how to grow your business

5 Little Knows Tips for Working With Brands

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I’ve been getting asked left and right for tips about working with brands. We all know by now the “be yourself”, “communicate”, “show interest on their page” tips, but there has to be more to it than that, right? RIGHT! I put together a few tips that I haven’t seen discussed much anywhere else that I feel every blogger and Influencer should know before stepping into the collaboration world.

Grab your notebook, and a cup of coffee (of course), so we can dive in!

  1. Send your pitches during “working business hours”

    This mean you should send your emails sometime between 9-5pm their local time. If you are from San Diego, CA and the company you’re pitching is in New York, pay attention to that three hour time difference. If you send your email at 4:30pm PST they’re receiving it at 7:30pm EST and are likely not in office to get that notification! Your email could get buried under other emails before they get in the next day. It’s best to catch a company when they’re at their desk sometime in the morning. What I recommend is scheduling your emails to send or have the pitches pre-written and saved as drafts. You can set a timer on your phone to go off as a reminder for you to send them out.

  2. Follow up!

    Whether its following up from an initial pitch or if you and a company were mid-conversation and they “ghosted you”...FOLLOW UP. Don’t take their non-response personally. Brands get so many emails every day negotiating collaborations left and right so it is very possible your email just slipped through the cracks. They are going to pick bloggers that show interest in their company and by you following up, you immediately stand out as one of those bloggers!

  3. Email over Instagram messenger:

    If you think your Instagram DM’s gets filled up fast, imagine the Instagram DM messages of a business with amazing products! While I do think it’s possible to pitch to a brand through Instagram, I think going through email is an added perk and shows professionalism. There are going to be countless bloggers, Influencers and people in general on Instagram who just want free products or unsure how to pitch and will message a company saying “Hi, love your products! Let’s collab!” If you take the time to write up a professional email and send that to them, you stand out like the moon among stars, you’re 100 steps ahead of the game!

  4. You can negotiate non-monetary trades:

    Don’t worry, I’m not just talking about trading products for posts. We want to “grow out” of those offers to receive payment for our hard work, but what if the brand doesn’t have the budget but you still want to work with them?
    The goal for these collaborations is for them to be mutually beneficial right? We are past the days where free sunglasses pays for your time. Luckily there are so many other options that can benefit you! Here are a few things you can ask if they can guarantee when agreeing to terms of the collaboration:

    • Can they post your photos on their feed?

    • Can they share your blog on their website?

    • Will they allow you to do a story takeover and get in front of their followers?

    • Can they agree to send you a testimonial of their experience working with you at the end of our collaboration? This helps builds a “resume” for when you want to land that BIG DEAL in the future.

  5. You have a voice and a choice.

    Not only are brands picking which Influencers they want to work with but you have every right to choose which brands you work with (or don’t work with). If you struggle with “saying no” to companies and you have no idea how to say it without coming across mean, download my templates silly! They’re free! I have 5 different templates that you can use to say no for 5 different reasons.

There you go! Did you learn something? If you’re reading this blog on your phone, screenshot your favorite tip and share it on your Instagram story (don’t forget to tag me @itsmodernmillie for a feature). I’d love to hear what helped you the most!

Follow your joy,

Millie

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What you need to know before working with brands!

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“I want to be an influencer that works with brands but no one is reaching out to me as often as I would like.”

“I’m tired of sitting around and waiting for collaborations. I want to take action into my own hands but I just don’t know how”

If you have ever thought, or are currently thinking, something similar to these, you are in the right place.

We all want to know the secrets when it comes to reaching out to brands and getting endless partnerships. Over the past few months I've been fortunate enough to gain experience in this area and I’m about to spill the tea. Now, I’m no “expert” on the topic but I most definitely can not wait to share with you everything that I’ve had to learn the hard way, so that you don’t have to.

First, let’s get something straight. If you are here and you are thinking to yourself:

  • I don't have enough followers to work with brands yet.

