All successful collaborations have one thing in common – management! From going over your deliverables to presenting the final content, there are SO many moving parts when it comes to collabs. In this Influencer Insider blog post, I’ve put compiled a list of five tips for your next brand collaboration. You’ll want to save this!
Tip 1: Ask clarifying questions
There’s no such thing as a stupid question. If something isn’t immediately apparent, be sure to connect with your contact and get the clarification you need.
Being a lawyer aside, I comb through my brand collaboration agreements with a fine-toothed comb. Once I have a copy of the agreement, I print it out, grab a pink highlighter (of course!) and read it in its entirety. Then, if I have a question about something, I circle it and send an email to the brand to further discuss.
When you take the time to ask clarifying questions, it shows professionalism and tells the brand that you’re serious about your craft.
Examples of questions I’ve asked in the past:
1) For out-of-town collaborations, I would like to post about the trip once I arrive back home. Is xyz brand okay with that?
2) I see there is an exclusivity clause. What is the duration of the contract?
3) Per our emails, this collaboration consists of two static in-feed posts. However, I see the content brief has four static in-feed posts listed in the deliverables section on page xyz. Can you provide clarification?
Tip 2: Understand the brand’s GOALS for the project
Remember: This is your job. It’s essential that the brand, aka your client’s goals and objectives, are satisfied. Bonus – this will help you determine what to focus your content on too!
Influencers need to remember there is a HUGE element of customer service when working with brands. You, Influencer, are a business and the brand is your client. Your objective is to make your client happy by helping them to achieve their goals/objectives. One of the best ways to determine a brand’s goals and objectives is to ask them.
For example, last summer I collaborated with a fantastic spa in town. The first thing I asked was, “What would you like me to focus on?” The owner wanted to showcase their seaweed spa treatments. Knowing what was important to the owner right off the bat meant rather than spending a majority of my time shooting content that wasn’t relevant to their objective, I could map out my content strategy to highlight what they wanted. In doing so, my brand was satisfied, and they asked to work with me again!
Tip 3: Stay Organized
I can’t stress this enough! When I work with a brand, I plan out EVERYTHING! I have a calendar for each collab and set alerts accordingly. The calendar has everything from my outfits to when revisions are due.
I usually have several collaborations going on at one time, all the while entering into new agreements. I’ve found that color coding my collabs helps me visually focus on one at a time while also knowing each stage at which each collab is. For example, we have four collaborations at once — pink, orange, yellow, and red. The Pink collab is in the beginning stages. The Orange collab has finalized negotiations. The content for the Yellow collab is awaiting final approval. The Red collab has just wrapped up, and we are awaiting the final invoice payment. When you organize your collabs, you’ll know at a glance where you are in each one. Staying organized also helps you to be able to promptly (and accurately) respond to brands when questions arise.
I always print a copy of my Collab Questionnaire and fill it out while talking to the brand (I talk more about this in the Collab & Conquer course). Each collab has its own “section” in my Collab Binder. My “system” covers all 8-10 stages of the collaboration process. In the final stage of the collaboration management process, I archive the collab, request testimony from the brand, and file it away with other past partnerships.
Staying organized has not only helped me to excel during active collabs, but I’ve been able to quickly refer back to previous collaborations at the drop of a hat.
p.s. I love to organize my Instagram content with Planoly!
Blog Post: What’s in My Collab Bag
Blog Post: The Steps of a Brand Collaboration
Tip 4: Communicate
I am a firm believer that communication is the key to all relationships, both business and professional. Brands really appreciate prompt responses!
I always get back to a brand the same day, even if I don’t readily know the answer to their question. So how do you do this? It’s easy! In your reply to their email and acknowledge that you’ve received the message, and you’ll have an answer to them by xyz. This kind of prompt response lets the brand know that not only are they top of mind, but you saw their message, and you’ll get back to them shortly.
Communication is vital throughout all stages of the collab. When you set a precedent for having excellent communication habits, your brand is more likely to be understanding should something hinder your ability to post. For example, a few months ago, I partnered with a brand that required me to post in real-time. As I started to do so, I quickly realized I didn’t have service! Not only did it mean I couldn’t post the content, but it also meant I wasn’t complying with our contract. I quickly sent my contact an email to let them know what was going on and my steps to resolve the matter. My brand thanked me for letting them know and encouraged me not to worry but enjoy my time on the property.
Tip 5: Embrace Negotiations
Getting the opportunity to collaborate with a brand is HUGE! Please don’t ever be afraid to ask for your value.
I’ll be the first one to tell you this subject used to make me feel so uncomfortable. I wanted brands to pay for my value, but I was afraid to ask for what I was worth. I felt intimidated by the whole process!
After agreeing to 43579347 gifted collabs, I realized I needed to be my advocate and jump into the pool of negotiations. Guess what? It wasn’t as nearly as scary as my anxiety had made it out to be!
Now, when a brand reaches out, I always ask, “What is the budget for this collaboration?” Listen, it’s essential to make sure you and the brand are on the same page regarding deliverables, non-compete windows, timeline, budget, etc.