Advice for Influencers: What to Do When a Brand Reaches Out to You

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Hooray! You got your first ever brand to reach out to you for a brand collaboration! Now what do you do when a brand reaches out you?….

You’ve spent the last few weeks, months, or maybe even year building up your blog, Instagram, or YouTube channel and now you feel like you’re finally being recognized for your work. You’re so excited that a brand finally reached out to you! Was it a clothing brand who reached out to you? Or was it a local boutique? Or maybe it was a restaurant? Regardless of who the brand or company is, don’t feel like you need to immediately agree to the collaboration. Before you agree to any terms and conditions, here are a few things you can do when a brand first reaches out to you:

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Step 1: Ask the brand what they’re looking for in the collaboration

When a brand first reaches out to you through email, Instagram, or your blog, you should ask the brand what they’re specifically looking for in a collaboration. Your first step should be to understand the brands specific need, wants, and asks. You should ask the brand how many social media posts they want. Does the brand want a whole blog post? Does the brand only want a mention on Instagram stories?

Step 2: Ask the brand their goals for the collaboration

Different brands prioritize different things on their influencer campaigns. Some brands want to drive reach while others want to drive followers to their site. When a brand reaches out to you for a collaboration, you have to understand their goals in order to help you craft a package that will help solve their needs. For instance, if a brand wants to drive engagement to their page, what can you offer to send your followers over to their Instagram page? Maybe you and the brand can host a giveaway together?

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Step 3: Ask the brand about the timeline

Personally, I’m balancing grad school, a full time job, and blogging with real life. I have to see if the timeframe the brand is asking for is reasonable. I can’t support a campaign if a brand reaches out a week beforehand and expects a whole photo shoot + blog spot + stories in 7 days because my schedule can’t support that.

So ask the brand when they expect the Instagram or blog post to go live. It also takes time for product to be shipped to you so that’s added on to the timeline!

Step 4: Don’t be afraid to ask the brand about payment

When a brand reaches out to you, that means they see value you in who you are and your work. They wouldn’t have reached out if they didn’t see something in you. So when a brand reaches out, please don’t be afraid to ask for payment! The worst thing that could happen is they say no.

If you’re looking for a resource to help you determine how much to be paid, you can use the Influencer Marketing Hub Money Calculator. You can just enter your Instagram name and gives you a range of where to start charging. You can also use Social Blue Book to figure out your rates.

I personally didn’t start asking to be paid until after I passed 10,000 followers. I had no idea when and how to start charging. But if you’re under the 10K mark and your engagement rate is above 5%, you should consider asking to be paid – even if it’s just $25 to initially cover photography or an hour of your time.

If the brand refuses to pay or says they don’t have the budget to support the influencer campaign, you can either pass up the opportunity OR ask the brand how you can both co-promote each other on Instagram, Instagram stories, or other social media channels. Honestly the only way I agree to gifted/ trade for promotion partnerships is if:

  1. The brand agrees to repost me on their Instagram or Instagram stories or other digital channels.
  2. AND if I absolutely love, love, love the brand and this partnership is going to help me grow and expand Emma’s Edition.

If I’m not passionate or excited about the brand, whether it’s paid or gifted, I will pass up the opportunity.

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Step 5: Ask the brand how they plan to use your content

Some brands may ask for the photos you take and produce to repost on their Instagram page. While other brands plan on using the photos to publish on traditional media (newspaper ads, fliers, etc.) Depending on how they plan to use the content, I would adjust my rates.

For instance, I had a brand recently ask to submit 5 other photos to be printed in their fliers distributed in all their stores in the Northwest. I made sure that the monetary payment was fair because the brand planned to use my content outside of social media.

Step 6: Send the brand examples of your content

When a brand reaches out about a possible collaboration, I always send them a few examples of my previous collaborations to give them some ideas on how I can support them.

For instance, if a brand is asking about creating only content for Instagram, I’ll send them:

Here are a few examples of previous Instagram Collaborations:

Mother’s Day Instagram Campaign with Bartells | Instagram Post 1, Instagram Post 2

Modeling for Julep Beauty | Instagram Video

Rocket Dog Footwear @ Coachella | Instagram Post

If you haven’t done any collaborations before, don’t stress! You can send your original work. For instance if a swimsuit company reached out and I hadn’t worked with a swimsuit brand before, here is what I would send:

Hi Brand! I’d love to give you an idea of what type of content I could create for your campaign.

