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6 Tips for Influencers and Content Creators on Approaching and Collaborating with Brands

6 Tips for Influencers and Content Creators on Approaching and Collaborating with Brands

Original Guest Post for SEE GIRL WORK Blog


Whether you are a seasoned influencer or just starting out in your blogging career, here are six tips for influencers, content creators, and bloggers on approaching and collaborating with brands.

The Brand-Influencer collabo is a powerful thing.
It’s a key component of any brand marketing strategy that reaches target audiences in a personable and organic way, while at the same time, helps to build an influencer’s portfolio of content and credibility.

For influencers, the right approach and the right pitch is important when starting communication with any brand.

As the Director of Creative and Marketing for MaskerAide Inc., a Canadian skincare company whose brands include MaskerAide and washbeautyco. by MaskerAide, I see A LOT of pitches for collaborations come across my desk — some are great, and some not so great.

Regardless of how small or large a brand may be, it is always important to approach companies in a professional manner. As we grow as a beauty brand, we continue to regularly work with collaborators, and more importantly, maintain relationships with influencers that can grow with the brand and create content that we can both be proud to share.

With over 16 years of experience in communications, marketing, and project management, I know maintaining and nurturing relationships is vital in any industry, especially the social media sector. That said, as an influencer looking to connect with brands like us, here are my 6 tips for approaching brands for collaborations:

1. Stand Out. First Impressions Count

“I have 20K followers, want to collaborate?”

I get hundreds of these ‘let’s collab’ emails on a regular basis, and to be honest, I skip over the majority of them that are generic, super short and don’t mention our brand or products at all. I can tell right way that: a) this person is just fishing for any brand to work with them, regardless of how it relates to their personal brand or blog; and b) they aren’t putting much effort into their first impression and point of contact, and probably won’t put as much effort into an actual collaboration. Hard pass.

I always do first pass checks of all their social media accounts before engaging in conversations. If you state in your email that you are a beauty influencer, but your Instagram account is a mish-mash of poorly photographed beauty products, your dog, random memes and fake followers… or if your Twitter account is a bunch of retweets and rants about non-beauty related topics, chances are I won’t be inclined to work with you.

Just like applying for jobs, your resume and cover letter (in this case, your introduction email and media kit), need to stand out and make a great first impression.

Do your brand research, be professional, concise, and make sure your social platforms are presented in a way that you want your potential brand collaborators to see. I am not always looking for someone with 100K followers — quality content and consistency in content will always make a better first impression, so make it count.

P.S. Spelling is important! This is more of a pet peeve for me but happens way too often. It’s common sense. Spell the brand name right, spell my name right.

2. Create a Media Kit.

A Media Kit is key and communicates your personal brand and details in a polished, concise way. At a minimum, your Media Kit should show: WHO you are, WHAT your focus and demographics are, WHERE we can find your social media channels, a current snapshot of your follower/subscriber/page view count, and your rates.

It also helps to list some brands you have previously worked with, including links to content you have created, so brands can see examples of past collaborations. If you don’t have a Media Kit, create one (1-2 page PDF or one that is accessible online or in the cloud) — you’ll be thankful once you have one.

3. Be Upfront about the Compensation (Monetary, In-Kind Product or Otherwise).

This is Business 101. Be upfront regarding compensation, whether it be monetary or in the form of in-kind products or services. Brands will either decline, agree, or start a negotiation — which is why it is a good idea to put your suggested rates in your Media Kit so it can act as a starting point for your potential collaboration agreement.

4. Be You. Be Authentic

I know this sounds overplayed and you’ve heard it before… BUT, authenticity and individuality matter to brands. Just like yourselves, brands are also building their ideal audience, and most brands will agree that working with influencers and bloggers to create quality, authentic content and interactions is key for organic growth and overall brand retention.

We are all storytelling, and we are all looking to make connections on authentic, sometimes emotional levels. No one is looking for robots, and brands should never tell you what your exact captions should be, and how you should pose holding your detox tea.

Be transparent, write captions in your tone, and create content in your style. If you have a unique idea or cool spin you want to pitch to a brand, do it. Not everyone wants the cookie-cutter approach to content. Brands will appreciate it, and most importantly your audience will appreciate it.

