Let’s be real, the goal in building your platform as an aspiring influencer is the chance to finally land a brand deal. Because, growing a social media is a fulltime job, and brand deals are a great way to finally get paid!
That being said, brand deals aren’t always the end all and be all when it comes to being an influencer. You can also work on growing your own brand, creating your own products, classes, courses, or offerings to monetize, instead. Or, you can cultivate a really beautiful blend of both growing your own brand, and supporting other brands along the way.
Let’s pump the breaks a little, though, and rewind back to landing your first brand deal. That’s what this post is all about. Today, I’ll walk you through what a brand deal is, what the different types of brand deals are, and how to land your first brand deal by outlining 5 key components needed to work towards success.
How To Land A Brand Deal
What is a brand deal?
First things first, what even is a brand deal? Well, brand deals on social media can look a few different ways. But, the most important thing you need to know about brand deals is that these are agreements between you and a brand for you to promote their product. It’s a paid advertisement, or sponsorship.
Ideally, you work with brands that you’re in alignment with in order to achieve success with the campaign. Brand deals can take place on your grid in the form of posts, carousels, or Reels. Or, they can take place in your stories. Sometimes, they’re a combination of grid and story posts.
What are the different kinds of brand deals?
- Product in exchange for promotion:
This means you don’t get paid with money, but with product. Depending on what the product is, this could really feel worth it even without monetary compensation. This can also be a great option just getting your foot in the door with a specific brand that you love if they’re not yet offering paid options.
- Product and affiliate codes:
In this kind of brand partnership, the brand will provide you with a product and an affiliate code or link where you can earn commission from sales generated by your audience. While affiliate earnings can be minimal, this is also a great way to build trust between you and the brand. And, these codes and links will also provide a discount to your followers, which is a great perk for them.
- Product and payment:
This is the goal kind of brand partnership to get, because obviously products can’t pay the bills, ya know? However, this can be the trickiest one to land, because brands only have a certain advertising budget, and they want to make sure it’s worth it for them. Typically this model involves product, and then a flat rate payment regardless of commission or engagement.
5 Key Components In Landing a Brand Deal
After reading about the different kinds of brand deals, I know what you’re thinking: how do I get product and payment?!
Don’t worry, I got you. That’s what this post is all about.
Also, these components can contribute to landing products in exchange for promotion, and affiliate partnerships, as well. Remember, sometimes starting with a lower tier option is a great way to build rapport with the brand you’re interested in. This is a long game, baby. Don’t treat it like a short one.
Ok, I’m not saying you need to have a logo necessarily. But I am saying that you need to have an understanding of your brand. What are your aesthetics? What are your colors, your topics, your areas of expertise?
All of this will let a brand know that you’re a good fit to work with them, and prove your alignment. Plus, this will help you be able to narrow down who you want to work with, too.
At the minimum, you want to make sure you have overlapping interests with the brand. This will let you know that your audience will be excited about you sharing this product with them, rather than it feeling random. At a maximum, you’re already a paying customer to this brand. It’s something you use organically, and maybe have even already shared without any sort of compensation, because you’re so stoked on the product. This will make it really seamless to introduce again in a paid advertisement kind of way.
For an in-depth pitching guide, check out my post about how to pitch yourself . This post will give you all of the detail you need to make sure you create the perfect pitch.
One thing I’d like to add here, I highly recommend emailing for more serious pitches, rather than DMs. Unless you’ve already used and tagged the product in your stories, and they reply to you, I wouldn’t bank on DM’ing them as a way to start the conversation. Most brands don’t read all of their DMs. And, they’ll likely also see this as unprofessional, as well.
If you already have a more sizable account (like, at least the double digits), or you’re verified, then DM’ing can actually be faster than emailing. However, if you’re working on your first brand partnership, I’m assuming that you’re still building to get to that point- so stick to emails, unless they start the convo with you first.
If you read my pitch post, then you know I mention the need for a media kit in your pitch. This is a simple, one page visual experience to showcase your stats, analytics, and give a brief blurb about who you are.
Remember how branding was the first component in this list? Well, this is where it comes into play. You want your media kit to show off the colors and style of your brand (hint: you are your brand), and to have a beautifully visual appeal to it. The same way that your account would!
Rather than shoving a mishmosh of your favorite photos, select photos that you believe encompass your brand as a whole, and make sure the colors and filters of the photos work well together.
Your media kit will clearly write out the important stats needed for brands to know if they want to work with you. Usually this would be big things like follower number, male and female percentage, top countries that follow you, where you’re based, and the number of accounts you reach per week.
Nowadays, there are A LOT of stats you can access in Instagram’s professional dashboard, but it would look crammed and messy to include them all on your media page. I’d suggest picking the stats that are the highest to put on your media kit, as this will really grab their attention.
The reality is that these stats change every single day. Which means that chances are if they want to work with you, they’ll ask you to send a screenshot of your most updated stats right before you sign the contract. This is also an extra layer of security on their end, because you can obviously lie on your media kit, and be like yeah I have a million story views a day. When you really have 100. It should go without saying to be honest in your pitch, but I’ll still drop that little reminder, nonetheless.
High engagement will be more appealing to brands than a high follower count. Yes, a high follower number might initially appeal to them. But if they ask for your likes, views, saves, and comments- and these numbers are miniscule? Forget it. Work on high engagement NOW, before you’re even pitching yourself to brands. This will be helpful when it comes time to pitch.
High Quality Content
One of the most important components is high quality content. This sounds like a given, but you’d still be surprised that this can still slip through the cracks. High quality content means that you have a solid purpose on the platform. You have a message, and cohesion. This also means you have an element of branding threaded through your content. And, of course, it’s visually appealing.
Remember, social media platforms are primarily visual platforms. That means it needs to look pretty. If you’re unsure what the heck that means, I’d suggest taking a few photography classes, or even checking out good ‘ole youtube for some tutorials on framing, spacing, and depth.
Make sure that you’re producing high quality content before you even start pitching for brands, because this will show future partnerships the level of quality that you’ll provide to them. Plus, high quality content typically also converts to high engagement. So it’s a win-win, really.
Alright, my friends. I think you’re ready! Go out there, and pitch away. It’s time to land your first brand partnership.