One of the questions I always get is how do you find brands that collaborate with small influencers? Brand collaborations are one of the main ways I make money as a content creator. I worked in brand management for years and now being on the other side is super fun for me.
When I advise bloggers and business owners, I often get the question, “How do you start working with brands that collaborate with small influencers?”
Determine your goal
The answer is it depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to make money, I recommend starting with an agency. On the other hand, if your goal is to build a longterm career of brand collaborations, I recommend building up your portfolio and testimonials. If you’re focused on the longterm, don’t worry about revenue while you’re getting started. It’s important to build the right base, which can take 6 months to a year. I ran my business as a side hustle for nearly 3 years before going full-time. When you’re running a side hustle there’s only so much time in the day!
How to get started
The first thing you will need is a media kit. You can create them easily on Canva or buy a template. When I first got started, I bought mine from Jenna Kutcher. Remember to share stats that make you look good. If you have a smaller following, focus on engagement. If you’re not strong on a certain channel, leave it off of your media kit. Set a goal to collect 3 testimonials and build a portfolio of 5 different brands.
Set your strategy
When you’re thinking about brands that collaborate with small influencers, you’ll often find in-kind opportunities. In-kind opportunities are also known as product exchange. When you’re getting started, I highly recommend beginning with in-kind opportunities because they’re often easier to achieve and you’ll feel more accomplished. Getting some momentum behind you and your business will pave the way for more brands to sign on.
It’s important to be an influencer that a brand wants to partner with, which means you need a consistent Instagram presence, strong blog traffic as well as a presence on other social media channels. I’ve detailed my blogging journey to 100,000 pageviews here.
Join an agency
There are plenty of agencies to join that will curate brand opportunities for you based on your size, style of content, and look & feel. Here are a few of the agencies I work with:
Ahalogy is my favorite platform by far. They’re very real campaigns that are often focused on a brand in a retail location (like Target or Albertsons).
I joined Clever when I first started. While they have plenty of campaigns, I haven’t found it to be a successful platform for me.
Collectively is another agency where I belong. I absolutely love the briefs they share. I’ve done a handful of collaborations with Collectively and the campaigns are super well run. They’re on time, well described, and are profitable, too!
Fohr is another super popular platform among bloggers. They also verify your reach so you can get more meaningful (and lucrative) partnerships. What I love most about Fohr is the media kit they create for you. While I wouldn’t personally print it and use it directly, the stats are perfect.
Sway is a popular platform among the blogger community. Their campaigns often seem to be geared toward motherhood. I personally haven’t found success here, but I would recommend trying it.
I recommend signing up for 2-3 platforms and trying them for 90 days. See what works for you and lean into 1-2 platforms ultimately. You can always add a new platform, but when you’re starting out, I suggest focusing. You’ll be able to find more success through focus and learning what each agency looks for vs. spreading yourself thin.
Pitch brands you love
One area people overlook is pitching brands you already use for in-kind opportunities. Love a particular beauty product? Pitch for it! You’d be shocked to see what you can get by putting together a meaningful pitch that’s mutually beneficial for you and a brand. At the end of the day, brands need meaningful user-generated content. Reaching out to brands you already use will ensure you create authentic content that your readers love.
At the end of the day, there’s no magic equation to finding brands that collaborate with small influencers. It’s trial and error. I highly recommend creating a strategy and sticking with it. If that feels overwhelming, you can always get in touch with me for monthly advising. I meet with clients to help them create strategies that lead them towards revenue streams and meaningful strategies.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.