Repeat after me: I will reach my income goals in 2021.
Now that you have that money mantra fresh in your mind, it’s time to put action to our words. But if you’re newer to the influencer industry and brand collaborations, talking about money or increasing your rates can feel daunting. If making more money from brand collaborations is one of your new year’s goals, keep on reading for 10 tips that you can implement immediately to increase your income.
10 Ways to Make More Money from Brand Collaborations
The best way to tackle any intimidating goal is to break the process down into simpler steps. In this post, I’ll walk you through 10 ways to make more money from brand collaborations. These steps are easy to implement and takes out all the guesswork by setting up a reliable system. This brings me to my first tip…
1) Create a System
The first thing you want to do is to create a pitching system that works specifically for you. Your pitching system is a set of procedures and actionable steps that’ll help you check-off your goals. Your pitching system might include the number of pitches you send out every week and a general outline of how you structure your pitch emails. You can even add details like your research process and how you find brands to pitch to. Once you have the steps of your pitching system outlined, determine the schedule and frequency in which you will accomplish each individual task.
For instance, if researching potential brand partnerships is the first step of your system, determine how many brands you want to add to your list each week and dedicate a specific timeslot to accomplishing your task. Similarly, if your goal is to pitch 7 brands a week, dedicate a specific time to crafting your pitch emails, proofreading them, and sending your pitches out. Your pitching system will give you a fixed set of procedures that you need to go through in order to take action. Not only will it help you save time, but it’ll also allow you to pitch more frequently and consistently. And best of all, having a pitching system in place will make it much easier for you to outsource the entire process.
2) Get Organized
Now that you have a pitching system in place, you need to keep on track of your process in order to stay on top of your tasks. Create a spreadsheet or a workflow on a project management software like ClickUp, Asana, or Trello. When you’ve accomplished a task on your pitching system, be sure to check it off or log it into your spreadsheet. Using the same example of pitching 7 brands a week, you’ll want to log the brands you’ve sent pitch emails to and their status of completion. Are you waiting for a response? Is it time for a follow-up? Or has the brand responded and are you in the negotiation phase?
If you’re using a project management tool, you can set up separate cards for brand pitches and move them into the corresponding columns. This will help you keep track of where you’re at and what needs to be done next. It’ll also help you avoid the embarrassment of pitching to the same brand twice, or not knowing who to follow up with and when.
3) Use Influencer Marketing Platforms
Once you have your system and an organized method to track your progress in place, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of finding, pitching, and securing brand collaborations. If you’re a newer influencer and aren’t ready to send cold pitch emails, join an influencer marketing platform! These platforms take out the guesswork of landing collaborations since brands on the platform are already looking for influencers to be a part of their campaign.
Some of my favorites include Obviously, Collectively, and Fohr. And if you’re looking for more tips on how you can utilize these platforms as a micro or nano-influencer, check out my podcast episode with Mae Karwowski (founder of Obviously), and my student Naomi Genota.
4) Stop Accepting Unpaid and Underpaid Collaborations
Unpaid brand collaborations are a perfect way to build your portfolio if you’re brand new to the influencer industry. However, if your goal is to make more money from brand collaborations, you need to decide when to stop accepting unpaid and underpaid projects. The knowledge and experience you’ve gained from all the brand collaborations in the past add to your value as an influencer. So do not be afraid to charge what you’re worth.
Think about it this way — saying “yes” to every unpaid or underpaid collaboration takes time away from your ability to find and work on higher-paying projects. It might also divert your attention and force you to supplement your income through other means. Recognize the value you’re bringing to a brand through your work. Your time, experience, and effort is valuable, so don’t undersell yourself.
5) Grow an Evergreen Channel
Owning an evergreen channel like a blog or podcast is incredibly important. A blog or podcast allows you to create the entire user experience. Not only that, your blog and podcast content has the ability to be discovered at any given time. In general, your Instagram content has a shelf life of 72-hours. Meaning after 3 days, your post will get lost and will likely only be discovered if someone goes looking for it. A blog and podcast offer longevity and the opportunity of an old post being discovered several weeks, months, even years down the line.
