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How to Pitch Brands as an Influencer to Get More Brand Deals

Last Updated January 16, 2023

Influencers (and previously, celebrities) have been getting paid to promote and associate with brands for as long as time. 

It’s a seemingly fair trade: the brand gets their product/service and name in front of their ideal audience, and you - as a creator - get paid. 

Brand deals are the lifeline of many (and most) creators. Just ask Charli D’Amelio, who reportedly rakes in $100K+ per sponsored post. Here’s an example of an partnership Charli took on with Amazon.

There are a couple of routes you can take on how to pitch brands as an influencer.

You can come up with a list of brands you’d like to work with, and manually reach out to them via Instagram DM, LinkedIn, etc. Or, you can find brands ready and willing to pay you on sites like Collabstr. Alternatively, you can find the person you’re trying to reach and cold email them.

No matter how you get in touch with them, there are a few things you need to know when learning how to get brand deals as a creator:

The Types of Brand Deals

Brand deals can be structured in more ways than one.

Creators can partner with brands for: 

In the case of UGC (user-generated content), you’ll get paid to make content that you don’t even have to post.  All the brand wants is the video asset(s) to then use in their advertisements.

There are a variety of ways you can partner with brands to make a living as a creator.

If you’re an influencer with followers on various social media platforms, you can leverage your multiple audiences into higher-paying brand partnerships. These deals would have posts spanning different platforms.

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There are 2 main structures brand partnerships take on:

Flat Fee Brand Deals

Brands pay creators an agreed-upon dollar amount, in exchange for a certain amount of social media posts (known as deliverables in brand deal-speak).

Pros: Guaranteed income, no matter how the post(s) performs and how many conversions you drive.

Cons: You miss out on the upside. If you’re confident in your audience’s affinity to you, you may want to be compensated a smaller amount for every sale or signup you drive. This is called an affiliate deal.

Affiliate Brand Deals

Brands agree to pay creators a certain amount of money for each sale or sign-up they drive. This amount is always smaller than a flat-rate partnership.

Pros: For creators with large and engaged audiences, this can sometimes lead to a higher-paying partnership than if they took the flat rate option. There is often no limit on the affiliate payout amount. The more sales you drive, the more you get paid.

Cons: No guaranteed income. Your pay relies solely on how well the post(s) performs. This can get tricky, as sometimes it takes more than one integration for your audience to feel comfortable enough to purchase from the brand, and initial success (and payouts) may suffer.

Generally, creators with larger audiences will be able to command large, flat-rate partnerships, and have flexibility in how they structure their deals.

For newer creators, brands will often want to start you off with an affiliate deal. When thinking about if you want to take an affiliate deal, think about if you can see your audience actually buying/using the product or service.

You can read more about affiliate marketing vs standard influencer partnerships here.

How To Pitch Brands as An Influencer

As a creator curious about how to get brand deals, there are 3 questions you need to ask yourself before you even reach out to any brands:

  1. Does the brand’s product/service fit with your content?

  2. Will it benefit your audience?

  3. Do you genuinely see your audience being willing and able to pay for the product/service?

If not, the brand just likely isn’t a good fit for you - and that’s totally okay. If yes, move on to the next step.

When thinking about how to get brand deals, it’s important to think about what you can offer the brand, and how it fits with their strategy on social media right now.

Remember, this has to be a mutual exchange.

Is the brand partnering with a lot of TikTokers right now? Do you see a lot of partnerships with them on YouTube? 

Let’s say you mainly make content on TikTok, you want to partner with Nike.

You now need to get in touch with Nike regarding a partnership, so that if you’re not on their radar already, you will be now. 

Some outreach methods are better than others, but the goal is the same: Get your content in front of the decision-maker’s eyes. 

As a creator, this is likely employees with “Influencer Marketing” in their job title.

Though Instagram DM’s are easy, they are not the most effective way of reaching out in terms of how to get brand deals as an influencer.

A more effective way of reaching out would be to find the contact on LinkedIn, and either reach out via LinkedIn, or use a tool like Hunter.io to find the person’s email, and reach out that way.

Another way of getting in touch with brands would be to have them come to you. You can set up a profile on Collabstr to showcase your content, and have brands reach out directly to you.

In terms of searching for contacts, using our Nike example, you can Google “Nike Influencer Marketing Manager”. If there’s someone on LinkedIn with that title, it’ll pop up in the first few results.

 

 

Now that you’ve got the right contact. You need to craft your pitch. Remember, these people get pitched by creators all day, so it’s important to make sure you stand out.

Stay away from copy and pasting templates to each brand you reach out to. Instead, come up with something personal (and true) to each brand. 

In the most ideal case, you have an idea you want to execute with the brand.

