When it comes to paid partnerships, PR agencies and brands alike are always on the lookout for new influencers to work with. So how can content creators and influencers position themselves to get noticed on Instagram and other online platforms?
It mostly comes down to making sure you are easily findable... and then doing a little intentional attention-seeking.
You want to make sure that if a brand is searching for a creator with your characteristics and audience type, you are one search away.
Don’t worry, you can still pitch…
Before we dive in, I do want to note the value in pitching brands directly for collaborations.
It’s a great way to take control of your business and put yourself on a brand’s radar.
But that being said, most creators making a full-time income rely on inbound requests–meaning a brand has reached out to them.
I’ve recently become a full-time creator myself, and in the past couple of years, I’ve only pitched two brands.
So in this post, we are going to talk about how I believe I’ve attracted enough paid partnerships to sustain myself. And every single one of these is an actionable tip so you can implement them too.
How to Attract Paid Partnerships
If you want the video version, I’ve summed up a lot of the same sentiments below. Don’t forget to like and subscribe. 🙂
1. Keywords Everywhere
If you want brands to notice you on Instagram or other social media platforms, you need to clearly define who you are and what you do.
This can be done through keyword usage everywhere you can think of, across all your platforms and web presence.
These keywords should be intentional–they should be words and phrases that describe you and your content.
This will not only ensure that someone glancing at your profile will quickly understand your niche and audience, but that brands and PR agencies will be able to find you through search engine optimization (SEO).
If someone’s looking for you, you want to make it easy for them!
For example, I am a natural hair and lifestyle blogger, and I’m a Canadian influencer. I make sure that I have some combination of those keywords in all my social media bios and my blog.
Action: Brainstorm words that describe you, your niche, and your audience best, and think about what words a brand might want to type in to find you.
The intent behind strategic hashtag usage is similar to the above.
When trying to get a brand to notice you on Instagram, you don’t necessarily want to target hashtags that will get you a lot of reach or new followers.
Instead, you want to use the tags brands are using to look for influencers to partner with.
These are hashtags that include demographic, niche, location, and/or occupation.
For example, when I started using #VancouverBloggers and #BlackLifestyleBloggers, I saw an increase in brands sliding into my email inbox.
Because a lot of these hashtags are relatively niche, they are also less competitive. This makes it easier to surface on the “Top” tab/
Action: Use the below guide to brainstorm the best hashtags for you and your brand. Search them to ensure there is moderate usage (More than 5k), and then add them to a list.
3. Diversify Your Content
The third way you can begin attracting more brand deals is by diversifying your content and remembering that your Instagram feed is a portfolio of your work. It’s important to show brands examples of what you might be able to create for them when they visit your profile.
The first way you can diversify is by expanding your niche.
The more categories of content you create, the more brands you can work with.
When I first started, I was strictly a natural hair blogger.
This meant my feed was a lot of selfies showing off different hairstyles. So naturally, the only brands that reached out to me for partnerships were… natural hair brands.
When I realized I wanted to expand more into the “lifestyle” umbrella, I began intentionally sharing more categories on my feed. I started talking more about my skincare; I started sharing more fashion content, and brands in those categories began reaching out.
The second way to diversify is by switching up your visuals.
If you want brands to work with you, you need to demonstrate that you can shoot more than one look.
In my case, when I remembered that my feed was a portfolio, I knew I need to expand past the basic selfie.
I began mixing it up and incorporating some full-body shots, some product shots, and some half-body shots. Not only did this make my feed more interesting for my audience, but it also showed my range to potential brands.
The third way you can diversify is by switching up content mediums/formats.
It’s important to showcase the variety in your skill set.
Instead of just a standard post and a simple caption, or the same type of reels. Experiment with different storytelling methods, trends, and all the features the platform has to offer.
Action: Look at your feed and see if there is an organic way to add more categories or angles, then go create that content. Also experiment with all the mediums and tools at your disposal.
4. Post Organic Content and Tag Brands
If you want to take more initiative when it comes to getting a brand to notice you on Instagram… start signalling to them.
Organically share products and services you love with your audience and tag the brands.
Create high-quality engaging content that honestly could be a paid campaign. In doing so and tagging the brand, you are sending a direct notification saying “hey, look at what I can do!”.
This is great exposure even if the brand you tag doesn’t reach out. I have had companies email me linking to organic content I did highlighting a competitor saying, “We love this. Can you do something similar for us?”
Action: Look to your product shelves for something you love that would resonate with your audience. Go create content around it and tag the brand!
5. Engage with Brands
Another way to say “here I am”, and get brands on Instagram to notice you is by actively engaging with them.
Respond to their posts with heartfelt comments, and react to their stories with thoughtful responses.
I have done this strategically several times and it works like a charm.
For example, I saw a brand that I wanted to work with and I knew they were actively working with creators.
I went through their tagged posts and left a genuine comment on a creator’s sponsored post, tagging the brand in it. I then went to the brand’s account, made sure to follow them, and left a few comments on their page.
Within two hours, the brand e-mailed me and said, “Hey, we’d love to do a campaign with you, what are your rates?”
*This works best if you know they are actively working with content creators*
Action: Make a list of brands that you love and actively engage with them and their paid partnerships with other creators. Aim to do 5 – 10 a week.
6. Creating a Resource
This last tip is the most labour-intensive, but it’s a favourite of mine.
A little story time is needed to illustrate this:
A few years back, I created a blog post called 30 Black Content Creators You Should Follow.
The funny thing is I hadn’t originally included myself on the list, and it was actually after this started getting a lot of traffic from Google that a friend told me to add myself to it.
I then went and put myself as content creator #0 so that the list could still be 30 people.
And because I’m at the top of this high-performing list, and of course it’s hosted on my very own website, I have had brands tell me that they found me by Googling “Black Content Creators” and discovering my post.
So if you want to get on a brand’s radar, think about creating a list of creators that fits with your brand and audience’s needs.
In my opinion, this performs best on a blog because it is evergreen, but it can work on any social media platform.
The people featured are also likely to reshare it, and traffic will build organically, increasing the chances that a brand will come across your resource.
Action: Put together a roundup of content creators in your niche, city, or shared demographic, and post it to Instagram with a carousel or Reel.
Make sure that your email address is IN YOUR BIO.
It should be fully typed out in your bio, not just in the contact button, because it isn’t accessible on desktop, where a lot of influencer outreach teams are working from.
Getting a brand to notice you is just step one. If you make it difficult for them to contact you, you still risk losing the opportunity to work with them.
Final Thoughts Getting a Brand’s Attention
Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so that means brands and PR agencies are always on the look out for new talent.
Taking the actions outlined in this post will help you get on their radar, but ensure you’re well-prepared for when they find you.
No matter where you are in your journey, if you are at day or you’ve been in the game a long time, I do truly hope these tips gave you something to think about.
And if you’re looking for the latest content creating and influencer tips, make sure you’re subscribed to Creating with Kaya on YouTube!
Until next time.
Ready to learn more about brand deals and getting paid?