The market for influencers is rapidly growing, and brands are in constant search of engaging and unique content creators for collaboration. Even better is that influencer marketing transformed greatly during the last few years, becoming less about your follower count and more about community building, business knowledge, and matching values. This has given opportunities for creators with even only a few thousand followers to establish themselves in the market, and generate consistent revenue streams.
If you are starting as an influencer, getting a brand deal may seem a bit overwhelming. However, if you know where to start and what steps to take, there is no reason why you shouldn’t succeed. To help you with this, this article takes a look at all the steps you need to take to get a brand deal.
What is a brand deal?
Before we jump into understanding how to get a brand deal as a content creator, let’s take a closer look at what brand deals are.
Brand deals, sometimes known also as brand sponsorships, are collaborations between brands and social media content creators. As opposed to sponsored posts, for example, brand deals are not one-time partnerships: they usually span for much longer periods of time, from a few weeks to many years.
During the collaboration, brands pay the content creator to promote their products across social media channels. As part of the brand deals, influencers often receive gifted products from the brand, which they then promote on their brand. For example, in the case of clothing brands, a common practice for brands is to send out pieces from each new collection for the influencer to promote. Alternatively, they allocate the influencer a set amount of money they can use to shop on the brand’s website for the pieces they like.
Another aspect of brand deals to keep in mind is exclusivity. This will naturally depend on your contract, but more often than not, influencers aren’t allowed to work with other companies in the niche of the brand they are affiliated with.
How to get brand deals as an influencer?
Now that you know what brand deals are, as well as a few nuances, it’s time to understand how you can get brand deals. Let’s start with the good news: you don’t need millions of followers to get influencer deals! It wouldn’t harm, of course, but absolutely not mandatory. If you know where to look and how to reach out to brands for sponsorships, you can find opportunities available for creators of all sizes. And if you are unsure where to start, here are a few tips and strategies to consider.
Find your niche
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the most important part of your career as an influencer is finding your niche. By understanding where you want to stand in the market, you’ll know exactly where to direct your efforts instead of spreading yourself too thin chasing opportunities here and there.
Finding your niche may feel overwhelming, especially if you are just starting as an influencer. A good rule of thumb is to take a look at your passions and interests. Make a list around topics you enjoy, and then see how you feel about the idea of creating content around them. Ask yourself what type of content you would create and if creating it would make you happy. Repeat this until you are left with one, or two connected options, and you’ll have your niche.
Once you’ve set your mind on the topics you want to address, start researching other content creators in the field. Try to understand their strategies, what makes them unique, and other factors that may have contributed to their success. Think of how you can implement this knowledge.
The last step is finding your channel. Let’s be realistic: maintaining 6 channels and keeping them active is a lot of work, and it’s not always worth the effort. During your research, try to understand what channels will work for you the best. If your target audience is teenagers, TikTok and Instagram would be the leading options, while if your audience is older, Facebook would be better. Pick 2-3 channels, and stick to them.
And this can’t be stressed enough. With thousands, and even millions of content creators trying to get their share of the market, your unique voice, and style, as well as your values, are what will help you to stand out on social media. This is especially important to remember now since social media trends come and go quickly. Often, many content creators find themselves chasing trends or altering their content to meet algorithm demands, losing their unique voice in the process.
Invest time into crafting unique, fun, and educational content tailored to your audience’s interest. It will help you engage your community, show them that you share their interests and values, and educate them. This type of content will keep your people interested, and help you grow your community. This will also help you attract the attention of brands in your niche.
Sign Up for Influencer Marketing Platforms
On your way to finding influencer deals, you’ll need all the help that you can get. Influencer marketing platforms are the more effective tools you can turn to. These are marketing management tools that help you automate the process of finding brands, and help you organize your workflow smoothly so that nothing ever gets lost.
You can think of these platforms as UpWork for influencers: they provide discovery tools for brands and influencers, helping them to connect for cooperation. On these platforms, brands list their needs for influencers and the deals they offer. Influencers, on the other hand, share their profiles and send pitches to the brands. Here, by filtering the database of millions of brands based on your preferences, you can easily find the right influencer deals. These platforms are designed for brands and influencers of all sizes and can be of great help if you are unsure how to ask a brand to sponsor you or how to pitch to brands as a micro-influencer.
What do brands look for in creator sponsorships?
Often, the criteria brands use to choose content creators for collaboration may seem like a mystery. Is it only the follower count? Engagement rates? Creativity?
The truth is, the right answer depends on a number of factors, which may vary depending on the brand. For example, for some brands working with influencers with larger audiences will be more beneficial, while others are looking for smaller creators in specific niches.
With that said, there are still a few components all brands look at when picking creators for brand deals. Here are some of them:
- Account aesthetics – The overall aesthetics of your account is the first thing brands will notice about your account. It’s also the representation of how much effort you put into crafting your content. Brands want to see that your content is relevant to their overall style and that you’ll be able to communicate their needs through your content.
