One question I get a lot is : “how do you reach out to brands and create collaborations?”
As a microinfluencer, I’ve been able to work with Zulily, American Eagle Outfitters, Nordstrom (TheThread Blog), the Seahawks Pro Shop, Shop Tobi, Lauren by Ralph Lauren and more. So I’m here to share the process of collaboration with brands.
Before I launch into the methods of reaching out to brands, let’s first ask yourself these three question.
American Eagle Outfitters Collaboration | Miriam Subbiah Photography
1. Do you have original, high quality content?
Whether its fashion, beauty, or lifestyle, are you sharing quality photos, videos, or well written content? If you aren’t consistently producing high quality content on your social media channels or your blog, this should be your focus before pitching yourself to brands.
Being consistent is different to everyone. Whether you publish a blog post once a week or twice a month, or post on Instagram every day – you have to be present. When a brand reaches out to you, they want their products and services to be presented in a feasible time frame and in the best light.
2. Have you establish a following?
For a blog, are you driving over 100 daily visitors? For Instagram, do you have over 1,000+ followers? A
following paves the way to influence. And your influence is what’s going to appeal to brands.
3. Is your audience engaged?
In both platforms, are you followers commenting, liking, or resharing your photos or posts? The best way to raise engagement is to be engaged yourself. Are you liking and commenting other Instagram accounts or blogs? Are brands already tweeting you back?
*By the way, some brands weigh having more followers than a higher engagement rate. While some brands don’t look at size of following and look at a high engagement rate. It’s important to have all three things because it strengthens your personal brand and shows other brands than you can also represent their products or services.
How to decide which brands do you reach out:
Third Love Bra Collaboration | Holly Phan Photography
1. What do you write or make videos about?
The best way I do this is I focus on the type of content I want to create. I mainly write about fashion, career, and lifestyle post. So I mainly work with clothing companies because they fit in with all three. But I’ve also worth with skincare products, food, and spas because they fit the lifestyle section on Emma’s Edition.
2. Make a list
After you’ve decided what spaces you’re going to create content in, make a list of companies you’d like to work with. I recommend thinking about what type of products or services your audience usually engages with or you think would appeal to them.
Lauren by Ralph Lauren | Miriam Subbiah Photography
How to pitch to brands and land collaborations in three ways:
1. You reach out directly to brands via email or direct message on Instagram.
How to find the right email address to reach a brand:
If there is a brand you want to work with, go to their website and look for an email address to directly reach the brand. Under the “Contact Us” section, I would look for either a press, partnership, or general email address.
If you can’t find the right email address, I would go to Instagram and hit “email” on their account. An email box should open and you can find an email address there.
How to email a brand for a collaboration:
- Here is what you need to include in the email pitch for the brand:
- Who you are, what your blog is + what you blog about
- What you love about the brand and why you are reaching out to them today
- Include your media kit, a link to your blog, and Instagram. A media kit has your social media channels, number of followers, and stats about your blog. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend going to Etsy and buying a premade media kit.
- Examples of previous brand collaborations or any related work that shows you’re a good fit for working with the brand. Here is an example email I would send:
Subject Line: Requesting to Collaborate with (Brand)
My name is Emma Cortes and I’m a Seattle Lifestyle/Fashion blogger. My blog Emma’s Edition is focused around fashion, career, and life tips. You can also find me on Instagram @emmasedition. I love (brands) products and have been wearing (brand) for years. I’m reaching out today in hopes of working with (brand) for a vacation look book.
Here are a few examples of some past brand collaborations
5 Tips to End Summer in Style with Nordstrom | Nordstrom – The Thread Blog
6 Tips to Find Great Clothes at Thrift Stores | Value Village
The New American Girl | American Eagle Outfitters
If (brand) is interested in working together, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Attached is my media kit for your reference.
