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How to get brand deals as an influencer with a small following (with templates)

Influencers, bloggers, vloggers and pretty much anyone with an audience have seen brand deals as the pinnacle of ‘making it’ since forever. Whilst this isn’t really the case, it is a nice perk to the job. So in today’s article, I’m going to be taking you on a step by step guide to getting brand deals as an influencer.

This will even work for those with small followings. No matter what size your audience is, you can always be useful to some brand, somewhere.

Before we get into it, if you want to watch the video version of this, do so below.


Why me?

First off, a bit about me, why I’m writing this in the first place and why I’m qualified to give you advice.

I started my journey as a blogger back in 2017 and have built a decent audience on my website as well as an engaged, albeit smaller instagram audience too.

And despite not having a huge following like, say, Ali gordon or Alfie Deyes – I’ve managed to do some amazing things over the last 3 years.

I’ve been out to Metz in France, Bergen over in Norway, Lisbon – even a little jaunt to Bristol earlier this year. All paid for.

In fact, when I went out to Lisbon, I had less than a thousand followers.

Having also had the likes of Reiss, Panasonic, ASOS and Canali feature on the blog, I’d like to think I’m well placed to offer you advice on extracting the most amount of cool stuff from the least amount of followers.

So let’s dive into the step-by-step guide to landing brand deals as an influencer (even if you have a small following).

#1 have a bit of bottle

First up is more of a mindset tip.

Have a bit of bloody bottle, balls, gumption – however you want to spin it. You can be the least confident person in the world but it doesn’t matter online.

hands typing

You can hide behind your laptop screen. Honestly, the person on the other end gets hundreds of emails a day. They’re not gonna sit there and think “wow, what a cheeky sod – asking for compensation for creatively promoting our brand to their audience and increasing our sales”. It just doesn’t happen.

I send out dozens of emails a day sometimes. The law of averages dictates that you will get at least 1 or 2 eventually, so step up, puff your chest out and get typing.

#2 Never use contact forms

This is speaking from experience.

When I used to work in customer service and saw someone’s message in our spam box – even when it shouldn’t be – I’d just delete it and laugh.

It was the virtual equivalent of a McDonald’s worker spitting in your burger before serving it up. It was terrible customer service, but it’s what happens.

And if some horrible gatekeeper like me doesn’t click delete, your message will probably just get lost in their system alongside millions of other stupid emails anyway. Plus, it’s impossible to track your email’s progress through the departments (more on that later) this way.

What’s the lesson here? Never use contact forms. Source an email instead (more on that later too).

#3 Who do you want to work with?

So who do you actually want to work with? And how are you gonna get your list together?

Easy peasy. It’s time to go old school.

Get yourself a notebook, write down all the brands you can think of. If you’re into fitness for instance, list all the fitness brands that you can think of straight off the dome.

Then once you’ve done that, break fitness up into every sub category you can think of. Fitness supplements, clothing, home gym equipment, workout programs, etc. etc. etc.

Then go to Google, type in “best…{your niche}” and click the top 5 results. if you want to filter down even more, put your location, so “best ‘your niche’ UK”.

All you have to do then is go through these list articles and write down all the companies you find that you think are cool. Once you’ve done that, start Googling all of the companies and open up their websites. You’re probably gonna have about 50 tabs open at this point, so make sure your computer can handle it.

#4 How to find the right people

This follows on from point 2. As I said, don’t settle for a contact form. Always go for the jugular.

If you can’t find any email addresses on the company’s contact page, there’s a few things you can do.

First, try to look for a “press” section. In there you’ll usually find some contacts and names for people in various PR roles. From there you can find exactly who you want to contact.

Second, if you can’t find the press section in the general site navigation, just Google the company name and add “press”, “press contact”, “pr” or something like that to the end. Usually this will bring up an email address in the page description on the Google results. Failing that, just click the page link and have a poke around there.

And third is our nuclear option. It’s our big red button for landing right in their stinking inbox. We’re gonna go into either the privacy policy, terms and conditions or terms of service. Click Command + F if you’re on mac. If you’re on PC, buy a mac and then click Command + F. When you have the search bar up, type ‘@’ and then boom, you’ll have their info@ email.