So how does owning your own blog or podcast help you make more money from brand collaborations? It’s important to remember that brands work with influencers to increase the visibility and sales of their products. Although Instagram is a great way to accomplish that, the return on short-term collaborations are short-lived. Offering a brand a blog post deliverable will allow you to increase your rates while increasing ROI for the brand.
6) Pitch Long-Term Brand Collaborations
Another great way to make more money is to pitch a long-term brand collaboration instead of a one-off, short-term partnership. This is a trend we’ll see in influencer marketing in 2021 that I believe will be here to stay. Similar to how a deliverable on an evergreen channel will increase ROI for brands, a long-term partnership will increase visibility, awareness, and sales for a brand over a longer period of time. And if you’re worried about sharing similar content over and over again, don’t fret. There’s an old marketing adage called the rule of seven, which says that a prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before taking action. Additionally, trends reports are seeing an increase in user-generated content in a brand’s social commerce strategy. Meaning the longer your brand partnership is, the more user-generated content you’ll create for the brand and its product.
7) Involve More Channels
Involving more deliverables across multiple channels is a great way to make more money from brand collaborations. Let’s say a brand has approached you regarding a possible partnership. They might suggest a few Instagram posts and maybe even stories or Reels. If you’re hoping to increase your rate for that particular collaboration, you could pitch a few more deliverables that might not have been an option for the brand before. Sweeten the deal by offering a blog post or ad placement in a podcast episode. Remember, there are more opportunities for discoverability and longevity in deliverables that live on an evergreen channel.
8) Stand Out by Pitching Creative Ideas
This is an incredibly important technique when you’re pitching brands you’d like to collaborate with. Some brands receive several pitches every single day. At first, this could seem intimidating. It also reinforces the notion that the influencer space is “too competitive.” Capture the brand’s attention through your pitch by showing the value you bring to the partnership.
Instead of sending a generic pitch about wanting to work with the brand, show them the potential outcome of your partnership. Share any photo or video concepts and ideas with them. This will help you stand out immediately. It’ll also show the brand how serious and committed you are to collaborating with them. So don’t let your pitch get lost in a sea of similar emails. Show them your creative side.
9) Negotiate Like a Pro
There are two types of negotiations when it comes to brand collaborations. You could either negotiate your pay rate or the number of deliverables. It’s a perfectly normal progression to increase your rates if you’ve been working in the influencer industry for a period of time. As your community and number of engaged followers grow, it’s time to raise your rates. While there are basic formulas to help you calculate how much to charge per post, you also need to factor in time and equipment spent on content creation.
But if a brand doesn’t have the budget to cover your rates, don’t take that as a rejection of the collaboration altogether. Instead, negotiate the number of deliverables. For instance, a brand might ask for 4 Instagram posts, and a set of 4-7 Instagram stories for $500. If they don’t have the budget for a higher pay rate, reduce the number of deliverables to whatever you see fit. This way, you’ll be getting paid fairly for your work.
If you need a little help with pricing your work, this podcast episode with Erin Sullivan will provide you with a basic pricing framework.
10) Network with PR Agencies
A lot of influencers make the mistake of networking solely with brands. If you want to expand your income, you need to expand your network. Start reaching out and start forming genuine relationships with PR agencies. Since larger brands hire influencers for campaigns through PR agencies, getting your name and information on their roster will help you land more higher paying collaborations.
There’s a chance that you’ve already received an email from a PR contact if you aren’t completely new to brand collaborations. This is why it is so important to respond to emails in a timely manner. Not only are you proving that you are great to work with, but you’re also displaying a level of care and professionalism. Keep in touch with your contacts and form long-lasting relationships with your PR contacts. But if you’re looking to get on the radars of more PR agencies, LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Your Money Making Opportunities are Unlimited
I fully believe that the opportunity to make more money is out there. The question is: are you allowing it to flow abundantly to you? Setting up a pitching system and getting organized is a great way for you to put action into your goals. And once you have a clear plan ahead of you, don’t be afraid to ask for what your work is worth. But no matter what you do, always pitch from a place of providing value. Don’t accept every brand collaboration that comes your way. Instead, be selective with the brands you work with. Because if you serve everyone, you serve no one. So be intentional and work smarter.