As the influencer marketing space becomes more cluttered and competitive, we’ve been getting a lot of questions from our influencers about how to stand out to brands and how to come up with new and creative ways to work together. Before we dive into that, there a few questions and pieces of information we recommend that you nail down first:

  1. Know The Brand
    • What are their goals when working with influencers?
    • What does a successful partnership look like to them?
    • Take initiative in providing ideas to give them an idea of how you can work together
    • Do your research! Follow them on social media and see what new products they have. What posts on your blog have done really well that might be worth pointing out to show them an example of a successful partnership?
  2. Know Where You Provide Value
    • We like to think about this on a continuum: Master (RD, nutritionist, personal trainer) —> Specialist (gluten-free recipes, meal prep) —> Generalist (delicious recipes everyone will love). None of these are better than the other, but when you understand where you stand, you can better position your value to brands
    • What content shines on your website and social channels? Don’t be afraid to communicate this and say no to partnerships that ask you to do something you know won’t be successful
  3. Know Your Readers
    • We talk about this more in-depth in our blog post on the power of knowing your audience, but we highly recommend surveying your readers and followers on a yearly basis to see what kind of content they love, what they want to see more of and why they rely on you for product recommendations, recipes, etc
    • Be prepared to share this information with brands in a visual way. Put together a world cloud showing the words people use to describe your blog. Create a graph that shows what grocery stores your readers shop at. These data points will set you apart from other influencers.

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff! Here are some ideas for new and creative ways to partner with brands:

  • Social Media Partnerships: With the rise in popularity of Instagram Stories {and the ability to Swipe Up!} more and more brands are interested in collaborating on content that lives only on this platform. While this can often be attractive to smaller brands because it’s a slightly a lower initial investment, we always encourage this content be balanced with more “evergreen content” that works well for SEO purposes and reaches more people over a longer period of time. Additionally, be mindful of striking a balance between the amount of content on social media that is sponsored with content that you’re creating and just connecting with your audience {no one wants to see #ad on every post!}.
  • Challenges: If you’re blog is focused in a specific niche {i.e. meal prep} consider hosting quarterly or monthly challenges with your readers. This can be a great way to encourage engagement and feedback from your readers on how they’re using your content. It’s also a great place to incorporate brands. Put together a solid proposal that shows them what the collaboration looks like, what they can expect to receive and why it makes sense for them.
  • In-Person Events: With the increasingly digital world that we live in, we’re seeing a shift back to incorporating more in-person events. Brands love this as a way to get thought-leaders around the table for impactful conversation, or just as a fun excuse to gather people together for an experience that aligns with the brand values and gets their product into new people’s hands.
  • Retailer-Specific Programs: Influencer marketing is more and more becoming a part of a brands overall marketing plan. This means that other departments, like sales, are using influencers to differentiate their brands to key retailers. If you see a new product in a specific retailer that wasn’t there before, reach out to the brand and find out what kind of promotional activities they have going on around this new distribution. This can be a great way to create content that helps brands drive sales in-store!
  • Content and Affiliate Partnerships: Some brands are only willing to invest in influencer marketing if they’re able to tie back the investment to sales of their products. While this has gotten slightly easier with affiliate programs, it’s still not perfect. If you’re in conversation with a brand like this, consider offering them a combined content and affiliate partnership. This guarantees you’re paid for the content you create, but also incentivizes you to drive sales through the affiliate program.
  • Media Coverage: We hear from a lot of brands and PR agencies that media coverage is harder and harder to come by these days. If you have strong media ties, or a great on-camera presence, consider pitching yourself as an expert to help brands land media coverage. The compensation for this might be structured a bit differently {i.e you’re paid when coverage is secured} but it can be a great way to get your name, as well as the brands name, out to the media.
  • Social Advertising Using Influencer Content: With the branded content tool, brands are now able to access and put money behind influencer content. While some influencers aren’t sure about granting brands this kind of access, we highly recommend doing so, as it shows you understand the true business value of your brand. It also incentivizes brands to invest in you because the content created can be used on their social channels to advertise their product in a more authentic way {as opposed to all the creative coming from the brand directly}.


We’d love to know: what new ways have you partnered with brands lately? What unique partnerships have brands approached you with?

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  1. I love in person events! Since I find myself in a lot of denver gym & fitness studios I see this as a huge opportunity to work with brands I love. Especially when it comes to doing nutrition education & demos. People ask me for recommendations and I’m happy to make suggestions that include brands I use and love:)!

    My most recent project is a 6 week challenge at a Fit36 & I have so many morsels of nutrition info I know Would make a great channel to show off a brand. If you have anyone looking to enter the denver gym & fitness space – I’m looking for that collab!

    • katieproctor says:

      Monica, you do a great job of participating in your local community and think this has been invaluable to establishing your brand and expertise! We see brands more and more wanting to get in front of consumers “in person” where they can see, touch, taste their product and not just hear about it online.

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