It’s not the most desirable option but it’s a million times better than a contact form.

That way, you can customise your email and you’re not limited by their form’s confines.

#5 Streak

This is gonna be a game changer for your pitching.

When I used to hammer the pitches out like clockwork, I had all sorts of different drafts that I would tap into to copy and paste across into pitch emails.

The problem with that is that when you copy the company’s email, you have to revisit the draft and recopy that over for the next pitch. I had to manually type out the subject line every time to boot. It literally took me hours every day.

I also had no way of seeing whether my emails were being opened. It was just a mess. Then I discovered Streak. It completely changed everything for me when pitching with the blog and with my business.

Just download it, sign in with your gmail account and you can start right away.

Turn on email tracking to make sure you can see the progress of your email. This can actually inform the tone you take when following up with potential leads, which is invaluable for closing the deal.

You can also create things called snippets which let you paste your message and your subject line in an instant. This will drastically reduce the amount of time you spend on your pitching workflow.

I’m not sponsored by Streak by the way, I just can’t believe software like this is free. I can’t recommend this enough. Get streak people.

#6 Your pitch

Right. Here we go.

This is what you came for. Here’s the exact template I use.

The key here is to pitch in two stages. Let’s call this the Crawford Method. That’s not its actual name but I want you to think of me when you’re landing collabs with Prada and Versace every week.

In your first email, you don’t want to give much away, so keep it vague.

You just want to say:

Good morning/afternoon {name – if you have it},

Hope you’re well.

I’m emailing you today to check what sort of work you do with online publications?

My name is {name} – I run the {describe your website}, {website} and would love to work with {business} on a collaboration.

Let me know what you think and I can have a full proposal sent over asap.

Best,

{name}

It’s simple, it’s intriguing and they’re gonna come back and ask what you want. This is when you can add in links to your work and sell them.

For your second email, we’re gonna go in for the kill.

Hi {name},

Thanks for the response.

I would love to feature yourselves in an article on {website} alongside some Instagram coverage on a gifting basis.

I’ve attached my media kit which outlines all my key stats, demographics, etc. Hopefully that shows what I can offer, but if you want any more info please feel free to ask.

What do you think?

Best,

{name}

If you don’t have a media kit, don’t worry. You can knock one of them up on Canva for free no problem. If you can’t be bothered to mock one up, just list your stats instead. And if your stats aren’t up to much, just don’t include them. If you can offer something unique to the brand then it won’t matter.

Anyway, once you’ve sent this, it’s game on. Honestly, the hit rate on this email is like 70%. It’s magic.

After that, it’s up to you to work your individual charm if they have any specific questions, but if you’ve come this far you should be golden. Also, don’t forget to follow up. Sometimes, people need one or two chases before they come back to you. There’s nothing wrong with that, they’re busy people, so put yourself in their shoes and just give them a gentle nudge every 2 or 3 days.

#7 Be prepared for some knockbacks

This goes without saying, but when pitching to hundreds of people, you’re gonna get some knockbacks.

Most of them are formal, but some people can be real buggers. One time I had a brand that was being sold on Mr. Porter come back to me and started calling me all sorts.

I can’t remember exactly what now but isn’t it mad to think that your email might be the reason that some CEO somewhere snaps and goes on a murderous rampage decapitating interns?

Anyway what I’m trying to say is get some thick skin. You’re gonna experience a few idiots, but when you’re tearing the town up in your newly gifted Gucci robes, you won’t care that Bob from Lonsdale called you a money grabber.

#8 Quick tips

 

  • Make sure you actually have something to leverage or offer.
  • Never put links in your initial email – it will get you a one-way ticket to the spam box.
  • Follow up 3 times – any more and you’re just searching for no’s.
  • Don’t expect this to pay your bills.

That’s your lot people. How to get brand deals, every step of the bloody way.

Hopefully these steps will have you on your way to superstardom in no time.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my YouTube channel and if you haven’t already, sign up to my damn newsletter.

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