How To
16 min

How to Get Your First Brand Gig As an Influencer - Step by Step Guide

Soniya Jain
November 20, 2022

What you'll learn

What you'll need

Influencer marketing is an exciting trend, but getting started isn’t always easy.

As more and more influencers enter the scene, it’s become increasingly difficult for smaller influencers to stand out from the crowd. However, one strategy can help you get noticed—brand collaborations.

Brand collaborations are essential for any influencer, whether you're just starting out or already have thousands of followers. 

But how do you approach a brand? What should you say? How do you find the right collaboration partner?

This guide outlines how to get started on your path to landing a brand partnership.

How can influencers approach brands for collaborations?

At first, it may seem a little scary to approach brands to collaborate. However, remember that collaboration can help you and your collaboration partner.

With that in mind, the key steps to initiating a brand collaboration are here.

  1. Build a list of potential brand collaboration partners

The first step to beginning a collaboration is to create a list of brands you may want to work with.

This will help you stay focused and avoid wasting time on brands that aren't a good fit for your audience. It’ll also help you avoid brands that are too big or too small for what you're looking for.

To build your brand collaboration list, you should::

  • Find out what brands exist in your industry and what they do

  • Look at their websites and social media pages to see if there are any similarities. Try to understand what makes them stand out in their industry.

  • Google these brands’ names with keywords such as "collaboration guidelines" or "brand partnership request form." This can help you determine how each company defines and approaches collaborations

How to find a company's collaboration guidelines

Once you've got a few companies on your list, email them directly or DM them on Instagram to see if they'd be interested in collaborating with you. Include some info about yourself and why you think this would work well for both parties!

  1. Create the perfect media kit

A media kit is a document that outlines:

  • The types of content you create
  • Your audience demographics
  • Any other relevant information about you that would be useful for collaboration partners to know

If a brand likes what they see in your media kit, they'll be more likely to reach out to you with opportunities. 

Your media kit should also include samples of your work and, if possible, links to where people can find it online.  This demonstrates how well-suited you are for their brand.

A well-designed media kit can help you accomplish several goals. For example, it:

  • Makes it easy for brands to vet influencers
  • Gives you a chance to showcase your work and prove that you're a good fit for the brand
  • Lays the foundation for a great working relationship between influencers and brands

In the following example, Christina Galbato introduces herself and her business in just a few sentences.

Christina Galbato media kit

Tip for creating the perfect media kit

Here are some tips for creating a media kit that will grab the attention of brands:

  • Make sure your name, bio, and photo are at the top of the page.
  • Include a brief description of your business, what you do, and how long you've been in operation.
  • List your social media profiles and any other relevant pages where you're active.
  • Include any awards, recognition, or accolades you've received.
  • Include at least one testimonial from a client or customer.

There are two main things every good media kit needs: information about you and your business and samples of your work. 

If you have both of these things ready and a company asks for them, they'll feel more confident working with you immediately. This means they’ll probably respond more quickly!

  1. Define your pitch for each brand

Each brand has its own unique style and tone, so it's essential to tailor your pitch to fit with theirs. Make sure you know what they're looking for before you start crafting a pitch by looking at their website and social media accounts.

Your pitch is the most crucial part of your application, and it should show that you're a good fit for collaborating with the brand. It can also help you overcome any initial biases that could hinder your chances of getting accepted into their program.

A well-crafted pitch should include the following elements.


Introduce yourself and your business in the first paragraph. 

Let brands know who you are and what you do, and mention any relevant experience or background that might make you a beneficial collaborator.

Purpose of contact 

Make it clear why you're reaching out to this particular brand. Ask yourself:

  • Why do they matter to you? 
  • What do they represent? 
  • Do they align with your mission? If so, why?

Your collaboration idea 

Explain how you see this collaboration working. 

You can include some creative ideas if you like. For example, you could write, "I'd love to create a video series about how I use each product in my routine.” 

make sure that whatever idea you pitch is:

  • Relevant
  • Feasible
  • Mutually beneficial for both parties involved


Include links to previous collaborations or other examples that showcase your ability as a creator and/or brand ambassador. 

Your experience and results will help convince them more than just words!

  1. Conduct outreach through your planned channels

Now that you have your pitch ready, it's time to reach out! 

You can approach brands in many ways, but here are some of the most effective ones.

Get listed on influencer marketing platforms and marketplaces

Influencer marketing platforms and marketplaces are a great way to find new brands looking for influencers. Most platforms have thorough listings of all the brands that have signed up with them, so it's easy to filter out the ones you're interested in from the get-go.

These platforms usually charge a fee for listing your profile on their site, but it's worth it if you want to ensure your brand collaborations are authentic and not spammy.

You can also look for opportunities through influencer agencies to access brand managers looking for specific content creators and audiences.

Send cold email pitches

You can also send cold email pitches to brands you'd like to work with. However, be careful not to spam them. 

