In just a few days, it’ll be 4 years since I wrote my first post on Style Context. I remember the first time I received a gift in the mail from a brand; it was from Yes to Carrots. I had interacted with them on Twitter (back when Twitter was more of a big deal in fashion and beauty) and they asked to send me some samples. Of course I was already a huge fan of Yes to Carrots, so receiving many (full-size!) samples from them just one month into blogging was incredibly exciting – and validating. I felt like my blog was one step closer to becoming a business. Fast forward to today, where there are more fashion and beauty bloggers, collaborating with brands just got way more competitive – but also easier. More brands finally see the value in working with influencers and are investing in these partnerships (there are even jobs completely focused on influencer marketing!). So, now that you’ve developed a strong following, how do you get started working with brands? If you have aspirations to become a full-time blogger, read on for these three tips.
Join an influencer program
One of the quickest ways to start working with brands is to join an influencer program. I’m part of many programs but, for this post, I will focus on The Cirqle, an Amsterdam-based influencer platform. Rather than spending hours searching for PR contacts for brands you want to work with, you can pitch them directly through The Cirqle. The platform features major brands like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Victoria’s Secret, and British Airways (free trip to London, anyone?). It also has several emerging and niche brands. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I recently received a gift box from The Cirqle featuring goodies from brands I only wish I had discovered before, including Rosefield Watches and Friandries Chocolatier. Collaborating with smaller brands is a good way to establish a relationship early on before they get bigger and discover what’s cool before everyone else does (it’s basically the blogger version of listening to an indie band before they become famous).
In addition to pitching brands, you can also apply to campaigns, which is literally as easy as a click of a button. Another thing I love about working with brands on The Cirqle is that all of the campaign information – campaign brief, tasks, and payment – are neatly displayed on one page so there’s no confusion. Here’s what I received in my gift box.
Create a media kit
You’ve probably heard about media kits and felt intimidated to create one (hi, me!). One of the best features about The Cirqle is that they create one for you! When you create a profile, you can connect your social media platforms and Google Analytics account to display a snapshot of your followers, traffic, and engagement for brands to see. Below are a couple screenshots from my dashboard. While I would also recommend still creating your own media kit, this one suffices for when you’re pitching to brands on The Cirqle, and you can base your handmade media kit off of the one from The Cirqle. A media kit is usually a required by brands if you’re interested in getting paid for the sponsorship.
Define your brand
One of the most challenging aspects of working as a professional blogger is defining your brand. When I first launched Style Context I wanted to focus sustainable fashion brands after the Bangladesh clothing factory fire. That plan quickly went out the window when I realized it was hard to commit to a sustainable fashion lifestyle and I was left trying to figure out what I really wanted my blog to be about. As someone who loves trends, my blog naturally evolved into a space about wearing trends for every occasion and discovering the newest, coolest beauty and lifestyle products.
Defining your brand also helps you establish 1. What companies resonate with your brand, values, and audience, and 2. Whether a collaboration will propel your brand forward. It also makes it easier for companies to know whether you’re the right influencer for them. In four years of blogging I found that a your “brand” means being true to who you really are instead of imposing something that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Likewise, don’t work with a brand for the sake of working with one; be selective and work with brands that connect with you and your readers. This will make you more appealing to work with in the long run and you won’t lose credibility with your readers. Luckily, The Cirqle has a variety of brands to work with – from sustainable to fast fashion to budget-friendly. Sign-up here to join The Cirqle and shop around for a collaboration!
That it for now! Do you have any recommendations on influencer platforms or working with brands? Let me know in the comments or connect with me on Instagram!
*This post is sponsored by The Cirqle. All opinions are my own.