4-Step Framework for Pitching: Understanding Pitching from the Brand's Perspective

4-Step Framework for Pitching: Understanding Pitching from the Brand's Perspective

Learn what brands really want from creators in the pitching process and how to take yours to the next level.
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by Kelly Stone
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Pitching is a great opportunity to increase your revenue and land more collaborations with the brands you want to work with. But we recently learned that only 30% of our community is doing it regularly! So you have a huge opportunity to increase your revenue using our 4-step framework.
This is part one of our pitching series, focusing on what brands find valuable from creators and how to find brands that will pay you for that value.
TLDR: Make sure your pitches speak to what brands want and are being sent to the right people (aka the ones with 💸 ).
1.) Why you Should be Pitching More
If this is you searching for the motivation to start sending out those pitches... We are here to help! Pitching is one of the easiest ways for you to increase your revenue as a creative. Pitching is also an excellent way to get contracts with favorable terms and less deliverables. Our 4-step framework simplifies the process and leaves you with an easy-to-start action plan.
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2.) What Brands Want
The first part of a great pitch? Knowing what brands are looking for. We surveyed 374 consumer brands to help you understand what brands want, so you can cater your pitches to their needs.

Brand's top concerns

  • Finding the right talent
  • Reaching the right audience
  • Reporting and measuring campaign results
  • Getting access to actual campaign insights
  • Producing high-quality content that follows brand guidelines
Speaking to these potential pain points in your pitch will help you stand out and demonstrate your potential value to a brand. For example, if you and a brand have similar audience demographics, you can help them reach the right audience.

What makes an influencer a valuable partner?

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The relationship with your followers
Over 60% of brands said this was the most valuable thing a creator can bring to the table! Brands want to work with influencers who have built audiences that trust their recommendations. Speaking to the trust you have built with your community in your pitch will demonstrate your potential value.
User-Generated Content
While your content does not have to look like a magazine ad, it should engage your audience and keep them interested!  Think about what stops you from continuing to scroll. --> love this line!
In a Stackla survey, 79% of consumers said that User Generated Content impacts their decision to buy.
Check out this example from Pieology featuring Willa Community Member Hana of @thishanabee from National Pizza Day!

What are brands looking for from influencer campaigns?

50%+ of brands reported that driving awareness/consideration for their brand or product is their main campaign objective
Followed by driving sales (34%) and generating content for their socials (13%).
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Brand awareness campaigns are often focused on reaching a large audience so a particular brand or product can become more well-known. Awareness campaigns can be used to build buzz around a new product or educate on the benefits of a particular product.
Check out this example from Michelle of @thetravelingrose_ sharing why she loves tea while highlighting Tao Harmony Teas.
Campaigns focused on sales leverage the trust you have built with your audience to increase sales. These campaigns may be run using discount codes or trackable links to better attribute the sales generated by the campaign.
Note how the caption from Alecia of @vivakolor speaks to where to buy and offers her followers a special discount to shop with!
Content campaigns are focused less on your audience and more on the creation of on-brand imagery to use on a brand's social media pages, website, or even email marketing! These campaigns often seek to harness the power of User Generated Content.
Check out this post from Agua Caliente Casinos featuring an image from Willa Community Member Tom of @tomwindeknecht showcasing the location's pool!
While these are the most common, you should always ask a brand what their specific campaign goal is! This way you can ensure you are highlighting the right metrics in your after campaign report.
3.) Following the 💸
Did you know? 85% of brands have a budget that is dedicated to social media content such as stories, photos, and videos.
Although more brands have a budget for influencer campaigns, not everyone does. Being strategic with your outreach and following the 💸  will help you reach out to potential partners that are more likely to pay you.

PR vs. Marketing

Pop quiz...what's the difference between the PR and Marketing team?
PR teams focus on earned media (content about the brand that hasn't been paid for or created in-house), so their campaign budgets range from nonexistent to quite small.Marketing teams, on the other hand, focus on paid media to promote and sell their products or services.I bet you can guess which team has the larger campaign budgets 😉
💡Willa Tip: When researching brand contacts, skip the PR team and instead look for people w/the following titles: Marketing Manager, Head of Social, Marketing Director, or CMO (for smaller brands)

Timing matters

Our survey found that the majority of influencer marketing is campaign-based.
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Campaigns can be run for:
  • Product launches
  • Seasonal campaigns (Easter or Back to School)
  • Quarterly initiatives (2nd quarter is focused on Influencer Marketing)
  • Strategic bets (we need to be on a new platform and will work with influencers for this).
💡Willa Tip: Check influencer marketing platforms for brands that are currently running campaigns. When you find one you are interested in, use the tools under reaching the right people to contact them directly.
You never know when a brand finds itself w/a budget, so be sure to follow up and be proactive in reaching out. Frequency in pitching is important! Keep following up as eventually the timing between a campaign and your pitch may align.
💡Willa Tip: If you are interested in a particular brand, check their tagged photos and hashtags they follow (often their branded hashtags) to see if creators are tagging them in posts with #ad or #sponsored.
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Check the Facebook Ad Library

If a brand is not running Facebook and Instagram ads, it is unlikely they are allocating a budget to influencer marketing.
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This will also help you identify brands that are whitelisting influencer content for advertising. Whitelisting is a great opportunity to increase your revenue and knowing they are using this type of content for advertising can help you cater your pitch accordingly.
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💡Willa Tip: Check other influencers in your niche to see how they are advertising themselves using Facebook Ads Library.

Don’t ignore brands that have not worked with influencers

If a brand hasn't worked with influencers before, they may be waiting for the right opportunity. Our research found that
1 in 3 brands had not tried influencer marketing or were just starting out
These brands often have some budget but are looking for the best low-risk, small-scale opportunity to test it out.
Ready to test your new knowledge?
4.) Your Action Plan 💃
Us, watching you put your new pitching skills to use with this action plan!
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  1. Make a list of 10-15 brands you are interested in working with
  1. Check each brand on Facebook's Ad Library to see if they are running ads
  1. Check each brand's tagged photos & branded hashtags for posts with #ad or #sponsored
  1. Compile your list of brands with 💸
  1. Draft your pitch highlighting how you can help using the what brands want section