GET YOUR FIRST PAID COLLABORATION

Updated: Nov 13, 2018

- Instagram, Facebook, Blog, Youtube.

Working with brands you love is not only a great way to earn an income, it’s also a fun way to build relationships, grow your audience, and share useful products and content with your followers. After reading this post you’ll have a better understanding of what it takes to get your first paid collaboration, make more money and position yourself as a pro within content creation.

1. AUDIENCE

Before you start collaborating with brands and businesses, you will need to choose a platform and you’ll need to have some followers. The more followers you have the easier it will be to land a partnership. However, brands also look at engagement, so it’s important that your followers are real and that they are engaged. There are several ways to increase your engagement, but here are 7 ways to supercharge your follower growth on Instagram:


  • Post frequently (Both photos and videos)

  • Use stories and live videos

  • Comment back and engage your fans

  • Use quality hashtags

  • Collaborate with others

  • Post quality content at your best times

  • Get to know your followers and host contests

The amount of followers you’ll need to effectively work with brands depends on the platform you choose and the type of collaboration you're looking for. For Instagram and Facebook you’ll need to have at least 10,000+ followers, but for Youtube and blogging 5000+ subscribers should do. If you have less than that, you should focus on growing your audience and produce amazing content before trying to collaborate with brands. However, if you’re a photographer and you just want to shoot content for brands that they can use on their social media platforms, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have.

2. MEDIA KIT

A media kit is a document which shares everything a potential sponsor would need to know about your website, instagram, facebook or other social media platform. Your media kit should list a lot of things, such as your blog’s topics, statistics, collaboration options, and more. If your trying to get a collaboration on Instagram you should include all your insights; reach, impressions, followers, age, location and so on. It is essential to create a good media kit for making a good impression and landing more (and higher paying) collaborations. As you become bigger on social media, brands will start contacting you, however, for your first collaboration, a solid media kit is important.

3. COMPANIES

An important part about working with brands is making sure that the collaboration fits into your profile. You don’t want sponsored content to stand out too much. Ideally, it should blend right into the types of things you normally take pictures of or write about. That way, you’re still delivering the great, relevant content that your audience comes to you for, and you’re marketing the brand and their products in the most effective way.


When living on Oahu, Hawaii, what I did the most was hiking. I went hiking with friends at least once a day, sometimes 4 times a day. I took a lot of photos for Douchebags at the time and it felt natural and it fit my profile. It was natural to wear a backpack while hiking and my followers enjoyed watching all the hikes. When you are creating a list of companies you would like to work with, write down a list of products and companies that fits your profile and style. Which brands will your readers like to see and learn more about and which brands can you easily promote by doing exactly what you are doing today?


Once you’ve made a list of brands and products you love, it’s time to finally reach out!

Where to reach out:

  • DM the brand on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.Find the companies marketing email or their website

  • Brands tend to answer faster on social media than on emails, especially if you're trying to get in contact with bigger brands.

4. YOUR EMAIL

Finally, how do you get the collaboration going? Your initial email is very important, especially since many brands receive 100’s of these types of emails each day. My best advice is to keep it short and to the point. Don’t add entire paragraphs about your Instagram or blog. Keep your email to a few sentences:

  • An introduction of yourself and your Social media platform

  • Why you love the brand or their products

  • A mention of the fact that you’d like to collaborate and why it would be a great fit

  • A call to action, such as, “would you like to hear the ideas I’ve thought of?”

  • Your media kit. I recommend uploading it as a Google Doc and linking it in your email somewhere. You can also add your media kit as a PDF-file at the bottom of the email.

Give the brand a week or so to see if they respond. If they don’t, try sending a follow-up message. Most brands will at least respond to your initial email. If they do, and they’d like to hear your ideas, then you have the opportunity to send a longer email with your specific collaboration ideas and why they’d be a great fit for you and for them.

Keep in mind that it may take time before you find a brand who is interested in collaborating with you. Try not to feel discouraged — companies all have different goals, budgets, and opinions. It’s just a matter of finding the ones that are a great fit. Send out several emails and keep at it until you’re able to land your first collaboration. After that, it will be smooth sailing. 


Extra tip:

  • One way to sell yourself to companies is to offer a free trial, where you offer to take a couple of pictures free of charge. If they like your style, they’ll for sure ask for more and pay you for the next shoot!


Hope this helps! Good luck and remember: Always jump in head first!

© Salvesen & Co