If you have a personal connection, it can be helpful to mention this in the subject line of your cold email. If not, try to find common ground and draw attention to how your content will help their brand reach its goals. 

Make sure you put some thought into your pitch, and make it easy for them to say yes. Include specific examples of previous collaborations or content ideas that you think would work well.

Engage and send direct messages on social media

Social media is still an important part of how people connect, so don't underestimate its power when connecting with potential collaborators. 

To use social media to your advantage, you need to:

If you find a relevant post or comment, reach out to them and ask if they'd like to collaborate with you on any projects. Make sure to let them know why you're interested in collaborating and how that could benefit both of you.

Social media engagement is also a great way to keep your brand top of mind when you have something new and exciting that might be relevant to them.

Apply to the brand's request for influencer proposals

When a brand is looking for influencers to partner with, they'll often put out calls for proposals. These are opportunities you don't want to miss out on! 

Keep an eye out for them in your industry and apply.

Like any other job application, ensure your profile fits the brand's needs, and be prepared to answer questions about yourself or your past work experience.

Follow the brand's guidelines carefully, and ensure your proposal includes all the relevant information they're looking for. If you have a specific brand in mind that you'd love to work with, it's worth applying to their request for influencer proposals.

You can find these by searching the brand name on Google or social media and looking for posts that say "Request for Proposal."

Participate and network in brand events

One more way to get noticed by brands is to participate in the events they host. This can include:

  • Meetups
  • Conferences
  • Parties 

These are great places to start if you're looking for an opportunity to network with other influencers. 

If you know of a brand that would be a good fit for your business, attend their events. You can meet the right people and make connections to help grow your following.

The crucial thing to remember is that you need to be authentic. If you're not a good fit for the brand, don't try to get in just because it's popular. This can backfire and hurt both parties involved!

  1. Follow-up

The most important part of securing a brand collaboration is following up

Many brands receive hundreds of requests from influencers every week, so it's crucial that you’re persistent and don't give up if they aren't interested at first.

The brand might forget about it if you don't follow up after sending your pitch. This is why it's important to track when a brand opens your email and when they reply. 

Send another email if you see that they opened it quickly (within 24 hours) but haven't responded. If you don't hear back in a week, send another email. Be polite and respectful of their time, but don't be afraid to ask if they have any questions or comments about your pitch.

If all else fails, try reaching out again a few weeks later. You may need to send several emails before someone replies, but don't give up! 

Don't take it personally if you get a response saying they're not interested. Instead, ask why. This will give you valuable insight into improving your pitch for future brand collaborations.

  1. Negotiate the deal

Once you've found a brand that’s interested in working with you, it’s time to see if you can both agree on a fair partnership! This is where you can show off your skills and prove your genuine interest in working together.

It's also the stage where you can negotiate a better deal. If the brand has no idea who you are, they'll likely offer a low payout. It’s up to you to negotiate a higher sum if you want more money from the collaboration.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to negotiating a brand partnership. Some influencers will ask for free products, while others may require a fee for their work. It all depends on your goals and what you think is fair compensation based on the scope of work involved.

How much to pay to influencers

Source: GRIN

Tips for negotiating brand collaboration deals

Negotiating influencer deals with brands can be tricky. Still, if you follow these tips, you'll be able to secure the best possible terms for yourself and your audience:

  1. Have a clear understanding of your value and worth as an influencer.
  2. Do your research. Find out what similar deals are being offered across the industry, and get an idea of what other people are making in similar situations.
  3. Make sure you're educated about the brand you're negotiating with. Be sure to understand how they operate, who they are trying to reach, and why they want to work with influencers like yourself (beyond just wanting more followers).
  4. Don't be afraid to ask questions! If there's something that isn't clear or that doesn't make sense, say so.

When negotiating a deal, it's important to remember that you're worth it! If a brand is interested in working with you, they'll be willing to negotiate fair and mutually-beneficial terms.

7. Sign the contract

Signing a contract is an important step in approaching brands for collaborations. When you sign a contract, you can set expectations and feel more secure about your future. 

Additionally, you should ensure that the terms of your agreement align with your values and goals. A contract protects you and the brand from any misunderstandings or unexpected problems that might arise during the process, which can help you negotiate more effectively.

What to consider when signing a brand collaboration contract

When you are signing a brand collaboration contract, here's what to keep in mind:

  1. Be clear about what you're offering to the brand and why they should care. This is your chance to show off your expertise and value!
  2. Be specific about what you need in return. Ask yourself:
  1. How much exposure will be enough? 
  2. What kind of media coverage would make sense? 
  3. What do you want them to do with your content?
  1. Make sure everyone involved understands their role in the collaboration, whether they're a photographer, an editor, or someone else entirely.

Before signing the contract, read it carefully and ensure that everything looks good and nothing is missing! Be sure to ask questions if anything isn't clear. It’s also smart to have someone else review it for you if necessary.

Remember, this isn't just about signing some paper. It's about protecting your business relationship with this brand for the foreseeable future.

