If you want to take blogging more seriously and make a full-time income, it is important to diversify your income streams. Brand partnerships are one of the most popular ways that influencers can start making some significant income. This guide focuses on getting brand partnerships as an influencer.
There are many forms of brand partnerships, but the most common type is when free product or payment (or both) is exchanged for content. The content can be in many forms including blog posts, Instagram posts, stories, videos, and more. All of the details are usually agreed upon by the brand and blogger before the campaign begins. These arrangements are great opportunities for bloggers because it is an opportunity to receive a large fee all at once. This is in contrast to affiliate linking, where the blogger gets a portion of every sale they drive. Combining both strategies is the most common way that bloggers build their way to a full-time blogging income.
Fetch works very closely with brands, so we understand what brands are looking for when they want to partner with bloggers. We’ve written an insider guide to getting brand partnerships, so that you can build your brand resume and continue growing.
1. Define Your Own Brand
If you want to start getting more serious brand partnerships (or your first), the most important thing you can do as a blogger is to first define your own personal brand. Before you think about partnering with other brands, you should define your own brand values, mission, voice, and aesthetic. You might be asking, “what does that mean?”
Well, being a blogger means that you will have a platform that you can use to influence the world around you. You are building a voice that people will listen to. You should build your platform with purpose. Define the causes that you want to publicly support and the kind of life and choices that you want to promote. This means creating organic content that is authentic to yourself and the things you believe in.
Don’t Work With Anyone and Everyone
Once brands start approaching you, it may be tempting to work with anyone (especially in the beginning), but this can actually hurt you in the long run and stifle your growth. This will cloud your brand voice and make it difficult for people and brands to relate to you. (Imagine if you believe in sustainable fashion, but have frequently done campaigns with fast fashion companies. It will be hard for a sustainable fashion brand to justify working with you.) It is important to only work with brands that authentically fit with your brand values, aesthetic, and voice.
2. High-Quality Content
One of the most important pieces of getting brand campaigns for influencers is to consistently produce original, high-quality content. When a brand is choosing influencers for their next campaign, they will look at your previous content. This helps them understand what kind of content they can expect from a partnership with you.
Often times, brands repost content from campaigns on their own websites and social media platforms, so having professional, high-resolution photos is a big plus. Avoid selfies and low-quality photos as the brands will likely not repost this kind of content. Have a trusted friend/significant other take your photos instead of taking mirror selfies, or even use a tripod? (see below for some recommendations) Invest in a good camera (many phones have great cameras, if adjusted with the right settings), and you’ll start seeing a major difference in the quality of your content.
3. Frequent Posts
Brands want to know that if they work with you, they’ll be able to reach your audience. To build a loyal audience, you need to be posting frequently. In today’s age, people have so many options for content that if they don’t see new content regularly from you, they’ll forget about you. Be sure to post regularly, so you can stay at the top of your follower’s/reader’s minds. One of the great tools you can use is a post scheduler. On your blog, you can pre-schedule posts to be scheduled. You can schedule it for weeks, months (or even years) in advance. For social media, there are a few great scheduling companies who we recommend taking a look at. These companies provide software that lets you schedule posts for Instagram, Pinterest, and more:
4. Consistent Aesthetic
Your personal brand will become stronger if you have a consistent “look” in all of your content. Experienced bloggers have figured out their “look”, and you can do the same by picking/creating custom filters, sticking with 2-3 fonts, and using the same colors in your content. This will help you create an identity for your blog that brands and your followers can start to associate with your personal brand.
5. High Engagement
There are a few key metrics that brands keep an eye out for when looking for bloggers to work with. While follower count seems like the most obvious one, engagement is actually more important. A blogger with 100,000 followers and 1% engagement technically reaches 1,000 people. However, a blogger with 30,000 followers and 5% engagement technically reaches 1,500 people. Making sure that your users stay engaged with your content through likes and comments will be a key sign of a healthy audience to a brand. High engagement is something you can use to your advantage, because you can use it as leverage to increase your rates.
6. Multi-Platform Presence
When we say multi-platform presence, we don’t mean managing an account on every social media platform. Pick 2-3 platforms that work for you, and then commit to them. At Fetch, we believe that having your own self-hosted blog is one of the most important platforms you can build for yourself because it is one of the only platforms that you can own and control 100%. With other platforms, you are subject to their rules and decisions.
If Instagram or YouTube were to theoretically shut down one day, all of your content would disappear with it, along with your audience. Remember Vine? Many Vine stars placed all their eggs in that basket and then disappeared when Vine was shut down, or were forced to make a big transition to other platforms. We’ve also seen negative impacts when Instagram changed their algorithm. Influencers all over the world found it difficult to get eyeballs on their content after that change, and there was nothing they could do about it.
