First off, I want to thank every person who read last week’s post! I got so much wonderful feedback on how helpful it was and connected with so many new bloggers. This week’s blog post is a follow up that came directly out of the countless conversations I had with you all, so I’m excited to provide another post on some insight–this time,on how to score brand collaborations as a new blogger!
So maybe you’ve been blogging for a bit of time and you want to collaborate with brands but feel like you’re waiting around and that your inbox is still sitting empty. Or maybe you are receiving some collaborations, but they’re with brands that you’re not too jazzed about. Or you are getting e-mails but they’re semi-sketchy offers that make you pay for products. Wherever you are in your journey, remember that blogging is not a race and there is no magical number that will start scoring you collaborations. Above all, focus on creating quality content, forge meaningful connections with your audience, and the rest will follow.
But in the meantime, there are concrete ways you can start to build your page up. Here are 10 tips to help you better position yourself for potential brand collaborations! Just to provide clarity, I’m defining a brand collaboration as when brands either pay you to promote their brand/products, or when a brand sends you items for free so that you can wear/post/talk about it in your stories.
1. Treat your account as a business and a brand.
What do I mean by this? Take a look at the page of one of your favorite brands. What do you notice? You’ll probably see a consistent feed of high quality photos, a clear bio of who they are, and captions with consistent messaging. Your page should be the same. If you’re posting memes, low quality photos, and random pictures (and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what brands are looking for to collaborate!), you probably won’t be partnering with the brands you want. Every photo you post should be intentionally building your brand.
2. Determine your audience and sign up for the business IG account.
Who are you targeting? What people do you want in your corner? Finding your niche is important because it should dictate and drive the content you create. If you haven’t signed up as a business Instagram account, I highly suggest you do! This will provide you insights and analytics on who your audience is. For example, when I created my account, I knew that I wanted to be a mostly fashion inspiration account. As I began to grow, my audience has largely remained the same. 70% of my audience are women, and almost half of my audience is in the 25-34 age range. And as I continue to discover more about who is following me through comments, DMs, stories, and polls, this all helps shape the content I create.
3. Create quality content and ensure your photo quality is high.
When someone clicks on your profile, it usually will take them a quick 10 seconds or so to determine whether or not they want to follow you. Same goes for a brand! If they have a few seconds in their day to look for profiles they want to partner with, the way your brand appears according to a quick profile view matters! Your grid is important, but it’s not the end all be all. I personally don’t follow a color scheme or a grid theme–I just make sure every photo I post is crisp, clear, and high quality. I also ensure my blog posts are consistent in structure, are well-written, and include high-quality photos as well.
4. Be consistent in your content and messaging.
Post at least once a day in order to build your brand and show companies that you are a consistent brand that can be counted on. If they notice you aren’t posting very often, it doesn’t signal to them that an investment with you will yield a high return for them. Posting at least once every day will also help you be seen by more accounts and brands as well. When thinking about who you are as a brand, your captions matter! What personality are you portraying? Is your online voice someone that brands identify with?
5. Define your bio.
You have limited space to quickly tell brands who you are and what you stand for. These things matter as brands want to look for influencers that match their values as well. If you only have 3 emojis listed, you’re not signaling to brands what your “why” and how you align to their mission. Once you know your audience, this should be something easier to come up with. A few things to include can be: 1) What type of account are you/Your mission 2) Your location 3) E-mail 4) Link to your blog.
6. Include your e-mail in your bio to make it easy for brands to e-mail you. This also signals to brands that you are open for collaborations.
On that same note, make sure your e-mail is similar to your IG handle. This helps with brand alignment and makes things a little easier.
7. List 3-4 brands you’d love to work with and identify how your brand aligns with theirs.
If you want to start collaborating with brands that you enjoy, think about how your page can align with the mission of those brands. What do you promote on your page? What products do you showcase? Is your “aesthetic” on brand/similar to theirs? How will you add value to THEIR brand?
8. Engage with the brands you want to work with. Tag brands you love, share with your audience why you love them, talk about them in your stories, and use their brand specific hashtags! SHOW PASSION!
Follow the brands you enjoy! Like and comment on their photos! If you love them, that means you probably wear those brands or use their products in real life! Showcase that on your page. Several of the collaborations I’ve done have been a direct result of me wearing a brand’s clothes and showing a passion for their brand by posting photos of me in their products, tagging them, and sharing my love for them with my audience. They DO notice and even if they just repost your photo or highlight you in their story, that’s a win!
9. Be authentic.
You hear and see this a lot, but what does this really mean? Well first off, if you buy followers or use services that engage with other accounts, or have bots that like your photos, it’s super easy to tell that your engagement isn’t authentic. Put in the time and effort to make real connections with your audience. Ask questions. Listen to what they like and need from you. This takes time and takes effort. Buying followers or using boost groups may give you the short term boost, but you’ll lose out on crucial opportunities to connect in the long run. (I have so many more thoughts on this–let me know if you want a blog post on authentic engagement!) Similarly, authentically share products and brands that you love. It will come across to your audience as genuine when they see you using products over and over again (not just once in a photo). You’ll see me re-wearing clothes over and over again because part of my mission is to showcase real and affordable outfit inspiration!
10. Be patient and consistent.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re seeing other bloggers working with brands and you’re wondering “why not me?” Remember that it takes time to build your page and takes consistency in the quality of your content for you to build your brand. It is your collective efforts that will ultimately lead you brand collaborations, not one single photo. Oh and, stop worrying about what other people are up to–focus on your brand, your content, and the rest will follow!
I hope that these 10 tips help you start to shift your perspective and show you small ways that can change the way you position yourself for brand collaborations! Once I started to think more carefully about all these elements, I saw the most growth in my page and more opportunities to work with brands pop up. I am still learning and growing along side you all, but these are just a few tips that have helped me along the way!
Lastly, I intentionally didn’t speak about pitching to brands because I’ve never done that before! However, I might do my own little case study and report back to you on this (who thinks I should?!) Leave me a comment if you found this helpful, or if you have any more questions! And if you really found this helpful, I would love for you to take a screenshot and share with your audience this post! That’s how I connected with so many of you last time and I think the more women who band together, the stronger we become! Let’s keep fighting, ladies (and men–because I know some of y’all read this too)!
What I’m Wearing:
- This dress is two years old from Old Navy, but how perfect is it still?! I love the boho vibes and the colors are perfect for fall. Here are a few of my current fave dresses (that are ALSO on sale!):
- Belt buckle hat from Amazon
- Okay, seriously. THIS HAT IS AMAZING! So affordable at $16.45 and ridiculously cute. For the price, the quality is great and it goes with so many outfits. You NEED one. Or all of the colors. Just sayin’….
- Over the knee boots are old from Target, but here are some other options! I also have wide calves and can’t fit into regular boots. Target has been my JAM for wide calf boots the last few years! Don’t sleep on it, ladies!
- Universal Thread riding boots from Target (wide calf available!)
- These are so well priced at $39.99! And if you have the Target Red card, you can get an extra 5% off.
- Universal Thread buckle riding boots from Target (wide calf available!); also $39.99
- Universal Thread riding boots from Target (wide calf available!)