Are you a blogger or influencer trying to figure out how to work with brands? Here are 5 tips that can help you in your next brand collaboration.

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When I first started working with brands for blog/Instagram collaborations, I had no idea what I was doing. I was at 2,000+ followers in 2016 when I landed my first big brand ambassadorship opportunity. The brand would send me clothes each season and I would shoot 5-10 images and share a few outfits on my Instagram.

I didn’t realize it back then but the next few years were going to be filled with dozens more brand collaborations. Now more than four years later, I’ve learned that blogger and brand collaborations is a client service relationship. As a blogger, I’m hired by my clients (the brands) to produce a service (content on social media and my blog).

Today I’m sharing a few tips on working with brand for blog/Instagram collaborations. If you’re trying to figure out how to manage a brand collaboration, this blog post is for you!

tips for working with brands for blog and Instagram collaborations - how to work with brands - influencer tips - how to work with brands on Instagram

Here are 5 tips for working with brands for blog/instagram collaborations:

Ask Clarifying Questions

Before you jump into a brand collaboration, don’t be afraid to ask the brand clarifying questions. Sometimes brands share the required deliverables, but there’s other important information you need to know before you agree to the campaign. I usually look for brand fit, the number of deliverables, the timeline, and how they intend to use the content.

Here are a few questions I’ve asked brands in the past:

  • What is the timeline for this campaign?
  • When are you expecting posts to be published?
  • How does the brand intend to re-use the content I provide?
  • Will the brand be re-using these images on social media, website, and other marketing materials?

Understand the Brands Goals

If the brand hasn’t shared their goals with you in the initial or first few emails, don’t be afraid to ask what their goals are. Some brands are looking to improve brand affinity, some brands are looking to build awareness for new product line, some brands are trying to build brand recognition, and some brands just want sales.

While conversion is important, influencer marketing is content marketing, it is not sales. Consumers typically need anywhere between 5 to 20 touch points (need to be exposed to the brand multiple times) before they decide to make a purchase. Being exposed to the brand for the very first time in one in-feed post isn’t going to result in an immediate sale.

Personally, I enjoy working with brands who understand that influencer marketing is content marketing. Brands who value long-term partnerships and understand that consistent Instagram posts and stories can help improve their brand affinity and recognition understand influencer marketing.

Emma's Edition - Petite Style - Brandy Melville

Understand the Creative Brief

In some brand collaborations, brands will provide a creative brief. A creative brief is a document (sometimes one page and sometimes it’s 10 pages) that states how the product should be shot, in what lighting, and in what style the photos should be in.

In order to avoid re-work and re-shoots, I highly recommend taking the time to read through the creative brief.

Make sure you:

Look at the required shot list – does the brief state flat lay photos? Close up product shots? Or lifestyle shots?

Look at the style of the photos – if the creative brief photos are only outdoors, you should probably shoot the content outdoors. And if you can’t shoot the specific style, I would reach out to the brand to see if they would be okay with indoor photography.

Look to see the required copy – some brands want you to specifically include a section of copy in your caption. Sometimes that’s brand specific hashtags or campaign specific hashtags.

Meet the Brand Timeline

If you want to build a happy, healthy relationship with a brand, meet their required timeline. Brands are businesses who have multiple marketing campaigns going on at the same time. You are not the only influencer they are working with. Influencers are probably not the only marketing efforts they’ve invested in. The person you’re working with from the brand is probably super busy, juggling multiple projects.

You can make the brand happy by meeting and submitting content on the required dates. I know this seems simple. But there are influencers out there who have to be reached out to over and over again to submit their content. If you’ve committed to a contract, you have to be professional and stick with the timeline.

If a life event happens, don’t be afraid to ask the brand for more time to create content or edit content. Just make sure you’re keeping the brand in the loop.

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Be Flexible

Sometimes brand/blog collaboration timelines have to shift and move out. 2020 has been a great example of both brands and influencers needing to stay flexible. The pandemic has thrown the entire world for a loop. Brands and influencers both have to stay open and flexible.

If a brand comes to you and needs to move out a campaign another month and you can support that campaign, go ahead and move it out another month. I’ve had brands reach out and apologize because they need to pause on influencer campaigns as they reshuffle marketing budgets. It happens. But I also know that brands are going to continue to invest in influencer marketing, so I stay open and flexible.

There you have it friends! A few tips to help you work with brands.

What other tips do you have for working with brands for collaborations?

Emma's Edition at University District - Coffee Shop

For more tips for working with brands for Instagram or blog collaborations, you can also check out:

How to Negotiate (Paid) Brand Collaborations – New course launching Tuesday Sept 29th!

8 Ways to Repurpose Your Content Across Your Social Media Platforms

9 Things You Can Pitch to Brands as a Microinfluencer

Thank you for reading!



Photos: Holly Phan