So you’ve been consistently creating high-quality content and have put together a list of dream brands you’d love to work with. Maybe you’ve even researched how to make money on platforms like YouTube as a creator. You know sponsorships are a way to bring in revenue from your content, but you’re not sure how to reach out to a brand to ask them to be a potential sponsor. Although it may seem like a scary task, if you want to turn passion into profit, you have to approach potential sponsors and let them know why working with you is an investment worthwhile. Of course, we’re here to help.
Before Reaching Out
As with most things in business, you must prepare before approaching a brand for sponsorship. While there’s not much you can do to guarantee a brand will sponsor you, being well-prepared will increase your chances of getting a “yes” to your proposal. Below we’ve outlined some agenda items to complete before hitting send on that inquiry email.
Create Content Aligned with Your Potential Sponsor
While the ultimate goal for most content creators is to get paid opportunities, this entails spending a significant amount of time creating content for free (within reason on your own accord, of course). While creating quality content is one of the most critical aspects to brands when looking to sponsor content creators, they also consider if the creator’s content style aligns with their brand style. From the tone of voice in writing or the image/video style, a brand wants to ensure that they hire creators who make content that reflects the brand’s image. For example, if a brand is known for posting social media content that’s dark and moody, they may not be looking to sponsor a creator whose content style is bright and cheery.
Create Sponsorship Offerings and Packages
Chances are, as a content creator, you have a presence on many platforms but look to a specific one as your “bread and butter.” While you could pitch sponsorships to brands for your high-level content only, giving them options is great. Sometimes brands compartmentalize Influencer marketing budgets. So while they may not have the space or budget to sponsor a live stream, they may have the budget for social media posts or a mention in your newsletter.
For example, if you’re a blogger looking for sponsors specifically for your website, you may also want to create a package offering sponsorships on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, or wherever you have a strong presence and are promoting your blog content. By only inquiring about one type of sponsorship, you may be cutting yourself off from other paid opportunities that brands may be interested in (in some cases, more than your initial offering).
Create a Media Kit
While a media kit may seem as if it’s designed exclusively for celebrities or mega-influencers, the truth is it’s a great tool for creators of all sizes. Think of a media kit as a resume or portfolio for content creators. When asking a brand for sponsorship, a media kit can spell out all the key information a potential sponsor will need to know about your brand. Some things to include in your media kit:
- A brief biography (no more than a short paragraph)
- An overview of the types of content you create
- A professional headshot
- A snapshot of your analytics, including follower counts and engagement rates
- Audience demographics (i.e., age, location, and household income)
- Past brand sponsorships (if applicable)
If you don’t have the design skills to put together a media kit in a way that’s appealing and informative, don’t fret. You can use a free platform such as Canva to make eye-catching designs—no advanced Adobe skills needed.
How to Approach a Potential Sponsor
When approaching a brand for sponsorship, there are a few different ways to go about it. No matter which one you choose, the most important thing to remember is that you may not get a “yes” on the first (second or third) try, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. Below are a few tips for approaching potential sponsors.
Join a Sponsorship or Affiliate Marketing Network
Content creation is a relatively new industry but also highly sought after and ever-evolving. Rightfully so, there are sites dedicated to helping creators connect with brands for paid sponsored opportunities. If you have no idea how to navigate approaching a potential sponsor on your own, this is a great way to get your feet wet. Below are some sponsorship platforms that can help you get started:
Though affiliate marketing networks’ primary function isn’t to connect content creators with brands, more of these platforms are offering it as a feature, aiming to be a one-stop-shop for monetization. Often, you can apply to available campaigns on these platforms, but also brands can reach out based on performance of your affiliate links. Below are a few:
If a brand you love is a part of an affiliate network, promote their products and services with your commissionable links. This is a great way to build a track record with the brands while generating revenue before landing a sponsorship.
As much as we’d love for sponsorships to appear in your inbox magically, we have to be honest with you. In the beginning, when you’re an under-the-radar small creator, you have to get comfortable selling yourself to brands. This means pitching sponsorship opportunities directly to the people calling the shots. Ahead are some tips you can use to help you.
Find the Right Contact
Aside from having the right pitch, finding the right person to send it to is one of the most important things when approaching a brand for sponsorship. Below are some resources to help you find the correct contact to pitch to.
- Google—search the brand name and along with job titles such as Influencer Marketing Manager, Head of Influencer Partnerships, Talent Manager, and Brand Collaborations.
- Press Release—Press sites such as PR Newswire often have a brand contact at the close of the release. Search the brand name and the term “press release” to find a press release with a contact listed.
- LinkedIn—similarly to Google, you can find employees of your potential sponsor that have similar titles to the ones mentioned above
- Your Network—if you’ve built a rapport with other content creators who have landed sponsorships with your dream brands, ask them if they mind sharing the appropriate contact. If you aren’t currently collaborating and networking with other creators and influencers, this is your sign to start—read this guide to learn how.
What to Include in Your Pitch Email
Having the correct information in your pitch can make the difference between landing a sponsorship and your email falling on deaf ears. Include:
- A subject line highlighting the purpose of your email
- A brief intro about you and what kind of content your create
- A quick overview of your audience demographics
- How you’d like to work together
- A quick thank you to close out your email.
- Your media kit
If it’s a brand you love and post about organically, go ahead and link some examples in the body of your email. Brands are very welcoming of content creators already familiar with their products as it comes off more authentic to audiences, which means more conversions and ROI. Whatever you do, avoid copying and pasting a pitch you may have come across because folks on the receiving end will likely notice.
Acceptance can’t exist without rejection. By that, we mean for you to receive a yes, you have to get comfortable with hearing no from time to time. If you don’t hear back from a brand within a week or two, it’s perfectly fine to follow up via email. Keep in mind that there are real humans on the other side of your sponsorship inquiry email who may miss messages or have to go through various channels before making a decision.
If your goal is to make a consistent income from brand sponsorship, you have to make a habit of pitching. One way to do this is to designate a few days out of the month that you’ll use specifically for drafting and sending pitches. Take a look at the content you have in the pipeline (6-12 weeks in advance when possible to allow enough time for initial communication) to stay ahead of the game.
When brands aren’t knocking on your door, you must be self-motivated to land a sponsorship, but we want you to know that it’s possible. All your hard work will pay off, so stay the course and continue creating amazing content!