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It’s early in the morning. You’re lying in bed, scrolling through your phone and then BAM! There’s an email in your inbox from a really big brand and they want to give you FREE products!
But wait… They’re going to send you free products in exchange for a review?! UGHHHH!
Does this sound familiar? I’ve been there…
Today, let’s talk about three simple ways you can turn free product offers into paid brand deals.
You're going to learn:
- Why you must be a detective as an influencer. You need to find out how to unlock those paid budgets.
- Why offering paid media rights can be a compelling reason for a brand to pay you.
- Why creating content for their social media handles can be a unique way to illustrate how you'll get them a ROI (return on investment).
So most people think that when a brand reaches out offering a free product in exchange for posts that they're not interested in paying you, but the truth is...
Many brands DO HAVE a budget to partner with influencers! You just need to understand how to talk with them to know what they're trying to accomplish.
BE A DETECTIVE
You need to be a detective as an influencer. It's your job to figure out precisely what the brand wants out of contacting you.
In fact, most brands have two main strategies when it comes to working with influencers.
Strategy #1: Earned Media
- That's where the brand will reach out to a bunch of different influencers offering to send free products to see if anyone bites.
In my opinion, this type of traditional PR tactic is where they'll just ask for your address and there's really no expectation that you'll post in return. I mean, it's totally fine.
Many companies send my wife and I FREE products and sometimes we post about it on Instagram Stories. But the key here is that the brand is not sending a brief or talking points. That means that there's no requirement to post about it.
So the bottom line is, you really should not agree to the type of collaborations where there's a bunch of posting requirements and they're not compensating you for it. Unless it's a really expensive product or it's just a brand that you've been dying to work with forever. It’s totally up to you.
You need to know your worth!
Strategy #2: Paid Media
- This is where brands are running Instagram ads, Facebook ads, or paying influencers to talk about their product.
In that scenario, the brand has more control over what the influencer says, right? So that's a significant advantage for a brand!
So when a brand reaches out to you with a free product offer, you can say:
- "I'm so excited that you reached out. This looks like a great product or service. Can you let me know your goals for the collaboration?”
- “Are you trying to drive brand awareness?”
- “Are you trying to drive sales?"
Once you have asked these types of questions, you can start to craft your counter-proposal.
OFFER PAID MEDIA RIGHTS
Now that you have that additional information about what the brand is trying to accomplish, you can offer other creative ways to get value out of the partnership.
For example: you can say…
- “If you pay me $750, in addition to making a post about it on my page, I'll also grant you paid media rights to use my content as digital ads for three months.”
- You can also offer to allow them to whitelist your content.
- This means that you grant the brand Advertiser access to the backend of your Facebook or your Instagram to boost the native post you made on your page.
By the way, if you want more information on what whitelisting is, check out my video HERE.
But if the brand hasn’t sent you any sort of influencer brief, you can...
- Call out in your counter-proposal that you would love for them to identify the three to four key benefits of the product.
- Ask what the main call-to-action is that you can touch on in your posts.
- Talk about how having those sound bites will make your content much more valuable for them to repurpose, whether organically on their handle or for paid media.
Generally, brands love the idea of having more control over how their product is talked about. If you can illustrate that you're willing to work with them to integrate that message organically, that'll be super compelling!
OFFER TO MAKE EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FOR THE BRAND
By offering to make exclusive content for the brand’s social media platforms, you are also adding value. So when the brand reaches out to you, take a peek at their Instagram or Facebook and see how often they're posting there.
Is it :
- Low-quality content?
- Are they not posting there very often?
If you answered yes, you can pitch that you can create five to ten photos or videos for them regularly for, let's say, a thousand bucks a month.
Posting about the brand on your platform can still be part of the counter-proposal. However, thinking outside of the box and getting into the head of the brand will help you to level-up your proposal!
This will also motivate the brand to want to work with influencers and make you seem like a savvy partner who understands social media.
Remember, your goal should not be a one-off partnership with these brands. You want to forge ongoing relationships where you can create recurring revenue for yourself.
Let’s face it… Can you imagine if you had to look for a new 9 to 5 job every single month? To be honest, that's what a lot of influencers do. They work with the brand once, and then they move entirely on.
My advice is that when brands reach out to you, get rid of that "fast money" mindset and think about how you can craft a mutually beneficial long-term partnership with this brand.
By the way, do you want intel on new brand deal campaigns? Every week I send out sponsorship opportunities, exclusively to creators on my email list.
So make sure to join HERE.