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We’re pleased to present this guest blog post written by Amanda Cross who is a millennial lifestyle blogger and writer from Arkansas. Through producing content and working closely with brands she’s come to understand the needs of both creators and the brands who sponsor them. Her mission is to bring clarity for both sides of the aisle so brand partnerships can be valuable for readers, bloggers, and brands.  Read on to find out Amanda’s top Do’s and Don’ts for recruiting your next influencers!

As a content creator who’s been producing content since 2011, I’ve had my fair share of companies reach out to me. Most of those emails wind up unanswered because there is a disconnect with the company’s approach. If you are interested in engaging influencers, you should keep these “Do’s” and “Don’ts” in mind. I’ve come up with these rules after years of personal experience and chatting with other influencers. Follow these best practices, and you will have much more success getting your emails answered.

Do: Contact Influencers Via Email

Email is the best method of approaching influencers about a brand engagement. Emails are usually easy to find for most bloggers via their social media (generally in their biography) or on their contact page. Influencers are typically very open with their contact information. If you cannot find it, send them a direct message asking for it on the social media platform they seem most active on.

Don’t: Contact Influencers Via Instagram Comment

The comment section of an Instagram post, or the comment section of any public post, is not the proper place to do business. Public comments are easily lost, and they give you potential publicity that you didn’t pay for. Not only that, it detracts from the original use of the Instagram post. Likely, the post had a call to action that your comment didn’t address. Be courteous and utilize their email address instead.

Do: Address Influencers By Their First Name

Addressing an influencer by their first name is a great way to show that you’ve done your research before reaching out. Influencers are usually open with their first name across their blog and social media profiles. Check out their “About” page because most bloggers will list their name there.

Don’t: Address Influencers By Sir/Madam/Someone Else’s Name

As a business, you probably don’t want to spend all day sending out emails. I get that. As a business owner, I have a ton of day-to-day activities and spending time in my inbox can be draining. Misidentifying influencers is an easy way to get your opportunity overlooked. My name is Amanda so why would I reply to an email meant for Kathryn? Before you send any influencer email, make sure that the title you give them isn’t vague or incorrect.

Do: Check Out The Influencer’s Content Beforehand

Before you reach out to any influencer, check out the influencer’s content. Go through their archives and see if you can imagine them promoting your brand. Does their audience seem to align with your ideal audience? As much as influencers would like to accept every pitch, some companies sell products or services that aren’t in alignment. This will also improve the quality of your email outreach with the influencer since you’ll be able to comment specifically on the content you’ve seen.

Don’t: Send An Email To An Influencer Without Doing Your Research

You may be inclined to pitch an influencer after you see one picture, but be very careful about doing your research. One picture or a blog post does not tell the whole story. Take a deeper dive into their content, so you can make sure that the partnership would be mutually beneficial.

Do: Have A Budget In Mind For Influencer Engagements

Influencers do more than model your products. Creating a blog post for an influencer marketing opportunity takes a lot of time and effort. When I sit down to create an influencer partnership, there are many stages:

  • Research: I have to spend at least an hour looking into the company who wants to partner with me. What do they sell? Would my audience and I love it? What is their social media presence like? Do others seem to enjoy their products?
  • Negotiation: After research, there is a negotiation. Negotiations could include emailing back and forth or talking on the phone. I have to stand up for my worth and be able to defend it. Depending on how quickly the brand gets back, and issues are solved, this process could take days.
  • Content Creation: Next is the creation stage. After I receive or pick up all the materials I need to post, I have to photograph the post. This can take hours from getting the products to shooting the products to editing the pictures. Some influencers even hire outside photographers to help them produce blog content. After I edit the photos, I need to write the copy which takes another several hours. The content creation process is usually spread over multiple days.
  • Approval: After the content creation process comes the approval process. Many brands wish to see what I have to say before I post. Depending on brand standards, this might require reshoots or other negotiations.
  • Posting: Last, but not least, as an influencer I need to post the content. Posting requires a lot of work as well. It’s about more than posting and leaving. It’s making sure my audience knows about your company, picking the right hashtags to boost my post, and trying to make sure that the content gets seen by people outside of my audience.

As you can see by this explanation of the influencer process, these partnerships take energy. Even if you are only creating an affiliate relationship with an influencer, writing content around your brand takes time and energy.

Don’t: Fuss Over Influencer Rates

The bottom line of influencer rates is simple. Your influencers know how much they are worth. If you cannot match their current budget, ask this simple question: “We have a current budget of $X for this campaign. We understand that you cannot offer your full range of services, but what could you offer for that amount?” Once you understand what they can offer for your budget, see if this is something you would like to move forward with. Most influencers will be comfortable taking a lower amount if you are asking for fewer requirements.

Do: Believe In The Power Of The Micro Influencer

Micro influencers (influencers who have around 10,000-50,000 followers) have grown in popularity over the last few years. Micro influencers tend to have a deeper connection with their audience, even though it is small. You will also get more bang for your buck with micro influencers because they will demand less money than someone who has a million followers on social media. If you think your brand will resonate well with a micro influencer, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Don’t: Believe That Influencer Campaigns Need Immediate Results To Be Successful

Your influencer campaigns are about more than creating an immediate uptick in sales. Some of my best blog posts didn’t get popular until months after they were initially published. Depending on the influencer you work with, they may have a different way to go about promoting content. I put a lot of effort into building up search engine optimization for my blog which means that most of my posts take a few months to start seeing traffic. The great thing about working on blog content with influencers is that your blog real estate lasts for a while after the piece is published.

Let’s Recap

Partnering with influencers can be a magnificent way to take your business to the next level. Influencers have tapped into their niche, and they can create content that resonates with their audience and yours. Setting up these partnerships may take you outside of your comfort zone, but I hope this blog post will help you create partnerships that last.

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