*For instagram, you can’t attach a media kit. I would recommend sending a shortened version of your email*
2. The brands or their PR companies reach out to you.
Believe it or not, most of my major campaigns are when brands reach out to me. These companies found me (I’m assuming) through Instagram or my blog. I’m not a massive blogger (sitting comfortably at 12,000+ followers). I truly believe my consistent content – blog post and high quality photos that attracted these incredible companies and collaborations.
3. By referral
Some of my collaborations come by some of my blogger friends referring me to the brand. I also do the same for my other blogger friends. Brands have come to me and ask if there are any other
bloggers they’d recommend for their brand. If I believe a friend would be a great fit for the campaign, I’m not afraid to tell the brand to consider my friend.
Some people were surprised to find out that I let other brands know of other bloggers who reach out to. Some people asked me if I was afraid that referring other bloggers would take away from my brand’s collaborations. I believe in community over competition. I also absolutely believe that if a brand wants to
work with you – because of who you are and the high quality content you produce, they will work with you.
Shop Tobi Collaboration | Miriam Subbiah Photography
The Details of the Blog Collaboration
Now that you’ve reached out to the brand, hopefully have gotten a response, it’s important to discuss a few things:
1. To work for free, or not work for free: that is the question.
Let me first say that it’s tough to ask to be paid. But it’s also tough to schedule a photographer, style an outfit, pick a shoot location, and write an original 200-500 word post on a product.
How much to charge is completely dependent on you. How much is your time worth? How much do you pay for photography? And how are you portraying the products or services in your
original way? Here are a few things to think about in terms of price:
Consider your time:
I would recommend thinking about how much time it takes you to create an entire sponsored campaign – from writing Instagram captions, paying for photography, to writing a blog post. Take this hourly rate and multiply by the hours it takes you to produce the content and you get a rough
estimate on how much to charge.
Size of Audience + Blog Stats:
I would also factor in how many page views, sessions, and unique visitors you drive a month to your blog. If you’re driving over 4,000 sessions or 4,000 unique visitors to your blog and you have over 10,000 followers on Instagram, you should charge. However, remember I’m not the blogging law
maker – this is just what I know from experience.
Ask a Blogger Friend:
Lastly, I highly recommend getting with your blogger friends and ask them their opinions of your pricing structure. This was incredibly helpful for me this past year. My friends first helped validated that I should charge and expressed their opinions about whether I was over or under charging.
When to work for free:
If you absolutely love the brand and are beyond excited to be a part of their campaign, sometimes it is worth it to accept the gifted product. You can also use your work from that brand collaboration to build up your blog and pitch to future brand collaborations.
2. Ask the brand how they intend to use the content.
While going back and forth about collaboration details, ask the brand how they intend to use the photos shared on social media and your blog. Do you they plan to use this for their social channels? Do they plan to use this for email campaigns or their website? This is important to disclose because brands can use your images on marketing materials without compensating you.
Companies spend marketing budgets on hiring photographs, models, and designing sets. They use these images for email campaigns, social media, stores, etc. Those models are being paid because brands make money off these marketing materials.
Usually, I make sure that my content is only for social media purposes because I can be tagged on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Personally, my blogging journey has been slow and steady.
I’ve always balanced blogging with college and working full time. I’m not driving 100,000 page views to my blog a month, but I do produce quality and consistent content. I’ve accepted way too many gifted campaigns… but as of this year, I’m charging brands.
And as I start my master’s program at the University of Washington, continue to work full time for the Boeing Company, and blog – I have to charge brands to make my time worth it. My bandwidth is more limited and I want to continue to make quality content for Emma’s Edition.
Please remember that everyone is at a different place in their life – in their careers, blogs, and instagrams. Brand collaborations come with time. Paid brand collaborations come with quality content, experience, an engaged audience, and blog stats. No one is racing you to get the most collaborations, your blogging journey is your own.
What was the most helpful part of this post? Is there something you want explained more? What’s your advice when it comes to getting brand collaborations?
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Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan