How To Get Brand Deals — Expert Tips

Influencer Brand Deals

August 24, 2021

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Hi! In today’s post I’m sharing how to get brand deals if you’re a nano influencer or micro influencer.  Now, it’s important to note here that I’m talking about how you can get PAID brand deals, because, while we all love free stuff, I strongly believe you should be paid for your influence because, well — brands have marketing budgets, and as an influencer, you are working directly with the brand’s marketing team, and trust me, they can pay you to promote their products. 

Keep reading or watch the YouTube video!

By the way, if you’re new here — welcome! If you’d like to learn how you can join our influencer community click here, and if you’d like to gain access to all of our eCourses, live webinars, member’s lounge and Q&A forum, make sure to visit our Member’s Area.

OK, so let’s chat about how to get brand deals. First, you do not need a massive audience to get paid brand deals.

In fact, having a smaller audience actually makes you MORE valuable to brands because influencers with smaller audiences tend to have more influence, which results in more sales

Why? Because they’re more or less seen as a “trusted” friend in comparison to the influencers with hundreds of thousands (or millions) of followers, and that makes them seem more trustworthy.

Now, I know this is kinda counter—intuitive but trust me, influencers with very small, micro audiences partner with brands everyday for this exact reason. 

If you want to learn more about this make sure to enroll in the member’s area to access all of the ecourses I’ve created about partnering with brands.

So if you don’t need a massive audience, what do you need to get brand deals?

Well, there’s a few things you need to know, so let’s cover some tips.

Tip # 1: Choose a niche

First, things first, you need a clearly defined niche. And, I know many of you struggle with this, because you want to be a lifestyle influencer (or blogger) and create content around a variety of different things, like fashion, and travel, and food and beauty (for example) BUT, trust me, the sooner you choose one SUPER SPECIFIC niche, the sooner you’re going to get paid brand deals. 

There really isn’t an easy way around this, because the brands you’re hoping to work with are typically seeking out influencers within their niche. So, by speaking to one hyper-targeted niche, brands within that niche can justify partnering with you, because well, your audience is likely their target audience too! 

It’s really a no-brainer. They know right away that your followers will be interested in their products, so a partnership with you would be very beneficial to them.

Tip #2: Know your audience, or more specifically, your audience insights. 

Brands that are interested in working with you typically want to know your audience’s demographics, so if you haven’t already, go ahead and check your audience insights inside Instagram (or TikTok or, YouTube) and get familiar with the demographics. It will show you a breakdown of your audience, including their age, gender, location, and when they’re most active on the app. 

Now, on a side note, if you’re a blogger you can find all this information within your google analytics dashboard.

Again, brands will want to see this data so they can confirm that your audience is aligned. They want to know that the people following you are within their target audience. And if they are, it’s an easy sell!

Tip #3: Design your media kit. 

A media kit is a must have if you want  to get brand deals, because brands need to visualize what you (and your brand) are all about. And a media kit helps them do just that. It shows them who you are, who your audience is, what your social media statistics are and so much more. 

Now, if you need more info on what goes into one, make sure to check out my other post where I talk about what goes into a Media Kit. I’ll link to at the end of this post too.

All in all, you need to have a media kit before reaching out to brands so they can quickly get to know you and your brand to determine whether you’d be a good fit for a partnership.

how to get brand deals

Tip #4: Start pitching brands!

OK so, once you spend some time focusing on a specific niche, clearly understand your audience, and make a media kit, you can take the next step to getting paid brand deals and that is, pitching brands!

Now, I dedicate an entire ecourse to this, which you can take by joining the Member’s Area — it’s actually the most popular course inside the school!

But for today’s post we need to keep this kinda short so let’s break it down. 

One of the mistakes I see a lot of new influencers make is posting a lot of creative content, and then sitting back and expecting brands to reach out to them. 

And, while yes, you will get a few DM”s from brands by doing this, they’re typically not going to be offering you the kind of deals you’re hoping for. In fact, you may get a lot of requests for unpaid partnerships this way, and again, that’s not what we’re aiming for. 

Instead, you really need to start networking with brands, and making a serious effort to show them how beneficial a partnership with you would be. In short, if you want to get brand deals you need to take action.

I always recommend in the ecourses that you treat your Instagram, or blog, like a business, because doing so really helps put you in a different mindset. If you think about it that way, it’s really hard to take on unpaid brand deals, because time is money, and if you’re partnering with a brand then yes, you’re helping them make money, and naturally, you should be paid to do so.

Now, can you accept PR from brands? Yes, absolutely. Just to be clear, I’m not saying not to accept PR. But, if you’re accepting products from a brand and there is a clear, written expectation and agreement that you’re going to create content about their products then YES, you have every right to be paid for that service.

So, when pitching brands I suggest being very strategic with what you’re posting, and your brand outreach. Many influencers use a spreadsheet to keep track of brands, their email addresses, contact information, date of initial contact and more, and I recommend you do too! 

Once you’ve researched the brand and gathered their contact info you’ll want to send them a personalized email explaining the benefits of partnering with you. 

Now, I recommend using the email templates from our Professional Pitch Package as guidance because they’re 

  • professionally written and 
  • are proven to get results for influencers 

Naturally you’ll want to personalize all of your pitches before sending them out because you never want to appear unprofessional and it’s incredibly important to make a positive first impression! Plus, you don’t want it to appear like you just copied and pasted your pitch because that doesn’t show true, authentic interest in partnering with them.

