ‘I would love for us to work together’
- Eagerly waiting for your reply
- Ending signature
The ideal time to send it out is between 2-5 days after you sent your first proposal via Email/DM.
If you are contacted by a brand for collaboration. Study it carefully and see if it is a mutually beneficial proposal. If not, you can list down options that work for you along with price and attach your media kit.
Please tell me if you found this article helpful? Your feedback is what motivates me to keep writing. Following are my documents as a sample. Did this post inspire you? Don’t forget to comment below and have a lovely day.
- How to pitch yourself as an influencer to brands
- 20 Media Kit Templates to Pitch Your Blog to Brands and Journalists
- 20 Example Blog Media/Press Kits for Your Inspiration
- 10 Inspiring Media Kits from bloggers