The three things you need to start negotiating brand deals.
I want to talk about some of the prep work you need to do to get ready to start seriously working with brands.
Like most things, you will reach a point where things get a bit more serious and just friendly chats back and forth in the DMs won’t cut it for brands who are treating influencer marketing as a real part of their strategic marketing strategy.
If they have set aside a budget specifically for influencer marketing then chances are they will want someone that is taking things a little bit more seriously, and has things together, and can treat this like a real business and professional transaction.
Let’s talk about the three things you need to have in your back pocket when you want to work with and negotiate brand collaborations.
We are going to be talking about a Media Kit, Rate Card, and Testimonials page.
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Let’s break them down one by one.
A media kit and rate card are sometimes used interchangeably but in reality, they are completely different documents with totally different functions in the pitching and negotiation process.
It’s really important to have the two documents separated as you’ll need to send them across at different stages of the pitching process.
What is a media kit
So the same way you would send in a CV if you were interviewing for a job, or models have a portfolio. Influencers have a Media Kit which is essentially like a mixture of the two combined
It’s a document that highlights key information, statistics about your blog, brand, and audience that a company would be interested in.
The idea is you provide a media kit to brands that you want to partner with as a way to introduce yourself and show them why working with you would be beneficial.
Along with your pitch email, a media kit is the first thing you send to a brand first when introducing yourself and pitching the partnership.
It should include an overview of the services you offer to help showcase your value…but don’t put a price tag on them at this stage.
Just list them out for example Instagram stories, Instagram posts, blog posts, etc so they get an idea of what you can do and create for them and keep the conversation open. I will get into more about why not adding your prices at this time is important next.
You should also include some images to showcase your photography style, it will give them an instant idea of the type of content you can create for them as well as some statistics about your audience things like location, gender, age, engagement rate, etc
These are all important things to include – the most important thing to remember is to think of it as the first impression, you want to do everything you can to show your unique skill and talent…
What is a rate card
A rate card (or sheet) is simply a document that you put together to list the products or services you are offering/selling.
It typically includes details about the rate for each product or service you are offering the brand.
So you would literally list out each of the services you offer individually so
- Instagram post for x amount
- Instagram story for x
- Blog etc
And then you can even bundle some of the services up to offer a discounted rate for purchasing multiple services making it more compelling to book you to do more work.
For example, if a brand wants you to write a blog post and you charge let’s just say £1000 and you normally charge £500 for a post and £300 for a sequence of Instagram stories.
If a brand can see that all listed out equalling £1800 but you message them saying you are happy to bundle that together for them and do it for £1450 they feel like they are getting a massive saving and in reality, it won’t be too much extra work as you would be shooting content for your blog anyway.
Your rate card is something you should always send at a later date once the brand has expressed an interest in working with you.
If you send it too early in the negotiation process you could end up underpricing yourself and committing to too much work.
Why you Need A Separate Media Kit And Rate Sheet.
Ok so now that you understand that a rate cart and media kit are definitely not the same things, let’s talk more in depth about why is it so important to keep them separate!
A media kit is great for pitching to brands and piquing their interest while your rate card should be used once you’ve started discussing the deliverables and you are further into the negotiation of fees.
Essentially, the media kit is the tool to make brands excited about the opportunity of working with you, it is the WHY they should choose you.
Think about this if you included your rates in your media kit and your rates are not within the budget the brand has set aside for partnerships then you might just get a flat out no, or a ‘we aren’t looking to do any collaborations right now or worse… they just flat out ignore you.
Instead, if you keep your rate card separate you can ask for the brand a) if they have a budget and what their current marketing goals are and you can amend your rate card accordingly.
Depending on the brand, if the product is of a higher value, you may accept a lower than your usual rate. It doesn’t have to be a fixed cost. Like all sales, judging your client and working out the best deal for them and you.
Next, I want to tell you to be prepared to negotiate… I am a person that cringes when it comes to haggling, I remember Ian and I going on holiday to Egypt and he started to haggle and I was like just pay the man the damn money he is asking for I could have sunk into the ground.
But in their culture, it is an everyday part of life.
And in sales and marketing negotiating is a real thing and it happens daily and by accepting the brand’s first offer you could be missing out. And if they say no well you can always say you have reconsidered their first offer and are now happy to accept.
I also really recommend adding in a bit of a buffer so have in your head the rate you would be willing to work for again let’s just say £750 and add a percentage on top in case they negotiate you down so you would go in at £1000 knowing the lowest you will accept is £750.
Ok, this is the secret sauce… this is the magic that is really going to set you apart from everyone else.
Let’s break this down a little bit further
The first thing you want to try and get is obviously testimonials from the brands you have worked with, once you have worked with a brand and you are about to send back your statistics just send them a little message at the bottom of your email or DM saying if you have a moment please would you take a moment to send me a little feedback/review that I can share future collaborative brand deals.
If you haven’t had a paid brand deal yet don’t worry, just reach out to some of the brands you have collaborated with on a gifted basis and ask the same.
Now if you are really green and haven’t worked with anyone, don’t panic I still have some advice for you too. This next step goes for everyone but it can really be the key to securing your first paid brand deal if you haven’t had one yet.
So, step two of having an awesome testimonial sheet – screenshots of messages and comments where people have told you they have purchased something because of you.
If anyone has ever replied to a story saying they love what you have shared, commented on a post asking you where you got an item, take a screenshot and save it to an album on your phone for future reference.
You can add these to your testimonials sheet but the real magic happens when you go to pitch a brand in the future where you have shared them organically on your feed and you have screenshots of the quotation marks ‘influence’ you already have from way back.
It really helps the brand to see how engaged your audience is how well you communicate and how compelling your content is by the responses you get to your content.
Ok so before I love you and leave you for another week let’s talk about where can you create all these wonderful documents:
Well, there are a few places,
You can simply create this all in a Word or PowerPoint document and PDF it – it’s so easy, don’t overthink it, and don’t let the tech scare you and stop you from moving forward.
Next canva – always my go-to place for design it’s completely free (you can upgrade to the paid version if you want some extra fancy stuff) but honestly, the free tool is incredible. You can create a brand identity on there so every time you create a graphic you can use your brand colours
Or thirdly there is a great app, it’s daily new but definitely making waves in the influencer space as it really helps with all stages of the pitching and negotiating process.
I absolutely love it it’s called Kitly it basically acts as a digital media kit it updates in real-time with your stats so you don’t have to worry about updating your follower figures or engagement rate each time.
I highly recommend you check it out.
But there you have 3 options.
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