If you’re here, you either attended my roundtable at Alt Summit (thanks for swinging by!), we met somewhere along the way at Alt, or you were a lucky duck and somehow got ahold of this link. Lucky you!
Regardless of how you arrived here, I know one thing. You’re looking to learn more about how to pitch yourself to brands. I want to help you with that.
Nail That Pitch: Tips from an Influencer Marketing Manager
Here’s what I’ll be sharing with you:
- Why do you want to work with brands?
- Why they should want to work with you?
- What does influencer marketing mean to brands?
- How to stop working with brands and start building relationships with brands.
- Perfecting your pitch: My tips, tricks, and other ramblings on how to nail your pitch.
Before we do all of that, here’s a little bit about yours truly…
Seven years ago I started off my career in marketing. I’ve had several titles at a handful of companies (from small to Fortune 500), but one thing I’ve done in every role is work with influencers. I’m a true millennial because I’m always working on a side hustle, a.k.a my blog. As an influencer myself (it feels weird to call myself that, but in the marketing world that’s what we call anyone with an engaged following that is tapping into our target audience), I always bring a lot of insight into the industry to my employer. I’ve worked to build influencer programs from the ground up, strategy, events, down to answering emails from influencers on the day-to-day. I’ve worn lots of marketing hats, but influencer marketing is something that continues to fascinate, which is why I have some much to say about it.
Enough about me. Let’s talk about why you’re really here.
I don’t mean to be harsh, but the influencer world is getting more and more saturated every day. When I started off in this space as a blogger in 2009, it was just bloggers out here. The YouTubers were trickling in too. Then came the Instagramers. The Snapchatters. Then the Podcasters. The Tik Tokers are coming in hot. Hell, it’s getting pretty damn crowded up in here.
The fact is that wanting to work with brands is not enough to get noticed. You need to ask yourself another question.
Why would a brand want to work with me? What VALUE do I offer?
Take a moment to write down what comes to mind. You’ll need this later.
Here are some ideas and reasons why brands may want to work with you:
- You have a GIANT following on a social channel (Channels? Even better!).
- You take amazing photos (Bonus points if you specialize in a certain type of photography).
- You have a small, but mighty group of super loyal followers.
- You lead a Facebook group with members of your local community.
- You cover a niche topic (ex: A YouTube account dedicated to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail).
- You have public speaking experience and love to present.
Now that you have an idea of what you bring to the table, let’s talk about brands and what they are looking for from you.
In the influencer space, we generalize and call brands, well, brands. But what we’re trying to do is work with marketers and in some cases PR folks. Both are a little different but have similar interests in why influencers matter.
What does influencer marketing mean to brand?
As influencers, we spend a lot of time thinking about what we want. We want to be paid. We want long-term relationships. We want to feel like we are two businesses with mutual respect for one another. But have you taken a moment to step back and think about exactly what this partnership means to brands? Why would the influencer marketing manager at [insert your dream brand partnership here] want to work an influencer to get their job done?
Reaching their existing market
Every brand has at least one market they are trying to reach. In many cases, there are several. Maybe it’s millennials, maybe it’s boomers. Maybe it’s women, maybe it’s men, maybe it’s both? You get the point.
Reaching new markets
Brands are businesses. Businesses want to make money. They are always looking for new markets to tap into to expand their potential.
Building brand credibility
Savvy brands want to be trusted and known among their target market. For example, Disney. It isn’t “The happiest place on earth” for no reason. They worked to build that reputation by showing you the time of your life each time you set foot in a park. Influencers help to deliver that message too. Unlike other forms of marketing, getting a message from an influencer feels more authentic to consumers. So guess what? Brands need YOU to help spread the word.
The bottom line– marketers have business goals to meet. Impressions. Reach. Engagements. Clicks. Sales. All of these metrics are regularly measured as part of a marketing campaign. It’s important that you know what these marketing metrics mean and be able to show a brand how you can help them meet these goals.
Now that you have a better idea of the value you bring to a brand and have a better understanding of how marketers work, you need to know how to pitch. In order to nail your pitch to brands, you have to solve this simple equation.
How do you achieve it? It all starts with a pitch.
The Essentials of GREAT Pitch
Let’s break down the anatomy of a good pitch. I’m not going to write a pitch for you. That’s your job. But I will give you an outline to refer to that will help you get noticed.
- Who you are?
- Why you’re reaching out?
- This is also a good place to add something about your relationship with the brand (ex: I’ve been wearing your pink lipstick since 10th grade. I wore it on the day I got married and now I have countless followers on my beauty podcast asking me what is my go-to pink lipstick).
- What do you want?
- A lipstick for review? A sponsored post? To be a paid ambassador? Be clear on your ask.
- Provide value (Review your list of what value you bring to a brand)
- Talk the same language as a marketer. Example: I have 20k Instagram followers, 96% women based in the United States, with 87% of them interested in beauty & wellness.
- Provide metrics and ensure they are up to date. Example: On average my Instagram posts have 5.65% engagement rate with a 50% click-through rate on my IG stories.
- Examples of your work. Make sure to provide links and/or photos, videos, sizzle reels, etc.
- Always end with a clear call to action. For Example: Do you have time this Wednesday to discuss how X brand can be the official sponsor of my road trip to Coachella?
- Ways to contact you. This is so important, yet so many people miss this. Also, don’t be afraid to include an old fashioned phone number and actually speak on the phone. These conversations go a long way.
Woah! We’ve covered a lot here today. Before we say goodbye, I want to share some final thoughts.
- Be savvy, yet simple with your words. It’s not about a wordy pitch. It’s about providing information while hooking the reader into wanting to learn more.
- Don’t take it personally if a brand doesn’t respond the first or second time. They get a lot of pitches, keep reaching out until someone responds or tells you to go away.
- Don’t assume all marketers know how to work with influencers. This is still relatively new territory and now all marketing teams are up to speed. Use this as an opportunity to educate the brand.
- Just because a brand does not have a budget, doesn’t mean you stop pitching. Get to know their marketing plan and when they make campaign decisions. Write this down and plan to align to follow up when the time is appropriate.
- Get on the phone and build a real connection. I’m telling you this goes A LONG WAY.
- Set a reminder to follow up periodically. Let your contacts know what you’re planning, things you’ve accomplished, and new ideas for working together.
- Maintain connections beyond the brand. Connect on LinkedIn. Offer them coffee. Send them a Christmas card. Small gestures go a long way.