The Creator economy is showing no signs of slowing down, and more and more Creators in different industries and niches are popping up all the time. With that growth comes way more opportunity for collaborations and partnerships between Influencers and brands and our Community of over 65,000 Creators comes to us for Brand Partnership Tips almost daily. Whether you’re jumping into the world of partnerships—or even if you’ve already done a few—it can be a little overwhelming to know exactly what to do to get the best results.
At Sidewalker Daily we work on both sides of the Influencer marketing equation, helping Creators and Influencers grow their business by working with brands and also consulting with brands on their Influencer marketing campaigns. Working on brand partnerships for over 10 years means that we’ve seen it all. So for the Creators and Influencers who are navigating the process of brand partnerships, this post is going to cover some of the major do’s and don’ts about brand partnerships that you need to know when you work with brands so you can land paid brand deals and make them successful!
Let’s start with the things that you should be doing when you want to work with brands. These tips for brand partnerships are so important to keep in mind when you’re pitching to brands, doing the work for the partnership, and growing the brand relationship.
Do: Have Solid Pitching Documents
Many Creators don’t realize the importance of having professional pitching documents. You need to have a Media Kit to use when you pitch to brands. Media Kit’s are no longer an option in the industry – they are pretty much required. Your media kit should tell the brand everything they need to know about you and even be tailored to the brand as best as possible. If you’re not sure how to design a Media Kit, visit our design studio to learn more about how we can create an amazing Media Kit for you to help you get brand partnerships.
Also, you need to know how to make a proposal, case study and even rate sheet if you’re serious about working with brands and landing paid brand deals. A well-thought out and aesthetically designed set of pitching documents can do a lot of things for you when you approach a brand for a partnership. It can help:
- Tilt the scales in your favor by providing more details into what you do and what value you can offer the brand
- Make you look professional and serious about what you do (and that you deserve to get paid)
- Show off what you can do for a brand and how strong your Influence is to make it a “no-brainer” to want to work with you
This all is especially important if you’re requesting payment and not looking to do free collabs. If you treat yourself like a business owner and present yourself professionally with an amazing Media Kit and pitching materials, then brands will look at you the same way.
Do: Ask For A Campaign Brief
Did you land a paid deal? If so, ask the brand for a campaign brief or guidelines for the content and social posting you agreed to do. Not all brands have done a lot of work with Influencers, but there’s still a high chance that they put together a campaign brief that outlines their goals and guidelines for the partnership and what’s expected of you as the Influencer.
If a brand doesn’t give you a campaign brief, it’s okay to request one or ask them to provide more details. What are some things you can ask them to provide?
- A list of key messages they are looking to communicate
- Bullet points of facts or talking points about the product or service
- Any design assets the brand has for inspiration
- Clear statement of the expected deliverables
- Important background information about the company, its values, or its mission
Not only will this make your life easier, it will limit the amount of time spent editing or revising your content because something wasn’t quite right about your end product. It will also protect you from not following the brand’s wishes, which can hurt your chances of working with them again or cause other issues for the partnership.
Don’t be afraid to ask! Doing so shows your initiative as a Creator and proves that you truly care about your work and want to do the best job possible!
Do: Ask Questions About The Contract
This one is huge. If you sign a contract when you work with brands, (which you should be doing), that means you have to stick to it. It is so unbelievably important that you have clarity around what is outlined in the contract. One, so you don’t forget to do something expected of you and risk the success of the paid partnership. And two, to protect yourself from being expected to do things that you do not want to do (or are not getting paid to do).
You might have the best conversation with a brand leading up to a paid partnership. Even so, the contract that ends up being sent to you can have something in there that you didn’t discuss. We’re not saying it’s always intentional, but it can happen and it’s up to you to get the clarity you need. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask the brand for clarification.
If spending money on a lawyer to figure out the language isn’t something that makes sense for you at the time, you should always feel comfortable to ask the brand questions. A simple, “can you please go over this section and clarify what it means?” doesn’t make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing in the slightest. If anything, it shows that you’re doing your due diligence to complete the partnership in good faith and are smart enough to be safe rather than sorry.
We have a course all about brand partnership negotiations and contracts that will explain proven tactics to negotiate your rates and also cover key contract terms you will likely come across in an easy to understand way! It even comes with a bonus contract template so you can provide the brand with a contract if they don’t have one. You can learn more about our Understanding Negotiations and Contracts Course here.
If you want to have successful Instagram partnerships (or on whichever is your platform of choice), you have to put in the work. For us at Sidewalker Daily, we more often than not like to think that overdelivering in partnerships is an instrumental part in doing that work, even if it means a little extra effort on your part. We’re not saying that you should triple the deliverables for a brand or give them the world, but making sure you did an amazing job and that they feel special can have really positive outcomes for your business long-term.
Think about the human experience; everyone loves something extra! Did they ask for 4 Instagram stories? When they see 6 or 7, they will recognize the extra effort and you’ll stand out as an Influencer who truly cares. We’re not making this up—when we work with Influencers who go above and beyond, we always point it out and appreciate it!
This might depend on where you are with your career. If you’re at the level where you don’t want to overdeliver, then you can just bundle in those fees into your main package so that when you do it at the end, it’s somewhat paid for ahead of time.
