Influencer Relations 101: Six Tips for Killer Collaborations

Influencer Relations 101: Six Tips for Killer Collaborations

By Molly Galler

Editor’s note: Account Manager Molly Galler is LaunchSquad’s resident influencer marketing expert. In addition to managing digital influencer campaigns for clients, she also runs a successful lifestyle blog called Pop.Bop.Shop. By day, Molly crafts unique collaborations for influencers, and by night, she sifts through PR pitches in her own blog’s inbox. Given her unique position in the center of the PR/Influencer Venn diagram, we asked Molly to share her tips for crushing it with the digerati.

Over the past five years or so the media landscape has dramatically changed. Clients once coveted feature placements in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, but nowadays, a placement with an influential blogger or social media power user may actual drive more website traffic, sales and overall brand awareness. In fact, according to a study conducted in September 2015, 60 percent of marketers planned to up their spend on digital influencer partnerships in 2016.

So how do you reach out to one of these digital celebrities? How do you offer them a collaboration opportunity that is attractive and allows them to be authentic in their experience and/or product review? Read on for six tips for creating on-brand collaborations with influencers.

Begin at the end. Before you reach out to a single influencer, stop to think about what you and your client want the end result of this collaboration to be. Are you hoping for a dedicated blog post all about the client’s new product? Would you rather a series of Instagram photos tagging the client’s handle? Are you planning to ask this person to host a Twitter party? Or to attend an event and live post throughout the day?

Once you’ve determined what you want the collaboration to result in, it’s time to start researching the perfect person (or people) to execute that vision.

Do your homework. As a blogger myself, the one thing that irks me the most is when a PR person reaches out and it is clear they have never read a single word of my site or social media channels. For example, I am a vegetarian and I frequently get invited to events with names like “The Lamb Jam: An Evening of Exciting Lamb Preparations.” Really? Please do your homework.

Taking the time to read up about the influencer—reading their five most recent blog posts, scrolling through their past month of Facebook posts or Instagram photos and captions—will help you craft a highly personalized outreach note which at the very least will garner a reply.

From the influencer perspective, when it’s clear a PR person has put a lot of thought into why they are reaching out to you, even if you have to decline, you are very likely to respond and say thank you for the opportunity.

Craft the outreach note. Really influential bloggers and social media power users receive hundreds of PR pitches a day. Often times they are reading those notes on small screens (smartphones, tablets) so the best way to get their attention is with a clear subject line that immediately states the tone of what’s to follow. I recommend, “New opportunity with [BRAND NAME].” Those four words let the person know that you are offering to collaborate (as opposed to just sending a press release, images or an event invitation) and it gives them an indication of who the company is.

For the body of the note, start by introducing yourself. Explain who you work with and why you think he/she would be a great fit. Then make it crystal clear what you are asking for and what the influencer will receive in return (early access, free product, cash compensation).

Close the note by asking if they are interested or if they have any questions. Leaving it open ended like that allows them to reply with initial thoughts, without having to immediately commit to the project.

Be open to feedback. One of the greatest lessons I have learned over the past eight years of designing these types of collaborations is to be open to ideas from the influencer. While you may pitch the project in a certain way, they may have a new type of content in the works or a new upcoming series that might be an even better fit than what you originally offered. Keep an open mind and be genuinely willing to brainstorm with them and pivot from your original plan. The more sincere excitement the influencer has, the better the results.

Plan to measure. As you’re communicating with these influencers, think about how you will measure the reach and engagement of their content once it goes live. Will you provide them with custom links to use within their posts? Have you set up Google Analytics to monitor referral traffic? Will you count shares on Facebook posts? Retweets? Likes on Instagram?

It’s important to answer these measurement questions at the beginning of the collaboration so you can set up any tracking mechanisms in advance.

Sign on the dotted line. Lastly, if you are exchanging product or cash compensation, it’s best to draft an agreement or contract for both parties to sign. This clearly layouts the expectations for both sides and keeps both the influencer and the brand accountable. While it may seem overly formal, it’s necessary protection for both of you.

This agreement should also include any required disclosures or industry regulations, as well as a timeline for all deliverables.

With both of your signatures on the document, you are ready to roll.

Have you had success working with influencers on behalf of your clients? What tips would you add to the list?

Image c/o BONNINSTUDIO

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