As you’re working hard to raise your media profile and gain new exposure, you might start to see some collaboration requests come your way organically. That’s great! But you don’t just have to sit and wait for them… you can also leverage your newly earned exposure to actively pursue those collaborations.
When pursued with brands that are a strong value and mission match, brand partnerships can be an excellent way to continue to raise your profile, build on your credibility and help you generate more revenue. Exposure is nice, but as we say around the office, we want bold ideas and brave voices to get paid for their expertise and stories!
If you’re new to brand partnerships, have never collaborated with another brand before or don’t even know where to start, that’s okay. Once you work through these four steps, you can hit the ground running to pitch yourself to the brands of your dreams.
1. Get a clear understanding of your audience and its makeup.
Do you have data on the breakdown of your audience? Great! Brands are always thinking about how to get the (new) eyes of their target audience on their product, company or campaign. Make sure to have details about exactly who your audience is and if you’ve done any polling or research around the topics, content or attitudes they have, even better.
2. Establish a following.
You’ve heard experts say that having a platform is critical to up-leveling your business. Whether it’s trying to get a book deal, a television series, a sold-out launch or a brand partnership deal, having a platform is non-negotiable. While there’s no magic number as to how many followers you need to have, you want to ensure that the following you have is active, deeply engaged and ready to dig into what offers and content you might be putting in front of them. So even if you just have a few thousand, don’t count yourself out. If you have high engagement rates on your content, that’s all that matters.
3. Create clear options for ways to partner.
When you’re first approaching a brand or are hoping that brand partners will solicit opportunities to work with you, have several clear ways for them to collaborate with you. Is it social media posts or stories? Is it creating a piece of content on their behalf that they can use and promote on their channels and yours? Is it via a speaking engagement? Hosting a conversation for their community or event? Make it easy for a brand to say “yes” by not overwhelming them with tons of options out of the gate. You can easily leave the door open for something more customized by simply including that language in your media or partner kit, or as you’re engaging in conversations with the brand.
4. Be prepared to talk about the value of the collaboration.
For each and every brand partnership we conceptualize and close, we always begin by first looking at what our client is hoping to accomplish and what the brand is aiming for. Brands are looking for new audiences and new trusted voices that can influence those audiences to follow, buy or engage with their brand and its products. They’re wanting positive coverage—whether in media, on digital channels or word of mouth—and they need voices like yours to help champion their cause. Put yourself in their shoes: if someone approached you right now with an opportunity to team up, what questions would you ask? What would make you deeply consider that partnership? Where would your hesitancies be? Address all of this upfront for a brand to show them that you’re strategic, multidimensional and have long-term partnership capability written all over you!
Remember, paid brand partnerships are available for everyone, no matter how small or new your platform or brand. Prepare well, and you might be surprised at the brands you’re able to sell on a collaboration.