It’s time to talk about what you shouldn’t do in a brand partnership. While we could tell you all the positive brand partnership tips in the world, there is something about also knowing what NOT to do that is equally as important. We’ve worked with thousands of Creators over the years, and not all of their brand partnerships have gone the same way. We’ve also had a few not-so-great experiences working with some Influencers and Creators on the brand side, so we want to let you know what doesn’t look great to brands so you can learn how to work with brands the right way and avoid making costly mistakes.
Don’t: Do Not Post More Than You Regularly Would
If you have a partnership coming up, you might want to take a second away from your regularly scheduled programming so that the brand’s post is the focus of your page on the day it needs to go live. Here’s a real-life brand partnership example to illustrate what we mean:
An Influencer was hired to post an Instagram Reel for a brand and because the brand was really excited about the collaboration, they paid a lot of money for it. On the day of the post, the Influencer did something she never did before – posted two Reels on the same day. The first Reel was the brand partnership Reel and the second just a few hours later was not sponsored but did end up stealing the spotlight from the brand’s Reel and actually the sponsored Reel came out as one of the lowest performing Reels on the Influencer’s page. While there’s no official way to tell that this was the reason the sponsored post didn’t perform as well as the one she posted later in the day, it still left a less-than-positive impression for the brand.
Thinking about these little things that may or may not have an impact on the performance of the post is really important when a brand is paying you for the post. Posting an abnormal amount on the same day could indicate to the brand that you don’t value the partnership as highly as you should or result in less views for the sponsored post which could cause the brand to not consider the partnership successful and make you miss out on future work opportunities with the brand at a later date.
Don’t: Do Not Be Afraid To Negotiate
You are building your own business and you have the right to negotiate if you want to! Talking with a brand for a partnership no matter if it’s a 4 figure, 5 figure or even 6 figure deal is super exciting but you also need to remember that once you close the deal – you have to do the work. So when it comes time to negotiate and you don’t think you’re getting a fair deal, you need to value yourself and step up as a negotiator to get paid your worth. We know that sometimes Creators don’t want to sound like a salesperson or they can feel a little awkward about asking for more money. But a partnership should be a win-win situation; both parties involved should feel good about the partnership – after all, it is a value exchange.
Standing up for yourself and negotiating isn’t a negative thing—it’s a natural part of business and most brands are going to expect it to happen. We promise once you understand how to negotiate and learn what goes into a contract that you’ll start to feel confident initiating these dialogues with brands. Negotiation skills are hands-down one of the best things to learn if you’re a Creator who wants to make money, so we put together a negotiations and contracts course to prepare you for those conversations. When you enroll in our Pitching To Brands Mastercourse to learn how to land paid brand deals you actually get the Understanding Negotiations and Contracts Course as a bonus so it’s an amazing deal. You can learn more here.
Don’t: Do Not Be Difficult To Work With
There are some things that Creators do during a partnership that makes them difficult to work with that they might not realize. We wanted to give you some brand partnership examples to ensure you can recognize things that brands might consider a red flag, which could cause you to loose out on future opportunities with the brand. Let’s look at some things you shouldn’t do when you work with brands because they are unprofessional and sometimes even can be seen as rude.
First is going back on a contract once it’s signed. This is why we’re so adamant about learning how to negotiate and understand Influencer contracts—you shouldn’t go back and try to change things up after you’ve already agreed to it. Instead, you need to be on top of it beforehand so you know exactly what you’re signing up for and that you’re comfortable with everything outlined in the agreement you have with the brand.
Also, if you have a bad attitude during the partnership, a brand is going to know. Maybe you’re always late to respond to things or get things done, like posting late on the scheduled day. We know you’ve got a lot going on, but this is a professional relationship that should be taken seriously. People remember these things and this could hurt your chances of ever working with them again. Plus, word gets around in the PR industry. PR people ask for recommendations from their network, and you want to be one of the names that gets a glowing review in these conversations.
In general, being easy to work with is going to get you more work and grow your Creator business. It’s totally possible to be firm in your values and ask to be paid your worth without having a bad attitude.
Working With Brands The Right Way
Why are brand partnerships important? Partnering with brands for sponsored posts or other campaign projects is one of the best ways to make money as a Creator or Influencer. Mastering how to approach brands for a partnership, negotiating, and really knowing how to navigate the collaboration from start to finish can make or break your financial and business growth as a Creator.
As a recap of these do and don’t tips for brand partnerships:
- Do: Have a Media Kit and key pitch document to appear professional and help brands understand what you offer and why they should work with you
- Do: Ask for a campaign brief so you can create the best content possible
- Do: Ask questions about the contract before signing, so everyone is on the same page and you know what’s expected
- Do: Overdeliver if you can, because brands will remember that you care and also made them feel special
- Don’t: Do not post more than you normally would on the day of a sponsored post because it could potentially affect your results for the branded content, and will definitely make the brand feel undervalued
- Don’t: Do not be afraid to negotiate because a partnership is supposed to benefit both parties, and sometimes you have to define that for yourself
- Don’t: Do not be difficult to work with by missing deadlines, having a bad attitude, going back on your word, or anything else that comes off rude or unprofessional
We covered a lot of good brand partnership examples of what to do and not do in this post, but there’s so much more to know. Our Pitching to Brands Mastercourse goes over all of the things you need to know to effectively pitch and land paid brand deals. You’ll walk away knowing exactly what to do in brand partnerships so you can grow your business and keep getting more deals!
If you’re not quite ready to take this step, we’d love to see you at one of our free trainings so you can ask your initial questions before going all in! Did you find this article helpful? Leave a comment below–we’d love to hear from you!