One of the biggest myth for bloggers is that you have to be a social media influencer to get sponsorships. I’m here to tell you that’s false!
The term “influencer” gets thrown around a lot these days, normally in relation to attractive young people in their 20s and 30s.
These folks appear to make their living primarily by posting pretty pictures of themselves and their activities on popular social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Many of these people also run their own blogs and websites, be it their main source of income or simply a sideline.
However, marketing website Pixlee defines the term social media influencer as: “a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.”
In our increasingly well-connected world, more and more people fall into this category without that ever being their true intention.
Even so, there are still plenty of successful business people who don’t have more followers than they have friends, family members, and acquaintances.
Unfortunately for the latter group, having a sizable audience following your online actions, be it your blog or Instagram account, will certainly help you prove your worth if you are seeking to exchange your valuable services (photography, writing, social media assistance, etc.) for equally valuable benefits.
Of course, being able to demonstrate your skills in a quantifiable fashion is a key factor when it comes to scoring good deals with popular brands.
Even so, you could just as easily receive complimentary goodies for being a celebrity, an expert in your designated field, a preferred customer with a specific brand, having a relevant coupon, or even having a birthday or anniversary.
Although we can’t all be celebrities or experts in our fields, we can certainly pay attention to deals that will help us get the most for our money.
Of course, most people don’t bother to seek out these perks, but those that do can save some serious cash if they’re smart.
There’s a reason that “travel hacking” is a popular topic in certain forums. There’s also a reason that individuals who run successful blogs are regularly contacted with sponsorship options.
But if you want to put the shoe on the other foot and reach out for the opportunities that are available, there are quite a few things that you need to keep in mind.
Three Important Things To Remember
An interesting article appeared on the blog One Mile at a Time (https://onemileatatime.com/hotel-influencer-controversy/), regarding a notoriously opinionated hotel owner who got into a minor tiff with a blogger who was requesting a free, multiple day stay during a holiday travel period.
She got very upset when her email was published, even though her name wasn’t attached at the time and responded with a video of her own.
This incident also illustrated a lot of pitfalls for people who are seeking complimentary services and products. It additionally demonstrates some things that these individuals who are seeking comped services need to remember in their quest. Specifically:
1. Nobody Owes You Anything
The comment section of the aforementioned article was particularly interesting because the individuals who replied seemed to either be pointing out that the hotelier’s actions, while predictable for him, were somewhat unprofessional or mentioning how fed up they were with people who expected something for nothing.
My advice here is: take this to heart. You are not entitled to anything for free! You are not entitled to a discount simply because it’s your birthday or anniversary.
If you get what you’re asking for, that’s well and good but don’t get angry or upset when people say no. They are presumably running a business that depends on making a profit.
They may not be able to afford what you’re asking, even if they want to and they might not even want to. That is their right. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
2. Be Polite and Professional
Having a professional-looking, personalized website and email address are very important factors when it comes to having the businesses that you approach with your requests take you seriously.
You should always be polite when communicating with a potential sponsor, even if your request is ignored or it turns out that the pitch on the table is not the one you want or get.
Remember that you are more likely to get what you’re asking for if you are specific in describing what you want. It also helps if the sponsor in question is going through a slow period at the moment.
You should also focus on getting comped experiences that appeal to your target demographics. Make sure your niches align.
And for the love of all that’s holy, do not post a video of yourself acting out if you’re told that you can’t stay at a specific place!
3. Mention Quantifiable Benefits
The more followers you have on your website, your social media sites or a combination of both improve the chances that businesses will see working with you as a smart idea.
But most importantly, those followers MUST be engaged with you and your channels and blog. Sponsors would much rather you have 1000 followers who are engaged with you and what you do than 10,000 followers who never comment or interact with you.
If you’re a professional photographer who wants to take some shots for the business to use in exchange for a few night’s stay or a writer who wants to contribute a blog post for the company’s website, proving your applicable credentials for those tasks might require a different approach.
The thing to really remember is: if a company is going to get something they find valuable in exchange for what they are giving you in return, be it publicity or goods, they are far more likely to facilitate a swap. The ROI must be at least equal both sides.
This is what I always say…”Promise the moon but give them the Universe.” Over-deliver whenever possible.
Have you stayed on sponsorship? Have you had a desire to learn about how you can? Let us know in the comments.