Control Your Content
With a self-hosted blog, your content will live forever (as long as you keep your website up), and you control anything and everything about it without restrictions. We believe the best strategy is to create a home base for your platform that you can 100% control (we recommend a blog), and then utilize 1-2 other social media platforms to help build your traffic. If you are serious about becoming a full-time blogger, it is important to diversify your presence.
Additionally, brands like having options. It is hard to find the right bloggers to work with, so if a brand likes you, and you can create content for multiple platforms, that is a plus for the brand. This could expand the reach of your content to tap into different parts of your audience.
7. Align with the Brand’s Aesthetic
If you are dying to work with a specific brand, look at that brand’s social media and website to see what kind of content they create. Notice the kinds of colors, settings, locations, and vibe that they consistently publish in their own content and then add elements of that to your own content. Brands will have a much easier time approving you for a campaign if they know you already fit with their brand aesthetic. You can also look at content from influencers who have worked with that brand in the past. See if there are any common elements about them and the content, then start to integrate those elements into your own content.
Additionally, many of these brands could repost your content, so creating content that already fits with their aesthetic will make it easier for them to want to work with you. We recommend looking at your top 10 favorite brands and creating a mood board to understand what kind of aesthetic they are looking for in content. For example, if you are a blogger looking to work with luxury brands only, creating high-quality images that exude a sense of luxury is a great place to start. If you are looking to work with affordable budget brands, create content that speaks to the average consumer and aligns with the kind of content that the brand would be a better match.
Still Be You
We are not saying to completely copy the brand and change your entire aesthetic, but just be mindful of the things that the brand typically includes in their content, then combine them with your own personal brand in an authentic way. For example, if you really want to work with Everlane, because you believe in their commitment to sustainability, but your photos are extremely colorful and over-the-top, it will not match with Everlane’s minimalistic vibe.
8. Being “Brand Safe”
What Does This Mean?
For those who have never worked for a brand before, this is an insider tip to how brands evaluate influencers.
Brands take a risk when they work with an influencer. They are trusting another person to promote the brand and convey their message. Brands use the word “brand safe” a lot when determining which influencers to work with in a campaign. In the greater advertising world, this means keeping the brand’s reputation safe when advertising. The same applies to influencer marketing.
Before a brand decides to work with you, they must make sure that you are “brand safe”, meaning you haven’t violated any of their brand pillars in the past, and that you don’t conflict with the brand’s mission and values. You’ve probably seen the bad publicity that can arise about a brand if one of their spokespersons violates any of these.
Remember when the former Subway spokeman got sentenced to prison? There was a lot of bad publicity around Subway around that time. Or recently, when the newest member of SNL got fired for his racist remarks. Subway and SNL attaches their brand reputation to the “faces” of their brand, and that can sometimes backfire. Make sure to have a clean record for the kinds of brands you are looking to work with in the future.
Clean Up Your Image
If you want to be deemed “brand safe”, avoid endorsing topics like radical political ideals, racism, violence, hard drug use, and other sensitive topics. Of course, we do not want to stop you from speaking about the things that are important to you. But if your goal is to work with particular brands, be wary of their brand values and the types of beliefs they stand behind.
9. Feature Brands Using Affiliate Links
Remember when we said to diversify in point number 6? Well this also applies to your income streams. Even if affiliate linking isn’t your main form of revenue, including them in your posts will show brands that you have experience promoting products. This also makes your sponsored content feel more authentic to your audience because they will be used to you linking products in your posts.
Make sure to include brand names in your post, because this is one of the ways Fetch finds campaign matches for influencers. We are committed to finding the perfect matches between brands and bloggers, so if Fetch can see what kinds of brands you promote, we’ll have an idea of the types of brands and products that would be good matches for you in the future. If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, you can use the Fetch WP Plugin to easily add affiliate links to your post. You’ll automatically get access to our catalog of millions of products from 900+ brands.
10. Join an Influencer Platform
An influencer platform is a place where brands can find influencers to work with. They are essentially giant databases of influencer profiles that brand campaign managers can look through to find relevant influencers. Some of these platforms are:
Fetch is an influencer platform that takes it one step further. They don’t just leave your profile sitting in a huge database of thousands of bloggers. Their team actively finds and matches influencers to active campaigns that fit that influencer’s personal brand, aesthetic, ideals, and content type. Additionally, they have affiliate linking software that makes it easier to make additional revenue from brand campaigns and track the outcomes from the campaign.
*All products featured on Fetch are curated by our editors or Fetch’s AI technology. When you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.*