Most importantly, you want to explain why a partnership with you would benefit them. It’s so important to realize that the brand wants to know what’s in it for them. Again, this is why using the pitch templates is ideal, because they’re written in a way that communicates your value to a brand.

So, I linked to the pitch package here if you want to use them. 

Then once you send your pitch out, you’ll typically hear back from the brands. If they reply favorably, you can then go ahead and send over your media kit, and if they’re interested, move forward with the partnership details, negotiating payment and creating the content! 

Now, if you’re just getting started I recommend networking with 5-10 brands a week. From there maybe you increase that to 25 brands a week. 

Just set goals, because the truth is, not all brands will reply, and some will, but they won’t be interested in an immediate partnership, so it’s important to keep the momentum going and get real comfortable with rejection, because it definitely is a part of the process. 

But, on the flip side, many brands will be interested in a partnership, so keep that in mind. You really need to stay positive and be optimistic about your expectations here.

Now, like I mentioned before, it’s so important to have a strategy here. So, once you’ve researched and emailed a brand make sure to add all the info to your spreadsheet. 

On a side note, if you need a pre-designed spreadsheet, I uploaded one to the resource center inside the Member’s Area so feel free to print that so you can use it to keep track of all your brand opportunities.

I personally love it because once you’ve added all the information to your spreadsheet, you can easily keep track of all your brand outreach, and the results so you can plan ahead and always have goals that you’re reaching for.

Remember, I created an entire eCourse about pitching brands to get brand deals, which is available to members within the Member’s Area. So, if you’re already a member, go ahead and check it out, because it’s our most popular ecourse, and if you’re not a member, I strongly encourage you to join today so you can take that course and all the other eCourses inside too if you want! 

Plus as a member you’ll gain access to our live webinars, the resource library, a member’s lounge where you can chat with other members, and a Q&A forum where you can submit your questions to be answered by me. 

OK now before you go I just want to share an example of why it’s SO important to negotiate unpaid brand opportunities into paid brand deals.

So, think about this for a moment: 

A famous beauty brand is searching for an influencer for an upcoming shampoo campaign. They come across one influencer’s Instagram and it’s packed with images of all kinds of beauty products – correction, free products brands have sent her to review. 

Now, she hasn’t followed the 80/20 rule (meaning 80% of her posts are organic and 20% are brand deals) and her account looks scattered and kinda unprofessional. 

Then they discover another beauty influencer with the same number of followers and engagement rate as the previous influencer. Her Instagram looks very professional and includes posts that are paid sponsorships. She creates content about a variety of makeup, hair and skincare products, yet she follows the 80/20 rule of posting so it has a very organic feel to it and her audience loves it. She’s clearly paid well for her influence, because it’s clear that the product reviews she does are all sponsored.

Which influencer do you think the brand will choose for their campaign?

If you guessed the second influencer, you’re onto something! Why? 

Brands often look for evidence in an influencer’s previous posts that they’ve worked with other brands. And, since she followed the 80/20 rule, her Instagram isn’t overflowing with ad’s, but they are there. 

The first influencer however, has clearly accepted countless free products and (unpaid) opportunities — and 7/10 of the products are from the brand’s direct competition!

So, not only did she NOT get paid for all the previous posts, she’s now on the verge of losing future paid opportunities with other brands.

Because, keep in mind that some brands pass up influencers if they’ve previously posted about their competitor’s products. Which is why (if the contract allows) some influencers remove sponsored posts once the campaign ends.

And this is why accepting free products now could cause you to lose future paid campaigns.

So remember, the choice is yours. But if you post about all the beauty products (for example) accepting one freebie after another,  and a brand sees that, they may not want to work with you because just a week earlier you posted about their competitor’s product. And a week before that, their other competitor’s product.

So, this is why I strongly recommend that you only accept paid opportunities. And, this is exactly why, if you’re reviewing products for brands, it’s VERY important to negotiate payment! 

It’s one thing to miss out on a paid campaign with a brand because the week prior you were paid to post about their competitor’s product. 

But do you really want to miss out on a paid campaign because a week prior you posted about their competitor’s product — for free?

It’s your choice! But occasionally influencers are passed up for a campaign for this very reason. Which is so frustrating especially if you met all their other criteria!

Does this mean you have to turn down free products from brands? Not exactly!

Again, when receiving those infamous “product for posts” inquiries from brands, know that you can easily turn those opportunities into paid partnerships. It’s really all about negotiation! 

And, I’ll be real, some of the most successful influencers use those opportunities to their advantage by quickly responding with a simple counter-offer. And you can too!

Now, on a side note, I recently uploaded three pre-written negotiation templates inside the resource library (in the member’s area) that are designed to easily turn “unpaid” opportunities with brands into paid campaigns. All you need to do is copy and paste them into your reply — truly they are so simple, yet so effective! 

So go ahead and check them out if you’re a member, because they’ve allowed other influencers to earn a LOT of money working with brands and I’m confident that they’ll help you too!

OK that’s it for today’s post….here’s the links I mentioned earlier once again:

Also, if you’re interested in learning how to price your sponsored posts, click here to read our blog post about pricing your rates! And, click here to read the blog post about designing a Media Kit.

how to get brand deals

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