When I started blogging, there was no 1800-help-a-blogger hotline that I could ring. Like many of you reading this, I was pretty much thrown in at the deep end and had to find my own way out.
So, aside from gut instinct, how do you learn to walk the tightrope and balance a beautiful feed with business? Luckily I found a group of blogger friends that I love and respect, who I can talk business with. Together we shared ideas, shared mistakes and shared the tips and hacks that matter. So rather than find out where all of the pitfalls are yourself by falling into them, in coming months I will be sharing with you more lessons on how to master the art of influencer marketing!
The most fundamental and important lesson is about building relationships. Your ability to “get that job” is based not only on your content, your brand and level of influence, but also whether the person with the money to spend likes you or not. A lot of my clients are recurring clients, which means that with every new collection, there’s a good chance that they will want to work with me again. It’s a simple but effective recipe – I like their clothes, I like their staff, their staff like me, and we all want to see each other do well. Remember, brands and agencies are more likely to award work to those who influencers who are a pleasure to deal with, and influencers are more likely to go the extra mile for those brands and agencies who treat them professionally and with respect.
Notwithstanding all of that, you will win some and you will lose some, in terms of what jobs comes your way. And you can’t be sensitive about it. As I have said before, when the stars aligns between the brand you work with and what you are able to create, something magical happens and you are able to tell a story through your content that resonates with your readers. So if some jobs weren’t meant to be, then they just weren’t meant to be – let them pass and consider whether you can learn anything from the experience.
So if you take all of that in and remember that forming a great rapport is fundamental to your success, we can then consider what other techniques can be used to complement that great new relationship you’ve just built.
- Don’t focus on the money: I really do pride myself in creating beautiful content and my time in London has taught me a huge lesson that relationships are everything, because I had to rebuild my professional network from scratch. It is your job to go above and beyond to create stunning content for a brand. And even if it’s not paid but if its a brand that you love and you hope to commercialise one day, you really need to show them what you can do. Eventually they will find a budget for you.
- Don’t pitch to a brand unless you feel you can deliver value: You have to understand from a brand’s perspective, they get an inbox full of collaboration request each day. You want to show them what you can do to help the brand and how you can add value for them, and often that process highlights a route that you didn’t previously consider. For example, if you put yourself in the shoes of a digital brand manager, they have to hire models, hire photographers, book studios and allocate staff to shoot their fashion. But if you can offer them styled, edited, high-res content that they can use across their channels, suddenly you’ve made their life a whole lot easier. So ask yourself what the brand might need, and then pitch a solution to that need.
- Pick brands that suit your niche: When you are a new blogger starting out, consider which brands would suit your style the best. We know that unless your last name is Kardashian, Chanel is not going to be knocking on your door for collaborations. So go out and find amazing new brands and work with new designers who can grow alongside you. Show them support, because you never know who is going to be the next Sophia Webster!
- Help educate others: This whole industry that we’re working in is so new. There are amazing older brands that want to move into the digital era, but they don’t know how. This creates a lot of opportunity. If you can showcase your digital savvy and solve a problem for them by presenting a content solution and an opportunity to reach an audience, explain the benefit to them and capitalise on their lack of resources to figure all of this stuff out themselves.
- Don’t be shy – contact people: Unless you have millions of followers, this gig is a hustle! You’ve got to swallow your pride and hunt for business. I reach out to brands all the time if I want to work with them. I’m always respectful, professional and polite – but I’m also firm in outlining what I can deliver. And it’s ok for them to say no to you. Take it with grace and work even harder to secure that next opportunity.
- Give brands your stats: Often if you are dealing with PR agencies, they will want to see your stats – so have a media kit ready to save time. Remember these people are busy! Try to make it efficient and as pain free for them to assess your influence as possible.
- Be nice! I always begin my approach with a thought about how I can make a brand’s representative brighter, and I always follow up a collaboration with a thank you email, and point out what I found special about the brand and the experience of working with them. Send them your stats and traffic numbers if you have them handy, and leave a great post-campaign taste in their mouthes.
Thank you so much for reading guys! I would love to know what you do to build relationships with brands – please scroll down to comment and read tips from other bloggers!