Influencer work is invigorating. Being scouted by a brand, being that perfect face. Working with companies and businesses, big or small, that align with your beliefs and ideals. Making a difference, sharing what you love, putting yourself out there- it’s exciting to be seen and recognised for what you bring to the table. Over the years, I’ve amassed a significant audience of over five thousand followers between my photography page and website. I was privileged to find myself in the position to work with a range of brands. My work as a paid influencer had humble beginnings- early last year I was chosen to ambassador for a small business selling scrunchies and other hair accessories. This win had a domino effect and soon enough I had piqued the interest of big names such as Nutrimetics- no matter your starting point, this is within reach for you too. My intention today is to share my story and equip you with all the tools you need for effective content creation. I don’t claim to be the best in my field but I certainly have pointers worth sharing! Let this serve as your comprehensive guide on industry pitches. Let me teach you about all the behind the scenes prep work necessary in setting you up for success. After all, the pitching process is not nearly as straightforward as you may believe. As with anything business related, there is a protocol that must be followed for your own good. If you’re starting out in the influencer industry, it’s entirely understandable that you may feel overwhelmed or confused in those initial stages. Reaching out to brands becomes easier when you stop fearing rejection or lack of response and instead focus on presenting your proposal with killer confidence. When you get down to brass tacks, business is not personal. Being turned down means very little in the long run. You can’t work with everyone. The best influencers recognise that a redirection can and should be seen in a positive light. You will not be for everyone but those who love you will do so wholeheartedly. You must always keep an open mind and positive outlook. Be a magnet that attracts all life has to offer! Taking the initiative to contact a brand is a total boss babe move. Gathering that courage and putting aside any qualms you have will be the best thing you do. In this three part series I’ll share my take on preparing your content to an industry standard, advise you on who to reach out to and let you know how to increase your success rate. In the posts to come, I’ll discussing media kits and their place in the creative world. Lastly, we’ll chat about the form your collaboration pitch should take. Watch this space + let’s get into it!
Do your research and figure out what platform your chosen brand communicates through.
You’ll want to begin by working out how best to contact the brand you’re interested in. Do some research online and establish which social platforms they are active on. I tend to contact brands through their Email or Instagram Messenger, depending on their niche and how formal I wish to be. Sometimes you’ll find that a brand responds with redirection to an email address or collaboration sign up form. I prefer to use private messaging services when appropriate as you communicate in real time and can keep track of when the brand is active and has seen your message. Well established brands often have a social media or public relations manager that will respond to your request. This will surely require some trial and error but most brands are understanding and will nudge you in the right direction.
Make an impression by engaging with the brand’s social media platforms on a consistent and genuine basis.
A subtle power move you might employ before reaching out to a brand is to establish yourself as a supporter of their business. A brand is comprised of many teams of people- to make a real and lasting impression, you’ll need to stand out and you’d best do so for positive reasons. Through a variety of tactics, you can work your way up the rungs of that ladder and into their inner VIP circle. Believe me, it exists and is the place to be. Some brands are known to have a blog that goes alongside their online store. A fine jewellery company, for example, may have a section dedicated to showing you how to style their pieces. In this way, they form a personal connection with you whilst taking into account your interests. They become a part of your fashion evolution and don’t drop off as soon as you make a purchase.
Similarly, you’ll want to show your chosen brand some organic love throughout the process and in as many ways as possible. Don’t overdo it or go out of your way to share because you feel obligated to do so. Forced promotion will make you look spammy and unattractive, warding off potential industry partners. When you get an offer to work with a company, pay attention to your initial reaction- this truly says it all. Your enthusiasm and passion should win over. If you’re feeling indifferent, consider turning down the proposition. It’s your time, effort and image that are at stake, after all. Why promote a product or service that you can’t back with certainty? You will be revisited with new and fitting opportunities in good time as long as you remain focused and committed to showcasing your best work. Mindset matters- if you truly enjoy what you do, it won’t feel like work. The last thing you want is a ton of subpar sponsored posts cluttering up your social pages. Explore brands within a niche that reflects the content you share and with philosophies, mottos and goals that are aligned with yours. Comment, like and reshare recent posts from the brands when you feel called to do so. Don’t be afraid to give meaningful compliments- chances are you aren’t coming on too strong. Smaller brands will be especially appreciative of this token of love. What’s better than giving a real person a chance to do a happy dance? The idea here is to make your interest clear over a period of time. Engage organically across the board and take the initiative to form a relationship with them.
Be realistic- does your chosen brand’s image align with yours? Are you the right fit for them status wise? Do they typically market to your audience?
It goes without saying that when you reach out to a brand, they will have the above considerations in mind. No matter how well you promote your work and sell your ideas to a brand, they will first complete an evaluation to see if working together makes sense. Alternatively, the both of you would head into a blind partnership that leads nowhere and proves to be a waste of time. You want to feel encouraged through creative work, not as if you’re sticking out like a sore thumb. Do yourself the kindness of being radically honest- compare your artistic vision, personal style and values to that of the brand you’re seeking out. You’ll know immediately if you can progress to reaching out and making a proposal. If you’re on the fence about it, take a few steps back and keep in mind that there are plenty of fish in the sea. It’s crucial that you and your chosen brand are in alignment, especially if you’re a smaller influencer. This will give you a competitive edge and will see you draw in work, enticing your chosen brand.