- Other brand collaborations – Another thing brands will pay attention to is the brands you collaborate with. Why? Because they want to see if their brand will resonate with your audience and if your work in their niche is effective.
- Your audience demographic – This one is key. Every brand has a target audience, and they are looking for influencers catering to that audience. Gender, age, and location of you and your audience play one of the most decisive roles for brands when it comes to collaboration.
- Audience size and engagement rates – While some of your most important account statistics are unavailable for brands, the number of followers and the average engagement rate (number of likes and comments) is a good place for brands to start when looking for an influencer.
How do brands find Influencers for partnerships?
Much like influencers have strategies for finding brands, brands have strategies to find branded content creators. This starts by them defining their campaign goals and needs. Once the brand lays the groundwork, then starts the search process. Some of the most common and working strategies are:
- Using hashtags for search;
- Turning to influencer marketing tools;
- Using influencer databases;
- Asking for statistics from influencers;
- Researching relevant media outlets;
- Use brand monitoring tools to find potentially interested influencers;
- Check the competition.
This is far from being a comprehensive list. Over time, by trying and testing different methods, companies understand what methods work best for them, and concentrate on those. However, by keeping these in mind, you’ll have a better idea of how to put yourself out there.
What are creator rates and types of compensation?
When it comes to rates and compensation, there is no single right answer. How much you can earn as a content creator very much depends on the platform you choose, the post type, as well as the size of your audience. Here’s an average payment rate for Instagram and TikTok, two of the most popular social media platforms among influencers.
|Nano-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers)||$10-$100 per post||$500-$800 per post|
|Micro-influencers (10,000-50,000 followers)||$100-$500 per post||$800-$1,500 per post|
|Mid-tier influencers (50,000-500,000 followers)||$500-$5000 per post||$1,500-$3,000 per post|
|Macro influencers (500,000-1,000,000 followers)||$5000-$10,000 per post||$3,000-$5,000 per post|
|Mega influencers (1,000,000+ followers)||$10,000+ per post||$5,000+ per post|
However, direct payment in cash is not the only compensation type brands can offer to influencers. Alternatives may include gifting of products (a practice especially common among influencers just starting out,) percentage from sales, performance-based pay, pay-per-post, content licensing fees, and more. In fact, there is no limit to compensation methods, as long as both parties agree.
How to pitch brands as an influencer?
One of the surefire ways to get brand deals is to pitch yourself to brands. This is especially true for influencers just starting in the industry: you need to get yourself out there for the brands to notice you. Pitching, like everything else, has a set of fundamentals you need to know to succeed. Understanding these fundamentals means that you’ll know how to present yourself to win the collaboration with a brand you are interested in. Let’s take a look at some of the key components of a great pitch:
- Understand the brand – Research the brand you are pitching to. Take a look at their social media to understand what they are currently aiming at, which is their channel of choice, which creators they collaborate with, and their style. Make sure to do your due diligence when it comes to learning about the brand.
- Know your follower demographic – Knowing your follower base will greatly help you demonstrate the value you can bring to the brand. The average age group, top location, and gender of your audience are some of the key information points brands usually like to know.
- Work on your personal brand – This one goes without saying, but how you present yourself on social media is critical for the brands. Your audience should see you and know you, and brands need to see this.
- Introduce yourself properly – When reaching out to brands, make sure to find a specific person and connect them directly, instead of sending emails to addresses like [email protected] or [email protected] Be friendly, but get straight to the point. Explain who you are and how you could help them. Include a portfolio, price cards, and a call to action encouraging them to get back to you.
Here are a couple of pitch templates you can use to get started with pitching.
Pitching a new influencer
Hey [THEIR NAME],
I’ve been using [BRAND NAME] for over a year now and [REASONS WHY YOU LIKE THE BRAND]. I particularly love [GET SPECIFIC]
My [SOCIAL CHANNEL] audience is made of 85% [DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION] of [THEIR TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC] who will also love your products.
My posts [LINK TO THE SOCIAL CHANNEL] has a following of [NUMBER] and gets [STATISTIC] a month. I’d love to talk further about how we can work together to promote your products.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!
Pitching for a brand deal
Hello, [THEIR NAME],
I’m just reaching out to say that I love [BRAND NAME] and have been using your products for [TIME FRAME]. One of my favorite products is [ PRODUCT] because [GET SPECIFIC].
I would love to connect and learn more about what your brand has in store and see if there are any opportunities to get involved by promoting your products on my social channels [INCLUDE LINKS]. My audience is [DEMOGRAPHIC DATA] interested in [MORE INFORMATION] who will also love your products.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you![YOUR NAME]
One of the earliest questions content creators ask themselves is “How do I start working with brands?” The first step towards answering this question is finding what you as a content creator stand for and what you want to represent early on. Once you know this, start building a relationship with your community. Couple this knowledge with the strategies and tips discussed above, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a competitive advantage. Be patient and give yourself some time to try things to see what works best for your niche. You’ll get your first brand deal in no time. Good luck!