When I told my husband a few weeks ago that I was planning to write about this, he said he can’t really think of how to approach brands as a blogger or influencer other than putting yourself out there and cold-calling or emailing. “There’s a way to do it better,” Thomas Edison said. While it doesn’t apply to everything — if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it — in the case of bloggers approaching brands, I’d have to agree with Edison.
Seeing both ends of the spectrum as a small business owner and an editor who works with brands, I can say I’ve seen the best and worst when it comes to “collaboration proposals” or asking for partnerships.
They say you can’t get what you don’t ask for. That’s true. But it pays to know the value of what you’re asking for and, more importantly, what you can give in return. So if you’re an aspiring blogger or influencer or someone who already has a bit of clout and would like to leverage the audience you’ve cultivated, here are the best ways to approach brands.
4 TIPS ON HOW TO APPROACH BRANDS AS A BLOGGER OR INFLUENCER
Study the brand you’ll approach
Before you even think about sending an email to a brand, make sure their branding is aligned with yours. (Unless you want your social media accounts or blog to just be an ads page for a bunch of things that don’t relate to you and what you stand for.) Learn what the brand is about. If it’s a good fit, go right ahead and reach out. But make sure you’re prepared!
Be armed with a real proposal
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received “collaboration proposals” from “bloggers.” On good days (those when I’m more generous with my time and patience), I decline their proposals and say we don’t currently have plans to do product seeding or influencer outreach. Most days, I just don’t reply. And to be honest, it’s because I get so annoyed by what they say. Here’s a sample.
I’m not trying to shame their hustle, but it is becoming troublesome. “Everyone with a Facebook these days is an influencer,” Kate Jones, marketing and communications manager at Dusit Thani told The Atlantic in an interview about luxury hotels being hounded by such proposals. I’m sure our business email doesn’t get as many proposals as they do on a daily basis, but it’s already tiring.
So how do you avoid leaving a bad impression on a brand and actually get a chance at working with them? The most important thing to note about how to approach brands as a blogger or influencer is to champion what you can do and not what you want to get out of the collaboration.
It’s great that you took notice of my brand, but asking for free products isn’t really a collaboration because, well, a collaboration involves two parties on something that is mutually beneficial to them. So, please, let me (and other brands) know what exactly we can get from collaborating with you.
Also, please be creative! Oh, so you’re making a summer lookbook and one of our pieces would look great in an ensemble you’re putting together? Great! Ah, you’re writing about brands that champion Filipino craftsmanship? Sure. Hit us up with something other than “send me products and I’ll post them on my Instagram.”
Send your media kit along with your proposal
No, you don’t need to put your entire proposal on your first email. A good 5 to 7 sentences can already work. Introduce yourself, what you do and what you’re good at, why you love the brand and why you want to collaborate with them, what you’re planning to do and where they can reach you for more information. That’s it. But make sure you back up your outreach email with your media kit. Otherwise, how will brands know what you can offer?
What’s a media kit? It’s a document that has information (mostly key facts and statistics) about your blog/social media accounts. So it says who you are and what your platform or blog is about and who and how big your audience is. You can also outline the things you can work with brands on. If you’ve worked with brands before, testimonials from them would be great to include in your media kit, too.
Be real about your numbers
In the world of influencer marketing, numbers matter. Most brands want to work with people who have big followings. But it doesn’t mean you should beef up your media kit with lies or buy followers for your Instagram account just so you can get on a brand’s PR list or get products once.
Here’s a golden nugget from a friend who’s a consultant for brands: “Please make sure that your statistics are accurate and genuine. Some brands are willing to work with those who have 5k followers or even below as long as these followers are engaged.”
So what should you do instead?
Focus on creating captivating content and building an audience that’s loyal to you and what you put out.
Once you’ve done these, you can start focusing on how to approach brands as a blogger or influencer.