Whether you initiate the communication with a brand or a brand reaches out to you directly, it’s very important to know your worth and where you fall on the FOUR STAGES OF THE BUSINESS SCALE.
NEW. You’re in the early stages of growing your own brand. You’ve got vision, passion and drive, but are just starting to get things off the ground. Audience size: 0-10,000
EMERGING. Engagement is coming in and you’re learning what works and what doesn’t. You’re growing. Audience size: 10,000-50,000
ESTABLISHED. Your hard work is starting to pay off. You’re testing more revenue channels and you know your brand strengths. Audience size: 50,000-200,000
EXPANDING. Yay to all your growth! You’re hiring a team and adding revenue streams from your blog, to a book, workshops, and/or product line. Audience size: 200,000+
Two things to note: (1) these numbers are not perfect and may not reflect your personal reality – they are truly meant to be guidelines! I’d encourage you to view this information as reference points and goals. It’s up to you to manage your own business expectations and chart your path for success – whatever that may mean for you and your brand. (2) Audience size is a combination of unique users of your blog per month and total followers on other social media platforms.
Whether you’re new, emerging, established or expanding, lead with your strengths!
-Do you have a nice size following on a specific social media platform like Instagram? Let them know that.
-Did you just start your blog? Tell them the date AND how many visitors you’ve had so far.
-Do you have high engagement? Are people always commenting on your Instagram, blog posts or tweets?
Do Your Research
Reach out (direct message or email) and ask others (bloggers, Instagrammers, Pin Influencers, etc) who have worked with the brand you want to work with… Ask them who you should talk to, what type of opportunities or deals they’ve made, and even how much! WHAT?!
I was once told, “Asking a blogger what they charge, what they earn or to show you their real stats is like asking someone if they’re pregnant – you just don’t do it.” “It’s personal and people don’t like to reveal info that is pretty confidential to their business.” Maybe it’s my spunky nature, but I disagree!
I’m going to tell you, some people are very open to sharing information or at least ball park information and others are totally closed off. I’m a big believer in sharing and helping each other out – there’s room and money for us all! I’ve had lots of people share their information with me and a few who didn’t, but eventually I got the information I needed to make a smart business decision for my brand.
Know Your Worth
If you’re in the NEW stage of the business scale, you probably shouldn’t look to get paid for placements initially and should post for brands so you can get your foot in the door.
Once your following is large enough, you can start to charge fees and/or ask for free product in return for your services. Be reasonable, if you decide to charge an hourly rate – know what hourly rate you’re going to charge and how many hours it will take to do. Remember, a sponsored post for a brand takes a lot of time… shopping, styling, photographing, editing, writing a post, sharing it on social media.
If you’re EMERGING, maybe you start with a $25-$50 hourly rate. If you’re ESTABLISHED, maybe you start with a $75-$150 hourly rate. Note: If you’ve worked with brands before, your starting hourly rate tends to go even higher.
Decide what’s most important to you! Is it working with the brand or is it money? Here’s a list of the types of deals you might want to make:
-personal brand awareness (you’ll be promoted to their audience/readers),
-set dollar amount,
-you take a percentage of all sales (from buyers that come through you/your website). This could be very lucrative for you and the brand if your readers buy, but it can also be a gamble if they don’t!
-a combination of money+ free products OR a combination of money + a percentage of sales.
It’s really up to you – you are the only one who can decide what is and isn’t worth your time!
Initiating First Steps
Once you know their brand and yours…
Introduce yourself. Even if brands have been following you, don’t assume they know all about you. Introduce yourself, what your blog is all about, your style, the stats of followers and engagement.
The best way to set yourself up for success when approaching a brand (or responding to a brand’s initial contact) is to have a MEDIA KIT ready!
A media kit is a powerful tool you can use to outline your experience, what you do, social following, site visitors and stats. A well put together media kit will help you stand out from the rest of the brands in your niche, and will prove to a brand your interest, professionalism and that you’re worth their time!
My advice is to email your media kit, along with an overview of who you are, links to your blog and social media pages. Let the brand know you’re interested in collaborations, how you can help them, and possibly pitch an idea or two.
If you’re a new blogger, consider what you have to contribute to the relationship beyond stats. Build credibility with smaller brands. Use affiliate networks (like Amazon) to track your sales and clicks.
Other steps you can take to work with brands
-You can also sign up for third party affiliates – they’ll send you recommendations of brands to work with.
-You might want to reach out to PR companies who represent brands.
-Attend a conference that you know brands will be attending and you can get in front of (like Alt Summit).
Working with brands, knowing your worth, and being prepared with a media kit can be financially beneficial to your business! And just remember… Don’t give up. Just because one turns you down, go onto another.
Do you need a Media Kit? We have created a media kit template design that we will customize to match your brand, you’ll find this service in the shop!