8. Execute the campaign according to the contract

When you're working with a brand to execute a campaign, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the collaboration. However, don't let yourself get carried away! 

Remember, your job is to execute the campaign as per the contract. That means:

  •  Staying on time and budget 
  • Remaining aware of your deadlines and sticking to them
  • Following through with all the necessary details so your campaign can be successful

If you want to ensure you're doing all these things right, do some research!

Tips for executing a brand collaboration campaign

To make sure you’re executing your brand collaboration campaign as well as possible, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use a campaign brief to ensure you know what's expected of you and how to deliver on it.
  • Look at similar campaigns from other brands.
  • Ask friends who have worked with brands for advice.
  • Talk to someone who works for one of those brands so you can get an insider's perspective.

There is no single way to approach brand collaborations. So, if you're having trouble coming up with ideas or executing what feels like an awkward project, don't hesitate to ask for help!

You can always reach out to your mentor or manager for advice or ask someone else what they think would work best in any given situation.

Lastly, provide regular updates on your progress so the brand can stay up-to-date on what's happening with the campaign and how it will affect them.

9. Maintain a healthy relationship after your first collaboration

Once you've made it through the initial stages of a brand campaign, it's crucial to maintain a healthy relationship with your client. This will increase your chances of getting more work in the future, and boost your reputation. 

You'll have a better understanding of how the company works, which can be invaluable when it comes time to negotiate the terms of your second project.

Also, you'll be able to build trust, making it easier to work together again. 

Finally, you'll gain valuable insight into what kind of content they're looking for and how you can help them down the road.

How to maintain a healthy relationship with brands

Here are some tips for maintaining healthy relationships with brands:

  • Send thank-you notes or emails thanking the company for their time and effort (even if you didn't get paid).
  • Share your content on social media so they can see it!
  • Keep in touch periodically. Sometimes it's nice to shoot a quick email saying "hi" every few months.

All these tips will help you stay on their radar and remind them that you're still there. 

When pitching new content, follow up with an email after a week so they can see what kind of response your content is getting. It's okay to ask for feedback on how you could improve your work.

6 tips for approaching brands for influencer collaborations

Now that you know the process of approaching brands for influencer collaborations, it’s time to take your approaches to the next level!

Keeping the following tips in mind will increase your chances of securing more collaborations.

  1. Personalize your brand interactions

Don't just send generic messages to brands asking if they'd be interested in working together. 

Instead, get to know them a little bit beforehand, and show that you have some idea of:

  • What they do
  • Who they serve
  • How they serve them 

The more you understand them as a company and as individuals, the better it'll be for both parties involved in the collaboration.

  1. Be concise

Don't try to cram too much into one message! 

Instead, split up your ideas into multiple messages. This way, each can stand on its own merits, keeping things organized for both parties, so nothing gets lost in translation.

  1. Share collaboration ideas

If there's something you think would be fun and exciting, let the brand know! 

It shows initiative on your part, making it clear that this isn't just a one-way street. You want this to work as much as they do! 

You can even share a few photos from your Instagram account showing how well your style aligns with the brand's aesthetic or mission statement.

  1. Clarify expectations

Both parties must be on the same page about what they want to get out of the collaboration. 

If you're not sure what the other person wants, ask! This ensures neither of you feel like this will be an uphill battle or a one-sided relationship.

For example, if you're looking to boost your brand's visibility and gain new followers, make sure your collaboration partner is on board. It might not be a good fit if they're not—or if their goals don't align with yours.

There's nothing wrong with being honest about what you want out of this collaboration. It'll just ensure that everyone understands the expectations going into it!

  1. Don’t mention that you're a novice

Brands can spot an amateur from a mile away and probably won't be interested in working with someone who doesn't know what they're doing. 

Instead, be honest about your experience and let the brand know what types of products or services you like best. 

If you're new to this, try working with a brand with similar values and interests. That way, you can learn how to work together without pressure. Then, use those skills when collaborating with other brands in the future!

  1. Don’t ask for a free product

Brands are always looking for ways to get their products into the hands of influencers, so they’ll be happy to give you some free samples. 

However, asking them outright will most likely turn them off, especially if you don't have a lot of followers or engagement stats. 

Instead, offer to do something in exchange for the product. For example, you could create an original post on your social media and tag the brand. 

This way, both parties can benefit from the collaboration!

Final thoughts on approaching brands for collaborations

You don't need to be a big influencer or celebrity to get brands to notice you. It just takes persistence, creativity, and an understanding of what brands are looking for from their influencers. 

As long as you show that your brand fits into a larger strategy and your audience is ready to buy what they’re selling, brands will be lining up to work with you.

Remember, your content is what will get you noticed by brands. So, focus on creating great content, and then use the tips above to make your approach more effective.

If you are looking for an easy way to create content to help you stand out from the crowd, check out It's an AI-powered content creation tool that lets you create high-quality articles, blog posts, and social media posts in just minutes!

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