Last year, my Instagram (@nomadonbudget) had ~1000 followers. Despite having no clout, here’s how I got $40,000 in brand deals with major brands with just an email:
Quick context - I was selected to join the International Antarctic Expedition 2022 and wanted to secure funds to support the expedition + polar gear expenses + climate causes. I ended up raising $40k in 3 months from 3 brands with just 3 emails. In this article, I will be discussing in detail about how I secured these brand deals and use one of them as a case study.
You probably have a fair idea about it: you partner with a brand, promote their product / showcase their merchandise, and get paid in goodies, money, or both.
It’s pretty straightforward in terms of its concept, but not so much in terms of execution.
Unless you really like a brand and use their products, avoid reaching out for a collaboration because the effectiveness of your proposal will depend on how much you understand the brand. Generic mass emails to the marketing team of multiple brands will get you nowhere.
For example, I reached out to foodpanda because I regularly use their app in Singapore to order food and grocery, and love their customer service, user interface and innovative media campaigns. I was an ardent user of the brand before I reached out to them; so much so that I didn’t reach out to any other delivery platform.
Once you narrow down the brand and person of contact, an effective email should get the job done. Here’s the email proposal I sent to foodpanda with annotations:
Once a brand agrees to sign a deal with you, they send over a document with the list of deliverables along with example links/mood boards from their media team. For example: Instagram posts, YouTube videos, press-worthy events, interviews, reviews etc. This is a great time to ideate with the brand and fix mutual deadlines. As a next step, the brand wires the funds and you’re connected with the brand’s media team members handling your account. Once you have everything set, you update your progress along the way and fulfill your deliverables to the brand.
In my case, in collaboration with foodpanda, I recently made the world’s longest delivery from Singapore to Antarctica spanning over 30,000+ km and 4 continents. The whole journey was carbon-negative and we shared some of Singapore’s finest snacks with the 7th continent! They sponsored $13k towards this journey and I’m super grateful to work with their amazing media team of inspiring women.
Content I created about this delivery ended up becoming viral with zero PR dollars spent - if you google 'world's longest delivery' or my name, this should pop up. It got covered by national and international press organically via content from my Instagram.
While fulfilling deliverables brings your collab to an end, it’s always a great idea to continue to nourish the relationship instead of being transactional about it. Lastly, collaborating with a brand is a creative process, so don’t compromise on your authenticity.
In general, I like solving challenges and this was an interesting experience of breaking into a world reserved for the influencers/elite as an outsider with no clout. If you found this article useful, DM me - I'd really appreciate it!
Note: I used up 100% of the sponsored funds to support the causes I mentioned above and took $0 for myself.
P.S. Btw, this is not a sponsored post, all opinions shared are my own.