? IE 106: Latest Trends when Pitching Brands for Sponsored Content

Anybody who has been working online for 6 months or more can tell you that things change rapidly in the online world. Social media changes, search engines change, businesses change. The things that worked last year don’t work this year.

Today, we are going to talk about how to change along with the online space and how to be up to date on the newest and best ways to work with brands.

IE 106: Latest Trends when Pitching Brands for Sponsored Content

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Latest Trends with Pitching Brands

You guys, we are squarely into 2019! I want to be sure you know about my live event that is taking place in April of this year. We will kick off the weekend with a cocktail cruise on April 4th of 2019 on beautiful Lake Norman and then on Friday, we will jump right into 2 full days of training.

Influencer Entrepreneurs Academy will not only give you the opportunity to hear from experts in the blogging industry but you will also a chance to put the strategies they teach into practice in your own business. This conference will be unique and not like any conference you have ever attended.

You will have the opportunity to be in a mastermind with other women who will push you forward and who can give you feedback as your target audience. Be sure you grab your ticket today as they are going fast! I hope to see each of you there!

4th Quarter Brand Emails

When this episode airs, we will have just finished quarter 4 of 2018. And what happens to bloggers who have been working with brands for a while is that your inbox can fill up with emails from brands.

The reason for this is that brands have a yearly advertising budget and sometimes, there is money left in that budget when December rolls around. So they want to use the rest of that money working with bloggers.

The brands are going to reach out to bloggers that they have worked with before or those that they have established relationships with.

Why You Need to Establish Relationships with Brands

If brands are reaching out to bloggers that they have relationships with, we should be asking ourselves how we can build those relationships with the brands so that they think of us when they have extra money to spend.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that, while tagging brands on social media is the best way to get their attention, that doesn’t mean that you will immediately get a contract with them. In fact, you likely will not.

Everyone is tagging brands in their posts these days. You won’t be the first one to tag the brand and you won’t even be the only one on that day. Because of this, you need to begin to build a relationship with the brand you want to work with.

How to Build Relationships with Brands

You don’t build relationships by tagging a brand in one 15-second story. You need to be able to share with a brand who your audience is and why they would love the product that the brand sells. The brand needs to understand the value of their product to your audience.

You have to understand that this is not about you. It’s not about how many followers you have. It’s all about engagement.

How many of your followers comment on your posts or DM you after a story? Do you know any of them by name or know things about them or their families? Brands want to see that you have that type of relationship with your audience.

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Using Instagram Stories to Engage Your Audience

A brand is more interested in how you use stories on a daily basis than they are in the fact that you are tagging them.

If you only do a story when you want to tag a brand, they aren’t going to be very interested in talking to you. Brands want to see you using stories for your audience and your audience connecting with you over those stories.

You also need to be using every facet of the platform. Are you using stickers or gifs on your stories? Do you do polls so that your audience can chime in? When is the last time you asked a question using the question/answer feature and had your followers talk to you? Have you ever given your people a chance to “ask you anything” using that feature?

If your audience doesn’t know how to engage with you, it’s likely that you don’t know your audience very well. And brands don’t care if you have a million followers if you can’t show them why your audience would benefit from their product.

Using Case Studies to Build Your Business

You can have a million page views a month and it doesn’t mean that brands are going to want to work with you. Brands care about the end user, not you as a blogger.

If you don’t know your audience, you need to get to know them. You need to find out what types of content resonate with them and create more of that content. Brands want to know that you can create the kinds of content that your audience wants and will engage with.

If you don’t know how to find out what your audience wants, you can do a case study to find out. Don’t let the words “case study” freak you out. It’s simply a way to gather information.

So I would put out a certain type of content and measure the engagement I get from my audience over it. Let’s say I want to offer a brand 5 stories that will stay on my highlight reel for 14 days.

I would need to do a test case by producing 5 stories on a similar topic and leaving them on my highlight reel for 14 days. I would measure the level of engagement and views my audience gives me over that content. This way, I can answer the brand’s questions about audience engagement.

Just because you have never worked with a specific brand doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified to work with them; you just have to show them that you know what you’re talking about.

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Market Yourself as a Business

One of the hottest trends right now is that brands don’t want to work with people who are suddenly “Insta-famous.” They want to work with people who are building a business.

Unless you have a goal of where you are taking your fame, brands are more likely to choose to work with someone who has a plan for the future. Because let’s face it, the algorithms will change again. And where will your Insta-fame be when things change?

What happens when the topic you want to talk about is no longer acceptable on the platform where you are a star? Things change quickly.

You need to be able to prove to a brand that you have a plan and that your audience is engaged with you and is sticking around for the long haul.

Keep Track of Your Interactions

Which platform is performing the best for you as far as interactions with your audience?

This is such an important point and it needs to be stressed over and over. If the majority of your traffic comes from Pinterest, how are you capturing those people? Typically speaking, Pinterest visitors are there and gone in a matter of a few seconds. If you don’t do anything to capture their attention and better yet, their email address, you are losing them permanently.

Brands want information about your email list. You should be prepared to share your open rates, click through rates, where they come from, and the kinds of engagement you get from them.

Your email list is the most important thing you have as a blogger who not only wants to work with brands but who is building a real business. You can certainly sell to your audience through affiliate links, but you also have the opportunity to sell your own products to the people on your list.

If you need help with your email list, please go read this post where I share ways to jump-start your list growth!

In case you have never taken my Pitch Perfect Live course, I want to let you know that it is coming up January 28- February 1. Even if you have taken it before, take it again.

Every single time you go through it, you will learn something new. Partly because I keep the content current and partly because as your business grows and changes, you take away different ideas than you did previously.

I’m going to give you a little teaser here and tell you that I will be sharing a secret in this session on how to reach out to brands using Facebook. That’s always been a no-no, so tune in to hear my secret.

Action Steps:

Tired of being asked to create content for free... or better yet, a bag of granola?

Want to give them a piece of your mind? Or hit the delete button? You could...OR, you could steal the emails I use to flip those low-ball product offers into four-figure campaigns!