How to Start Working with Brands as an Influencer
Alright y’all, I’ve got some more blogging tips for ya! I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the past year about how to work with brands, as an influencer/content creator. So I thought I would write a couple of posts for y’all so everything is in one place, and it’s easier to refer back to.
*Standard Disclosure: Referal links are included in this post. I may receive a very small compensation if signed up through my personal link. This is at no extra cost to you.*
Now keep in mind, I’ve only been blogging for a little over a year. I still have A LOT to learn and I do NOT have this all figured out... In fact, I think I should know/do more than I do. So, if you have any helpful tips, that would be great! :) This is just what has worked for me and how I have been able to make a little money on the side.
And when I say a “little”, I mean a little! I don’t know how all these bloggers are saying they made $3,000 in the first month of blogging (let alone $500k in a year!), because that is just not my reality. I feel like some of that has to be a scam, or maybe these people just have so much time/money to put into their blog and marketing, but I sure don’t.
Bottom line, my gross blogging/sponsored posts (including social media) income was $495 last year. Total. For the year! Granted, I didn’t start charging until June, but still. So hear me when I say, this is a long hard process (for me). No one wants to pay for your advertising // creative content. They just want to give you free product, get your free advertising and write you off as a tax deduction.
But if you value your work and and yourself as a content creator and influencer, you should be compensated for your work. I’m not saying you should overcharge or try to cheat companies/brands for what you’re worth, but you should definitely value yourself and your time. Time is the one resource we can never get back or more of, so don’t waste it.
I’m going to make this resource a two-part blog post because there’s just too much information (and this post is already getting a little too lengthy for my taste). I don’t want people to get confused when they’re searching for specific things. So this specific blog post is going to be about “how to start working with brands as an influencer”, whether your new to the blogging world or you just want some fresh collaboration connections, THIS ARTICLE IS FOR YOU!
That second blog post is going to be about money. I’m going to explain EXACTLY how I’ve gotten paid through sponsored posts. I’m going to share how to charge for your content, where/when you should start doing that as an influencer AND a couple sample brand-pitch emails. There will be some over- lap between these two articles, because this information applies to both pieces.
How to start working with brands as an influencer:
- PR Influencer/Brand Companies
- Brands reach out to you
- Reach out to brands
PR Influencer/Brand Companies
This is one of my favorite ways to work with brands! It’s a guaranteed connection when you get into the program, and then you will eventually (doesn’t take long!) sync up with brands that are a good fit for your niche. You never have to worry if these brands are legit; trust me if they’re working with a PR company, they are authentic and not a scam! It’s even better if you can get collabs that are paid through these agencies. These are my personal favorite PR companies. I typically only sign up for paid posts that are a fit for me and my content, but sometimes there are quality product campaigns (unpaid) that are just too good for me to pass up! Something else to keep in mind, some of the unpaid collaborations can turn into paid opportunities and lasting relationships with that brand.
- Heartbeat (one set rate for ALL campaigns, based on YOUR following)
- Social Native (paid per campaign)
- Sway Group (excellent paid campaigns, but a lot required)
- AmbassadHer (mix of paid // free product - $3 monthly membership fee)
- ApexDrop (free *quality* product, 5k Instagram, 2k YouTube)
- Octoly (free *quality* beauty products, at least 5k Instagram)
- Statusphere (free monthly box of curated products)
- Discover LMS (free monthly product box)
Brands reach out to you
This does NOT take long at all and brands WILL reach out to you. I had brands reaching out to me from the very start of my Instagram/blogging journey. It was right around 5K that I started getting Instagram collabs. But I’ve seen people with a much smaller following get great collaborations. Brands love working with micro-influencers because they generally have a more engaged audience. Keep in mind, my collabs were for product only compensation, but it’s a way to get your foot in the door and start working with brands. Everyone has to start somewhere. But be wary of brands that want you to pay for their product, at an “influencer discount”. That’s a scam and they reap all the benefits!
Reach out to brands
This is definitely the most intimidating way to work with brands, but if you feel comfortable enough, reach out to the brands/companies you want to work with. Ideally, these would be brands that are in your niche, since you’re doing this cold-call style. Tell the brand what you can offer them and ask if they have any requirements for their collaborations. I’ll be going over this in more detail in my next post about how to charge for your content and in your brand pitch emails.
Hope you found this post helpful! It’s all pretty straightforward and seems like common sense, but when you’re just starting out everything muddles together and can be very overwhelming! Plus, there are a TON of PR companies out there, with different requirements and honestly, some of them are a waste of time. I’m not going to list those, just the ones that have been super helpful // earning for me! Have anything to add? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!