- Brand deals are a top income source for many influencers.
- These collaborations often start with a pitch, through email or other methods.
- Insider spoke with creators across social media on how they pitch brands.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
One of the earliest questions aspiring influencers will ask themselves is: How do I start working with brands?
An influencer's inbox — whether it's email or direct messages on social media — is often where that process begins.
Some influencers will start building relationships with brands by cold-DMing them on social media, like Instagram.
Ashley Jones, a micro influencer with about 50,000 Instagram followers, told Insider that her strategy consists of posting on Instagram about products she loves and tagging the brand. She then reaches out to the brand and explains why she'd like to work with them. She'll often ask for a proper PR contact too, she said.
Other creators, like nano influencer Laur DeMartino, find brand PR reps or influencer-marketing contacts on LinkedIn.
And many influencers, like Gigi Kovach (a part-time lifestyle influencer), go straight to email to pitch a brand. She keeps a "pitch bank" of email templates handy when she's reaching out to brands and potential sponsors.
In addition to the pitch, many influencers create and attach a media kit — a document that includes basic information about an influencer's account, engagement data, previous work, and contact information.
Some influencers will send a media kit to every advertiser they work with. They keep this document up to date by adding new metrics and collaborations every few months.
"I think it's super important if you want to take this seriously," influencer Macy Mariano said of media kits. "I send them now to everyone I get in touch with. It's just a good way to express who you are and what you've done so they can see your past and current work."
Insider has spoken with several influencers who all have different approaches to pitching brands. Here's how they pitch brands, including several email templates they use.
How to grab a brand's attention when pitching a paid sponsorship
It takes time to figure out what type of pitch sticks and grabs the attention of brands.
"You get a lot of no's when you first start to pitch brands, but then you sort of fine-tune your approach," Kovach told Insider.
But getting started is an important step when building relationships with brands.
Jen Lauren, a nano influencer on YouTube and Instagram, charges around $350 for an Instagram sponsorship (one in-feed post) or YouTube sponsorship (brand mention), and that price will vary depending on the scope of work, she told Insider in November 2020 when she had just under 3,000 followers.
To land her first paid deal, Lauren used a media kit. She sends her media kit to the brands she wants to work with directly, through email, direct message on Instagram, or sometimes she'll even find an influencer marketing contact for a brand on LinkedIn, she said.
But a media kit isn't just helpful for getting started. Influencers with varying follower size and experience in the industry commonly use these documents to establish new brand relationships.
Here's how 14 influencers pitch brands, from email templates to media kits
Email templates influencers use:
- Tori Dunlap, a personal-finance influencer with 1.7 million TikTok followers. She shared 2 templates she uses to pitch brands on Instagram.
- Emma Cortes, a fashion influencer with 44,000 Instagram followers. She shared the email template she uses to turn gifting offers into paying deals.
- Gigi Kovach, a food and family influencer with 14,000 Instagram followers. She shared the 200-word email pitch she uses to reach out to brands.
Finding the right brand contact:
- Ashley Jones, a micro influencer with 50,000 followers on Instagram. She shared her starting rates for brands and how she pitches brands over DMs.
- Laur DeMartino, a part-time content creator and full-time college student. She uses LinkedIn to find brand contacts and shared her 9-page media kit.
Setting rates for sponsored content:
- Tyler Chanel, a sustainability and lifestyle micro influencer with 13,000 followers. She shared the rate calculator she built to help her negotiate brand deals after a pitch.
- Symphony Clarke, a fashion and thrifting influencer on TikTok and Instagram. She broke down her rates and how she pitches herself to brands.
Media kit examples:
- Marina Mogilko, business and education creator with 3.8 million YouTube subscribers. She has a 24-page media kit she emails to the brands she works with.
- A TikTok collective, called The HoneyHouse, with 1 million followers. The group of millennial creators uses this 16-page media kit when pitching brands.
- Roberto Blake, a business and tech influencer with 527,000 subscribers on YouTube. Here's his 26-page media kit for pitching tech brands.
- Jade Darmawangsa, a tech and business YouTube creator with 380,000 subscribers. She shared her 4-page media kit.
- Lauren SoYung Lim, an influencer with 130,000 TikTok followers. She shared the 9-page media kit she used to pitch brands.
- Macy Mariano, a fashion and lifestyle Instagram creator with 120,000 subscribers. Check out her 9-page media kit.
- Jen Lauren, a YouTube nano influencer with 4,000 subscribers. She shared her simple 3-page media kit.
- Kayla Compton, a nano influencer with a few thousand followers. Here's the 8-page media kit she uses.
"It's important to build a relationship with brands and to work with brands that you already love, especially when you're starting out, to build subscriber loyalty," Lauren told Insider. "I will only partner with a brand if it will also benefit my community and organically fit in with my content."