Hope you all had an amazing & productive week. You should know that we have a very good post in store for you. This one is featuring influencer expert Victoria Van Ness of the Amavi Agency ( they specialize in social media, influencer marketing, & talent management ).
Victoria interviewed me for her influencer eBook & I liked her immediately. I admired her hustle & found her to be very knowledgeable when it comes to the blogger & content creator space. & even more so, I admired her follow-through with her eBook.
So in natural TSC fashion, I invited her on the blog to get very very very fucking specific with you guys. In this post you can expect tips on standing out, proper communication, & long-term strategy when it comes to brand partnerships.
Because time is of the essence, I won’t waste any of yours. Let’s get right to it & meet Victoria.
My name is Victoria Van Ness & I’m a 23-year-old solopreneur & influencer. I dropped out of college at 18 to travel the world & launched a blog. I lived + blogged remotely in cities like; Montreal, Paris, NYC, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Brussels, & more. I settled down in NYC for a year where I landed my first job in influencer marketing & have been in love with the industry ever since. From there I have worked with bloggers and Instagram influencers which I’ve learned great tips. Fast forward 4 years later, I started working with brands & I’ve launched my own marketing agency that focuses on travel & hospitality as well as talent management for influencers in the travel and food space.
Throughout the years I’ve picked up some tips that I think a lot of people could benefit from.
Top Tips For Working With Brands:
♡ Have a media kit. Not a rate card.
We’ve all heard that media kits are essential. This is the primary key to reaching out to brands – & they are! But leave your rate card in the dust. A media kit highlights your noteworthy brand collaborations, your audience demographics, your stats, & a little bio. A rate card breaks down your prices for your Instagram coverage, blog posts, etc. However, the influencer industry is changing! Budgets are getting bigger. You know what that means for you: more money, honey! I’m all about women getting paid, so don’t sell yourself short – pun intended. Never give your rates up front without hearing the brand’s budget first.
♡ Be professional.
Being a diva might sound cool, but it isn’t. Be professional & easy to work with. It sounds so simple, but an extra bit of kindness goes a long way in this industry. Brands know each other, they talk. Provide them with interesting quality content. If you’re a delight to work with, other brands will be begging to get in touch.
♡ Stay on top of your communications + deadlines.
Here’s what really grinds my gears… People that don’t respond to emails! If being an influencer is your full-time job & you’re taking more than 72 hours to respond to an email that’s important, hire someone to take care of this for you. If it’s your side-hustle, carve out 30 minutes in the morning & 30 minutes at night to get in your inbox & respond to collaboration inquiries & ongoing partnerships. Write down all of your deadlines for a project either in your Google Calendar or something you can physically see everyday so you don’t fall behind. Think you might be late for a deadline? Keep the brand in the loop! Communication is key.
♡ Nail your aesthetic.
Your audience & brands should know it’s you without having to look at your Instagram handle. Determine your aesthetic, make it extra unique, niche down, & stick to it like glue. Your aesthetic, your colors, the way you edit & post your stories are all a part of your trademark & overall brand. Having a unique perspective on the content you post is the best way to get brands to want to work with you.
Some of my favorite apps for editing stories are Over, Canva, Life Lapse, Instories, & VSCO, because there’s nothing wrong with just a nice filter, you know??
♡ Skip the unboxing.
Ugh, how many times can we see people open a cardboard box saying they are “SO OBSESSED with this!” The answer: too many. You guys, it’s getting stale. The worst part is that there is absolutely no value in an unboxing video for the brand. It literally just comes across as you doing your obligatory story in exchange for free product. Let’s think outside of the box – literally. Get creative in how you can showcase a new product that other people haven’t seen before. Say you’re a nurse with a blog on the side. Maybe you could share your top 5 favorite items for a late night shift. Think about all of your content around a story or topic.
♡ Surprise them with over delivering.
Want to be remembered & hired again? Go above & beyond in your collabs! Whether it’s posting an extra story or post, including the brand in a blog post round-up, sending over a Dropbox folder of high-resolution images the brand can use on social, & even just sending over your metrics without them having to ask you goes a long way.
♡ LinkedIn is your BFF.
Want to work with a brand but not sure how to get in touch? Put on your best psycho stalking mode & get searching, sister. Use LinkedIn to find the right contact for the company. First, search the company name & click on it. Then head to “See all employees.” Click “All Filters,” & click on something along the lines of “PR” or “Marketing.” From there, it will show you some of the employees that work in the PR or Marketing department. Bonus points if you can find the person that works in the influencer division. From there, search for their name in Google followed by “email” & you should find something!
♡ Tag to get noticed.
Maybe there wasn’t many results for the company on LinkedIn – it’s not the end of the road. If you genuinely love a product & use it, snap a few photos of it & post it to your social. Tag the brand in the image & the comments. After a few posts, they’re very likely to see it. From there, reach out directly via email & include your screenshots ( & media kit! ) of the photos you already tagged them in on the ‘gram.
♡ Get creative. Pitch a good idea.
Have a brand that is #goals to work with? Write a great article. Pitch them an idea they just can’t refuse. Create content for your sponsored posts to sound organic. Get creative & create a “campaign” centered around a unique way that is original to you. For example, if you’re a travel influencer & you want to work with a luggage company, you could create a collaboration plan that highlights the next 5 places you will travel with that luggage, & snap a photo of 5 souvenirs unique to each city around the luggage. If you can put together a fun presentation deck on Canva, that’s awesome. Canva is free & super easy to use!
♡ Think long-term.
The days are over of hitting it & quitting it, for real. Brands are starting to identify their key influencers that perform well, both creatively & monetarily. They’re getting smarter & niching down with the quality over the quantity of the influencers they work with. The goal is to have a long-term relationship with influencers instead of shelling out so many products for a one-time ordeal. Therefore, if you enjoy working with a brand, think about how you can continue to nurture that relationship and have it grow through the next 3 months, 6 months, etc. Incorporate them into the different stages of your life & bring them along for the journey, just like your audience. The more authentic & selective you are about the brands you work with, the more trustworthy you are to your followers & potential new ones.
Through the tips I’ve shared above & implemented, I’ve been able to secure deals with The Four Seasons, American Express, Nordstrom, Steve Madden, & more! I’ve also written an E-Book with more advice for influencers of all stages ( in which Lauryn shares some of her tips + tricks! ) that can be found here: www.amavi.com/ebook.
I sincerely hope this post brought you guys tons of value, especially if you’re in the content creator space. I know I picked up a few hot tips.
+ scope these tips to stand out on Instagram.
++ how to up your YouTube game can be found here.