Key Points

  • Target Your Niche: To attract relevant brand partners, identify and build an engaged audience within a specific niche.
  • Show Your Value: Create high-quality content aligned with potential partners' products and audience interests.
  • Start Small and Build: Reach out strategically, land initial brand collaborations, and deliver results to secure long-term, lucrative partnerships.
  • Think Beyond Money: Negotiate non-financial benefits, get creative with promotions, and diversify your monetization strategy for sustainable growth.

When you think of brand partnerships, what comes to mind? Is it big industry names coming together in a Marvel-esque brand collaboration of epic proportions? Well, brand partnerships aren't just for big-name celebrities and enterprise companies anymore. 

These days, all you need is an engaged audience to begin down this monetization path — and it can be quite the revenue and brand-building powerhouse.

Of course, partnerships between big companies are still very successful. However, personal brands, like those built by influencers and content creators, are quickly becoming standard practice for partnerships.

Influencer marketing isn't just a trendy buzzword. It's big business. 

From software to consumer packaged goods, brands of all shapes and sizes are clamoring for social media stars or budding content creators to rep their products. 

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as signing a contract and doing a few posts with your new favorite fit tea. In reality, brand partnerships are living, breathing entities. Getting it right requires a strategic approach, an engaged audience, and, most importantly, a long-term vision.

If you're a new content creator or influencer eyeing brand partnerships with envy, this article is for you. 

Let's dive into how you can get started with brand partnerships and influencer marketing, and take the right approach to make the most out of these creative collaborations.

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Where to Start

Your audience loves what you create, interacting with every post. Brand partnerships are a great way to increase revenue, adding to your monetization toolbox. The digital advertising landscape is changing, with around 74% of businesses focusing on brand partnerships as a top marketing priority.

How can you get your foot in this lucrative revenue-generating door? First, you need to gain a firm understanding of your niche. A parenting blog will target different brands than a video game news site. You should create a list of brands that resonate with your audience and that you genuinely enjoy and want to promote. Authenticity is crucial because your audience can easily spot insincerity.

Don't be afraid to dream big. 

Draft a list of big-name and up-and-coming brands in your niche or that you love and want to work with. You never know who will be up for a partnership.

Next, you'll need to ensure your content is attractive to potential brand partners. 

With this in mind, you need to find the right balance when creating content that could attract those partners. You should always keep your style and unique perspective in mind, while also making sure that your content is engaging to your target audience and aligns with the values of the brand you're interested in. You want your content to show off your natural way of interacting with products while also being true to who you are. If you can do this and communicate your value to potential partners, you'll be able to strike that perfect balance between being authentic and attracting brands.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your content offer value to your audience?
  • Would a potential brand partner think your content aligns with their product/service?
  • Are you seeing consistent engagement?
  • Is your content a good fit for a paid partnership?

Remember that this is a partnership. You want to show potential partners that you have value to offer and are not just looking to extract from them.

Think of the next stage as strategic business development. 

You want to get in front of the right people who can make critical decisions about brand partnerships or the individuals who will influence the decision-makers in their organizations.. Engaging with a brand's social media accounts is a great way to get that attention. This could mean a variety of things:

  • Engaging with their posts
  • Re-posting their content
  • Tag the brand as a suggestion in other users' content
  • Tagging them in your content

When it comes to influencer marketing strategies, brands want to see a creator or influencer who takes their business seriously and consistently creates content. 

Social media managers and other partnership marketing team members from those brands will see this and take note of it. It could start as a simple, “Hey, this person likes our stuff and is always posting; let's send them a box of our product.” 

Those are the baby steps toward a brand partnership. 

Landing Your First Brand Partnership

Once you have a list of potential partners, a thriving following, and an engaged audience, your next move is outreach.

If you've done all the above steps, you're going to show that brand that you not only want to work with them but you have proof that you're the right partner and have value to share. While cold outreach can be a potential winner, consider what that means.

When a social media manager receives your message, they will most likely check out your account or website to see what you have to offer. If they can't find anything that immediately catches their attention, they may move on. 

Brands are continually searching for influencers and creators who are a perfect fit for their brand. While it can be difficult to stand out, the opportunities are endless once you do.

To better understand this process, consider the concept of account-based marketing (ABM). This is a strategy where marketers target high-value accounts rather than a broad audience. In this scenario, you are the marketer developing an ABM strategy, and your ‘targets' are the brands you'd like to work with. 

As a creator or influencer yourself, the goal should be to make your page or site as attractive to your brand list as possible. Once you reach out, you'll have most of the leg work finished. It will just be a matter of connecting with the right people.