This being said, attempts to alter yourself and your content to fit every brand’s image will have you feeling scattered and doesn’t reflect positively on your work. You must make up your mind and explore creative forms until you find something that sets your soul on fire and brings hope to your heart. When you show up as yourself in a form that is undeniably authentic, you’re telling the creative world that you are unashamed to be as you are. That your unique work matters, is irreplaceable and deserves space. What you should aim for is steady improvement over a period of time. Maintain a healthy mindset by reminding yourself that you’re not stuck, you’re growing. Your habits and ways of approaching art is not set in stone. You are an ever evolving being and time will reflect this beautifully. It’s not about the destination but the pathway that sets you on that journey. At the moment I work primarily with skincare, beauty and decor brands. Eventually I hope to be accepted as an influencer for ethical clothing and fine jewellery brands. I’d open myself up to more opportunities if I was interested in fast fashion collaborations, for instance, but that’s not for me.
My best tips for fellow content creators are to maintain cohesiveness across your website and social platforms. You can do this through defining your interests and limiting your niche to be most reflective of your area of expertise. I identify as a lifestyle, wellness and creativity blogger. Most people prefer to stick to two niches but three works just as well, especially if your areas of focus are somewhat broad. When it comes to Instagram content creation, find a range of presets that will suit your photography and keep to a set theme. VSCO and Lightroom offer great budget options for budding creatives and casual Instagrammers. If you’re more serious about your craft, you may like to purchase a preset pack. I use the Haley Ivers Adventure Presets.
Another core aspect of establishing a personal brand, something we all have, is marketing yourself in such a way that your content is riveting. To add visual interest and identify yourself, invest in buying or designing your logos, dividers, borders, sign offs and the like. Adding these individual touches make you memorable. This is something I learnt early on and cannot stress enough. If you feel your digital media skills aren’t up to scratch or you’d prefer professional help in designing your graphics, set aside a sum of money or invest in a good program or design subscription. A favourite of mine is Canva as they offer a plethora of free and inexpensive graphics. You can easily change up the layout, palette and formatting of your designs to be exactly as you wish. Infinitelyadaydreamer as a brand is easily identifiable through minimalist floral graphics with gold and grey accents. My logo is comprised of a single monogrammed M. It’s simple, stunning and perfectly encapsulates who I am as a person and a creative.
Here’s what not to do:
Don’t play hard to get- leverage your pitch by having a media kit, portfolio, resume or social links ready to present.
Be at the top of your game and have important documents on hand when you contact a brand. Forgoing this step is akin to being unable to provide important information when asked questions over the phone or sitting there speechless during an interview. It’s a make or break situation that you don’t want to find yourself in. A media kit in the influencer industry is the equivalent of a resume in the traditional business world. You will want to include this in an email to your chosen brand. That’s a definite upside to choosing email communication over instant messenger. Your pitch will seem a lot less lengthy, will be undoubtedly easier to read and can be presented in a neat, compressed format. In my next post, I’ll be discussing this aspect of an influencer’s job at length. You must come prepared!
Don’t mix business with pleasure and become overly close to your work partners- just remain neutral.
First off, keep in mind that you hold multiple roles in the creative world and do so synonymously. You should be able to interchange these personalities and do so synonymously. Remember to speak and act with an air of grace and warmth on top of being professional. Your mannerisms will dictate what opportunities will be made available to you. Always be humble and accept that there is more to learn than you could imagine. Most importantly though, know that every person and situation can add to your knowledge. Do not discriminate! At the end of the day, you are not only a business woman or man. You don’t need to come across as cold, formal and distant but you should refrain from becoming best buddies with your business partner. The reason for this is the corporate hierarchy. Each of you holds a position and chances are you, as the influencer, are inequal to the company. There is an innate power play and struggle here. Treat those you interact with in the business world as you would a close acquaintance. Be courteous, polite and show an interest but don’t overdo it. Remain somewhat mysterious and unreadable but remember to infuse your personality throughout these encounters. Just be neutral.
Keep a standard outline for your brand pitches but don’t copy and paste- word for word is no good!
I understand completely that it can be time consuming to send off customised emails to each and every brand you’re interested in. Just remember that everything you do today will pay off tomorrow. The work you put in will be an investment into your future. A future that we want dazzling with success and achievements! Showing genuine interest is the right way to demonstrate your character as a hard worker who isn’t afraid to make the rounds now for an eventual payout. Nothing is more impersonal than kicking off your business relationship with a standard pitch. What’s most rewarding about brand work is when you strike the right balance and keep up a steady flow of content for a brand. When you continually impress them time and time again, you will automatically be considered for the next influencer position that pops up. Should the brand have a significant sale or release a new product line, you’ll be the first to know and can secure a position on the team.