How-to Assess Potential Collaborations
We’ll say it right now - some collaboration opportunities are not good ones. As this is a new industry, businesses are learning how to do influencer marketing as well. That can lead to a lot of unintended bad behavior that will make a collaboration not worth your (and your precious audience’s) time. Here is a quick guide to avoiding bad collaborations.
When you have found a business to potentially collaborate with, always assess the four C's of a good campaign. You may be eager to get your first collaboration off the ground but this is the moment to proceed methodically and ask all the right questions.
- Campaign Brief - Any business serious about doing influencer marketing should have taken the time to write up a campaign brief about what they want. This brief should outline their goals, the type of influencer they want to work with, the compensation they are providing and many more details about the campaign. If it’s hard to get specific information about what the collaboration is about, it’s a red flag the business may be disorganized or will end up changing what they want in the middle of the campaign.
- Calendar - What are the specific calendar dates for the campaign? When does content have to be submitted by? What are the posting dates? When are you going to get paid?!? As you build out your editorial calendar you may find that the posting date of a campaign conflicts with something else you have. You may also find that certain companies pay NET 30 (30 days after you post) and you may or may not want to accept this. Ask about all the campaign dates upfront.
- Content - What are the content specifications you have to abide by? Sometimes this will come inside a campaign brief that specifies the type of content and the expected or suggested caption (always ask if this exists). You should review this detail early to make sure it fits with your approach and standards. If a brand is demanding an overly commercial caption or insisting on using a discount code (and you don’t like that) it’s better to know upfront.
- Compensation - What does the campaign pay, what will they pay you specifically, and what are the payment methods (PayPal, check, etc.)? It’s better to be upfront about payment than wait till three or four conversations into the collaboration. Rate expectations still vary widely so you will find many brands start in a completely different range than you might be expecting. We don’t recommend leading with compensation but don’t wait to close with it. Even if you can’t meet on the price, you might learn something in the process that helps inform how you set up your rates. As a reminder, here is the influence.co rate landscape that will help you find the basics range your rates should be in.
We know it can be hard to say no to a collaboration, especially in the early days of your career as an influencer. It’s important to keep in mind that a brand that is hard or disorganized to work with will also be a hard one for your audience to buy from and get support from. You’re not only recommending a product to your audience, you’re recommending the company and people at the company behind it.