4 Brand Steps to Securing Your First Paid Influencer Collaboration


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According to Business Insider, influencer marketing ad spend is expected to reach $5-10 billion by 2020. The influencer craze shows no signs of slowing down, so it’s no wonder why more and more industries are turning to social media channels and influencer marketing as a part of their sales strategy.

From a PR perspective, this means that the days of social media mentions based on samples are few and far between, and it’s important for all of up to up our comfort level when it comes to securing client budget for paid influencer collaborations, as well as the unique aspects of paid media versus owned or earned media.

In order to navigate a paid influencer collaboration like a seasoned veteran, make sure to be on top of the following 3 aspects of these types of engagements.

1. Find the right amplifying voices for your brand

There is no shortage of influencers, and it’s worth it to take the time to really research potential partners by auditing their content and evaluating their engagement rates, rather than simply going after the same names as a competitor, or the names you see pop up all the time. Get a feel for voice, niche and type of content produced, paying attention to previous sponsored content and any preferences they have around brands reaching out. 

If their tone of voice and personality aligns with your brand strategy, then you should move forward with expectations for content. This includes the type of content and how many posts you expect them to produce.

2. Put a creative brief together outlining expectations

Before you reach out for the first time, have a clear picture in mind of what project success is going to look like, as well as the specifics regarding timeline, creative requirements and payment. Use the brief as a reference guide for both the brand and influencer to ensure clear expectations.

Pro tip: While a paid engagement does give the brand more control over any content produced as well as copy, giving influencers flexibility in terms of creative direction often result in content that is better received, as it appears more candid and honest.

3. Create a clear approval process

In your contract, be sure to outline expectations around approvals (and factor in approvals into your overall timeline). For example, brands that have sensitive FDA regulations may require influencers to send over their captions before publishing for legal approval to ensure that all verbiage aligns with the law. When outlining key dates for the project, keep in mind that there are often delays with package delivery, so keep updated tracking info on all shipments and stay in close contact with your influencer partners during the project.

Pro tip: Most products return more effective results when the influencer is given a longer time to test them out.

Part of your approval process should include a single point person for the influencer to work with.

4. Consider ongoing vs one-time advertisements

Lastly, one-off posts and collaborations may seem forced in an influencer’s feed or rhythm. It may be beneficial, if within budget, to consider working with the same influencer over the course of a few weeks or months. This way, they can slowly and naturally integrate a certain product and boost overall reach and various aligned key messages.

Influencer marketing is a dynamic and creative field that has incredible potential to boost brand awareness, loyalty and conversions. For more support developing influencer outreach emails, briefs and contracts, check out the PR Couture Influencer Bundle.

Belle Zhang

Belle Zhang

Having lived in two different countries growing up, Belle's understanding of the world and cultures has been greatly influenced by not only her first-hand experiences but also by the vastly different media outlets in each country. From Myspace to Weibo, Vine to Douyin, Belle puts her hands on every social media platform accessible to her and has a passion for everything creative. Belle enjoys writing about public relations and marketing trends. Belle is currently a graduate student studying Strategic Public Relations at the University of Southern California as well as a freelance PR Account Director for several tech and lifestyle clients.