Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, you’ll learn how to make your feed as attractive as possible to brands, build your influencer portfolio, and hear “YES” to paid brand deals!
So, I’m going to share with you the FIVE steps you can take to get ready for brand deals. And the reason I want you to be ready and prepared is because I wasn’t ready for my first big brand deal. I still remember that day, I was at work in West LA and I received an email from a fitness brand who described a partnership and wanted to get on a call. It was a four-month partnership with events, blog posts, social coverage with lots of moving parts and I didn’t even know if it was a paid opportunity or not. So I decided to be open minded and get on the call to see what it was all about.
One thing that I notice with influencers is that sometimes they don’t give things a chance (they think it’s a scam automatically, which some are - but I’ve had some brand partnerships seem like it was not legit but then I took the time to do the research, communicate and have a conversation with them and it turned out to be well paid and a great experience). So one takeaway that I would write down is - to approach every situation with positivity instead of always defaulting to the negative. Because if I did not continue to explore and be open with this brand, I would have not gotten this $5,000 brand deal, made tons of awesome friends and connections, and missed out on an incredible experience.
If you notice or find yourself always doubting or defaulting to the negative, it means you might have trust issues - which a lot of us have due to childhood or trauma or being hurt before and I’d like for you to think about addressing that. Because when things don’t heal, they continue to hurt and you keep putting a band-aid on it and that doesn’t solve the problem it just makes it worse. And I say this about personal life and business - because business is a journey of personal development. If you want to have a successful business, you do have to deal with the hard stuff: fears, insecurities, and self-doubt. And I can tell you now, in my experience that dealing and healing is the only way to grow and be successful.
Back to brand deals, it’s a relationship between you and the brand. And just like relationships, they may or may not work out. It doesn’t have anything to do with you or the brand, sometimes it’s just timing or logistics. Sounds familiar right? Like dating and personal relationships. If you are looking for love but think everyone is out to hurt you, then you might miss out on a wonderful relationship and incredible moments. When expectations are not clear on both sides - things may not go so well. So I want to invite you to be open in all aspects of your life whether you’re looking for love or for brand deals.
So, here are 5 things you need to focus on to get ready for brand deals!
Yup. That little section under your Instagram name can make or break your chances at a brand deal.
The first thing anyone looks at when they find your profile, you have just 5-10 seconds of them stumbling upon your feed to grab their attention, tell them exactly who you are, and direct them where to go next, all in 100 words or less!
To do this, be crystal clear about who you are as a brand, where you’re located, how brands can reach you, and what you care about as that tells brands what your audience is into too. If a brand can see that your target audiences are aligned or that you operate out of their city, they’re more likely to want to work with you.
When brands are looking for influencers to work with, they want to be sure the content they are promoting is going to reach the brand’s target audience. Which means they need to understand exactly what kind of audience you have.
Believe it or not, numbers aren’t really important here. It doesn’t really matter the QUANTITY of your followers, so much as the QUALITY. If you have 50,000 followers, but only 200 of those followers are going to actually engage with the content you promote, that’s not as attractive to a brand as say an influencer who has only 5,000 followers, but has created a community where at least 500 - 1,000 of them are going to want to thoughtfully engage with a featured brand post.
Because of this, brands look at how often and how well you engage with your audience. Are you building connections and relationships there? Does your audience trust you? Have you created a loyal, empowered community?
One of the biggest keys to marketing is relationships, and brands want to get a feel of who you are, what value you provide, and how it will be to work with you.
Which means that you can’t just copy what everyone else is doing. You have to be yourself, share your story, and show your authentic personality. Your audience is counting on you to share with them the things you truly believe in and love and brands want to see this as well!
The number one question I always ask before hitting post is… “does this provide value to my audience?” If the answer is yes, then you are working in an authentic way that will attract more opportunities!
There are two parts to this, but they both have to do with the general look and appearance of your feed.
The first one I want to talk about is consistency. Right off the bat, if you aren’t consistent in your posting, messaging, presets, or brand themes, you will not experience growth. You can't skip this step when you are building your business online.
Brands want to see that you are consistently engaged and providing value to your audience, while if one stumbles across your feed and sees that you haven’t posted in days, they’re going to immediately think you aren't actively engaging with your audience, and will likely skip over you for consideration. This is a job. They want to see that you are doing your job on a consistent basis, and that if they hire you, they are going to get in front of your audience!
I always recommend to my students that they post daily.
The second thing I want to mention is your visuals. Are you posting high quality, well thought out pictures? Or are you just throwing up anything to get your daily post in?
Brands want to see that you put time and effort into the content you’re creating. They want to see a consistent color palette, a vibe of who you are, and that you care about what you are creating, so that if they paid you, they would know you’d provide them with that same quality content.
Last but not least, once you DO grab a brand’s attention and you start that pitch process, you’re going to need an Influencer Portfolio to help seal that brand deal, which I always say should include 3 things:
1. A Media Kit: Think of this as your influencer resume. It usually looks like a one page document in your brand colors, and contains info on things like your brand mission, audience demographics, platforms, and analytics.
2. A Rate Card: Which is a list of the services you offer and what you charge for each.
3. Case studies: These are a collection of testimonials of the value your brand offers, including customer feedback, analytics, or results you’ve achieved for previous brands.
Why all three? It sets you apart from other people who are just sending media kits, and it gives the media buyer proof of what you can provide them if they decided to hire you.
You can get access to my free media kit template to download here and get started on creating your influencer portfolio if you don’t already have one.
In the end, brands just want to work with people who are showing up every day, and doing a great job. They want to know when they partner with you, you’ll provide them with quality content that resonates with their audience and has your own special spin on it. And the best way you can prove that, is by focusing on these 5 things: Brush Up Your Bio, Nurture Your Audience, Amplify Your Authenticity, Ace Your Aesthetic, and Optimize Your Portfolio.
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