Insider Knowledge: How To Approach Brands

One question that I get asked really often is how I approach brands and set up collaborations. Throughout the past six months, I would say that I’ve learnt hella’ lot and have finally mastered the best way in which to approach brands as an influencer. After many years of being uncertain and taking a stab in the dark, so to speak, it’s about time I sorted my shit out. With this insider knowledge, I wanted to help a gal’ out and share all/any of the insight that I do have.

I’m just going to come right out and say it; approaching brands, not always easy. Thinking back to some of the emails I have sent in the past makes me want to stab myself in the eye (not literally), but you get the idea. If only I had the power, my twenty-six year old self would go back in time and scream at my twenty-something self, ‘don’t you dare press send’.  However, if I hadn’t made these mistakes, I wouldn’t know what I do now and would still potentially be making those mistakes now. Not introducing myself properly, addressing the wrong person, putting lots of kisses on emails, not having a media kit – you name it, I’ve done it. The positive thing, I think we have all been in a similar situation at one point or another. Within this industry, getting help and insight is actually really difficult as not all influencers are willing to share their knowledge and help other bloggers out for the obvious justification that they see people as competition. Personally, this is something I don’t myself agree with. When it comes to women, I’m so for female empowerment and supporting other women. While yes, we are essentially in competition with one another, there is space for everyone to share their content, work with brands and portray who they are over social. Karma is another thing that springs to mind and the ideology that people get back what they give out really resinates with me – don’t expect help if you don’t give help. Sorry hun’.

When you reach out to a brand, you are essentially having to sell yourself and show them why they should be working with you. A friend once told me to see my emails as a written interview – give a strong introduction, explain what you can bring to their company and why you would be an asset to them. You want to make this as straight to the point as possible – brands will receive so many emails from bloggers/influencers on a daily basis so the likelihood of them reading a rambling email is very slim. They want to know who you are, a link to your social channels, what you do, what you can offer them in terms of a collaboration, what you are personally wanting out of the collaboration and your insights. Their response will most likely be dependant on what they are wanting for their brand. This usually comes down to two things; brand awareness or return on investment. If you are expecting to be paid, it’s important to clearly explain this within your initial email and include your rates. There is nothing worse than a miscommunication and you both being on two completely different wave lengths. Many brands won’t suggest or initially bring up payment unless you approach the subject for the obvious reason – they don’t want to pay out if they don’t have to. This isn’t to say that they won’t come back with a counter offer or ask you to negotiate on your rates and you can do this at your own discretion.

A mistake I have made one more than one occasion in the past is not having done my research on the brand I’m outreaching to. Before contacting them, it’s super important to know; who they are, what their vibe is, what the brand’s message is, previous collections, current collections, other influencers/bloggers they have recently been working with. For an outreach team, it is incredibly obvious if an influencer doesn’t know what the brand’s about and it will speak volumes when it comes to their decision in working with you. Why would they want to invest in somebody that ultimately doesn’t care enough to find out more about them? More importantly, you don’t want to be wasting both their time and your own time – you could be outreaching to a brand that you are 100% not the right fit for. You don’t need to be extra and recite everything on their website and Insta’ bio, but just make it clear that you have looked into who they are. At the end of the day, making more of an effort will potentially help in separating you from other influencers and people that haven’t gone out of their way to do some research. If you are friendly and light-hearted within your emails, you will stand out so much more to a brand over somebody with a bad attitude – put a smiley face and ask them how their day is going – building a relationship with a PR company or outreach team is key, at the end of the day, if they like you, they are much more likely to want to work with you and will hopefully want to keep working with you.

When approaching brands, attaching a media kit is a must. For at least a year and a half Id didn’t have one and I regret it so much – not only because it made me look unprofessional, but because I could have saved myself so much time. If you don’t know what a media kit is, get ready for a life-changing piece of information – it’s a PDF document that tells people who you are, what your blog is about, your Instagram insights (total following, engagement rate, location demographics , blog stats, all of your different collaboration opportunities and rates. Instead of constantly having to retype all of this information to each brand – you can simply attach this document which is a god-send. By separating all of this onto two pages, it’s much clearer for the brand. Below gives you an idea of what should be included:

PAGE 1:

Introduction to who you are (make this as interesting and light hearted as possible – you don’t want to be too informative as you are ultimately a creative)
Introduction to your blog (include: what categories are covered e.g. fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel, how long you have been blogging for, your type of readership)
Instagram insights (include: total following, engagement rate, average reach/profile visits/ impressions per week, screenshots of location/age demographics, screenshot of gender split)
-Blog stats (include: monthly page views/ unique visitors, average time on site, bounce rate)
-Email – ensure that you have a ‘let’s work together’ section clearly stating your email address

PAGE 2:

-List of collaboration opportunities (include: sponsored Instagram post, sponsored Instagram story, sponsored blog post, brand ambassador, any bundle deals you want to include – make sure that you explain what each of these entail and outline what they will be getting)
-List of rates – ensure that these are clearly stated after each collaboration opportunity
-Negotiation – it is at your own discretion if you want to include a paragraph that sometimes your rates may be negotiable dependant on the brand and their desired deliverables

Before saving, ensure that you transform the document into a PDF so that it is easily accessible and you can attach to all emails.

About Hannah Whiting

Self-confessed perfectionist. Fashion enthusiast. One day I will live in New York.

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