How to Work with Brands as a Blogger

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So, it turns out you can actually be TOO popular on Instagram.

Have you guys ever heard of the Instagram “sweet spot?” I hadn’t either until about three weeks ago, and immediately, I was obsessed.

To brands and PR agencies, the Instagram sweet spot can be defined as between 10k-35k followers or is also sometimes known as a “micro influencer.”

I work in Public Relations, so this means I’m on the flipside of blogging. I am the PR girl reading your pitches, drinking a venti iced coffee from Starbucks, and combing through lists of hundred potential and influencers to work with. Every day, I’m talking with other PR professionals about the trends we’re seeing in bloggers, campaigns we’re working on, and obviously, Instagram.

If you fall between this 10k-35k Instagram follower range, then lucky you. Here’s how you can leverage that to work with brands.

Focus on building your engagement instead of followers.

There is so much stress and worry right now about Instagram engagement being down, down, down. Just open up Twitter and see how fast you come across a tweet about Instagram being “the worst.”

Brands are starting to pay a lot more attention to engagement rate than follower count for the simple reasons of how easy it is to buy followers or use bots. In the past few years, brands have been burned by throwing a lot of money at influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers and not getting any return on their investment.

Anna Fatlowitz, Senior Social Strategy for KitchenAid, said, “We’ve noticed micro influencers have a more engaged and genuine audience.”

How this helps you work with brands: When I am peeking at a blogger’s Instagram and I see genuine comments from real readers, and I see them consistently on every photo, that makes me want to reach out even if the follower count isn’t incredibly high. You can attract a brand’s attention just with a vibe of engaged and authentic readers.

"You can attract a brand’s attention just with a vibe of engaged and authentic readers."

Use fewer brand collaborations to your advantage in pitch emails.

When you’re reaching out to brands for potential collaborations, you might be worried you don’t have enough followers for them to take you seriously or you haven’t worked with many brands before. I hear these two worries from bloggers all the time.

However, you can absolutely be using this to your advantage, especially since a lot of brands have non-compete agreements, meaning you can’t work with one of their competitors until after a certain period of time. For example, that would look like you not being able to work with Adidas until 8 months after working on a collaboration with Nike.

“With micro influencers, there also isn’t a ton of sponsor saturation, meaning that they likely aren’t working with a ton of competitors,” said Anna Fatlowitz, Senior Social Strategist for KitchenAid.

How this helps you work with brands: When negotiating or email pitching brands, say something along the lines of, “I turn down about 90% of collaboration offers I get, so when I do work with a brands, my readers and audience trust that it’s a product they’re going to really love as well.”

You have 1 on 1 relationships with your readers.

If you’re focused on your readers and you spend time engaging with them every day, you probably know them as Erica and Rachel and Nicole instead of 3 random accounts. And you probably know Nicole is in college where a $60 mascara is beyond her budget and Rachel loves cruelty-free brands and tries to buy clean, organic products whenever she can.

If you’re paying attention, you know your readers way more than any Instagram analytics could ever tell you. So, when looking at brand collaboration offers, you can pick the ones that are truly best for your audience. This means you’re going to have a more successful campaign, drive more sign ups/purchases for the brand, and ultimately, have some amazing statistics and results to show future brand partners.

How this helps you work with brands: Humble brag about your past collaborations when negotiating or pitching yourself. If you can say, “When I worked with Summer Societe wines on their new summer rose collection, they increased their monthly subscriptions by 10% and my readers drove over $1,000 of new product sales,” that is a stand out result to a brand. I guarantee they will take notice of you if you can drive results like that.

So many bloggers think they can’t start working with brands or pitching themselves because they don’t have the follower count that other bloggers do. But seeing yourself in that 10k-35k range can actually be a huge advantage for you, if you’re willing to put in the work to truly get to know your readers and cultivate every relationship in that 10k-35k mark. It’s absolutely doable to start working with brands from the beginning!

Wanna learn how to make Instagram for you? Sign up for our online class, Branding Your Instagram & Perfecting Your Grid! You’ll learn how to curate the perfect feed, set objectives for your account, and more!

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