  • I don’t think brands would want to work with lil ol’ me.

  • I don't have the skills it takes to pitch to brands.

Write those thoughts down on a piece of paper and set it to flames. THOSE ARE COMPLETE LIES. Your voice matters. Your art matters. Your perspective is a perspective no one else has. Embrace it. Own it. Flawnt it.

I received my first partnership at 3,000 followers and I even know people who have 1,000 followers who work with brands on the daily, so myth busted.

Since there are a lot of tips I can give you when it comes to this topic, I'm going to be splitting this up into two different blog posts:

First, today, I will give you 5 general guidelines to follow when working with brands.

Second, will be exactly how to craft your pitch and what you should say when reaching out to brands. How about you take a quick second to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out on that post! I’ll be right here waiting for you when you come back.

All signed up? Good! Let’s dive right in:

Tip #1: Is this brand in line with the message I am sharing with my followers? Work with brands that you genuinely support or products that you will actually use. The purpose of this is to keep your page as authentic as possible and for you to remain YOU. Once I agreed to do a collaboration with a brand solely because it was paid and I wanted the money. The product wasn’t even something that I would use...ever. Then when I posted my agreed post, it was the worst engagement I had ever received on a collaboration, my followers could tell this wasn’t genuinely me! Stay true to who you are, don’t sell out.

Tip #2: Pay attention to their preferred method of communication! When reaching out to brands check their bio. If they have an email listed always reach out via email. I prefer this because 1. It looks more professional and 2. As your Instagram grows, your DMs grow. Email is the easiest way for me to keep track of my collaborations. 3. If Instagram dies today, you have stocked up on multiple brands emails and can continue to communicate with them. If they don’t reply to your email in a week, you can always send a follow-up through DM.

Tip #3: If you are planning to pitch, don’t ask for free stuff. I'm sure you're thinking “Isn’t that the goal here Millie?" And yes, technically you are correct, most collaborations are in exchange for product. However, that should not be your intent for the collaboration. If you directly say “send me x, y and z” brands can read right through you and will be able to tell that you're Pitch is not genuine. Your intention should be “How can I help this brand?”, “What do I have to offer to them?”. We’ll that more about this in my next blog post…

The goal should not be for selfish gain, but for mutual growth.

Tip #4: Treat yourself as a brand/business. This is very important when it comes to communication and professionalism. We all get those people ‘slidin in the DM’s’ trying to get our attention. “Hey, let’s shoot”, “You’re beautiful. What’s your number?”, “How much for sessions?”. As flattering as they may be, if that person spent a little more time crafting a detailed message, we would probably spend our time to reply. Same goes for brands. They are more likely going to work with an influencer who took the time to write them a professional email rather than the person who DM’d them saying “Love your products. Let’s collab” *insert mic drop*

Tip #5: Engage with them. I have said this before in a previous blog post but here we go again! There’s nothing a brand loves more than a truly dedicated and excited supporter. Follow them, comment on their photos, turn on their post notifications for the time being, etc. Just like your mother/father/teacher taught you growing up: treat others how you want to be treated.

That wraps it up for today folks. Remember, my next post will be about crafting the perfect pitch! I will teach you exactly what to say to get a brands attention and some proper etiquette tips. Sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss out!







How To Get brands to notice you

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Being an influencer on Social Media is becoming so trendy that many brands are seeing the benefit of investing more of their marketing budget toward Micro-Influencers. If you are actively involved with social media and consider yourself an “Influencer” then you have most likely had your share of lavish watch or handcrafted jewelry companies reach out to you for a TFP (trade for post) agreement. The excitement of your first collaboration is a game changer:

“Someone wants to work with lil ol’ me!?”
“I’m finally on the right track”
“This is it. This is my moment and it’s just the beginning”

But after a just few of those social media successes the excitement starts to die down or brands stop reaching out.

