Photo: Brooke Cagle
I get emails and messages each day from aspiring bloggers and influencers on how to get sponsored work. There is no magical formula and I hope this article is a stepping stone in helping you get financial freedom from your 9-5 job or just to help you bring in part-time income. I have learned that these tend to work through trial and error, and error, and error. Don’t be discouraged if one of them doesn’t work for you — things take time and they don’t happen overnight.
The mindset that you have to have a million followers to get paid work is not accurate. A lot of companies would rather you have an engaged audience who believes in your work than 100K fans who just like all your stuff. Engagement is key.
There is also no magic number of when you should start being paid to do sponsored work. When I had 2,000 followers I reached out to my local Four seasons Hotel and they said yes — you just have to be dedicated to what you are doing.
2. Follow the companies that you love and would love to work with.
By that I don’t mean go haywire and like and comment on their posts right this minute. Casually engage with them. If they host Twitter chats, participate, if they post photos on their Instagram that ask questions, answer some or if they do fun games or activities on Facebook, you can engage them there as well. Just don’t go all stage 5 clinger — that can be annoying.
3. Make a fabulous media kit to send companies.
Your media kit is your resume and should be a 1 page document with your social reach, a headshot, page views on your blog, if you write for any major media networks, what you specialize in, and then you can add various things at the bottom such as brand partnerships, any ambassador roles you have, and so on.
- Your media kit should NOT be your resume.
- You can make one for free using Canva.com.
4. Create a flawless pitch.
You are going to have to pitch companies eventually. I did, and I still do. With every pitch you send you learn more about what you did right and what did not work so well. To break down a good pitch, it should include the following:
- Introduce yourself and a short background.
- Let them know you are reaching out to see if they work with bloggers or influencers (whichever you go by) and then let them know what you are after.
- Tell them about your reach and demographics and how this partnership would be a good fit for them.
- Let them know what you are offering workwise in exchange.
- Thank them for their consideration.
- Leave your blog and social handle(s) at the bottom and attach a media kit.
- Do NOT send a ton of follow-up emails — after a week send one and if you don’t hear from them, they are either too busy or decided to pass up on your offer. Keep in mind they get these emails everyday — it’s not personal.
5. Utilize sites that connect brands with influencers.
There are several platforms like Tribe or Popular Pays that allow you to bid on work for their clients. Make sure when you use these sites that you are clear about what you will be creating for them in photo or video format. The more information you give them, better chance they can understand if it is a good fit.
It would be best to make sure before bidding on work that the brand aligns with you and your brand — don’t sponsor stuff you wouldn’t even use. For example: sponsoring cow milk if you are a Vegan. It won’t fit and it will be noticeable.
6. Cold pitch brands that you love.
With the internet being such a big place with hundreds of millions of users, sometimes it is hard for brands to find you. Don’t be afraid to pitch a brand that you love and would love to work with. Make sure you are looking for the right contact though.
Do NOT email the firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com — search for the Public Relations or Marketing contact for the company. If you cannot find it, you can use those emails above or even social media to ask for those contacts.
7. For every no you get, you are getting closer to a yes.
As sales go, you have to get through all the no’s to get a yes. Don’t be discouraged when you get turned down as brands cannot work with everyone who contacts them. You may still end up working with them down the line, you never know what their current situation is or marketing budget.
8. Network your butt off.
I credit most of my success to networking. I keep in good contact with PR companies I do work for and brands that I have ongoing relationships with. There is no shame in being friendly and staying in touch with people. When it’s a win-win situation for both parties, even better.
9. Write for large publications.
Then watch the emails roll in from companies asking for sponsored content. While you may not be able to write on the big site you publish to on occasion, you can always offer sponsored content on your blog or social channels.
10. Try to offer diversity on your platforms.
For example, my channels focus on food, travel and luxury. I can take on work from a variety of sponsors under those niches. If your channel is all selfies or all doors, you are going to have a hard time getting someone to pay you for another picture of yourself.
The caveat to this is that if you are a lifestyle blogger, you can land sponsorships through clothing companies, make-up, and the list goes on. You just need to make sure you are incorporating all these things into your channels. We all eat, so why not add a food element. There are more sponsors for food than anything else.