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In our post about 2015 content marketing trends, BBC Worldwide’s Alex Ayling discussed how online influencers rose to prominence last year.
Brands are increasingly realising the value in partnering with influencers to amplify their message or promote their products.
I interviewed three influential YouTube vloggers to find out how they like to be approached by brands and what they look for in a brand partner.
Check out Celebrity Intelligence for the latest updates on current online influencers and more.
How do you prefer to be approached by brands who want to partner with you as an influencer?
Niomi Smart - 1.51m subscribers, 63m views
When a brand approaches me, there are a few key things I like to know about the project to be able to assess whether or not it’s right for me.
Very simply, a brand should outline their aims and objectives, why they feel I'm a good fit, a rough idea of the creative concept and what they would ideally like me to do.
But they should acknowledge that there is flex with this and that they are open to suggestions and keen for the project to be very collaborative.
Lily Pebbles - 334,837 subscribers, 36m views
A simple, clear email that states how they would like to work with me.
Whether they have budget or not and their objectives and target audience for the campaign.
After I determine whether it’s a PR relationship (which I would then manage) or a job, I can then link in my agent to help manage it if it’s the latter.
Beckii Whiting - 18,381 subscribers, 366,932 views
Emailing is the first step, but if I feel like I need more information we tend to talk over the phone about the brand and what will be involved.
Brands also contact me through my agent, who then passes on possible opportunities for me.
That usually works for me better, especially as I feel bad when having to reply to companies if something isn't for my viewers!
What do you look for in a brand partner?
Authenticity is absolutely key, so it has to be a brand that I either already wear or use or that fits with the kind of brands I usually like.
Brands that give me the chance to create something I wouldn't necessarily be able to do myself – something a bit different to my usual content but that my audience would still love – are also really appealing.
Flexibility. If the brand already has a strong idea of how they want it all to run I usually don’t end up taking it on.
I understand my audience best, so a rough idea from the brand is good but then I like to work on how to communicate that to my audience in my own style.
Working ahead of schedule is key. Rushing a job a week before it should go live won’t work well.
Something that will benefit my subscribers.
I've recently worked with Amy Childs' Collection, who organised a giveaway for my viewers. I got a freebie out of it too!
Conclusion: be flexible and authentic
When you’re approaching an influencer, you can’t treat them in the same way you would an agency. They are not obligated to promote your product or message in a particular way.
Each individual influencer will have their own way of communicating with their audience. Present them with your idea but allow them to execute it in their own way.
It is also important to be authentic. Influencers live and die by their reputation, and if their audience feels like they’re being sold to they will simply stop listening.
Only approach an influencer who you feel will be able to authentically promote your product or message, i.e. ones whose audience is relevant to your brand.