How to secure brand partnerships in 5 simple steps

Publication date
Imogen Beech
Reading time
9 minute read

If you’re a creator, securing brand partnerships is probably your bread and butter. It’s how you grow your audience, how you increase your influence and, perhaps most importantly, how you earn your money! So, why should you have to sit around on your bum waiting to be approached by the perfect brand?

Instead, understanding how to reach out to brands for partnerships will allow you to take control of your career and secure partnerships that actually meet your goals and needs.

Here, we’ll show you how to secure brand partnerships so you can quit waiting and take your career into your own hands. But first…

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What is a brand partnership?

The words ‘brand partnership’ can refer to any type of strategic partnership with a brand. They come in so many different shapes, sizes and forms that it can be really hard to even count them all (although we’ve tried – we came to 23!). 

You can get partnerships between two businesses that both sell something, known as B2B partnerships. These can include co-branding (in which two companies agree to add both their branding to something), referral agreements (in which brands agree to refer business to one another) and so much more.

However, usually when people refer to brand partnerships, they’re referring to partnerships between brands and creators or influencers. These are typically more focused on marketing, with brands giving creators a financial reward in return for promotion (although there’s clearly an overlap with B2B partnerships – after all, creators and influencers are in many ways brands themselves!). 

Creators might get paid on a performance basis such as affiliate marketing, they might secure a long-term partnership as a brand ambassador or they may simply receive a flat fee in return for set promotional activities. Here, we’ll focus predominantly on brand partnerships secured by creators and influencers – in the many different forms they can take – and how to secure them.

Who can secure brand partnerships?

If you’re an individual with a lot of social influence, the chances are you could secure a brand partnership. Typically, we’re talking creators and influencers online and on social media, such as bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, Instagram influencers and TikTok stars.

However, there are no hard and fast rules. Ultimately, anyone who’s in a position to be able to influence others could add value to a partner brand.

For instance, securing brand partnerships can be a valuable stream of income for coaches, entrepreneurs, course creators and experts of all kinds. 

In fact, you don’t necessarily need to have a huge following in order to secure a brand partnership (although of course, it could help). Micro-influencers who have as few as 1,000 followers in a highly targeted niche can be just as valuable to a partner brand. This is because they’ll often have a high level of influence over a smaller pool of engaged followers, which can be ideal when encouraging people to buy a partner brand’s products.

Who can secure brand partnerships?

How to reach out to brands for partnerships

So, you’ve decided you want to reach out to brands for partnerships rather than sitting around and waiting for them to contact you. Good for you! Here are some steps we’d recommend taking.

1. Know who you are

First things first, it’s really important to understand who you are – and we don’t mean that you need to have worked through an identity crisis. Rather, you should have a strong understanding of your niche, your followers and your platform. 

What makes you stand out from other creators? Why do your followers enjoy following you? What kind of content makes their day?

Answering these questions will help to guide the whole process of reaching out to brands for partnerships. 

Remember, you don’t want to be pushing products to your followers that they have no interest in. Instead, you want to market highly relevant products that you know they’ll love – and that you equally believe in and can stand behind. 

This will allow you to stay true to yourself and to maintain an authentic relationship with your followers despite monetising your content through partnerships. It will also help you to sell yourself to brands when you get to that point. Being able to identify your USP (unique selling point) – or what differentiates you from other creators – will be a big part of what could encourage them to work with you over your competitors.

2. Pinpoint potential partners

Next, it’s time to start your search for potential partners. Remember, you’re looking for brands that would be the perfect fit for your platform and followers – but you also need to be the right fit for them. So, consider brands that you think you could really add value to.

One of the biggest reasons why partnerships fail is because one partner is gaining more than another. Ultimately, you both need to be benefiting an equal (or at least fair) amount in order for your partnership to work. With that in mind, look for brands that match your:

  • Niche
  • Values
  • Culture
  • Audience

It’s also worth noting that brands come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Brand partners could be anything from the small business next door to a large multi-national label.

We often like to talk about the ‘Goldilocks zone’ of partnerships, by which we mean a size that’s not too big and not too small but just right. This is going to be different for everyone and will depend on how many followers you have as well as how experienced you are at working in partnership with brands.

However, as an example, if a brand is too big, you may not have enough followers or influencers to truly make an impact for them, which might rule them out. Meanwhile, if a brand is too small, they might not have the financial means to adequately reward you for your efforts. But there will be a brand somewhere in the middle for which you can make a real impact with what you have (and who can similarly make a real difference to your bottom line!).

Top tip: Breezy can help you to quickly and easily pick out potential partners that fall in your Goldilocks zone. Simply set your filters up and then enjoy scrolling through thousands of partnership suggestions that match your requirements perfectly. Book a demo to see it in action.

3. Reach out to brands for partnerships

Now that you’ve pulled together a list of potential partners, it’s time to conduct some outreachand suggest a partnership. The brands you’re approaching may well receive several emails from creators and influencers every day. So, it’s important to brush up on successful outreach ideas to make yours stand out in all the right ways.

It goes without saying that a generic email you send out to your whole list just won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll want to make your email as personal as possible. Do your research about the brand and get familiar with their audience, top-rated content, traffic, current partners and more, so that you can show them you’ve done your homework and your proposal is worth reading.

In a similar vein, try not to send your pitch to a generic company email address. Instead, send it to a relevant job role at the company, such as a head of partnerships (oh, and make sure to get their name right!).

If you have any mutual contacts, make sure to say so – or, if possible, get a warm introduction. This can make all the difference between your email being binned and jumping straight to the negotiation phase!

