Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, I’ll be sharing my top five tips on how you can start pitching to brands as an influencer EVEN if you don’t have a huge following.
I’ll also be sharing the biggest pitching mistakes so that you can avoid making these moves that could be costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars of sponsorship opportunities.
So let’s get into the five tips to pitch to brands as an influencer:
So many influencers make the mistake of reaching out to brands before they’re ready and before they’ve done the work - don’t let this happen to you! You probably won’t even get a response, get a NO or get ghosted during the process. So, before you even think about pitching to brands, I want you to take a step back and do the pre-work first so that you have a higher chance of success. A lot of influencers make the mistake of reaching out to brands and they’re not even following or engaging with the brand on social media. I call this cold pitching, it’s like those cold calls you get from random salespeople or getting spam emails that you never sign up for. Brands are looking to partner with influencers who align with their mission, their values and their promotional campaigns and so they’re most likely going to work with influencers who are already fans or customers of their brand. That leads me to…
You want to make sure that you’re following the brand that you’re going to pitch to on all social media channels and engage with them consistently. I’ve heard from brands directly that they would get pitches and they would check and the influencers weren’t even following them on Instagram. They want to work with influencers who are already fans and customers of the brand, who have bought their products and are already using the brand. This makes the partnership more authentic and a natural fit. I usually suggest to my students to follow this process for at least thirty days before pitching, this means that you’re liking and commenting on their content, watching, sharing and replying to their stories.
When you reply to their stories on Instagram, it starts a direct message and oftentimes whomever is managing the account will respond because that’s part of their job and that starts the connection and relationship with the brand. So when you do pitch, they’ll see a thread of communication and see that you’ve been engaging with their content and with their account.
While you’re connecting with the brand, this is your chance to give the brand an organic feature in your content. This means including them in your photos or videos and showing them how it would look like to partner with you. They’re basically getting a free shoutout and mention from you and when you tag them, they’ll see it in their notifications, tagged feed and if you share stories, they’ll see it in their DMs. So when you actually pitch, they’ll see all this history happening and so this will show the brand proof of concept and brand loyalty. When you send your pitch, you can also refer back to your feature showing that you already mentioned the brand organically even before you partnered together.
To get paid brand deals without a huge following, I help my students create a brand deal portfolio. This includes three essential elements: a media kit, rate card and case studies. A media kit is like a resume for influencers which shows your channels, audience demographics, and brands you’ve worked with. You’ll want to put this together before you pitch to a brand. A rate card is a pricing sheet which includes how much you charge for your services as well as any packages that you have. And the case studies is a more in-depth look at previous partnerships that will give brands insights, analytics and shows your content.
You want to send your pitch through email and not by Direct Message. So the first step here is to find an email address to send it to. Because you’ve done the work to make the connection with the brand, this is easy. All you have to do is DM them on Instagram and say: “Hi, I’m such a huge fan of your brand and would love to partner with you! Which email address would be the best contact for your marketing team?” You can also use the Email button on their Instagram profile or look for an email address on their website or an in-house contact on LinkedIN, but I’ve found this method to be effective especially since the social media person is most likely on the marketing team and will be part of the discussion on brand partnerships, and you can follow up with them later after sending your pitch. In your email, you’ll want to include why it would be a great fit to partner together, why your audience would benefit from the partnership, as well as linking to your feature of the brand and any other relevant content. Some influencers include their full brand deal portfolio, some like to do the media kit and case studies first and then send the rate card later - that depends on you.
So those are my top five tips on pitching to brands as an influencer: Stop cold pitching, Connect with brands, Feature the brand, Create your portfolio and Email your pitch.
If you haven’t taken my free brand deal class yet, make sure you take the time to do that by visiting the link here.
Get access to a free media kit template here to help you get paid brand deals without a huge following. This is the same media kit that I've used to work with brands like Disney, Google, Nike, Target, Starbucks, American Airlines and more!
Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time!
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