Here are a few examples of my original work on both Instagram and my blog:

Behind the Scenes of the Perfect Instagram Post | Instagram & Blog Post

Thousand Steps Beach | Instagram Post 1 & Instagram Post 2

Modeling for Glyder Apparel | Instagram

I actually have never partnered with a swimsuit company, so this is probably what I would send over! (If any swimsuit companies want to work together, please let me know! )

Typically I’ll go back and forth with company/brand to get all these questions answered. So don’t feel pressured to ask all these questions in the initial email! Start out by finding out their goals and what they want from a collaboration and then go from there!

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Why I wrote this post:

These past month, I’ve had 3 wonderful ladies ask me about what to do about their first brand collaborations. One Instagram friend asked me if she should charge a company for doing Instagram stories for an event during Seattle. Another Instagram friend asked what she should do about a restaurant collaboration – her first one! I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to get your first few collaborations because I’ve been creating partnerships with brands these past two years.

So thank you ladies for asking me for guidance! I’m so glad you felt comfortable enough to personally send me an email or a direct message on Instagram. I hope this blog post helps you and others of you out there landing your first brand collaborations!

Advice for Aspiring Influencers - What to Do When a Brand Reaches Out to You- How to reach out to brands as an influencer – how to collaborate with fashion brands – how to work with brands on Instagram – brands that collaborate with bloggers – reaching out to brands for collaboration – brand collaboration proposal – microinfluencer tips – how to be a microinfluencer

For blog posts around blogging and Instagram, you can also check out:

4 Things Brands Look for in a Blogger Collaboration

10 Everyday Tips You Can Use to Grow Your Instagram

How do you balance everyday life with taking photos?

Thank you always for reading!

Love,

Emma

Photos: Michelle Tellez

Friends featured in our Palm Springs photo shoot: @palmtreesandpellegrino & @kelseythisyear

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Advice for Aspiring Influencers - What to Do When a Brand Reaches Out to You- How to reach out to brands as an influencer – how to collaborate with fashion brands – how to work with brands on Instagram – brands that collaborate with bloggers – reaching out to brands for collaboration – brand collaboration proposal – microinfluencer tips – how to be a microinfluencer

9 Comments

  1. May 21, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    Great post Emma! I learned alot! I wish I knew all of these tips before I took my first brand deal. But now I know for the future. I always love your advice! <3

  2. July 17, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    This is THE BEST and MOST HELPFUL post I have read concerning blogging thus far. THANK YOU.

  3. February 8, 2019 / 10:02 am

    Thanks Emma for this post! Super helpful. Also, I am assuming if a fashion brand reaches out to me that means they will provide the clothing for free right? I don’t know if that’s a weird question to ask HAHA.

  4. Upasana Rawat
    February 15, 2019 / 12:14 am

    Yes i have a similar question, A brand recently reached out to me and asked for a promotion but the problem is i have to pay for the shipping. Should i pay for the shipping or not? Don’t brands send stuff for free if they are reaching out to you?
    I am confused. Please help.

  5. March 28, 2019 / 5:53 am

    What a nice post dear!
    Thank you for sharing with us!
    I still have a question, how to ask for paid collaboration?
    I mean… how to say to them, like ” Thank but I charge for the collaboration”?
    Lol, sorry, I’m lost!
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  6. Abri
    June 6, 2019 / 11:50 am

    Hi Emma I wanted to thank you for writing this post! I have a fairly new blog and instagram. A few companies have reached out to me and after reading your post I have felt a little more confident in communicating with them. Not being afraid to ask questions and knowing it’s ok to say no if it doesn’t fell right are helpful reminders I gathered from your writing. Thanks again!

  7. June 6, 2019 / 11:51 am

    Hi Emma I wanted to thank you for writing this post! I have a fairly new blog and instagram. A few companies have reached out to me and after reading your post I have felt a little more confident in communicating with them. Not being afraid to ask questions and knowing it’s ok to say no if it doesn’t fell right are helpful reminders I gathered from your writing. Thanks again!

  8. July 27, 2019 / 7:31 am

    This was so helpful thank you for sharing!!

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