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3 Ways I Got My First Brand Deals as an Entrepreneur

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  • Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur who runs social media accounts, a podcast, and a newsletter.
  • She started monetizing her followers and brand deals now make up 20% of her revenue.
  • Reaching brands is her first step, and she posts free content to get their attention.

I am an entrepreneur, and for 10 years, I have been sharing the details of my life on the internet. I started out as a blogger and eventually started using social media, a podcast, and an email newsletter to grow my following and expand the reach of my personal brand.

But it wasn’t until last year that I decided to start monetizing these different content streams by working with partner brands and sponsors.

After years of slowly building my following, I realized I was reaching close to 100,000 people a month across all my platforms and I could start making deals with brands that wanted access to people who followed me. I started by creating a media kit using a free template on Canva, which showcased the platforms I have, the types of content I create, and the numbers that support each vertical – from number of subscribers to my email open rate to number of listeners my podcast gets each month, and more.

After preparing a media kit, I started looking for brands that wanted to work with me. Today, more than 20% of my income comes from brand sponsorships.

Without hiring an agent or manager, here are the three ways I found my first handful of sponsors to work with in 2021 and 2022.

1. I contacted the brands directly

The very first approach I took was to make a list of brands that I really liked and used regularly. I chose skincare, jewelry, and clothing companies that I had followed for years and contacted them directly.

After searching LinkedIn for the name of the partnership manager or brand influencer, I located their email using a free tool called Any Mail Finder and wrote up my pitch.

Here is my email template:

I am Jen Glantz. It’s wonderful to meet you online! I contact you because I was a fan of [brand name] for several years, relying on [name of product] to get me through [a specific use case of when I use the product].

As a social media, newsletter and podcast content creator in the wedding space, I would love to work with [brand name] on a partnership to publicize your unique and amazing products.

I’m sharing my media kit with you today and hopefully we can discuss more about working together this season.

While I only heard a response from one of the three brands I initially featured, I was able to secure a small brand deal with a sunscreen company I use regularly called Solara to post a announcement in my newsletter and make a TikTok video about its new product launch. It helped me secure my first well-known brand partnership which can help lead to more deals in the future.

2. I used an influencermanagement platform

One of the passive ways I’ve been able to land new brand deals is through free influencer and creator management platforms. These platforms allow you to create a profile, where you can share details about your content creation verticals (social media channels, newsletter or podcasts) as well as your prices for branded deals based on the type of content you you are open to creating. or the types of ads you will serve. After listing this information, brands from fashionable beauty to kitchenware and more can contact you if they think you’re a match for them.

You can also use these platforms to find brands interested in working with content creators and feature them directly on the platform. Although these platforms are free, some may charge a fee once you book a deal with a brand, while others charge the brand and not the creator.

For social media brand deals, I use AspireIQ and Tinysponsor, and for newsletter and podcast deals, I use Swapstack.

3. I post for free and tag brands

If there’s a brand I really want to work with and they haven’t responded to my email pitch, I start creating content for free and tag it in my posts. I’ll share my favorite products or items in an Instagram story, mention them in a TikTok video, send a DM to the brand’s account, or talk about them in my newsletter.

The hope is that when they see these mentions and maybe even look to work together, I have a portfolio of content that I can share with them about their product or service. This shows the brand your true commitment and also gives them a taste of the kind of content you can create for them.

Be sure to tag the brand in your posts, use their branded hashtags, and use any additional hashtags that relate to them. You can often find these hashtags by looking at the hashtags the brand has used in recent posts. While I wouldn’t advise creators to work for free, doing it occasionally to get noticed by a brand can be a good thing, especially in the beginning.

I recently did this with a skincare company I really liked who hadn’t responded to two introductory emails I had sent. Showing them what I had created for free helped me enter the negotiation phase, and we are in talks for a partnership in 2023.

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