The age old question in the blogging community is: Do I need to have a certain amount of followers before I can get paid?

A lot of creators believe that you should start getting paid once you hit 10k and unlock the beloved Swipe Up feature (I’ll get there one day…) but as someone with a background in marketing, I can assure you that this is an outdated way of thinking. Influencer marketing has always been a practice for companies but now with increased social media platforms and the chance of videos / products going viral; more companies have shifted from their traditional advertising strategies and started putting their dollars towards paying influencer that fit within their target demographic.

Remember: This is not a one-size fits all approach and what works for me may not work for you but, here are a few tips I have used as a lifestyle influencer to secure paid brand deals with under 3,000 followers: 

Find your niche

It is important to find the Who and What of your brand before you pitch to others. Take the time to develop a community and scroll through and see who you are attracting with your content. Once you have a good idea of your target demographic, you can move on and see the products they are buying and the places they are shopping.

Know your worth

Create a media kit and set a price that you believe you are worth. As a rule of thumb, video content should always be priced higher because it requires more work and editing. If a company reaches out for a gifted opportunity, do not be afraid to negotiate it into a paid collaboration. I always ask the brand “Is there a marketing budget for my collaboration in this campaign?”

Think of the expenses you would have to incur to complete the campaign and refer back to your media kit based on what the brand is looking for. The worst that can happen is that the company does not have a budget for payment and you can either accept the gifted products or politely decline the offer.

Create quality content

A good question to ask yourself is: Would I be proud if a brand reposted my photo to thousands of their followers? This was the first impression that you are making to a potential new follower or brand – make it count! Make sure your photos are clear and you are using the same editing preset or techniques throughout your feed. If you are promoting a product, make sure you can clearly see the brand name.

Don’t be afraid to reach out first

All of my paid partnerships have come from the brand reaching out first but never be afraid to formally email a brand and introduce yourself and the value you can bring to them. So many success stories start with influencers who aren’t afraid to go for it. A lot of companies have specific departments for influencer collaborations – look for an email on the website or send the company a message on Instagram and ask them to kindly point you in the right direction.

Engage with the brand

If it is a brand you love using/wearing engage with them before you pitch yourself. Let them know that you find value in the product and you are part of their target audience. One of my favorite ways to do this is by tagging the brand in your stories. Most of the time they will repost your story and this is helpful because if they are looking for an influencer for an upcoming campaign, you will be top of mind.

Join influencer platforms

There are so many free apps that help connect micro-influencers to brands, one of my favorites to use is Activate but, here are a few other to check out: Aspire IQ, Fohr, Upfluence and #Paid. I personally like activate because once you fill out your profile they will email you and et you know if there is a brand looking to fill spots for an upcoming campaign that you’re a good fit for – you don’t have to constantly check for new campaigns to pop up. This is a good step for someone who is not yet ready to pitch themselves to brands but wants to build a portfolio.

It’s okay to say no

Do not sacrifice your personal brand that you have taken the time to create in order to work with a company whose ideals/products do not aline with yours. You want to be authentic and build genuine relationships with your followers and one way to do that is to share products and work with brands that you truly believe in. Your followers will be able to tell when you are authentically promoting a product and when you are doing it to simply receive a check.

Hope you found one of these tips helpful – Best of luck as you venture into the world of paid campaigns!