5. Request a Campaign or Collaboration Brief.

Following my last point on authenticity and individuality, it is equally important to discuss the collaboration guidelines with the brand to get an overview of the objective, goals, and deliverables. This is important because it sets the expectations for both parties. Although some guidelines may be very loose (like receiving products and/or monetary compensation in exchange for a sponsored blog review or Instagram post), some social campaigns and collaborations have specifics in terms of: the platform deliverable (example: Instagram only, multi-channel, a Snap story etc.), deadlines, and the trackable data (example: certain hashtags or affiliate links).

Brands may have certain marketing campaigns that may revolve around a new product launch, a charity initiative, holiday activations etc., so it is always good to ask if there are specific campaigns or current social initiatives the brand is doing, that you may or may not want to participate in.

6. Stay In Contact. We’re in it for the Long Game.

Some of our best brand advocates are the bloggers and influencers we’ve stayed in contact with. These are individuals who are genuine fans of the brand and products and have worked with us on product reviews, content creation, and collaborations. Keeping in touch, whether it be through social media interactions, emails or going for coffee (or cocktails) is key to maintaining good business.

Building relationships with brands (and also vice versa), will strengthen your credibility and open up future opportunities with the brand.

As brands grow and expand, maintaining and nurturing relationships with its core group of supporters and influencers is super important. I’ve always been a fan of Jim Collins’ quote in his book Good to Great: Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” We are all in it for the long game, and we all want to grow and succeed with the right people — so stay in touch with brands you genuinely support and want to continue working with, you never know what opportunities may open up.


Originally posted on See Girl Work. See Original Post Link here >

I've Been Headhunted My Whole Career. Keys to Standing Out.

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I've Been Headhunted My Whole Career. Keys to Standing Out.

IN 14 YEARS, I HAVE BEEN RECRUITED, SEEK-ED OUT, AND HEADHUNTED A TOTAL OF 7 TIMES. EVERY JOB I'VE HAD SINCE THE TIME I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, HAS BEEN THE RESULT OF OTHER'S SEEKING ME OUT.

Was it always my plan?  No, not really.
Did I apply for other jobs along the way?  UM, Yes of course.
And to be honest, I've had job rejections, turned down offers which I later regretted, and been laid off three times in a row along the way.

Although I've somehow always had luck on my side (it could be my Sagittarian trait speaking here), to say it's sheer luck would be a lie. And to those out there who think I'm just lucky all the time, are also mislead too. From a very young age, I've alway felt an 'otherness' and internal motivation. I remember being in high school, and always thinking that I didn't belong in that small town, and had aspirations of being successful, creative, fashionable and loving life in a big city. I couldn't wait to move out of my hometown, and essentially move away from living at my parent's home. I was determined to do everything in my power to go to school, work and live in a big city. Although my interests and career paths have changed, my internal motivation has never stopped.

Here are some of my 🔑🔑 on standing out:

INVESTING IN YOURSELF.

I always say invest in yourself no matter what. You may have children taking up your time and energy or a demanding job that leaves your jet-lagged and exhausted, but in end, you need to nurture YOU. It may mean taking a retreat to recharge your batteries, taking an online course, or meeting with a therapist to work out some kinks. I don't have much to say on this except, when you invest in YOU, only YOU will reap the benefits. Not your employer, not your accountant or co-worker. YOU. When you're continuously working on yourself, for yourself, you will be more confident and balanced, and other's will notice

WORK HARDER THAN YOUR CO-WORKER.

This is a give in. The harder your work, the hungrier you are, the better your chances are for standing out. There's a divide between people that are hungry, and people who comfortable with their current situations. By working harder, it can mean different things. It can mean taking on projects that are undesirable to other people on your team, learning skills outside your job description, or doing a gig that is less pay but will add experience to your resume. I'm not saying to be that annoying effing overachiever at work who comes in super early and is the last one to leave, I am saying: take on work, that will work FOR you.  For me, that meant being open to taking on a lot of freelance design jobs, helping out with other team's projects, taking on not-so-glamorous tasks like stock price comparisons and peer group analysis. What that did for me was, build my portfolio of work and list of freelance clients, broaden my work circle and learn new skills and terminology that will later benefit me.  Eventually you will start to build up a rapport of being a hard worker, and stand out as someone one who can take on more challenges and opportunities.  This is what companies, headhunters and recruiters are looking for, NOT the employee that's comfortable in the status quo or who is always complaining about their job, boss, co-workers, clients and projects. 

