Picture this: A brand pops into your inbox with an influencer sponsorship opportunity! They want to work with you, and they’re offering payment (or an amazing product)! You are pumped. But before you say, “heck yes, I’m in” — there are a few things you need to do.
When you first launch a blog or Instagram account, brand sponsorships feel like they’re a long way off, so when it does happen, you freak out with excitement. But don’t let your excitement get in the way of you doing your due diligence — I’ve learned the extremely hard way that brands can pull one over on you if you aren’t careful to protect your interests when negotiating a collaboration.
1. Research, Research, Research
My first action after an email from a brand proposing a partnership is pulling up Google and doing some research. I read Google reviews and check Google News, because I am not trying to be part of a brand rehabilitating their image. One example: I got a paid offer from a supplement company and decided to look them up. Turns out they’ve been investigated for including sketchy ingredients in “all-natural” products. Hard pass.
2. Look At Their Tagged Photos
When I look at a brand’s Instagram feed, I’m able to see who they’ve already worked with and look at the content they’ve created. If the content and messaging that other influencers are sharing doesn’t align with my brand, I turn down the opportunity.
3. Get It In Writing
If I have a phone call with a brand and we discuss price, deliverables, and a due date, I immediately send a recap email to share what we agreed on. I figured this out the hard way: When my blog was still relatively new, a store invited me to an event and offered $100 in exchange for an Instagram post shared while there. I didn’t confirm via email, and the PR rep handed me an envelope with a $75 in-store gift card at the end of the event. AWKWARD. I didn’t question it (even though I would today) and chalked it up to a lesson learned. I’ve gotten into the habit of insisting on a contract that clearly states compensation, partnership requirements, and when I can expect to be paid.
4. Read The Fine Print
My friend Tomi suggested this, and I think it’s so important. This is super embarrassing for me to admit, but until recently, I didn’t read the contracts I signed. I viewed it like the “Terms & Conditions” you see when you download an app — who has time to actually read it? The answer: YOU DO. Seriously, you can pay a lawyer to review your contracts for you, but if that’s out of your budget, you need to take the time and go over it with a fine-toothed comb, or else you might get trapped in a sucky situation.
Thank you, as always, for reading — and if you have any influencer sponsorship tips and tricks of your own, share them below!