If you’re blogging as a business, your goal is not to just create good content and build a loyal community. You want to make a career! But, in order for you to become a full-time influencer and blogger, you need to make a profit. And, to make a profit, you’ll need to monetize your blog. There are lots of ways to make money off your content, but one of the most lucrative is brand collaboration!
Gone are the days when companies poured their whole advertising budget into email marketing and billboards. Now, the most effective marketing tools for brands big and small involve social media and influencers. In fact, businesses nationwide have jumped from $1.7 billion spent on influencer marketing in 2016 to $16.4 billion today. Wow! This clearly shows that not only are brand collaborations good for you, but they’re good for your partnered business as well.
But, what is a brand collaboration? And how can you monetize your blog in this way? These are all great questions! So, we’ve dedicated our post today to all things brand collaborations. Let’s get to it:
How Do Brand Collaborations Work
A brand collaboration is when a business pays an influencer to promote their product through authentic content creation. When your brand and their brand join forces, you mutually benefit from the partnership. The business sees an increase in sales and followers while you get a paycheck for the sponsored content. Plus, you build credibility and engagement among your own audience!
The benefits of brand collaboration make it a great way to monetize your blog or social media channel. Plus, there is guaranteed income with this monetization method, unlike with affiliate marketing, where your payment depends on sales or clicks. With brand collaborations, you receive a fixed price for your post no matter what.
If this sounds like a dream come true for your blogging businesses, it’s time to make a plan. Brand collaborations aren’t some far-fetched goal – this ambition is totally attainable for almost any level of influencer. Here’s how you can start your own brand collaborations:
Do a quick brand assessment and determine your intentions.
The first thing to do before you start working with another brand is to assess your own. The business you work with will want to understand your target audience and see your long term analytics. You need to have a firm sense of who you are and what you do.
This is because the brand you collaborate with will want to know if their product is right for your platform. So, it’s important to make sure you know your platform very well. If you’re new to this, check out our article on how to become a micro influencer. This will help you establish your brand and realize your target audience.
Partner with another brand.
Once you understand the goals and focus of your blog, it’s time to find a brand partner! This brand partner should be selected carefully. You don’t want to aim for a business too big for your follower count or partner with a brand that doesn’t really fit your niche.
These cross promotion partnerships are more likely to be successful for both parties if the two brands mesh well together. Find a brand that speaks to your audience and fits within your niche, but that also benefits the partnered business.
Make approved and authentic content.
Once you find a partner that agrees that the brand collaboration will be mutually beneficial, it’s time to make your post. You and the business will work together to create your content. They may have a series of guidelines you need to follow. But, you’ll also need to ensure your post is consistent with your other content.
If your content is too salesy or out-of-place, it’ll feel inauthentic and turn off your followers. Remember, brand collaborations aren’t all about money! You must stay loyal to your audience and only promote in a way that is respectful to your followers. This is what your partner wants too, since followers are unlikely to buy if they don’t like the content. What we’re saying is: Keep it real!
The last thing to do is get paid – yes please! Once you’ve created your content and posted it, the brand pays you for your promotion. Unlike affiliate marketing, there is no commission by clicks or sales. It’s one guaranteed price that both brands agree upon during negotiations.
And there you have it! This is how a brand collaboration works. It’s a great way to monetize your blog, grow your audience, and continue to produce great content for your readers. Also, if the content works well, the brand might reach out for more collabs. Now – you’re on your way to your blogging dreams now!
How to Do Brand Collaborations as an Influencer
Now that you understand how collaborations work, how can you do them? We’ve curated some tips for you to help break down the influencer side of brand collaborations. If you follow these tips, you’ll be snagging your first partnership in no time. Here’s how you do it:
Don’t focus on your follower count.
First up, don’t focus too much on your follower count. There’s a myth within the influencer community that you must have 10,000 followers for anyone to listen to you. This is simply not true! There are lots of companies that work with smaller brands. The company simply wants to utilize your influence over your audience. If they want your audience, they’ll partner with you – even if you only have a couple thousand followers!
Additionally, just like there are small brands, there are small businesses. And, they’re on the lookout for micro influencers like you that will fit in their niche and price range. Remember, partnerships are mutually helpful. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a collab for any business, big or small, especially if you’ve got a good brand kit to present. (More on that later.)
Make sure your brand looks professional.
When you reach out for a collaboration, you need your brand to look professional. This starts with your social accounts! Having an Instagram Professional profile will be the first indication that you’re a legitimate brand.
Businesses will be asking for your Instagram analytics, and if you don’t have a creator profile, you won’t have access to that information. Don’t worry, you don’t need to start a new account. You can switch to a business or creator profile at any time!
