How to Stand Out in Collaboration Partnership Requests
You want to start influencing. But where do you even start? You've always been the type of person to be up-to-date on trends, gadgets, and the next cool thing. People value your opinion and buy products due to your recommendation, so why are you doing it for free?
As a Social Media and Brand Manager for a startup in this digital age, I recognize the value of a strong Influencer Outreach program. "FOMO" and "viral-factor" is what sells these days. We're in a capitalist society where it's survival of the fittest for companies. There are so many good products out there, it's really about who can be the coolest, sexiest, and trendiest. Marketing and branding is everything. Products want to be considered the best available in the market, and dedicated, vocal, and strong advocates are the easiest way to gain credibility.
Create a Media Kit
According to CP Communications, a media kit is a document containing information about your business, product or event (https://publicrelationssydney.com.au/media-kits-what-is-a-media-kit/). As a Social Media and Brand Manager, I'm always impressed when an Influencer is prepared with a media kit. Even though our company works strictly in trades, it's nice to see what you can offer the company. Because let's be honest, requesting a collaboration can feel like asking for a hand-out, and you want to look as professional as possible.
Most, if not all marketing managers are extremely data- and test-driven, so the advantage of having a media kit available shows that you can provide a return on investment (ROI), even if it is just an exchange of services, or an ad spend of $0 (cost of product if you want to be technical). Startup companies and small shops should have no problem exchanging product for a dedicated post, granted you can give them traffic or conversion in return. Because honestly, if we want a guaranteed-successful campaign, we can just pay a minimal amount for Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
What to Include in a Media Kit:
- Short (2-3 sentence) bio or mission for yourself or your brand
- All of your social media handles (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Your percentage of engagement (# of likes and comments/# of followers)
- Services you can provide
- (Instagram post to X amount of followers with X% engagement and X profile views per week, YouTube video with X amount of subscribers with X amount of views and X amount of profile views per week, Blog with X amount of unique visitors and X amount of views per week)
- Brands/Companies you've worked with (if available)
- A couple photos that depict your brand
- Keep your media kit to one page, similar to a resume.
Marketing Managers are visual and data-driven. We need to digest things thoroughly but quickly in order to make smart, strategic, as well as creative decisions to, above all, benefit the company they work for. They need dedicated people on their team. A way to show this is by showcasing your passion through your kit!
Don't Know Where To Start? Contact Me for consultations or a media kit template!
Align Yourself with the Company's Brand
This will take research. When you're crafting your proposal email to your potential partner, it's always important to recognize their mission statement. This can usually be found on their website or social media pages. Mission statements are what drive companies and what they're supposed to stand for and be motivated by. If your goals are the same as theirs, why wouldn't they work with you?
There is a touch of ass-kissing involved here, because at the core of this, you're trying to persuade someone to give you a free item. An item they're currently charging people full-price for. Give them a reason to want to work with you. Complimenting their content or marketing strategy is always a win, or you can point out how the company has or will impact your brand and your followers, and how you plan on converting your audience through this collaboration.
Another thing you'll want to include is a description of your audience and common demographics. This should be mentioned in your media kit somewhere, but if your common demographic is millennial women who are ages 20-34, you might want to mention that to the fashion, makeup, motherhood, or technology brand you're contacting. If you have a reach in a market that is valuable for them, they will want to learn more about what you can offer for them.
Need help crafting an amazing partnership proposal email? Contact me!
Don't Be Salty
This sounds harsh, but startups are busy places where people can wear a lot of hats. Some projects take priority over others, and you have no idea what the Social Media Manager of a company has to do, so respect their time. If you sincerely can't wait and want the product (and can afford it of course), just buy it and do a review anyway. Now you can say whatever you want without being tied down to a contract, and you have full creative license over what you post. You may be out X amount of dollars for the product, but at least you have full control over your content.
In addition, I know I relate to the scatter-brained startup employee a little too well; I have things that have immediate deadlines that get sprung on me and emails can start to pile up. Sometimes I don't get to collaboration requests until almost 3 weeks after they've sent in a request. In my space, time is money because our product can be done starting at a certain gestational age and we have a very eager demographic.
My point is, if you don't hear back from a company, don't be upset and trash talk them. Go out and buy the product, do a review, tag them, and even email them with it following up. If they have other products, they'll probably send you one of those for free to review too. I've definitely been in that situation with influencers before, and I've developed some great relationships from it. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!