A question we often see here at the Lost Creator Academy is, “how can I land brand collaborations?” Working with your favorite brands is excellent for expanding your portfolio and reducing expenses as a digital nomad. A free hotel experience has the potential to be a great Youtube video, Tik Tok, or Reel. All while spending less money on creating the content had you paid for your accommodations.
Hotels are not the only brand collaboration examples; they are also opportunities for receiving products and services from Fortune 500 companies such as airliners, apparel companies, major retailers, etc. Many influencers build their brand by working with companies who align well with their content and target audience.
The key to landing a brand collaboration is effectively communicating what you can offer a company and how it will benefit their business. As more content creators enter the space, it’s now more important than ever to stand out.
1— Do Your Research
Before reaching out to a brand, take your time to research the company to understand whom you will be working with. Having the contact information of a manager or decision-maker is far more effective than emailing through a general email address. Your collaboration email may never get noticed when it’s buried with hundreds of other generic requests.
It can be challenging to locate specific contact information for hotel managers, marketing directors, etc. A practical tool to try is LinkedIn, as many companies and their employees are on the platform.
How to Use LinkedIn for Brand Collaborations
- Go to LinkedIn
- Use the search bar and type in the company name
- Once on the page, click the ‘People’ tab
- Under the number of employees, use the search bar to find the correct person
- Use keywords like General Manager, Influencer Marketing, Partnerships, etc.
A list will now appear with relevant employees and their position titles. Connect with them and see if they have their email listed. If no email is listed, you can always try using the InMail feature or touching base with a brief message where you introduce yourself and ask for their email address.
If you have already spoken with the company, try to get the decision-makers email address and phone number. Sending an email or telling them ahead of time that you will be sending an email can be effective because they are now expecting to hear from you.
2— Pitching Brand Collaborations With a Small Following
It is common to use your following as leverage when working with brands. However, you may not have many followers yet when starting. Landing a brand collaboration without a big following is achievable. When making your pitch, show that you are knowledgeable about their product or service. A great ambassador already knows the brand and provides confidence to the company that you will effectively represent them and bring in new customers.
Here is an example a smaller content creator can use when reaching out to brands:
“Hi, my name is Christian Leblanc, and I’m a full-time photographer specializing in hotels and landscape. Here is my portfolio.”
Right away, they know who you are and what you do. Adding a link to your portfolio solidifies credibility and allows the company to get a feel for your work. This method is highly effective when you can’t lean on a large audience; instead, leverage your talent.
3— Sell Yourself and Your Brand
If you want to work with top brands, you must be willing to put yourself out there. When pitching your collaboration, be respectful of their time.
Be direct and provide the following information:
- Who will be watching the content
- Where will the content be viewed
- How will you use your platform to showcase their product or service
Smaller content creators can offer content for the client instead of reach. Having an established portfolio is a helpful tool to have.
Examples of how to promote yourself without a large following:
- For example, try saying, “In the past, I have worked with brands like _ and _.”
- “Over the past five years, I have worked with…”
If it’s been over five years for previous brand collaborations, do not include a date. Doing so will make the work look more recent and relevant.
Most importantly, be humble, show humility, and be willing to serve someone else.
Speak Their Language
Everyone loves a compliment, and the same rings true when working with brands. Showing your ability to provide descriptive details about their business shows you are serious. Identify key features of the hotel or product and call them out in your email.
Here are some examples if you are working with a hotel:
- “I have identified your hotel as the best in the region.”
- “I love the spa and infinity pool overlooking the city, which I believe I could capture incredible photos for you to use on your website and social media.”
Always use keywords that resonate with your quality and professionalism. Try to avoid using phrases like “travel Youtube video,” instead say, “travel series.” Words like YouTube can sometimes carry a negative connotation, resulting in an unfavorable response to a brand collaboration request. Using phrases like “our production team is creating a travel series” makes you sound more legitimate than saying, “I’m a Youtuber who makes travel videos.”
- Try saying, “This video will rank well in the search results for travelers looking for the best place to stay in Dubai.”
- “Our audience is going to watch this…”
Understanding how to communicate your request is essential. For a hotel, explain why a longer stay will benefit them.
- “An extended stay would allow me to capture all of your hotel’s great amenities and dining experiences.”
- “Our travel series focuses on the most luxurious hotels in the world, and we want to capture all of the experiences you have to offer.”
You’re making a case for a free stay, but you’re also showing the hotel what will be included in the deliverables.
Do you want to see deliverables in action? Check out my Youtube video BILLIONAIRE for a Week – Most Expensive of Dubai.
For product collaborations, it’s best to request items that will feel organic to your audience. It could be a computer, audio equipment, or anything else you need.
Here are some examples if you are looking for a product collaboration:
- “I am writing to propose a brand collaboration to share Lumecube products with my 10,000 followers.”
- “I recently built a new studio space for my Youtube channel, which is where I see a great opportunity to share Lumecube lighting equipment in a highly organic way.”
Starting with what your proposal is and how many followers you have is a great attention grabber. Then, saying how their products would be used reveals the value of providing you with their products. Essentially, 10k people are learning how to build a studio and may buy their products based on your recommendation.
Whether it’s a hotel or a product, the structure to properly deliver your request is very similar.
5— Offer Clear and Descriptive Deliverables
When emailing a proposal, be clear in what you are offering in exchange for a product or service. To make it stand out say “I can offer the following deliverables for this collaboration.”
- “A video integration in my travel series on my Youtube channel.”
Mentioning what channel the brand collaboration will appear on is important. In this case, using the word YouTube is okay. If your email is structured correctly, they already see you as a professional content creator.
Include social channels for proof of concept and mention brands you have worked with. A media kit with your social stats and previous brand collaborations is also a great resource to link to. Providing this information tells the decision-maker exactly what they are getting.
Additional Tips for Landing Brand Collaborations
Create a Timeline
In general, it’s best to reach out three weeks before you need a hotel or product. The project is not too far out or time-constrained at just a few weeks. Adding a sense of urgency can be beneficial in getting your request noticed.
Follow Up Emails
It can be tough to request free hotel stays, experiences, and products. If 3-5 days pass by, send another email to let them know you’re still serious about working together. Following up on unanswered emails keeps you from getting buried in the inbox. There will be times when you never receive an answer for your brand collaboration proposal.
Keep Your Email Brief
Hotel managers, marketing directors, and busy people alike do not have time to read a novel. Keep your request simple and to the point.
Effective emails state:
- Who you are
- What you can offer them
- When is this project happening
- What they get back
Get Access to My Effective Brand Collaboration Email Templates
I hope you found this guide helpful in learning how to pitch a brand collaboration. If you’re ready to score your first big partnership, join the free 1-hour online creator training to see what the Lost Creator Academy is all about. Watch the free training video to learn the ten steps to go from beginner to pro and the five steps to escape the 9-5. The course includes my brand collaboration email templates, which I have used to work with prestigious brands around the globe.
Let’s get lost in the next one!