For Nike, you can mention how you’ve been working out in Nike running shoes for 8 years, and potentially that you’ve already featured them in your content.

The point is that the person reading your message knows you actually sat there and wrote the pitch, versus copy and pasting it out. 

Another small but effective touch is writing a quick line about them based on their LinkedIn, to let them know you really researched them. 

An example could be “I saw that you went to USC, how was that? I wanted to go there growing up”. Remember, be genuine.

Example Pitch to a Brand

An example pitch to a brand that you can use via LinkedIn or email can be:

“Hi {Contact Name}


{Something personal about them}


I’m {Your Name}, a health and fitness content creator with 51,000 engaged TikTok followers - and a long-time Nike fan. I’ve been wearing Air Max’s for 8 years, and I’ve previously featured them in my content!


I have an idea for a partnership with Nike that I’d love to pitch to you.


Are you open to me sharing it?”

 

The goal at the start is not to get them to wire you money - it’s simply to say yes to hearing your idea. From here, they’re much more likely to say yes after hearing you out.

Remember, brand deals are supposed to be fun. Anyone can pick up a product and speak into a camera. When thinking about ideas, think about things outside of the box to pitch to the brand you want to talk to.

Here’s an example of a fun partnership between Josh Richards and the men’s soap company Dr. Squatch.

Overall, when thinking about how to pitch brands as an influencer, you must remember to:

  1. Find a brand that’s actually a fit

  2. Find the right contact at that brand

  3. Craft a thoughtful and personalized pitch to them

When discussing how to get brand deals as a creator, pricing your content can become a million-dollar question. How much do you charge for a dedicated TikTok? For UGC? For an Instagram story? What about YouTube?

Knowing what to charge for content is important, as likes and followers don’t pay the bills - money does.

A common misconception when it comes to pricing content is that a high follower count equals larger rates. 

That’s simply not true. 

What really matters is engagement rate: The percentage of your followers that actually like/interact with your content, rather than scroll right through.

Let’s draw up an example:

Creator A has 1M Instagram followers and a 10% engagement rate. They get 100,000 likes per post.

Creator B has 500K Instagram followers and a 20% engagement rate. They also get 100,000 likes per post.

Should Creator A be paid double what Creator B gets paid, when the same amount of people like their posts?

The big point here is that when it comes to your rates as a creator, the strength of your community matters more than the number of followers you have.

If you want to check your engagement rate, Collabstr offers a free Instagram engagement rate calculator.

CPM

You may hear the term CPM get thrown around in the creator space a lot. All this means is the amount of money brands will pay you per 1,000 views your video gets.

Let’s say you charge a $10 CPM, this means that for every 1,000 views your video gets, the brand will pay you $10.

If your videos average 50,000 views per post, and you want to charge a $10 CPM, you would charge $500 per TikTok.

Common CPMs for influencer brand deals vary by social media platform and content niche. Finance brands, for example, pay higher CPMs than fashion brands, because a customer is worth more money to a finance brand. 

A general guide when pricing your content is to aim for a $7-$10 CPM. 

Steps to price your content

  1. Use a calculator to add up your last 30 videos’ view numbers, and divide that number by 30.

  2. From there, divide the new number by 1000.

  3. Multiply this number by your target CPM

  4. That’s your rate!

You can also use Collabstr’s Influencer Price Calculator to get a sense of what your content is worth to brands. Simply enter the platform you create on, the niche you create content in, and the number of followers you have.

 

Usage Rights

As TikTok and its paid ads platform have matured, usage rights have become a hot topic in the creator space. 

Simply put, usage rights are the length of time the brand you’re working with can use your content on their organic and paid media channels. 

You know when you’re scrolling through TikTok and you see an ad come up that was done by a creator you know? The brand paying for that ad also paid the creator for usage rights on the video they’re paying to promote.

But when it comes to structuring your own partnership, thinking about usage rights can be tricky. What do you charge? How long do you give the brand access? Are you getting a fair rate?

These are all important questions to ask when you think about how to land brand deals as an influencer.

There is a general rule of thumb for mid-size creators: Charge 15%-20% of the deliverable price - per month - for the brand to use your content in paid ads.

For example, if you agree to partner with a brand and the deliverable is 1 TikTok for $1000, and they want to use the content you create in their paid ads, you can charge $150-$200/month for usage.

The influencer marketing industry is fluid, and while this is a general benchmark, it is always worth testing what works best for you when working with brands.

A word of caution: Make sure to read every word of the contracts you get as a creator. Certain brands have been known to sneak usage rights into the deal without verbally discussing them with you, the creator.

Final Thoughts

Pitching yourself to brands for sponsorship can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It isn’t easy, but you can do it. Some points to always remember when considering how to pitch brands as an influencer are:

Written by Christian Di Bratto

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