Next, you’ll need a well-designed website with access to important traffic insights! Most hosting services provide this, but it’s important to make sure you know how to access that information. In order for the brand to benefit from your blog post, you’ll need a search engine optimized site. We recommend using our free SEO evaluation to ensure your website is ready for brand collaborations.
Altogether, before you start reaching out to brands for a collab, make sure your brand looks as professional as possible. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help and do all the research you can. First impressions are everything when businesses are selecting a partner!
Engage with the brand and post before you ask for a collaboration.
When you identify a brand you want to collaborate with, start engaging with them on social media. Comment, like, share, and even create content! There’s no shame in posting about their products before you get paid to do it. Because once you tag them and they see the material, it’ll prove that you are a fan and are capable of creating great content about their product.
Bonus tip: If you really want to impress them, make content like them. At least, the content you produce centered on their product should reflect their branding. If they always have a beachy background or monochromatic color scheme when showcasing their products, you should too! It’ll be one more thing that elevates your collab pitch!
Create a brand kit.
In order to promote your brand to potential partners, you’ll need a brand kit. A brand kit is a collection of assets like graphics, fonts, and images that inspire your content. In this case, it also includes a brief biography about you, analytics on your site or social channels, audience demographics, and examples of previous partnerships. You’ll need to include this with your collaboration pitch, so your potential partner can see if you’ll be the right fit.
Use professional emails to pitch collaborations.
Next, start sending emails to potential brands! Some have found success with sending direct messages on Instagram, but the best way to get collaborations is to email their PR or collab email. The PR email is usually readily available on their website, whereas the collaboration email is more secretive.
If you’ve seen other influencers work with the brand you’re hoping to gain partnership with, shoot them a message and ask for the collab email. They might say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! And, the collaboration email will be the easiest way to get your pitch in front of the right people.
When crafting your email, make sure it’s professional and reflects your platform and style well. Include your brand kit and keep it short! They’re busy people and are probably searching through a lot of requests. Make your email dynamic and to the point.
Try a third party to find available brand campaigns.
If you struggle with the direct email route, you can try a third party brand collaborating site like Brand Heroes or Influee to find your partners. On these platforms, you make a free account and scroll through hundreds of available brand campaigns. Then, you prepare your pitch and send it off! It’s a bit more streamlined, but there is more competition and the platform takes a cut of your profits. Still, it can be a great way to get started!
Stay authentic and keep your values in mind.
The most important things to remember when working with a brand are your own values. Don’t get caught up in the profit potential or the status acquired from working with a brand. Make sure the product your sponsoring fits your niche and matches your previous work.
Additionally, just because you like a company, doesn’t mean it fits your brand. If you’re a gardening brand and love a certain glitzy fashion brand, a sudden post about a studded jacket next to the post about peonies might put off your followers.
Also, if you’re a brand that takes hard stances on global issues, make sure the messages preached by the partner are the same as yours. If you post about the woes of human trafficking, but partner with a brand known for its use of child labor or exploited workers, you may severely offend your followers.
Whatever you do, just be mindful of your audience and your values. As long as you stay true to the original purpose of your blog and put just as much effort behind your sponsored content as your regular content, you won’t have any problem! In fact, your followers will appreciate the product recommendations and be excited to hear about more businesses you love. They love you, so they will love what you love, too! Just remember to be intentional about your brand collaborations.
Understand the campaign agreement.
In order to have successful collaborations, everyone involved needs to understand what’s expected of them. It doesn’t matter if it’s the brand or influencer that initiates the collaboration, both need to read the fine print and understand their responsibilities.
As the influencer, look out for specifics like when you’re supposed to post and how to disclose the sponsored content. (You must do this!) They may also ask that you don’t promote competitors and that you get your content pre-approved before release. Whatever it is, make sure you know exactly what they want and how to get the job done.
Make stellar content.
This one probably goes without saying, but creating well-researched and interesting sponsored content is key. Your post should have value and not be too salesy. It should be just as high quality as your other posts and speak to your audience in the same way. Before agreeing to a partnership, make sure you feel you can create effective content around the product.
Brand collaborations are a great way to monetize your blog and grow your influence!
Successful brands collaborate with influencers because people listen to them. And, they listen to creators like you, because the content you create is meaningful and powerful. Take the next step in your blogging journey by partnering with another brand to mutually benefit from a sponsored post. If you love the product, you’ll already feel good about advertising it. And, your followers will appreciate your intentional recommendation.
Take these tips and finally profit from your blog! You’ve put in all the hard work. So, it’s time to reap the fruit of that labor and build your brand into a real and sustainable career. We’ve got lots more tips on how to grow your blog, optimize your content, and monetize your brand on our blog and Instagram. Follow us and let’s build your brand together!