How To Land Brand Collaborations as a Small Influencer
Hey guys! Did you miss me? I know I've been away for a little over a week. I needed a break, after the 4th quarter of last year I was lacking creativity. I started the new year jumping into creating content, setting goals and I didn't take a moment to sit back and take in all that I had accomplished.
Last year, was my first full year of blogging, consistently. I was not expecting to make any money the first year however, it was my intention to make money. January of 2017, I took the leap and left my free wordpress account, invested in a expensive camera, purchased my web domain and switched over to Squarespace.
With a semi- newborn I managed to stay up a little late and scroll through the archives of some of my favorite bloggers. As I was scrolling I focused on the commonalities that attracted readers (me) to their blog and what made brands want to work with them. I realized a few things, they positioned themselves as experts, were relateable, showed their screw ups and more.
Create a Blogging Strategy
I knew that blogging was gonna be much more than an expensive hobby for me. So it was important for me to spend time identifying my audience. Once I figured out who my readers were, I created an editorial calendar, started to update my instagram account at least once every day. I realized that I wanted to work with brands that were not just fashion related but mommy & and beauty related as well. So what did I do? I began to purchase more products of the brands that I love, and began to create quality content and made sure to tag them in my post. Don't be discouraged, believe me brands notice!
In July I landed my first paid campaign with Clinique. I was so excited as I didn't have no more than 1k followers at the time. From then I began to land more paid campaigns with Tone Skin Care, Acuvue, Carters, Mcdonalds and a ton more to many to name honestly.
My Top Blogging Tips
Be Consistent- I know this is hard because we all work and have other important things to tend to. So I recommend creating a schedule, that works for you! I started off blogging once a week. Once I began to figure out what my audience liked I started to blog 3x a week. Mondays were for outfit post, Wednesday's beauty post, and Friday's were my whatever days. Give your self time, it's about quality content versus quantity.
Listen to your audience- Because I positioned myself as a style expert, my bloggers knew to expect style tips in my post. Starting out your audience may just be one person, that's ok listen to what that one person is requesting and do it. Treat your smaller audience as if it was the 2million that you are working towards.
Position yourself- For me blogging can't be my open diary where I blog about my problems. That was actually the theme of my first blog. But I realized that if I wanted to work with fashion and beauty brands, I had to be an expert in Fashion and Beauty. So, I make it a point to share tips and tricks. Now I'm not saying that you need to be a guru LOL! Nope if doing reviews is your thing then guess what that's your expertise. Maybe, sharing your fitness journey is what you're passionate about. That can be your area of expertise as well. Get creative you can do it :)
Where to Find Brand Collaborations!
Ok now on to the fun part, collaborations! There are a ton of blog networks that will connect, you the blogger with the brand. For the most part this is how I earn the majority of my blog's income. For many of us smaller bloggers, this is how we are able to get our foot in the door! Many bloggers will tell you that it's best to pitch directly to the brand because you are more likely to earn more. Which is true, but if you are a new blogger with a smaller following, going through a blog network has allowed me to work with so many brands.
Now you still have to pitch in order to be considered for the campaign, so it's not something you automatically get because you are part of an network.
I'm only gonna mention the networks in which I have worked with. There are a ton of networks out there, but I wanted to give you guys my honest opinion, so I did not include the others.
Social Fabric- is my top earner surprisingly! Normally you will see a ton of food campaigns that they have going on. But it's important to check their website frequently because they normally have beauty related campaigns as well. During the holiday season they even had a nice jewelry campaign with Anne Klein. Unfortunately, I couldn't participate since I had just worked with a watch company. Another reason why I love Social Fabric, is their So Fab University courses. If you are new to working with brands on your blog, the courses are very beneficial. Collaborations on your blog are much different then a collaboration that's just on your instagram. There are a bunch of backlinks that has to be linked as nofollow links, certain guardrails that you have to be aware of etc.
Linqia- Is another favorite of mines. Although, you have to wait until they email you with campaigns that may be a good fit for you. Some campaigns are payper click, while others are just a flat fee. I was so excited about one of the campaigns that I did with them because the amount was amazing as a smaller blogger.
RealClever- is another influencer agency, you actually have to be accepted into this agency. I applied twice until I was able to get accepted. But even once I got accepted and began to pitch for the campaigns it took awhile before I landed my first one.
Tapfluence- is very tricky guys, brands use it to search for influencer's. I've only worked with a brand once through here. No pitching is involved you simply need to enter in your information, and their system will curate a media kit for you. You also have the option to set you price.
Collectively- I love, love working with collectively. Although the campaigns I have participated in were not monetary compensation, but more of product compensation. I've been extremely happy working with them. Whenever, I have questions in regards, to campaign details, the response is always fast and pleasant. I always look forward to their emails and have gained a ton of knowledge reading their blog post.
Social Native- is a great network to start at when it comes to gaining experience on sponsored content. While the compensation is low, the campaigns that I have did has landed me some amazing products that I still use to this day.
Getheartbeat- is very similar to Social Native in my opinion the only difference is that the payrate is EXTREMELY low. I only recommend doing Social Native and Getheartbeat campaigns if their is an amazingly cool free product involved.
In general the most I've been paid for one campaign has been about $500.00 and that was for just one campaign. So because of that, it raises my worth as a smaller blogger and so I try to make sure that I continue to create quality content that will allow brands to see my value. Sometimes, it not always about getting paid, it's about building a relationship with a brand that could potentially lead to a big collaboration. So I'm not one to discredit free product in exchange for a social post. However, I am still very picky about the products that I share on my social accounts. As of this year I have been getting a ton of emails from brands, which makes me so excited to continue to grow.
Even though I have a smaller following, I treat my blog as if it was my full-time job. When you treat your brand as a full-time job, I truly believe that full-time results will follow.