Tips for Influencer Marketing and partnering with Brands
With social media more popular than ever, everyone wants to make money from it. Influencer marketing is the hottest new way to bring in some revenue, and lucky for us, PR expert Katherine McDermott is giving us tons of advice on how to be successful as an influencer and find the right brands to partner with.
HOW DID SHE GET HERE?
Katherine got started with PR in college, when she became the Vice President of Public Relations for her sorority. She had no interest in PR at the time, but because the school and their greek life got a lot of attention that year, she ended up getting a lot of media training and experience in handling the media. She ended up picking up a second major, graduating with degrees in English and Public Relations.
After college, Katherine immediately went into the PR field by managing the PR department for a tech startup that ended up growing to be a $200 million company that was almost acquired by Twitter. After that, she worked with HGTV’s Property Brothers as their Director of Marketing and Communications for a small startup they had started. She ultimately decided to start her own company when she realized there weren’t enough resources for influencers, and founded Slightly Savvy. Now she helps influencers and bloggers with PR and hosts the Swipe Up podcast.
WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY MEAN TO BE AN INFLUENCER?
Obviously all of these definitions are loose and get thrown around a lot, but being an influencer essentially means that you’re someone who creates content on a platform to reach an audience. Influencer marketing encompasses the brand side of things. Brands use people who are influencers to gain traction and awareness and drive product sales. Influencers are essentially an extension of the brand’s marketing department.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED AN INFLUENCER?
There are so many avenues for influencers, so it varies a lot. The most basic and popular way right now is consistently creating content on either YouTube or Instagram. A follower count isn’t necessarily a requirement. You can consider yourself an influencer on day 1 of starting your Instagram if your long-term goal is to build an audience and create valuable content for that audience. You really have to be committed and be focused on the long-term, because becoming a full-time influencer typically takes time.
WHAT IS A MICRO-INFLUENCER AND HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT?
People categorize this in different ways, but I categorize it by Mega, Micro, and Nano. A mega-influencer are usually large, celebrity accounts and generally have over 100k followers. A micro-influencer is more standard and has 10k-100k followers. A nano-influencer is someone who is smaller or just getting started but still working with brands and creating content, and usually has less than 10k followers. This is a rough categorization, but it’s a typical industry standard. Follower counts and the industry change so quickly that it’s important to not get stressed over the terminology.
WHAT GOES INTO THE PITCH AND HOW DO WE CRAFT IT TO GET BRANDS TO WORK WITH US?
It has to be a more strategic pitch - you don’t want it to be basic or full of irrelevant information. It doesn’t really matter why you started blogging or why you transitioned onto YouTube. Keep your first pitch fairly short and to the point - around 3 paragraphs - and focus on pacing the most relevant and important information before quickly wrapping up.
If you want to pitch to brands, don’t get stuck in the waiting phase; just send the email.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS FOR ACTUALLY PARTNERING WITH A BRAND?
If you feel like you have a social media following and want to start partnering with brands, the first step is to pitch yourself like a publicist. Make sure you have all the necessary information they need in your pitch without all the unnecessary fluff. You need a strong foundation for pitching yourself. The second step is to price yourself like a business. If you want to operate as a long-term influencer, you need to price yourself with consistent, flexible, and custom pricing that you can lean on. Then the third step is negotiation. This is the part where a lot of partnerships fall flat, because there are a lot of things that go into this phase. You need to be kind but also really firm on what you stand for.
As for finding the brands to work with, the easiest place to start is to reach out to brands that you already love and who’s products you already use. Let them know you love their stuff and that you’d like to partner together. Choose something that’s easy for you to talk about and that you’re passionate about. Once you become a larger influencer, you may start to get a lot of offers to your email and can choose brands to work with that way.
BONUS! CHECK OUT KATHERINE’S BLOG FOR TONS OF TIPS AND RESOURCES ON PR AND BEING AN INFLUENCER!
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