How to Collaborate with Brands
In my previous blog post, I talked about what I had learned in the beginning stages of my blogging. I shared what had worked for me, what I regretted doing and how I created connections along the way that were very beneficial to my learning process (If you haven't seen my blog about creating connections in the fashion industry, the link is here).
Once you've found brands that you support and wear often, the next question is usually "How do I go about asking them to collaborate with me?"
HOW TO ASK FOR A COLLABORATION
To begin, you have to go out of your comfort zone and ask for what you want. Although a direct message is a fine way to communicate with brands, I choose to do an email if I have an option. This is because you can easily get lost in the long list of DM's that brands get and it also shows that you took an extra second out of your day to track down an email and write something out personally.
Spend some time establishing what you want to say to a brand. Give some insight into:
- Who you are both as a blogger and as an everyday person
- Why you like the brand (this could be that you're excited about their upcoming collection or you like what they stand for morally/ethically)
- Layout an idea for a campaign with them (This not only communicates how serious you are about this partnership, but it also alleviates them from having the responsibility of coming up with a new concept for your marketing)
- Finally, close with a polite, straight forward greeting of "I look forward to hearing from you" because you want them to know that you expect an answer - whether it is yes or no - and it differentiates you from all of the cliche final words in most emails
SO YOU GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO COLLABORATE, NOW WHAT?
The representative for your favorite company gets back to you over email and says that their brand would love to collaborate with you! Congrats!
Now is the time to really work out the details and expectations that the two of you have with this collaboration.
Your part: Are you just expecting to borrow clothing for a shoot and return it? Do you want clothing sent to you that you will keep? Are you expecting to be paid per post? Are you wanting to do a giveaway? You need to be clear about what you want and deserve while also being open to ideas from the representative/company.
Their part: How long will this campaign be? How many Instagram/blog posts are they expecting you to write? Do you have to create Instastories? What are the terms and conditions of the giveaway? They need to lay out what they are looking for as an outcome of this collaboration. No business just gives away money or product without having an ideal outcome in mind.
Now that you've both figured out how this collaboration will go, you can pick out what items you'd like and prepare your posts. Some companies may ask to proof read your blog posts, you can decide before the collaboration begins whether or not you're comfortable with that. Once your concept is complete, then you post the finished product.
WHAT ABOUT AFTER THE COLLABORATION IS COMPLETE?
I am a big believer in being intentional with companies. Although you know how to influence and have the marketing skills, you would have nothing to show for it without the brands that collaborate with you. Take some time to write a handwritten (or typed if you have bad handwriting) note and send it to them in the mail. Just like I said earlier, it will help you stand out among the rest, plus it shows that you took time out of your day to express your appreciation for their support.
I also like to continue my support for these brands by either posting more about them after the campaign is over if I really like/believe in their product, making sure to like or comment on their photos (God knows that we need to help each other out with this crazy Instagram algorithm) or recommending them to my friends and family.
If you both come out of the collaboration satisfied, you can always reach out 6 months - one year later and do another one!
For this post, I collaborated with Way The Label and Strey Designs. Both are local Minnesotan companies who are responsibly made. Thank you both for your continued support for my blog! To see more outfits and images like this, check out the Volk Magazine Fall Edition coming in September!
Thank you to KC Filzen for the phenomenal photos!