Either way, when you’re pitching your proposal, be sure to tell them about how you can bring their brand value. This is likely to include summarising your niche, audience size, demographics and engagement as well as some information about the type of content you’d like to create to help promote them. It’s all about explaining that journey to ROI – how is working with you going to increase the brand’s bottom line?

At the end of the day, when you’re reaching out to brands for partnerships, you’ll need to see yourself in a similar light to a salesperson – you have to sell yourself to the brand in order to convert them. The average salesperson sends two emails to a lead. But over 50% of sales responses come after the fifth and sixth emails – so, persistence is key! 

Top tip: Breezy will give you data snapshots on each of your potential partners so you can learn everything you need to about them without ever leaving the Breezy platform. You can even request their contact info and we’ll dig out the details of a relevant contact for you to get in touch with.

4. Negotiate a partnership

It’s a sad fact that not all of the emails you send out are going to illicit a response – no matter how much time you spend crafting them, or how many times you follow up. But if you followed our tips above and you’ve managed to show your value, you’ll hopefully receive some positive responses from brands you really want to work with.

After jumping up and down and high-fiving your nearest friend or family member, you’ll need to reply negotiating your terms and finalising the deal. This is the time to get down to the real nitty-gritty, formalising your agreement on things such as:

  • Compensation
  • Deliverables
  • Who’s responsible for what
  • Deadlines
  • Duration
  • Expenses
  • Free products or discounts
  • Exclusivity
  • Ownership or copyright

Ultimately, the goal is to agree about every little detail before you start working together. This will ensure that you’re on the same page so that the partnership can play out as smoothly as possible.

Make sure to put yourself in the brand’s shoes when you’re negotiating – and help them to put themselves in your shoes too. You may both need to compromise on certain aspects, but you’ll hopefully be able to reach an agreement that’s mutually beneficial and that you’re both excited about.

At some point, you might find it easier to negotiate over the phone. However, make sure that you always confirm what has been agreed in writing. That way, you can avoid crossed wires and have a solid written agreement to back you up if things don’t quite go to plan.

5. Get to work!

Last but certainly not least, it’s time to get to work creating the agreed deliverables!

Make sure that you don’t go off the radar at this point. Instead, keep the brand updated on your activities so that they can feel confident that you’re working to the agreed terms and expectations. 

Some brands will want to approve every promotion you create before it goes live, whereas other brands will give you more creative licence to do things your own way – especially if you’ve worked together before and they’ve been happy with the results. 

Once your agreed promotions have been pushed out, that’s not quite the end of the story either. Rather, you’ll want to spend some time measuring the impact of your promotions – what feedback did you receive from your followers? What levels of engagement did you see?

Pass on as many stats as possible to your partner brand. 

If the promotion went well, this will stand you in good stead to negotiate further partnerships with them in the future – or to extend your existing partnership. But even if the figures aren’t what you hoped, the act of measuring should put you in the brand’s good books as they see that you’re taking the job seriously and looking for ways to better yourself. You could always explain where you think things went wrong and what you would do differently next time, as a way of leading into a conversation about the future.

Engagement stats

How to suggest a partnership

Now that you understand the process of securing brand partnerships, let’s take some time to look at what exactly your email should include:

  1. A greeting – make sure to email a relevant contact and address them by name.
  2. Introduce yourself – tell them a bit about your niche and USP.
  3. Give your credentials – summarise your level of influence, including your audience size, demographics and engagement.
  4. Touch on the brand – reference the brand’s top-rated content and explain why the two of you are a good fit.
  5. Pitch your idea – clearly explain the kind of content you want to create for the brand, including details such as timeline and budget.
  6. Join the dots – explain the value that this would bring to the brand and the route to ROI for them (this is arguably the most important sentence you’ll write!).
  7. Call to action – let them know what the next steps are. Normally, this will involve encouraging them to respond to your email or arrange a call.

We know what you’re thinking: isn’t the process of negotiating a partnership a two-way street? Shouldn’t we decide what the partnership will look like together?

Well, yes. But it’s much more effective to do the legwork and pitch brands a fully-formed partnership idea. 

Yes, it may well change if and when you get to the point of negotiating a deal. However, starting with an appealing proposal is a massive shortcut to closing a deal, and will make it much more likely that a brand will respond to your request in the first place.

So, putting in the time and effort to come up with an effective pitch is crucial. Just be prepared to let it all go later down the line if it comes to that in negotiations!

Key takeaways for securing brand partnerships

The most important thing to focus on if you’re hoping to secure brand partnerships is finding the right fit

Not every brand will be your cup of tea, and similarly, you won’t be every brand’s cup of tea either. Your success rate will massively increase if you focus on contacting brands for which you can provide real value, and that can provide real value to your followers too. 

To find the right fit, focus on looking at brands that have a similar niche, size and audience demographic to your platform – and that share your culture and values. Then, when you come to suggest a partnership, make sure to draw attention to the crossovers and explain how you can bring them on a journey to ROI.

Ready to get started? Simply book a demo for Breezy to see how our partner intelligence and discovery platform can do the legwork for you and find hyper-relevant brands that are the ideal fit.

Speak to us to level up your partner discovery.

Book a demo

Imogen Beech

Imogen is a copywriter and content writer with over two years’ experience writing about the exciting world of strategic partnerships, as well as running her own business. She loves learning about new topics as she writes, and has enjoyed penning articles on industries ranging from mortgages to events, theatre to home improvements and everything in between.

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