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Thinking Long-Term

While brand partnerships can be a great revenue generation tool, it's a long-term investment. You're just not going to land a six-figure deal on day one.

Brand partnerships start small. Maybe you get a free box of products to use in your posts or content. If you can take that opportunity and build some engagement around that product, you'll often get paid post opportunities and other lucrative offers down the road.

Don't see every little deal as a brief moment of monetization. 

Engaging in smaller product partnerships may seem insignificant at first, but they can be valuable stepping stones in your journey. Let's discuss why.

  • Firstly, every strategic partnership is valuable for building your portfolio and brand awareness, no matter how small the product is. This adds depth and diversity to your work, and over time, it builds trust, credibility, and brand equity with potential sponsors and collaborators. Secondly, each partnership provides data points you can use to negotiate better deals with brands in the future. Metrics like engagement, click-through, and conversion rates help quantify your impact and effectiveness as an influencer.
  • Thirdly, collaborating with brands, no matter their size, exposes your content to new audiences. Even if the partnership is with a smaller brand, their audience may still be interested in your content and choose to follow you. This incremental growth is essential for long-term success as an influencer.
  • Lastly, consistently engaging in partnerships portrays you as an active and engaged influencer within your niche. It demonstrates your dedication to your craft and your willingness to work with brands to create valuable content for your audience. Over time, this can enhance your reputation and position you as a go-to influencer within your industry.

These are stepping stones to bigger and better opportunities. We're not saying to do stuff for free, but weigh the benefits before balking at a small offer. Who knows where it could go?

Another key aspect of a partnership to consider is the impact on your audience's user experience. The last thing you want is to be perceived as taking advantage of your audience. A successful brand partnership will add to the experience, not detract. Much like other monetization strategies, balancing revenue, monetization, and the user experience is mission-critical.

Tips for Sustained Success

So, we've covered the basics of brand partnerships. Of course, there's a whole world out there, and offers just a taste of what it takes to master the art of closing deals and making brand partners happy. 

To help you on your journey, here are a few more key tips:

  • Authenticity is Key: Your audience is wary and watching. Make sure the brands you partner with align with your brand and keep things like privacy and transparency close to heart. Mistakes here can cause some serious issues.
  • Boundaries are Important: Remember, this is a business deal. While it's easy to see a brand as a friend, don't think they won't try to extract as much value from you as possible. Set boundaries and honor them throughout the partnership.
  • Say No: Sometimes, even if the partner seems perfect, saying no is a strong move. Maybe you're not ready for that big of a deal, or perhaps you just can't commit to their terms. Whatever it is, think of the longevity of your business over a short-term win.
  • Overpromising and Underdelivering: It's easy to promise the world, but following through is a different story. Be sure you can deliver when the time comes.
  • Start Early: There is no magic number for followers or engagement metrics to start thinking about brand partnerships. Start early by laying the groundwork, including the steps we mentioned earlier. The sooner you start, the better chance you have at landing a deal.
  • Micro-Influencer Platforms: If you don't have a ton of followers or engagement, don't fret. There is a strong preference for creators just like you with a small but dedicated and specific audience within the brand partnership realm. 

When talking to a brand about a deal, you can get creative to get more out of it than just money. You can think of things that will be a win-win for both of you, like getting more brand exposure. You could give them some ideas for non-cash ways to work together, like cross-promoting each other on social media, doing events together, or giving your audience discounts on their products.

To promote a brand, you must be authentic and develop unique ideas. You don't want to push the product too hard and lose your audience. You could do a giveaway or a Q & A session with a product they make or you could go to one of their events and write about it so your audience sees what they're doing. 

Another thing you could do is take your followers behind the scenes and show them what the brand is like on the inside.

Diversify Your Monetization Strategies with Playwire

That's a short and sweet introduction to brand partnerships and influencer marketing. 

Expanding your brand's reach and visibility is an exciting journey but it requires careful planning and strategic thinking. Regarding brand partnerships and influencer marketing, approaching them with a personalized approach makes all the difference.

While they can be a great way to build your brand and reach an even wider audience, you need to be strategic with whom you work and how you promote products.

As far as monetization goes, this is a long-term play. But you're building a business, and these kinds of partnerships grow as your business grows. That's why revenue diversification is key. 

On that front, Playwire is here to help. We're your go-to monetization partner. Our ad tech tools, network, and experience are your ticket to sustained revenue growth. Get in touch today to learn about your options.

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