CREATE YOUR OWN NICHE.

I've been fortunate to carve out my own niche a few times, and I'm lucky to have 2 key backgrounds that are rooted in both design and communications. One of my niche's was accidentally created while working in the mining industry. Because I came from an architectural and graphic design background, I could navigate AutoCAD, read technical drawings, create mining-specific visuals and technical graphics in a not so 'technical and boring way'. It took a bit of time during the first few months of transitioning into the mining industry to learn all the types of terminology and collateral that is typically used in the Communications and Investor Relations part of the business. I got frustrated along the way, but I finally picked it up, and used the advantage of being an newbie/outsider to the industry, to put my own design spin and 'fresh eyes' on the same conservative content that people in the industry have been used to seeing. My work did not go unnoticed. When the company I was working for had to lay me off, I was almost immediately headhunted by another mining company.  I could easily create and produce, without having to re-learn the whole mining industry. I could very easily transition into working with other mining companies. It was an easier decision for companies to hire me, than to hire another graphic designer with no prior knowledge of the industry. Although I was yet again laid off (the mining industry is fickle in the down periods), and work in a completely different industry (the beauty industry... I know total opposite), to this day, I am still sought after by mining companies and consultants for specific projects. And because of it, I can charge accordingly.  Creating your own niche is not always easy, but it takes 2 parts: assessing your current situation and seeing how you can navigate it in your favour, and honing your skills to be the best you can within that skill set in the industry you are in. In the end, when you have your own niche, that no one else (or very little people) has created, your chances of being recruited for opportunities specific to that, are going to be more promising. Do you want to be a good well-rounded chef, or a decent chef who can slay a truffle dish like no other? A personal shopper in a department store or a stylist that specializes in men's athleisure?  Think about it.

GO FOR COFFEE.

So many times we meet people at conferences, networking events, happy hours or even online, that we click with on a professional level or like-minded work vibe. You may share the same business principles, you may be in the same industry, or you both may be starting out on the same career level. If you have some sort of comfort level with someone, and believe that you may be able to benefit from the connection, don't let it fizzle out at just a business card exchange or LinkedIn connection. Go for coffee and connect again. I've met people at conferences and online, and have had good experiences whether it be gaining a peer in the industry, or them referring me to another colleague in need of design work. You never know where and who you are going to get your next job or opportunity from, so use those connections and nurture the ones that are worthwhile for you. 

GET NOTICED, BUT DON'T ACT THIRSTY.

You need to be SEEN to be noticed.
Update and upload your resume to job sites. Put effort into your LinkedIn account. Attend business or industry events. Introduce yourself to headhunters. Stay in touch with those people you have had coffee with. Write a blog. Cross-promote on other blogs and do features and interviews when you can. Put in some solid effort into your public social media accounts...

What I am saying here, is that whatever you want to be noticed for, put it out there for the world to see.
I am not saying to go crazy and flood the internet and people's inboxes promoting how great your are, because no one likes a thirst trap.


I'm just saying put in a solid effort into curating your public self or personal brand. There are a lot of people out there with the fear of putting too much out there, which I can understand because essentially what is on the internet lives forever... BUT if you want to get noticed, you need to put part of yourself out there to get noticed. Don't get caught up in perfecting every single thing, because theres ALWAYS going to be another person out there with a not-so-perfect blog or LinkedIn profile, that has a leg up on you already, simply because of the fact that they DID put themselves out there while you're still sitting there wondering why no one is knocking on your virtual door with new opportunities. Like I said earlier, companies, headhunters and recruiters are looking for people that are always working harder, smarter, and putting themselves out there... NOT the person that is comfortable in the status quo of their current situation.

Peace Out. Let HUNTING SEASON begin. 

🔫🔫🔫

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