A question I get asked all the time is how to collaborate with other brands. Working with other brands is probably how my business has grown the most. I love working with other brands and I’ve learned a lot from doing it.
In this post, you’ll learn about five different types of collaboration and four steps on how to collaborate.
Five Types of Collaboration
Type 1: Paid Collaboration
This is when someone (and that someone may be you) gives money to another brand to mention their products.
If you are an influencer then odds are you are having brands reach out to you to talk about their products. It’s great to have a collaboration like this because it means you are actually getting paid for being an influencer. The more engagement you have the more you can charge the brand asking to promote their products.
If you’re on the paying end, make sure to ask good questions. For example, how much engagement do they get with their audience? Don’t be afraid to ask them about their analytics, how many views they’re getting, etc.
You could even go to their Instagram page and see how many people are actually engaging in their stories and posts. This is important because there is a huge difference between having a large audience and having a large amount of engagement from that audience.
Type 2: Gifting
This is when you give a product in exchange for the influencer to talk about you whether it’s in their story, blog post, podcast, etc.
This is a good place to start if you don’t have a large following right now.
No matter if you are the one giving the gift or receiving the gift, be clear of what’s expected of you. Otherwise you could end up giving a gift and getting nothing in return or receiving the gift and, well, that would be nice. Haha!
Also, think about what kind of business you have and if it makes sense to make gifting one of your main collaborations.
For example, Tubby Todd who sells products for babies with sensitive skin, is a great company to use gifting as one of their main collaborations. Their products are smaller, which means they are easier/cheaper to ship.
What kind of products do you sell? Is it affordable to ship often? If so, gifting may be your best type of collaboration.
Type 3: Guest Posting or Takeovers
This is when you switch with another influencer and each of you take over the other’s social media account. They’d create content and post it on your account, and you’d do the same for them.
The main benefit from this collaboration is each audience is getting to know both of you. It also helps you serve your audience while continuing to grow your audience. Double win!
When deciding who to do this type of collaboration with, you need to pick someone who serves your same audience, but in a different way.
For example, working with Brittany Ratelle would be a smart choice for my business. She is a lawyer for creatives, so we have the same audience, but we serve them in different ways.
Who is your audience? Who do you know that serves that same audience in a different way?
Type 4: Giveaway
This one is pretty self explanatory. It’s when you get together with other brands and you all contribute money or giveaway items to a winner if they like, share, comment on your accounts–or whatever you ask them to do.
Type 5: Project
I love a good project. This is when you put together an online summit, party, webinar, etc. and invite a bunch of different types of people to come and be a part of it.
This helps because you grow your audience and you’re growing your skills in knowing how to host an online event. Plus, it’s so rewarding to put something like this together and then see it help so many people.
Four Steps on How to Collaborate
Now that you know the five different types of collaboration, now you need to know the four steps in how to actually start collaborating.
By the end of this post, I hope you feel like you can pick one type and start implementing it into your marketing plan!
Step 1: Choose your type.
First, choose the type of collaboration you feel like you start right now. Which one feels most comfortable to you? Think of the stage you’re in with your brand and which collaboration would best benefit you right now in that stage.
Step 2: Find your people.
Look for the people who are serving your audience, but in a different way. You want to find the brands that complement your brand, not compete with it.
When choosing your people to collaborate with, ask yourself if collaborating with that person/brand continues to serve your audience and if getting in front of their audience will help your business.
Start finding people who are at your level. If you’re just starting out, reach out to those who are also just starting out.
But don’t be afraid to also ask to collaborate with a few bigger brands who are high in the sky. When I did my non-profit, Beauty Revived, I asked several big brand photographers to give a free session to people who had a story. I would then publish an article in my magazine about that person and feature the photographer.
The cool part is that all these big brand photographers almost always said yes to helping me. It was because I knew my why and I was passionate about it.
What’s your why and how passionate are you about it? Make sure to showcase that passion whenever you reach out to collaborate with other brands. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and you can help people do that.
Step 3: Start building relationships.
This step is too important to blend it in with step two. Your first point of contact should never be a direct message asking to collaborate.
First, you should follow them, start commenting on their posts and responding to their stories. Support them and be an active member in their community.
It will be a much easier yes for them to collaborate with you if they’ve already noticed you supporting them and showing interest in what they do.
Following them beforehand benefits you because it gives you a chance to see if collaborating with them is really the right choice.
Step 4: Give the pitch.
You’ll give your pitch after you’ve built a relationship with them. When I give a pitch, I make sure to direct message them AND email them. We all know direct messages on Instagram can be a black hole, so it’s easy for it to get lost.
Don’t feel bad about emailing or reaching out to them in more than one way, or even more than one time if you don’t hear back soon.
When you give the pitch, do not leave it at, “Hey, we should collaborate.” This is way too vague and gives them the opportunity to give the easiest no.
Be specific. Tell them what they would get, what they would give, and what needs to happen.
They will be more likely to say yes if you reach out with confidence and with a plan.
I love collaborating! It feels so great helping others grow at the same time as growing my own brand.
Now, it’s time to choose! Pick the collaboration you can implement into your marketing plan and start it right now! If you need support, I’m here for you biz sister!
Follow me on Instagram @iammichellegifford to keep getting amazing quick tips on how to grow your business.