Brand Collaborations are one the main ways bloggers and influencers monetise their online presence. However, with many things in the industry, there is not a lot of transparency about it. As someone just starting out as a travel blogger and building my online presence, I decided to write this post to share my experience on how I landed my first paid collaboration. It was with a travel tour company when I had a little over 1K Instagram followers.
The aim of this post is not to educate (although I will share some resources that can help), I don’t believe I know enough to begin educating. The main reason I am writing this blog post is to encourage anyone starting out and go through the entire process step by step.
How I landed my first paid collaboration
It’s almost a cliché to start with a mindset but this is a very important aspect. It is so important to believe that this is something that is possible, and it is something that is possible FOR YOU! The way you think has a huge impact on your ability to learn and grow. It is important for you to identify any ‘self-limiting’ and don’t allow them to control and dominate the thoughts we have about ourselves and our abilities. For me, I had this misconception that my value or worth was tied to the number of followers I had so I needed tens of thousands of followers to be able to work with brands. This simply isn’t true. To make sure I got into a growth modest, I surrounded myself (virtually) with people that are growing and achieving what I desired. This was a game changer for me.
We all know that if you want to go somewhere you have never been, you need guidance. For example, if you are on vacation, land in a new city, rent a car and are trying to get to your accommodation. You will need help – it could be from a map, a person, or sat nav, but you will meet help. In the same way, I needed the help to know how to start reaching out to brands. How do I find the brands/opportunities, how do I find the right contact information, how do I pitch myself etc. I knew I had to invest in resources to help me. I took part in Pelumi of Black Kinstugis working with brands workshop (looks like it’s currently unavailable). This was specifically for creators with a small following and it helped clarify the steps to take before reaching out, during and after. Some other resources that I have come across are:
- Working with brands for micro influencers and brand collaboration bundle
- First paid kit by Mattie James
- Insta Collab Secrets by Chasity Lyn
Any of these bundles will set you on your way to securing that first paid collaboration
- Finding the brand
It goes a long way to pitch brands that already work with bloggers so what I did was scroll through another travel bloggers page (in the same sub niche) and had a look at brands they had working with. When I saw some that looked interesting, I had a look at the Instagram page, website and also o a quick check in news. The reason I do that is because I really want to make sure this brand aligned with my vision. I also want to know if there are any “scandals” our there so, I read reviews and I make sure this is a brand I believe in and can support.
- Pitching the brand
For my first paid collaboration, the brand had a marketing@ email address on their Instagram, so that was straightforward. I knew the email would reach the right person. If it was an info@ email address, I would then use LinkedIn to dig deeper for an appropriate email address.
To pitch, I sent an email based mainly on the email templates in the brand collaboration bundle. The brand replied a few days later and asked if I could also contribute to their blog. I agreed to this, but this was where I asked if there was a budget available. I knew that the deliverables I offered, in addition to a blog post is something valuable and worth paying for. We agreed on a price and went on to secure a suitable time for the collaboration.
- After the collaboration
After the brand collaboration, I followed up with some stats on how the campaign did. This included comments, number of link clicks on Instagram, and screenshots of a follower that made a booking based on my recommendation. After that, I asked for a review and stated that I would love to be considered for any future work.
Landing my first paid collaboration was such an exciting process. I was so happy do something that truly brings me joy and get paid for it.
Here’s what I learnt:
- My online presence is valuable
- Don’t afraid to ask to get paid
I hope my experience helped and encouraged in some way, if you have any other questions at all, feel free to shoot me a DM