The current rhetoric around influencer marketing can often paint the influencer in a somewhat heroic light, and place influence itself on a pedestal. Yes, brands are waking up everyday to the overwhelming power of online influence, and are more and more clambering over themselves to grab a piece of the action. For this reason, certain digital personalities who have been in the game for a while now, are more than accustomed to having endless offers of brand collaboration thrust their way, some relevant and of interest, but most unfortunately not so much.
But when you’re a newly emerging influencer, chances are this won’t be the case. Even the most savvy brands can be a little slow to recognise the hot new influencers on an upwards trajectory. At CI, we are forever extolling the importance of partnering with brands that you believe in as an influencer, and that your audience will too, but what do you do if those kind of brands just aren’t ringing your doorbell? Well, here’s a little secret – influencer-brand collaborations are a two-way street. You don’t have to wait patiently for the right email from the right brand to arrive in your inbox. You can make things happen by approaching the organisations you want to work with.
Of course, we’d be lying massively if we said that doing so is always successful, and all it takes is one well-worded email for the brand of your dreams to be begging to have you as the face of their latest campaign. However, knowing how to approach and pitch yourself to brands is an incredibly useful skill if you want to increase your chances of landing the perfect project. Here’s some tips to help you do so.
1. Never ‘go in cold’
You’re more likely to respond to a brand that has shown an active, genuine, non-contrived interest in you as an influencer, right? Guess what? It works both ways. Get onto your chosen brand’s radar – check out their social profiles, see how they respond to their followers and get involved! Comment on a post, retweet something of theirs that captures your imagination, mention them on your own channels etc. It won’t be missed. If you’ve taken the time to engage and interact with the brand before approaching them for collaboration, your proposal will not only be met with more positivity, it will seem all the more authentic.
2. Consider your platform
It doesn’t take a genius to see that approaching a brand on a platform or through a channel that is either not active or completely inundated with correspondence, is not going to go well. Although it seems as though emailing is the most professional way to broach the subject, it is not necessarily the most effective. Consider using business networks like LinkedIn, whereby correspondence is less likely to get lost in the shuffle.
Another technique is to send a sort of ‘pre-approach’ through a more informal channel first, and then email the bulk of your proposition afterwards. Any social channel with an instant message function works for this, perhaps pick the one upon which you have the most engagement. Just send a quick, but nicely worded message, explaining that you’re keen to work together and want to hear their thoughts. This will plant the seed early on, and hopefully direct the brand to your influencer profiles so they can see your fantastic content for themselves!
3. Be complementary
It’s long been said that flattery will get you anywhere – use it to your advantage. You are approaching this brand purely because of your interest and enthusiasm regarding what they embody, promote and sell, so make sure that comes across. If a brand can see that you are genuinely excited about what they do and the products/services they offer, you’ve more than proven yourself to be a brilliant ambassador. Half the work is done!
4. State what you can do
Yes, influencer marketing is all about positive customer affinity and putting the audience first, but at the end of the day, it’s still business. Put bluntly, brands will want to know what you think you can do for them.
Luckily, you have an answer. Focus on describing the audience you have – this is what the brand wants to gain access to. If you can show how your audience will naturally be receptive to and enthusiastic about the brand, they’ll immediately see why you’d be an asset to their marketing incentives. Don’t be afraid to hit them with engagement stats too – if you can display how your audience respond to you and how they trust your endorsement, the brand will hopefully see the value you hold.
5. Pay attention not only to what you say, but how you say it
Assertiveness is essential in business, not least when trying to persuade someone to do business with you. Just be careful to not come across like you think you have a God-given right to work with a brand just because of your status as influencer. You want to prove to your chosen brand that working with you is a savvy move on their part, because you can talk about them in an authentic, engaging way, to an audience already primed to listen, not blow your own trumpet by trotting out undeniably impressive, but essentially irrelevant facts and stats. One brilliant tool that will help you put your message across in a non-confrontational way is a media pack. Check back to this blog post for how to create an effective one if you haven’t already. Media packs function a bit like CVs. People expect them to be impressive, unapologetic and self-congratulatory, and so they are perfect for bragging without actually having to.
As great as media packs are though, DO NOT rely solely on yours to convince brands to work with you. You need to show the brand why they specifically should partner with you specifically – why does your unique voice as an influencer suit their objectives? Why does your unique audience consist of the people the brand wants to reach? Do your research, know what the brand promotes and who they want to market to, then put yourself forward as a way for them to do so.
6. Consider a platform
This is where we smoothly segue into how CI can help with approaching brands… Platforms exist because we know how hard it can be to avoid being lost in the crowd, and to know the best way to connect with that company you’d just love to work with. The brands that use CI check it daily for new influencers and opportunities to collaborate, and the platform has a built-in opportunity for you to showcase your influence to the right one. Simply put, it cuts out many, many middlemen.
As potentially daunting as approaching brands is, it really is important to remember that however monolithic they may seem, brands are staffed by humans. All you have to do is find the right ones, engage on a human level, and let your brilliant influence shine through!