If you’re right there with me and have your hand waving in the air yelling “YES, Millie, this is me” (or even if you haven’t experienced a brand collaboration yet) you will definitely relate to my next question:

“How do I get LEGIT brands to reach out to me with quality products?”

Now, if you want me to answer that question honestly…

you don’t.

If that is your main concern, then let me stop you right there…

your mindset is wrong!

Technically we have no control when it comes to what other brands do. We can’t force them to click on our profile and write an email to us - well we COULD but that might lead us to jail and we wouldn’t want that, there’s not many brand collaborations there ;)

HOWEVER, do not worry! There are still components we DO have control of that will make brands want to reach out to us and those components are what we are going to focus on today.

Now first, we need to shift our mindset and adjust the question we’re asking ourselves:

“How can I make my Instagram ‘Brand Friendly’ so when brands come across my page, they will have the urge to reach out to me!?”

Let’s tackle the answer to that question with 5 simple adjustments:

1. Make your profile “clickable
Before a brand even scrolls your feed, what is the first thing they notice? Your username and profile picture! If your photo is a selfie or has a snapchat filter with a username like “milliegirl1234”, I’m sorry, honey, but that is not eye-catching or professional enough to intrigue a prospective brand. Have your profile picture and username match your brand and personality

2. Make your profile public!
I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone reach out to me asking how to get brands to notice them and their account is on private! If your account is on private, no one can see your content, or what you create, or what you are even about etc. If you have reservations about showing certain pictures to just anyone and everyone, then try having a personal account that remains private, and a business account that remains public.

3. Make your bio ABOUT YOU
A lot of people don’t know this but there are websites that act as search engines for brands to easily find influencers by looking at key words from your bio. For example, if a brand is looking for Influencers in “San Diego”, they can search that as a keyword, and if “San Diego” is in your bio, you will pop up on their list of potential Influencers. Your bio has a limited amount of characters so everything a brand should know about you needs to fit in there. Maybe it’s time to put your favorite quote as a caption to a photo instead of taking up important space in your bio.

4. Make your feed/content consistent
This piece of advice is one that I’m sure we have all heard a million times. Although it is the most common advice you hear, it is also the most crucial to growing your account and maintaining a “brand friendly” feed. With consistent coloring and photos focused on your niche, brands will know by a simple glance at your feed what YOU are about, if your style matches their style, and exactly what type of content they can expect from you when working together. Here are two examples:

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The first one is an example of an inconsistent feed. Yes, maybe the pictures INDIVIDUALLY look great, but as a whole they are kind of all over the place. Is this a food blogger? Photographer? Just someone posting photos with their friends? It doesn’t give the brand a clear image of what they can expect when working together:

The second feed has consistency in coloring from the highlight covers to each photo. The brand will look at this feed and know exactly what style photo they’ll get in return if they choose to work with them

5. Be on-top of your engagement
It is not about numbers anymore. Well actually, let me rephrase that - It’s not about your number of followers anymore. Brands can spot someone who bought fake followers in a heartbeat, they would rather work with someone who has followers who truly believe in them. What they are looking for are Influencers with a 3%+ engagement. What is engagement? Engagement is the percentage of your followers that are engaging with your photos.
For example, if you have 10,000 followers, on average they are looking for a minimum of 300 likes per post (of course the % of engagement varies per brand).

6. BONUS TIP: Reach out to them!
This is my personal favorite. If you want a brand to notice you, it’s okay to kind of “get in their face”. Turn on their post notifications, engage with their posts, buy their products and post photos using them, tag them etc. Just make sure you don’t come across an overly obsessed and attached ex.

With all that being said, we can make our account as “brand friendly” as possible, but after all those tips are applied, why WAIT for brands to reach out to you? Why not reach out to them yourself!?

Next week in my blog I will be posting some tips when it comes to “How to pitch to brands”. This can seem SUPER intimidating, but after applying my tips, you may just get brand deals left and right.

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