You’ve started a blog, vlog, photography or some kind of creative work and you’ve been creating content for it for a while. You’re enjoying the process and getting exposure although work with a brand is something you haven’t been able to do. Whether you’ve tried to reach out and failed or don’t know how to go about approaching it.
Brands and PR agencies are using content creators and influencers as ways of getting close their target audience/consumers and promoting their product. More often than not with gifted products, payment or complimentary access to events and places depending on the type of brand involved. The opportunities are there for creatives to be taken!
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with well established brands such as National Express, Omio and Panasonic. I realised to myself “oh well I must be doing a handful of things right”. I thought of the key things I was doing and came up with 7 things that was essential for me and I think is essential for creatives to do.
Please keep in mind that this is a personal guide on how I landed brand collaborations and not the be all end all.
1. Create a Media Kit
A media kit is basically your a content creator’s CV. Like with your career CV, it is the first opportunity to sell yourself. It must show off the best things about yourself. In the creative industry this would be up to date stats on your blog and socials, the content you produce, who you are and why brands should campaign with you above anyone else.
You don’t have to create a template from scratch. I’ve found graphic design apps like Canva very helpful. They have templates for media kit that you can use and customise to your liking. The majority of them are free to use also so you wouldn’t need to break the bank. Feel free to also have a look at my own media kit as an example you could follow.
2. Join Facebook Groups
Believe it or not there are Facebook groups for collaboration opportunities and are open for all content creators to join. There’s quite a few people who work in PR and are members of the groups. Their PR officers and the companies themselves get them to advertise any campaigns they’re running.
Creatives can apply to be involved in the campaign providing they meet certain criteria (e.g. domain authority, follower and engagement numbers, type of crearive etc.). It may be an incentive for engagement and managing your medium well as typically the better your stats, the better opportunities you’ll have. I’m a member of a few groups that’s mostly dedicated to blogging opportunities.
3. Attend Networking Events and Conventions
The creative industry is booming, booming to the point where. Brands and content creators come and host workshops, seminars and Q&As on the state of the industry and how to make it as a content creator. On the side brands are of course getting greater exposure.
Attending networking events is a great opportunity to meet with brands, their PR representatives and other creatives in a similar field to you. You can build connections and relationships in a more interpersonal rather than just from behind a screen. The power of social media and online is strong but it’s always better when they know who (and what) they’re getting in person.
Take time to do a little prep for the event. Research the event, find out the brands and companies that are attending. Draft up a list of ones that are more relevant to your content. Make sure to gather stuff like media kit and business cards. In fact I might actually go into more detail about it on a separate post about approaching brands.
Image Credit: Unsplash
4. Send a strong email pitch
So you’ve found the brands you potentially want to work with. Now it’s the time to send emails over to them.
In your pitches you need to describe yourself, what you do and your niche. What collaboration you want to do with the brand and why you approached them. Most importantly you’ve got to talk about how they can benefit from working with you. What you can offer them that others can’t? This is an opportunity for you to stand out from the stand and show off your true value.
Make sure your media kit is attached to the email. It’s important that you send pitches out to as many brands as possible. That way you’re playing the numbers game and maximising the chances of getting a collaboration.
5. And Follow Up!
If you dont get a reply are dont be disheartened. Always try and follow up at least once. Press offices for brands and companies often are getting loads of emails in their inbox so your email may not have been noticed. They may not have had time to reply because they were working on other campaigns and other responsibilities.
If you get a rejection don’t feel discouraged. They may have enough content creators to work with, they may not have enough of a budget or it may not be the right collaboration for them. There’s many reasons and they’re not personal. You may be kept on their records in case a future opportunity happens to come up.
Should a reply not follow after trying the next few times then it’s best to leave things at that and move on. Again it sounds like a cliche but it’s nothing personal. Perhaps you could come back to them another time later and when you do it may be more convenient for them.
6. Create A Business Card
If you had told me I needed a business card during my time blogging I would’ve been so baffled. It probably because I never thought of my blog as a business per say.
But it turns out they’re more or less compulsory if you want to get yourself out there. This is especially with more and more content creators treating their work as a business nowadays.
A lot of brand representatives at networking events and conventions will ask you for this, even fellow influencers at times. It makes yourself look more legit.
Having a well-designed and thought out business card in your hands With the power of technology at our disposal they’re pretty easy straightforward to make too. Again graphic design apps like Canva and Desygner offer business card templates you can use to help you create one.
The power of engagement and forming connections with people in the same industry as you cant be underestimated. Brands like people who endorse them and their products. Tag and mention them in your social media posts as much as possible. Comment on Insta stories and their other posts. That way you hopefully start to build a rapport with them and they start building one with their audience.
Dont forget to engage with other creatives also and interact with them in threads and groups. One personal touch of mine, and it’s up to you to do this, is that I got testimonials (words of recommendations) from other bloggers who have either interacted with me over socials, collaborated with me on a post or know me personally. In a way it could make brands perceive you as a reliable person to work with.
Image Credit: Unsplash
This is all pretty much a guide how I landed brand collaborations. Mind you it’s just my own guide as a small-time influencer/content creator. Others content creators may have other tips I’m not aware and would’ve done things a bit differently.
Regardless all of this is by no means easy. It takes hard work, dedication and consistency at the rate in which you’re managing your blog. Also sometimes it’s down to chance. You can be at the right place at the right time or benefit through special connections, which is rare in this industry imo. But like with many things you want to achieve, it often doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to get rejections but dont give up. I was a year and a half into blogging on a weekly/bi-weekly basis on average before I landed my first paid collaboration.
The idea of collaborating with brands wasn’t contemplated when I started travel blogging. If you had told me when I started my blog I would have brands partnering up with me I would’ve laughed at you and thought you downed a bottle of rose wine. But 100+ blog posts later here am I! Telling you lot how to do it!
Have you had the opportunity to partner up with a brand? What would your dream collaboration be? Let me know in the comments below. If you haven’t followed me on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest or subscribed to my blog then what are you waiting for 😛