This post was originally written for Simply Stylist by me (Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail). Simply Stylist is an Online Platform & Conference Series for Female fashion enthusiasts. They are the bridge that connects you with other like-minded stylistas, beauty babes and tech whizzes, and allows you to tap into the minds of major style influencers.
Your blog relies on working with brands you love. Not only does working with brands you’d personally use appear more organic, but it also increases the chances of that brand wanting to work with you. However, pitching and working with brands you love requires a strategy! I will discuss the fundamentals to building relationships and positioning yourself to get the visibility and, ultimately, the income you want. I warn you — its not easy, but can be very worthwhile!
1. How to Identify the Right Brands
There are so many amazing brands out there, but who is the right fit for you? Ultimately, this depends on your brand positioning. What kind of content do you produce? Do you know your tribe? When was the last time you actually engaged with them? Truly understanding your own brand will give you a foundation to identify the right brands that you should work with.
So, how do you start to find out about your audience? Do research or ask them! People love to know that they are important. Surveys and questionnaires produce amazing results. Once you know your audience, it’s time to analyze the brands. What are the brands that your audience already engages with? What are they wearing? Where are they going? Become a detective and start to write down a list of the brands they engage with.
Tip: Don’t just write down fashion brands; write down all the brands- Airbnb, Uber, Blueprint, etc. This is your starting point.
2. Identify What You Have to Offer
What is your USP (Ultimate Selling Proposition)? This applies to your content and your audience. Do you have amazing images and high engagement? Do you have a lot of followers who click on the links in your bio? How about a small targeted audience that really listen to you?
Once you establish what you have to offer, it iss time to package it nicely. Create a PDF with your stats, a bio about yourself, images, and some information about your following. Also, identifying and including the types of brands your followers are interested in will help brands feel like you are a good fit.
Tip: I work with brands every day, established and new brands. What they are looking for is real engagement and a targeted following. Yes — they will look at your followers and analyze!
3. Know What You Want
Whether you’re a flatlay queen or can get your readers to buy anything, being knowledgeable about what you bring to the table will ensure you’re working with brands that align with your aesthetic. Know what kinds of products you want to work with and start to slim down your list to those brands within your context. Ask yourself, “If I work with this brand, would I want to work with my brand?” That is the important question.
Also, please note that if you have big brands that you really want to work with, consider featuring their products on your page prior to reaching out. Brands take note of whether or not an influencer has previously posted about them!
As your following grows, pitching should become a part of your daily routine. Pitching can include anything from emailing brands to sending DM’s (Direct Messages) on Instagram directly to a brand social media page. However, you should only pitch to brands that make sense, meaning they, too, would benefit from collaborating with you to share their product with your readers. The pitches should be personal to each brand and portray a casual confidence without overselling yourself or your brand.
- Highlight your best social media platforms first. Don’t immediately propose posting on platforms that you are not building or that have low engagement. Instead, showcase your strengths!
- Don’t limit yourself. Instead of having one set rate for all collaborations, offer tiered pricing and al la carte options to appeal to brands seeking small activations.
- You need to be willing to start small and work your way up! Small collaborations will show brands the type of work they’d expect from a partnership with you, so make them count.
5. Building Your Perceived Value
The value of your brand is based on what others perceive of you. If you decide to collaborate with other influencers, be sure you’re featuring brands that are consistent with your aesthetic — this will help you develop a strong brand. It takes time to build your portfolio of collaborations, but don’t worry! No one is going to ask you about the nature of previous collaborations. Just remember: Have discretion and be smart as to what the return on investment (ROI) is for each brand or collaboration you do.
Building your brand is a long-term decision that is essential to success. So don’t be afraid to be aggressive and diligent in ensuring you’re working with brands you love!