How Your Influencer Message Can Attract the Right Brands

This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Marketing Conference in Los Angeles. The conference was a rich environment for brands and influencers to openly discuss tactics for authentically building a strong following. All of the content from the Authentic Marketing Conference is available as a Digital Marketing Bootcamp. Here are the experts who contributed to this blog:

Here are some key takeaways from the Attracting the right brands panel:

  • Make it easy for brands to reach you
    For influencers it’s important for you to have your contact information readily available for brands. Ensure that you have a contact page on your site, contact information across all of your social platforms, and consider creating a media kit.
     
    • Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands
      If you’re an influencer, who is just starting out, don’t be afraid to contact brands directly and ask if you can sample some of their product in exchange for social or blog posts. Most brands are going to be willing to give you something, so that is a great way to start building a brand-influencer relationship.
       
      • Create compelling content
        Brands want to work with influencers who have compelling content, whether that’s videos, blog posts, or podcasting. If you have a strong point of view, as an influencer, you are going to attract brands within your niche.

       

      If you are an influencer, where do you begin to engage with the brands if you are open to integrating a brand’s message into your audience through your dialogue and your content?

      Have a media kit, a “work with me” page or site that says who you want to work with. –Jennifer Winberg

      First and foremost, make sure that they can find a way to contact you. Make sure that your website, your Twitter, are up-to-date and you are very clear with people about how they can contact you.

      Have a media kit, a “work with me” page or site that says who you want to work with. Be very clear about what you are looking for and what partners you want to work with. As a brand, when I see that page I can know, “Great, I can work with you.” Transparency and honesty is important. You don’t want to force an influencer to do something they are uncomfortable with and as an influencer you don’t want to do something that is out of your wheelhouse because it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone. -Jennifer Winberg, Marketing Consultant

      Call and ask for a free product or for free samples. Pretty much every brand is going to be willing to give you something to try out their brand so that’s one of the best ways to reach out. Introduce who you are, say that you are really excited about their product and want to try it. -Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing

      It’s really important for influencers and brands to align on core values for the best results. -Peter Abraham, Content Marketing & Branding Expert

      If an influencer doesn’t have any kind of relationship with brands, where does an influencer go to start that dialogue and connect? What are the options available?

      Get out there and go to events. BlogHer was the catalyst for that. That was the beginning of it where they said, “Let’s provide tools and resources for bloggers through these events” and as an agency, I wanted to go to these conferences to meet these people because I was trying to find these individuals and work with them so I cannot stress enough that despite this digital and social world, so much happens in a conversation over coffee or lunch. So it’s worth that money to go to those conferences where the brands are at. Look at their website, see who is going to be there, and target the brands that you want to work with. If a brand is doing a promotional booth then more than likely the brand promotional manager is going to be there. -Jennifer Winberg, Marketing Consultant

      Every person and every brand is a media company now so it’s really important to get out there and start creating. –Peter Abraham

      On the brand side, I am always looking for influencers who are great content creators that I can co-create with or piggyback on to address their tribes. If you are out there creating compelling content whether it’s a blog, whether you are speaking or its experiential or its video or social, if you have a strong point of view you are going to attract brands into your ecosystems. Every person and every brand is a media company now so it’s really important to get out there and start creating. -Peter Abraham, Content Marketing & Branding Expert

      I’m looking at content for a client and the range of user-generated content is very wide in terms of the quality. –Tony Winders

      I’m looking at content in the trucking industry for a client and the range of user-generated content is very wide in terms of the quality and I’m gravitating to the YouTubers that have six GoPros on their truck and they are doing some cool editing. -Tony Winders, Winders Consulting Group (Moderator)

      As a blogger it is really great to network in these private Facebook groups, but you have to be careful because what you think is private usually isn’t. A lot of the people who are pitching to you are in the industry as well. We also belong to those groups as well. Make sure that you are professional online and not badmouthing these agencies that you are working with because it can affect your opportunity for a campaign. -Tanya Salcido, UC Irvine Health

      Will audiences always put up with influencer marketing?

      The FTC just recently passed a rule now to address that. When someone is actually getting paid to represent something, that has to be communicated somewhere. I think people are very much aware and this is definitely a new space so we are starting to see more controls on what can and cannot be done so that people understand when someone is getting paid for influencer marketing. -Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing

      From the brand side, when I am building relationships with influencers, I always prefer people who are actually doing real things whether they are an athlete, chef, filmmaker, artist, whatever it is. People who are really doing something real other than saying, “Well, I’ve really got a tribe here. I kind of gamed the system and I’ll sell it to you.” That’s really not interesting to me. -Peter Abraham, Content Marketing & Branding Expert

      What is the influencer/brand partnership like?

      I don’t really think in terms of influencers with brands, I think in terms of relationships. You have relationships at many different levels from an individual customer to a highly paid professional and everything in between. I think the strongest brands have really strong relationships with their tribe. They really build a tribe and when a brand has strong guard rails and they know what they stand for then it’s really easy for a customer to go, “Yeah, not my brand,” which is great. Every good brand needs guard rails. If you think of the brands that you like, they relate to you on a certain level, on certain channels, and you share values. If you are on the influencer side, you should be going to brands and going, “What can I do for you?” and if you are on the brand side, you should be going to influencers and going, “What can we do for you?” -Peter Abraham, Content Marketing & Branding Expert

      If you are an influencer, you need to think about relationships in the long-term, it’s not just campaign-specific. –Tanya Salcido

      If you are an influencer, you need to think about relationships in the long-term, it’s not just campaign-specific.You never know because the person that you are interacting with could be at an agency six months later and they are going to remember what you did before. -Tanya Salcido, UC Irvine Health

      The influencers who are really willing come up with a campaign strategy are ultimately the ones who are the most successful. –Cynthia Rojas

      The best influencers that we have partnered with do consider it long-term and are willing to partner with the brand to come up with content that is going to be over an extended period of time. Ultimately when somebody is going to make a purchase decision of any kind, typically they need more than one touchpoint. So simply doing one post isn’t really going to get a brand too much influence. The influencers that we have partnered with who are really willing come up with a campaign strategy or tactical plan are ultimately the ones who are the most successful. -Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing

      Do you think influencers need to understand marketing?

      Yes, 100%. I mean ultimately they are a brand and are marketing themselves. The ones that are super successful understand that they are a brand, they understand who their target audience is, they really truly understand the marketing principles and are really quite savvy at it. -Cynthia Rojas, Hype Digital Marketing