The Inspired Home Influencer Conference Recap
Have you ever wondered how to work with brands or pitch ideas? Like in any other profession, I believe there is definitely an art to doing it effectively. This past March, I was invited to attend the first annual Influencer Conference hosted by The Inspired Home.
I’m sure many of you remember seeing my Instagram stories from the event. It was held in Chicago the day before The International Home & Housewares Show (IHHS). As an attendee, I had the opportunity to learn, network with other bloggers and even attend a speed networking event with hundreds of brands. After our conference was over, we also had exclusive access to attend IHHS as a blogger/media.
I attended Haven Conference last year so I had an idea about what I was getting myself into by attending this event. For me, Haven Conference was SUPER helpful and changed the way I blog and work with brands. I want to always to push myself to grow professionally and I recognize the benefits of continued education and network opportunities. When I was invited to attend The Inspired Home Influencer Conference, I knew I would learn something new.
Let me just say, I AM SO GLAD I WENT! It was a bit out of my comfort zone to go by myself and not know anyone attending (it seemed like a lot of food bloggers registered), but the information I learned has been invaluable! After the conference, I put my fears aside and attended IHHS too. There were over 2,205 exhibitors from 43 countries!! I'm not going to lie, it was overwhelming, but also inspiring. The energy at the show was contagious and it was amazing to network with vendors and learn so much about the new smart technology that will be hitting the market soon.
The all-day conference was jammed packed and I learned about SEO, social media best practices, working with brands, refining my niche, how to pitch brands, how to stay connected to my creative process and create an engaged community. I can honestly say, my blog has grown so much over the last few months and I know it is a direct correlation from attending The Inspired Home Influencer Conference. Not only that, but I am much more strategic about how I spend my time on social media. I am no longer spending hours trying to plan and come up with content. I have more confidence and feel so blessed to share projects/products that I truly love. I’ve stopped focusing so much on “Maison de Mings” and more on how I can help the brand I’m working with. Every company has a need and it is all about how we can work together and share their story.
Here are a few tips to consider before you start reaching out to brands.
- Determine your why. Why do you have a blog? Why do you want to work with brands?
- Find your niche. Everyone is different and can bring their own talents to the table. What makes you unique? Why does your audience continue to follow along with you?
- Create a media kit. Outline your why, your niche and be ready to share facts with brands about your blog and other social platforms.
- Make a list of brands/products you love and that would fit your overall blog aesthetic and niche.
Once you are ready, I would recommend reaching out to brands of which you already are purchasing product. This creates an organic conversation and you may be able to collaborate with them for "product trade" at first. Since you've purchased from them before and already tried the product, promotion would be easy and natural. Once the relationship is established, you could pitch a new content idea for payment. I have found brands are much more willing to collaborate with you for paid content once they get to know you and the quality of content you produce. Again, I do not recommend collaborating with just anyone. Be intentional and make sure their brand aligns with your niche AND your why.
When you get to the point you are pitching brands, please know that some will say no...heck, they may all say no, but that is okay - think of it as a learning opportunity. Consider asking for constructive feedback and spend some time engaging with your audience to re-align your focus. Make a new list of brands/products you love and try again!
Elevator Pitch Approach
Another thing I have learned along the way is to reach out to brands with a more of an elevator pitch approach. I am not one to reach out to a brand for the first time and outline exactly what I can give them. To me, it is all about building a relationship and determining what THEIR needs are. My initial points of contact with brands are brief and while I may share an elevator type of pitch…this is just my initial introduction of who I am and maybe a little bit about an upcoming project or idea I have. I ask if they would like to hear more and if so, I begin preparing for the next stage in the pitching process. I’ll typically go into a bit more detail and find out what their needs are and how we can work together.
In my opinion, these are the BEST collaborations. You are developing a relationship and so long as you deliver quality and timely content that meets or exceeds their expectations, you may even be able to work with this brand again AND you’ll have more confidence/experience for the next pitch or opportunity.
I hope this helps and gives you some guidance on where to start. I’m happy to answer any specific questions you may have – just e-mail me at email@example.com.