Landing your dream partnership isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when that process entails promoting yourself, which can be daunting. But when you follow a simple checklist of what you can do during the pitch process, it can be a lot easier. During the BlogHer Creators Summit, CJ Affiliate’s Director of Influencer and Brand Partnerships, Corinne Travis, and creator Sher of Sher She Goes shared their tips for how to do just that, using affiliate networks to tap into your data, craft powerful brand pitches and really stand out as a creator that brands will want to partner with for the long term.
“I love numbers and I think affiliate networks are very helpful, not only in helping me plan out my content by seeing what’s resonating with my audience — from a clicks and conversion standpoint, but also when it comes to pitching new work and reaching out to brands,” says Sher. “Influencer marketing is only becoming more and more competitive so the more that you stay up to date and understand the right lingo and the right metrics that brands are looking at, the more you are setting yourself up for success,” adds Sher. And to set yourself up for success, it helps to follow a simple yet effective formula for getting your content in front of the right brands.
Put your data to work
“If you are pitching a brand, you’re taking the first step toward building a partnership,” says Travis. “You most likely won’t know a brand’s primary goal just yet so leading with your strongest, most relevant data points is going to be the most important for you.” You’ll want to primarily focus on average click-through rate, average engagement rate, reach rate, average order value (AOV), audience alignment and affinities and conversion rate. “Conversion rate is a very impactful metric that signals to a brand if you’re worth investing in because at this point, all new and first activations are really a test, so to have that key metric to show goes a long way with the brand,” says Travis. “These data points also help a brand project potential performance, which will lead to a brand feeling more comfortable partnering with you,” she adds.
Explore working with an affiliate network
Sher loves working with affiliate networks as it is an easy way to see what’s resonating with her audience — networks like CJ provide influencers with rich data that’s on the same level with what a brand would have access to on their end. This data helps influencers craft better strategies and allows them to showcase their value and land that dream partnership. “I like to combine the insights I get from my Google Analytics, Instagram and YouTube analytics and combine that with the data that I see on the affiliate network side,” says Sher. “Together, I can draw some conclusions, not only for planning content but when I’m pitching I can say, ‘This is my conversion rate’ or ‘My audience has a really strong affinity for this category.’ When you weave that kind of data into the pitch, you’re able to prove your case a little bit more and help justify why the brand should work with you.”
The right affiliate network dives deeper into each transaction by looking at commissions earned, sales amount, the originating platform or device of each sale, performance broken out by channel, amount of new vs. existing consumers, SKU level performance, conversion rates and more.
In influencer marketing, a company pays for a sponsored post, or the service of an influencer promoting the product on their page. But with affiliate marketing, the influencer knows that more financial compensation is available if they can get their audience to purchase via their links or code. This inevitably ups the ante of the content’s quality, whether done through influencer posts, brand partnerships, or backlinks within blogs. If this is something you may be interested in, CJ Affiliate makes it easy to sign up and learn more about incorporating this into your business plan.
Don’t forget the media kit and email must-haves
Number three on the list is including the media kit and email must-haves, which can both go a long way in helping nail the partnership of your dreams. “At the very least if you have a good email then they will likely get back to you and say, we might not have budget now but we are launching these new dresses at the end of the month and we’d be happy to send you something to try out,” says Sher.
“I definitely see emails from creators that have really painted a picture. I might not have budget to spend right then and there, but I know that it might be coming or I’m working on another brand campaign where that could be a fit,” adds Travis. “Those emails get flagged, get responses and stand out.”
So, what are email and media kit must-haves? In your email, you will definitely want to ask the brand if they have an affiliate network and include brand experience, creative concepts, tailored data proof points, rates and an attached media kit. You will also want to have at least an abbreviated version of your media kit on your blog or website. Why? “It’s a good way to present at a glance what you’re all about, what your audience likes and how people can actually work with you,” says Sher. “It is a subtle way of promoting yourself and I guarantee that if you put that link on your website, people will click on it because people are naturally curious and want to see.” And in your media kit, you’ll want to include audience size and demographics, shopping behaviors or affinities, top performing verticals, success stories, testimonials, creative imagery and AOV, CR, CTR, engagement rate,etc.
Make sure you stand out
There are a lot of creators out there and making your brand seem like the one that advertisers should work with can be tough, but not impossible. Offering brands added exposure by including them in teaser stories, a link in your bio, round-up style posts like listicles, Friday favorites, weekly deals, or repurposed content shared across social/newsletters can go a long way. Addressing things like usage rights, reposting content and tagging upfront will make working with you feel breezy and streamlined. Additionally, doing an offer for a short time period adds an element of exclusivity that audiences and brands will want to be a part of. “There’s a lot of time and work and effort that goes into these tactics,” says Travis. “It’s very important to know your worth and demand it to stand out in front of your dream brand or one that you’re aspiring to have a long-term partnership with. Providing any additional value in your package from the beginning stands out — I can’t stress it enough.”
This article was created by BlogHer for CJ Affiliate.