Working with an influencer marketing agency for paid influencer opportunities, whether it’s sponsored blog posts, creating videos, appearances or posting to social media, can be a solid way of earning an income. Some of these agencies operate as communities, offering resources to their members and providing them with access to apply or be selected for said paid opportunities. When you’ve decided that your influence on whatever platform (blog, Instagram, Facebook page or group, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, etc) might be worthy of generating income for you, your best bet is to seek out these agencies and brands that work with influencers for paid opportunities.
But hold on a minute. There are some things you should know and prepare yourself for before you dive into the world of paid influencer opportunities.
First of all, you need to creating and publishing content that’s actually being seen by people, and that people are interacting with. They can be liking it, commenting on it, sharing it, pinning it, whatever, but you need to be putting stuff out there that makes people DO something. Are you striking up a conversation with them? Are they celebrating something with you, falling in love with an outfit, listening to your music, creating your crafts? If they aren’t, and you can easily see this by looking at the number of likes, comments, shares, repins, retweets, etc that you receive, then you need to work on your content.
I’ll go ahead and flip the coin right now and tell you that some agencies and brands, they don’t even care about that. They don’t – they only want the numbers. Have 100k followers on Instagram? Awesome, sign this and we’ll pay you to post. Who cares if you got those followers from running loop giveaways, or buying them on Fiverr (which you can do, I do NOT suggest this in a million years), you have 100k people that “could” see your post about their product and that’s enough for them. That’s right – some care about the quality of engagement and others don’t. It’s just the way the industry works, and some agencies are perfectly fine catering to those clients who just want numbers over the stellar content they could reuse and repurpose for additional marketing efforts down the road. I believe that if an agency wants to be trusted by influencers, they should be doing what they can to educate potential clients on the value of quality content and engagements over just the numbers.
So now that you have a tiny look into the other side of influencer marketing, let’s talk about how to prepare yourself for working as an influencer and accepting paid influencer opportunities.
Your contact information should be visible everywhere. Make it easy for agencies, brands, PR, etc to reach you. Allow direct messages (and check them), set up a specific email for inquiries and check it regularly. If you have a blog, set up an “About” page and include your contact information there. Even better, put your email address somewhere near the top of your blog or in your sidebar if you have one. Don’t make someone dig for your information, they are more likely to just move along. I cannot tell you how many times I have to do dig for someone’s email. Put it in your social bios – your Instagram bio, your Twitter bio, on your Facebook page description and in your about section, everywhere.
You need to understand that everyone has a different process. Sometimes, you might receive an email from someone ready to go and get you on board with a campaign, other times you will be on a “wait list” while they find 10, 20, 30, etc more participants and the client picks who will participate. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask them, especially if your first time working with them, how their process goes so you know what to expect. Is there a date you should follow up on? When can you expect a decision? Those are things you have the right to know, as with any business, those become deadlines that are important to filling your editorial calendar and planning for content creation.
Consider your personal values and beliefs before just working with every brand that offers you something. This is such a valuable tip. You have to know who you are as a person, as a consumer, before you can start sharing products and services with an audience that trusts you. Don’t claim to be gluten-free and then do a post on something full of gluten. People aren’t as dumb you might believe they are, they will pick up on that and see that you did it for money. Be transparent with yourself, your audience and the kinds of companies you are willing to work with. If it helps, keep a list of your favorite brands, the ones you are iffy on, and the ones you would never work with (for whatever reason), and stay true to that.
Keep track of your statistics. Whether that’s blog traffic or social followings, you can create a media kit to “sell” yourself with a bit of a bio and your blog/social URLs and following counts, or just keep them in a note on your phone, or in Google Drive, and constantly update them. Some agencies have the ability to scrape this information themselves, others will have you create a profile and link your accounts so their systems can automatically read this data, and others will simply ask you for it. Be prepared. Have this information updated at the beginning of every month and ready to go so you don’t miss an opportunity once you start receiving emails for potential paid opportunities.
Once you’ve got a handle on all of the above, you have a pretty good foundation for starting to work with influencer marketing agencies, blog networks, paid social media platforms, etc. Continue to create that you love and that your audience loves, and enjoy what you do. People will notice when you enjoy what you do.
Think you’re ready to join some networks and agencies? Check out this list I’ve put together as a great place to start.
Why am I sharing these tips with you? I’ve been blogging since, like, 2008, and have spent the past two years working in influencer marketing on “the other side” of things, basically riding the fence between influencer and influencer marketer. It’s important for influencers to understand the other side and to know how to effectively and properly position themselves to make money in this industry.
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